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You want a new job. You start with your CV. You are wrong.

Career advice

The first step in your quest for a new job is not to write your CV. Don’t put the cart before the horse.


The first steps in your job search is to assess your career to date and clearly articulate what you bring to the market. Your skills, values, academic training, personal drivers and motivations, industry experience, areas of expertise.


In career assessment you look backwards and inwards. Who are you, what have you learned and what do you offer? You often realise that, the answer is: “Quite a lot, actually!”


Once you know what you offer and what drives you, you can start considering where you want to go and how your particular skills and motivations will get you there. This is goal setting. It is forward-looking and is based on matching your skills to the requirements of the job you want. Be realistic. I love cake but, it doesn’t make me a good baker.


Now you have the basic ingredients of a good CV: what you offer, who you are, what drives you and where you want to go. Recruiters will use your CV to assess you according to the selection criteria of the position you want to reach.


Consequently, you write your CV to highlight how your past experience and qualifications fit the specifications of the job you’re applying for. Your CV is a forward-looking representation of your past.


Know what you offer. Know where you want to go. Know how the two fit together. Then write your CV. Cart first. Add horse. Fast forward.



Career Assessment, Goal Setting and CV Writing are key modules of our Career Strategy programme.


A massive thank you to Jens Kleis Frederiksen, the author of this article in our Thoughtful Thursday series, for his valuable insight into the starting point for anyone seeking a new role.