Updated: Apr 7
January is widely reported as a busy period in recruitment, with high levels of both jobs being advertised and applications being made. Leaders from across the recruitment industry see this trend yearly and it isn’t difficult to find useful insights on the various reasons for this clear and recurring pattern. This alone makes it a good time to be reaching for your CV.
Even if you are not one of the many who are looking to enter the job market though, it is still a good time of the year to be writing, reviewing or updating your CV regardless of your situation and immediate career plans. Here are four good reasons why:
1. You have some time to think
By no means all (there are some very notable exceptions) but many of us will have time off over Christmas and New Year. This provides the chance to actually think about writing your CV, where perhaps you haven’t had that opportunity during overly busy weeks throughout the rest of the year. This does not mean you should spend the festive period stuck at a computer changing dates and cut and pasting job descriptions while everyone else is enjoying themselves. The value is in having the time and headspace to think and reflect on work.
This is different to other time off you take. During other holidays your work will tend to be covered and so carry on without you. Checking how things are progressing in your absence or thinking about what you will be going back to when you return to work are still consuming your thoughts and can make it difficult to properly detach or switch off. Over Christmas and New Year more people, if not everyone, will be off as well. Businesses may have planned to shut down fully, or it can be the end of their reporting year and so you are less likely to carry deliverables over this period of leave. It is therefore a unique and rare opportunity to switch off more fully than usual from immediate work demands.
Use this time and space to think about what you’ve been doing and what you’ve achieved or delivered at work this year. Be selective about what is most important to you and so would be most relevant to include in any updates to your CV. Also take the opportunity to step back from your immediate role and responsibilities to read up on your industry or sector. What are people talking about and what’s current and important in your professional arena?
This may be the first time in 12 months that you aren’t completely heads down, consumed by heavy workloads or entangled in deadlines. Use this opportunity to step away from the coal face and think just about yourself, your successes and aspirations.
2. You’re going to be asked anyway
One very good reason to be reflecting on work at this time of year is that you’re going to be asked about it anyway. It is often a time for catching up with people and there are certain questions we all ask when we haven’t seen someone for a while. It is almost inevitable therefore that you will have been asked about work a number of times over the past couple of weeks; it’s a staple of polite conversation.
As interesting or as repetitive as any of us may find this line of questioning, take the opportunity to think beyond the very brief response that you are likely to have given. How did you feel being asked that question? Were you excited to discuss work or were you uncomfortable and wanting to move on from the conversation as quickly as possible? Why was that? How is work? Has it been going well? In what way? What are you proud of achieving?
You may find you haven’t actually asked yourself any of these questions recently or really considered the answers. Where does that leave you with regards to your current role or aspirations for the future? Does your CV reflect or capture any of that? Now is a good time to make sure it does.
3. You’ll have people to discuss it with
For the rest of the year, the people you spend most time with are likely to be those you live with or work with. Over Christmas and New Year you may well be catching up with wider groups of friends and family; people who know you, care about you and will support you, but who you may not see that often so are not that heavily involved in your life day-to-day.
This creates an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with people who offer the great combination of knowing you well but who have a slight degree of separation that enables them to provide a fresh perspective and a more independent point of view. You may want to ask directly for advice or use them as a sounding board and someone to simply speak your thoughts about work and your career out loud to. These conversations can help refine and develop your own understanding of how you are feeling about current employment or new opportunities which will allow you to approach a review or update of your CV in a very considered way.
4. It’s a great time to plan
You don’t need to be intending to hand out a CV to anybody to benefit from reflecting on it and updating it. The process of considering your CV results in increased professional self-awareness, which can influence your priorities and therefore career and development plans over the coming year and beyond. This can capture personal factors such as what experience you want to develop or knowledge you want to acquire, but also external influences such as future trends being predicted within your profession or what is happening in the wider business world.
Managing your own professional development, longer term career plans or any current or future applications will all benefit from this. By considering how your current employment or other opportunities either within or outside of your organisation may support your ambitions, it allows considered choices to be made about your current employment and to inform any moves that you make into new positions at anytime. You can go back to work after the break reinvigorated and with clarity on your career objectives.
So in conclusion, you don’t need to be adding an update to your CV or a change of job to your list of New Years resolutions, and certainly don’t feel pressure to let it get in the way of precious and well deserved time off, but do give a few minutes thought to your CV over the coming couple of weeks. Some of the factors that make this a great time of the year to be doing so may not realign for another 12 months, so don’t miss out now.