I was asked to create a cake for a friend’s 60 birthday the ideal three layers, chocolate, orange and vanilla. I am not a polished professional baker however my creation looked pretty cool and tasted divine.

So what does this have to do with career change? Life is about taking on new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone.  What we deliver may not always be perfect but trying is key.  Presentation is important but content and taste make the difference when it comes to your CV. I have clients who pay to have their CV written, but despite the money paid, they rarely deliver.

The similarities between making a professional cake and being made redundant, not the most uplifting word is it? How to make our way out the maze.   The best way to approach either of these tasks are the same. Try doing everything at once and what happens, no cake, no CV, no Job Search and no new job.  We feel overwhelmed, depressed and frozen. My approach was to break down this task into bite sized pieces.  That way you can focus on one thing at a time instead of being overwhelmed by what seems an insurmountable task.  What is my first step to make the cake and find a new job?  Initially deciding what we want to do is important.

For me it was making three cakes, vanilla, chocolate and orange.  For you it could be writing or updating your CV.  Firstly, ask yourself if someone had ten seconds to read my CV what would I want them to know about me? How can I stand out from the crowd? I kept looking at those cakes thinking now what do I do?  So I did what we all do and turned to the internet for answers, and that made it worse now I was confused, they recommend dead all sorts of plates and dowels and I had none of those.  Check out the numerous articles on CV and like me it will make your head spin.

How best to solve them skills you need!

So I started with layer one and iced the cake, then used a skewer to hold it in place. It was hot in my kitchen so while it sat in the fridge I took a break and thought now what? Same applies to your CV, write down your achievements, and make sure they include at least one action and a strong definable result. These can take time, if stuck break it down and do a few every day.  Before you know it you will have a few. These are what you want on your CV just the action and outcome or result.

It reminded me of the many times I faced redundancy and the job hunt. Especially the daunting task of writing my CV, taking the time to write out a list of my accomplishments then taking a break to pause and reflect much the same as my cake break.

Now back to my cake, each cake was topped with warm apricot jam to stop the icing from getting cake crumbs, thank you Mary Berry. Just like CV listening to an outplacement coach and taking the time to reflect, listening helps. I assembled the second layer and got creative with the filling then made sure it was connected to the bottom layer, then back in the fridge before I started the final layer and the tricky part of creating my chocolate shards, made the day before.

Another break this time putting my feet up, reflect on the achievements, how breaking down my problem or challenge into bite sized pieces made all the difference. Writing a CV is a process, a journey, it takes time just like making my birthday cake. It is your marketing brochure, helps you stand out and when in average our CV gets read in 10 to 20 seconds be clear on what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Now the final task, tier three, I held my breath and added the final layer, adding chocolate to the icing so the whole cake was iced we’ll most of it, I did miss a few bits, and then I was done, now for the tempered chocolate shards added at the last minute. Surrounding the cake, helping to create a professional gloss, OK not quite, then back in the fridge. My final question was how to transport the cake to its final destination without it melting?