I wished someone has told me this long time ago when everything is still fresh in my head. Well, I partially blame it on the Malaysian education system which failed to prepare youth with skills set that will help in their future. I guess being Malaysian, we are also spoilt by the simplicity of work application. It is not as critical as being abroad. What I have learnt from my experience in New Zealand is
- It will save you a lot of trouble trying to recall what you have done (say, in the 2 years, 5 years, 10 years etc) if you decide (by choice or not) to leave the organisation you worked
2. What do you write?
- Write down all your accomplishments, professional development that you have attend, in-house training, your organisation recognition (even if it’s small), newly discovered skill or learnt skill, passion, your participation in professional activities. Basically be your own biographer with the right timeline.
- Start a file for projects and successes you achieve during the year. Copy performance reviews, collect all form of “well done” + acknowledgement letters/emails and keep them in this file. Print out complimentary or congratulatory emails and file these away. (**1 trick that I currently love is to SCAN everything away**) List new committees you have join. Jot down any assignments you complete during the year. Include details as much details as you can.
- REVIEW and EDIT AS NEEDED!
3. Personal Evaluation!!
- Writing all these down visually also help you to realise how much you have accomplished or have trained professionally (great for pay negotiation!!)
- Evaluate your current circumstances – see where and how you can improve / progress! Fill the gap!
- If you think you are missing something – maybe it’s time to take the leap or challenges. Move on!
4. When you actually need it!
- By updating it regularly, it will relief you from any unnecessary last-minute panic or trying to go through what happened 2 years ago.
- Write it when it’s still fresh. Just get any sort of information down somewhere and you can review it later.
- It will save you hours, hours and hours of frustration.
- The KEY is UP-TO-DATE!
5. The right timeline
- Meaning: Your future employer also would like to know what you did during those gap you had
Remember: You will never know when the next job opportunity might surprise you while you’re still at another job. Chances might pop up at any given time. It can be during your next networking event, a friendly meeting with someone who knows someone, or perhaps you got retrenched. All these can happened at any time. So it’s good to be prepared for that sudden expected scenario. Opportunity can be just around the corner.
So do take that initiative and update your CV/resume regularly so you can avoid the last-minute stress and rush to do it when you desperately need it.
SOME CV TRICK
- Make your unrelated experience relevant. It’s all about wording it and convincing your employer that your existing experience is relevant.
- How do you do this? Just find a task or two that you have completed at your current/old job that is actually relevant and focus on those.
- If you have the time, try different layouts and see what fits better.
- Make sure it’s ERROR-FREE. I usually rely on a friend to check this part for me.
Yup, I have learnt the hard way. So I hope by sharing this, it will save you lots of time and help you along the way.
- CV Maker Creates Beautiful, Professional-Looking Resumes Online in Minutes (lifehacker.com)
- Architecture CV’s, a humorous guide! (oohguitar.com)