Undeniably, the past few years have brought about many changes to the workforce, from a global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, to the ‘Great Resignation’ and worker shortages.
Companies and professionals alike have had to adapt the way they work.
As we enter a new year with high inflation rates and economic uncertainty, those seeking new jobs will also need to update their CVs to compete in today’s marketplace.
Here are three things employers are looking for in 2023, and what it means for your CV, from Amanda Augustine, careers expert for TopCV, plus the mistake that could make you look outdated.
Work-from-home options is among the top three priorities for UK professionals. Amanda Augustine explains the top five things employers are looking for in 2023
1. Ability to work remotely
It’s clear that remote work is here to stay. This working arrangement, which was once a pandemic necessity, has now become a top requirement for many workers.
In fact, when TopCV asked nearly 6,000 UK professionals which perks matter most when evaluating a job offer, work-from-home options was among the top three priorities.
For their part, an increasing number of companies are switching to remote work opportunities or offering more flexible schedules, such as hybrid working arrangements.
Recent CIPD data shows that more than three-quarters of organisations have embraced hybrid working through a mix of formal and informal arrangements.
How to modernise your CV for 2023
Remove unnecessary personal details — including your address
While you may have included private details, such as your date of birth, your marital status, and your nationality, on your CV in the past, this is now considered an outdated practice.
Thanks to the introduction of data-protection regulations and the replacement of previous anti-discrimination laws with the Equality Act, employers don’t want to receive information about these details of your life, as they have no bearing on your qualifications and could open up the business to accusations of discrimination.
This also applies to your location information. If the top of your CV still includes your complete mailing address, then it’s time to remove this information as well.
These details are unnecessary at this stage of the application process and take up precious space on your CV that could be better used to highlight your qualifications.
With jobs becoming increasingly ‘location-agnostic’, many employers are casting a wider net for candidates.
If you’re willing to work remotely or relocate for the right opportunity, then there’s no reason to keep any parts of your address at the top of your CV document.
Even if you’re not seeking a remote job, there’s no need to include the property number, street name, or locality name on your CV.
The only details you should share are your town or city name and country to signal you’re a local candidate and capable of commuting to the office.
There are also safety risks associated with putting these personal details on your CV. Many people consider it a security concern for identity theft.
Think about all the websites where you’ve uploaded or posted your CV — if you don’t need to share specific private details, then it’s best to keep them off your CV.
Optimise your CV for the ‘hiring bots’
Thanks to organisations’ growing reliance on recruiting technology to find and screen job candidates, writing an effective CV has become more nuanced than ever.
While applicant tracking systems (ATS for short), don’t replace the human part of the recruitment process, they will prioritise candidates in a way that makes it easier for employers to shortlist them.
Research shows that employers tend to focus on those who fall within the top quarter of the applicant pool, as those are expected to be the best-matching candidates.
If you’re planning to search for a job in the new year, it’s important to optimise your CV to ensure it won’t be filtered out by the ATS.
To ensure your CV is ‘ATS-friendly’, use a simple format with clearly marked headers, avoid images and custom or unusual fonts, and save your CV as a Word document file type.
There are still some ATS platforms that cannot convert PDF documents and will discard CVs that are saved in such document formats, so only use a PDF file if the system clearly states that it accepts such formats.
It’s also incredibly important to tailor your CV based on the key terms found in the job advert for which you’re applying.
Identify the important keywords found in the specific job advert that interests you and, assuming you possess those skills or experience, incorporate the terms throughout your CV, particularly in the ‘key skills’ and ‘work experience’ sections.
If you’re interested in working from home on a full-time or hybrid basis, be certain to edit your CV to clearly reflect this goal by emphasising previous remote-work experience or online learning, highlighting the soft skills firms seek in remote employees (e.g. self-discipline, tech savviness, self-motivation, effective time management), and include a list of the tools and platforms you’ve used for virtual communication and collaboration.
In addition, consider mentioning in your cover letter and during the interview process that you’re interested in and equipped to work from home with a dedicated workspace and a fast, reliable internet connection.
2. Flexibility and other soft skills
A hiring survey found that employers are prioritising candidates who possess certain soft skills that go beyond the job-specific requirements of a role.
When asked to identify which skills, if any, have taken on greater importance in recent years, the following surfaced as the top five (in descending order):
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Time management
Thanks to the successful four-day week trial, government plans to change flexibility rights for employees, and the growing popularity of flexible working patterns in the workplace (e.g. flexitime, job-share options, remote and hybrid arrangements), these soft skills are expected to remain in high demand in 2023.
Let employers know you’re equipped to handle whatever workplace situations or challenges may come your way by providing examples in your work history of how you thought on your feet and brought creative solutions, rather than problems, to the table over the past few years.
For example, perhaps you had to figure out a way to virtually onboard new employees or scramble to offer your in-person service in a virtual environment.
Use the bullet points under your CV’s ‘Work History’ section to highlight these successes, using what is known as the ‘result by action’ format: begin each bullet point with the result of your efforts and then describe the actions you took to achieve such a result.
3. Value not tasks
Employers want to see more than a timeline of your education and professional experience.
They want your CV to read like a story, explaining why you’re qualified for the job you want.
Instead of listing everything you’ve ever done or learnt, emphasise the details that support your current job goals and downplay or omit those that don’t.
This means highlighting the output of your duties, rather than the duties themselves in your work history.
Focus on offering proof of your qualifications by including specific examples, figures or case studies that illustrate your abilities.
Wherever possible, quantify your contributions and achievements to show the value you’ve created for your past employers.
For example, have you helped to reduce costs, eliminate bottlenecks, increase productivity, drive more revenue, or improve operations?
Did you meet or exceed your project goals or complete a project on time, ahead of schedule or under budget? Have you received any awards or special recognition for your performance?
These are the types of information you want to present in the bullet points within your work history.
This component of your CV is important because recruiters gauge your potential based on how you performed in previous roles.
The more effectively you quantify your work, the easier it is for employers to appreciate your value.
When your CV fails to illustrate your achievements and contributions, companies may assume you are a ‘doer’ rather than an ‘achiever’.
Keep these CV dos and don’ts in mind as you prepare for your job search and you’ll be poised to land the right job sooner.
Amanda Augustine is the resident careers expert for Talent Inc.’s suite of brands: TopCV, TopInterview, Career.io and TopResume. With more than 15 years of experience in the recruiting and career-advice industry, she is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and résumé writer (CPRW), helping professionals improve their careers and find the right job sooner.
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