Pulling together the information

Where is the main source of information? Inside your head!

There are other places, though, let’s investigate these before we start digging into the cerebral archives.

You may already have a CV of one type or another, dig it out and have it handy for later. Did you keep a copy of any application forms or job descriptions you had for your previous jobs? Dig these out, too. If you can find any assessment forms filled in while you were working, these would also help.

Did you keep a diary each year? If so, have them handy so you can confirm various dates.

The company you work with may have personnel records you can access, be a bit careful about asking for these if the company don’t know you’re thinking about leaving. A good ploy is to ask for details of training courses you’ve been on, because you want to make sure you’re up to date and haven’t missed out on anything that’s available.

The first thing you need to establish is a time line. This doesn’t have to be accurate to the day or month, use the years only, that will be near enough. 

Draw a straight line near the longest edge of a piece of paper. Mark one end with the year you left school and the other with the current year.

Think about the companies you worked for, start at either end of the line, jot in the company name and roughly the number of years you worked for them. Work out which year you changed jobs and add this to the time line. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out properly first time, check with your diaries and job application forms (if you have any), otherwise use your best guess.

Once you’ve got the company names in order, add the job titles. Did those change during your time with any of the companies? Can you remember when?

Once you have this exercise completed you have the skeleton layout of your CV.

While you’ve got those records in front of you, make a list of the courses the companies sent you on, you’ll need this for the CV.

Now you can start adding the flesh. Can you remember what you did in each of the jobs? You can use the job descriptions and assessment forms to remind you about each job but don’t copy down this information slavishly.

Sit and think for a few moments about each job. Try and visualise being back there doing the job. Either jot down some notes or record yourself, using your mobile phone or other sound recorder, talking about a day at work.  Think about the things you liked doing, think about any successes you had, times when people congratulated you on something well done (or times when you felt they should have!).

There will be things you didn’t like, times when things didn’t go right. They may tend to keep coming back to mind. I’m not going to say, “Ignore them”. That can prove difficult. However, if as a result, you learned something from the event which helped later on, note down the positive side.

Read through, or listen to, the notes.  As you do so, stay in visualisation mode. You’ll be amazed at how much more information comes to mind each time you do this. Jot down anything you can think of, it might come in handy later.

Take your time doing this. It’s better to have more information to work on than you need.

From these notes, identify the skills you used. These are the good strong positive action words or verbs which you’ll find in the download.

You now have the information you need to start producing a brilliant CV.

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