What is a “Future-me CV?”
A “Future-me CV” looks pretty similar to your current CV, but also includes all the things that you hope you will achieve (in work and life) by some set time in the future. I.e. What would you hope your CV looks like in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?
Why write a Future-me CV?
🏆 Effective goal setting
I find that keeping a Future-me CV is the most effective and fun way to set personal goals. Importantly, by writing your goals down in the form of a CV, it helps to keep them “SMART” without you having to really think about it:
Specific: The nature of writing in the style of a CV forces you to be specific in your goal setting. What specific job, role or skill has your future self achieved? Where were you living when you achieved this goal?
Measurable: If it’s going to be something that you can articulate and write on CV, it is probably also going to be something that is measurable - e.g. “I published a 100 page e-book on how to use RoamResearch for Scientists”
Achievable: I try and keep my main Future-me CV relatively realistic (I aim for ~80% achievable). Writing it down in the CV format helps you to stay more realistic - if future you is going to be “Senior Consultant at a major company, XX, in Paris”, then your CV should probably also include the intermediate roles that got you to that position, including the rough time frames that each of these intermediate steps took (e.g. spent 2 years learning French (evening-classes) and 2 years working as Junior Consultant). When you write it down in the style of a CV, it is much easier to spot when you are being overly ambitious.
Tip: Keep more than one version of your Future-me CV. While I like to keep my main Future-me CV pretty realistic, I also keep another version where I allow myself to “dream big” and be overly ambitious - this helps me to be more creative and think outside the box! I also have one version for 2 years into the future, and one for 10 years into the future.
Relevant: Forcing yourself into the shoes of future you really helps to keep things relevant and makes you consider all of the factors that will be contributing to your future life. What goals are most meaningful to you? Will these goals suit other aspects of your future life (e.g. having family, living overseas)?
Time-bound: Like any CV, your Future-me CV should indicate when you achieved each of your goals, and how long it took you to finish things. This forces you to think realistically about how much time you will need to achieve these goals.
I find that keeping a Future-me CV really helps me to stay motivated in my career and life. By writing down all the things that I want to achieve by a given date, as well as the steps it will take to get there, I can see a clear path between where I am now and where I want to be in the future. Writing my goals in this format really encourages me to think about questions like “how do I want to be viewed by my colleagues and friends in 10 years time?”, “what do I want to be known for?”, “what will make me happy?”, and “what things do I want to achieve to put me in a competitive position for roles I might want to apply for in 5/10 years?”. Thinking about all of these things really helps me to reflect on my values and stay motivated.
🔎 Helps keep the focus on what is important
One of the most useful things about writing a Future-me CV is that it keeps you focused on what is important. It is really useful to notice what things are NOT on your Future-me CV - perhaps you shouldn’t be spending so much time on those things now. You probably didn’t write “Spent 4-weeks straight sitting on the couch watching Netflix all day” on your Future-me CV, so perhaps you shouldn’t be doing that now?
Looking back on your old Future-me CVs can be a really good reflection exercise. For example, this year I will go back and look at the 5 year Future-me CV I wrote 5 years ago. Print out a copy of your old Future-me CV and sit it next to a copy of your current CV. Which things did you end up achieving? Did it take you the amount of time you thought you would need? Were there any intermediate skills or roles that were missing on your past Future-me CV? Taking note of all these types of things can help writing your next Future-me CVs.
I’m often surprised at how similar my past Future-CVs end up looking to my current CVs. Normally there are a few things on there that I didn’t achieve (often because my priorities changed or things just didn’t work out), and sometimes there are other things that I’ve achieved that past-me would never thought of!
How to write a Future-me CV
Start with a copy of your most up-to-date and comprehensive CV or Resumé (I like to include subheadings for all aspects of my life, not just career-related things):
Qualifications, Work Experience, Publications, Skills, Awards, Service, Leadership & Community, Travel Experience, Hobbies, etc.
Choose the year in the future you want your Future-me CV to be based. I tend to make a couple of versions - one for 2 years in the future, and one for 10 years.
How old will you be? Write this down (you can even include a photo of what future-you might look like by using an app like Old Face).
Go through and fill out each section with all your goals and ambitions. Try to imagine what life might be like for Future-you. Keep all the contents of your current CV there (they are important in shaping Future-you afterall!), and then add on all the additional things you want to achieve in the given time frame. Provide dates for each of the points you add.
Finish with a section for Referees - Think about who would you want your referees to be in 10 years time - what would you want them to say about you? (A good exercise might be to write a mock-reference letter for Future-you from one of them).
Keep your Future-me CV in a safe place, either electronically or as a hard copy. Set a specific time to go back and look at your past Future-me CVs (e.g. new year’s eve), and write a new.
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💬 I would love to hear if you try this out or if you are already doing something similar! What did you find useful? Comment below 👇