Keeping your CV updated is the key to career mobility, says Caroline Tolond

Keeping your CV updated is the key to career mobility, says Caroline Tolond

Q I’ve been working in industry for a few years now and whilst my job is stable at the moment, I’m unsure what the future holds. What can I do to put myself in a good position if I need to find a new job? 

A At all career stages, regardless of your qualifications, updating and expanding your professional knowledge and skills is essential to maintaining career mobility. 


Caroline Tolond is the RSC’s careers adviser.

Start by taking stock of where you are, both personally and professionally, as both influence career direction. What do you enjoy in and outside of work? What would you like to be doing more and less of? Are there any other jobs you would like to try? Could it be possible to do something new with your experience at the moment or do you need to develop new skills? Put the objectives you set with your line manager to one side - these tend to be based on your employer’s business plan - what do you need to do? 

Identify emerging trends 

Benchmarking yourself against job vacancies can be helpful when considering your professional development. Gather these widely and save copies of them so that you can compare opportunities and identify emerging trends. Are there any skills or knowledge you need to acquire if you were to move into any of these roles? Once you have identified your objectives, what can you do to achieve them?  

Professional development encompasses all forms of learning from speaking to colleagues, to taking on a new project, as well as reading up on topics both directly and non-directly related to your job. The breadth of knowledge gained through this process should get you up to speed with developments in your specialism - important if you are invited to interview or would like to pursue opportunities outside your immediate area of expertise.  

Record your progress 

It is useful to record your professional development so that you can draw on it for job opportunities and interviews in the future. RSC members can access an electronic template for recording continuing professional development at but any kind of diary or log book will do. Consider using the acronym CAR: Context, Action and Result, when making notes. What was the background, what did you do and what was the result - have you gained more knowledge or a better insight on a topic?  

The process of reviewing your personal and professional objectives and recording your development plans should also help you to compile a draft CV. This will put you in a good position to apply for a job if something of interest arises.  

In brief, a CV should be two pages in length and focus on your most recent and relevant experience, usually the last five years (an exception to this rule is for those applying for academic positions where a CV can be of any length.) It may require you to have a second, longer document to record your career history in greater detail, from which you can take information to tailor applications.  

First impressions 

When putting together your CV draw on the information you have gained from job adverts to bring out the skills mentioned, as well as key phrases and words.  

Finally, however you construct your CV you should feel it reflects you and your personality in a professional manner - it could be the first impression your new employer has of you! 


  • Take stock. What do you enjoy most and least, both in and outside work? 
  • Review the job market and clip out job adverts of interest.   
  • Set some goals. What would you like to be doing next year, in 3-5 years time, and in the long term? 
  • Consider your professional development. Be proactive in seeking opportunities to update and enhance your skills.  
  • Draft a CV, but remember you will need to tailor it to each application.