Last year we posted a guide on how to structure your CV to set you apart as the most suitable candidate for the job click here to read article. Substance and structure are both important for making you attractive to potential employers. In this post we look at how to develop the content of your career to build a strong CV.
In a time of shrinking job security and technological developments that are rapidly disrupting the economic landscape, each of us can expect to change jobs and even careers a number of times. There are a few key features you need to display to employers. Three crucial capabilities are innovation; agility – the capacity to adapt and move quickly and efficiently in rapidly changing circumstances; constant learning. You need to show that you are entrepreneurial, multitalented and engaged in continuous upskilling.
Entrepreneurial (or the side hustle)
It seems that just about every young professional has their job, a side-business and something in the pipeline for further development. It’s inspiring to see how resilient and creative South African’s are and this should be celebrated in your CV. Companies want people who will help them grow and innovate, not just maintain their current position. It is important to show that you can contribute to streamlining operations, attracting positive attention and innovating to appeal to new markets. ‘How do I demonstrate all this?’ you may ask. Well, like a business spends time developing their strategies, you too have to spend time and effort in your current situation developing the skills for your future job or occupation. If possible get involved with special projects at your current job that help you enhance your innovative thinking skills. Things like joining the social committee, participating in volunteer projects or getting involved new product/services development are good places to start. Doing activities over and above the scope of your job description shows that you are proactive and a high-value professional. If there is no opportunity to do this at the company you work at, consider doing volunteer work or starting a small business on the side. Engaging in extra-curricular activities will show that you are energetic, initiative and driven.
Agile and multi-talented
Doing more than just your job reflects your ability to multitask, use a variety of skills and move between roles and teams. This agility is very attractive to companies because it shows your high productivity. As we can see from the news and social media, we are in an age of flux, having people on board that can handle fast changes adds to the strength of a team. When applying for vacancies you will most likely be asked to include a letter of introduction with your CV, this is a great place to highlight your agility. In your letter you can go into some detail about how you are able to flow between teams or projects and put various skills to use to contribute to effective outcomes.
Many of us were taught that obtaining a university degree or college diploma would ensure our employability and financial future. The reality is that with rapid changes in technologies, legislation and ecological factors each of us needs to engage in life-long learning to remain professionally relevant. Take advantage of the training opportunities your company offers. Most companies will fund (partially or fully) training courses you want to do that are somehow related to their business. If you have identified an area you would like to develop in but it’s not related to your current job, create a 2- or 5-year career change strategy. Then start equipping yourself with the necessary training and practical experience to make the shift. Consider doing short courses with a reputable institution, either online or classroom based, so that you obtain the technical skills and accreditation. Experience and qualifications are often equally important, so it is possible to change career direction by building a substantial enough body of work and developing networks within your desired industry. As the saying goes, sometimes it’s about who you know.
Conscientiously enhancing what you have to offer will directly impact your employability. Make sure that you capture all that value in your CV so that you stand out front and centre.