The success of your job search depends on an up-to-date CV

The jobs market is changing. As automation creeps more and more into the workplace, old positions will die out ‒ but in their place, new, diversified roles are springing up. And while future-proofing your job prospects might sound like an exercise in all things new, it actually requires a fresh take on something rather old: the CV.

That's according to our careers expert Amanda Augustine, who recently was featured in a CNBC article on the topic. CVs "need to adapt to employers' changing needs," she said. But how exactly do you do that?

1. Recruiting robots are the future

… well, sort of. We're not talking red-eyed metallic humanoids, but applicant tracking systems (ATS) ‒ the computer programmes used to screen CVs. In the U.S., research suggests that in the last year use of this sort of software increased a whopping 202%.

"Technology continues to impact virtually every industry. I don't believe any professional will be immune to these changes in the future," Amanda said.

What does this mean for the average job seeker? For a start, CVs need to put a greater emphasis on keywords, as an ATS seeks out clear, concise descriptions of job suitability. The flipside of this is that verbose language, however poetic, needs to be reworked.

That's not to say your CV should be stripped back to the bare minimum linguistically, as there'll still be a living, breathing human being to impress at some point in the process. A good option is to enlist a professional CV writer who has expertise in striking the perfect balance ‒ crafting a piece of text with software-seducing words that will also please a real-life HR manager.

2. Let your skills sing

A glittering array of key skills tells an employer that you can adapt to their ever-changing workforce. It's your CV's job, therefore, to highlight your finest traits ‒ and make clear your ability to develop new ones.

Core skills should be presented front and centre on your CV (remembering to keep the language ATS-friendly). Importantly, both hard and soft skills should be woven in. The former refers to those specific areas of know-how ‒ data analysis, cloud computing, Photoshop proficiency and so on; the latter relates to more personal skills or character traits ‒ creativity, punctuality, communication, and the like.

But remember, when it comes to portraying key skills on a CV, "show, rather than tell," as Amanda told CNBC. "Offer proof of your abilities by providing a specific example, figure, or case study in your CV's work experience or education section ‒ and quantify that information whenever possible to provide further context," she added.

In practice, that means you should be adding hyperlinks to LinkedIn pages and online portfolios, as well as incorporating stats and data to show your skills in action.

Related: The difference between hard and soft skills (and why your CV needs both)

3. Mind the gap

Be it for a month, a year, or longer, career breaks are becoming more and more commonplace. Little wonder really ‒ we're working into our 70s these days, which means a good half-century at the grind if you're not opting for some time out.

This has implications for recruiters who're having to rethink their longstanding aversion to career breaks. But the job seeker still needs to know how to best spin their time out. The key is not to hide your career gaps with a touch of historical revisionism or fudged dates ‒ any recruiter worth their salt will cotton onto this sort of thing easily.

Instead, "fill your CV gap with skills-based volunteer work, related freelance work, or professional development opportunities that allowed you to develop soft and hard skills that employers value," Amanda said.

4. Make it personal

Highlighting your individual character strengths has always been key in a CV, and with total robotic supremacy in the workplace still a long way off, that's truer now more than ever.

Ensure that your CV isn't just a laundry list of skills by weaving in words that speak specifically to your passions and ambitions. And if employed correctly, multimedia additions can give your application a really positive personalisation. A work portfolio, a LinkedIn account, or a “carefully curated” selection of social media can all boost a CV, Amanda told CNBC.

It's a daunting prospect, keeping pace with jobs market changes. But as fast as things are moving in the recruitment game, incremental tweaks to your CV will keep you ahead of the curve. Be mindful of new selection software, focus on your core skills, embrace any career gaps, and allow your personality to shine through. Implement these key CV criteria and your career future will be bright indeed.

Professional writers are trained in the most up-to-date CV tactics and expectations. To ensure that you're properly equipped for the modern job search, try working with a professional CV writer.

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