When you CTRL ALT DEL your computer, it’s usually because something just isn’t working and you need to shut down the offending task so that you can get back to business as usual.

Do you ever wish you could CTRL ALT DEL your career? You’re not alone. Sometimes we hit a point where we feel frozen – the human equivalent of ‘Not responding’ – or a particular aspect of our job stops running smoothly. If your career is suddenly at a standstill or you want to find a direction that’s a better fit, then it’s time to press CTRL ALT DEL and reboot your professional operating system.

Reboot or reset

If you’ve ever called a PC helpline or spoken to someone techy about your computer problems, the first question they’ll ask is ‘Have you rebooted your PC?’ It’s amazing how many idiosyncrasies and niggling problems can be sorted out just by switching a computer off and then turning it back on again.

In many ways, we humans are the same. We get overloaded with information and data, processing everything until we feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, we need to switch off and reset too.

Before you begin your job search, it’s important to take a step back. Book some time off work if you can, switch off from the stress of projects and deadlines for a while. Then, away from the hustle and bustle of the office, earmark some time to think about your current job.

How do you feel about it when you’ve had some downtime? Are there aspects of your job that you could change or improve without needing to leave? Is there someone at work that you can talk to about how you feel? Do you have a sinking heart feeling about going back to work or does it still make you feel challenged and excited once you’ve had the opportunity to reboot?

Identify the problem

If you’re reading this article, the chances are that you feel the time has come to move on to pastures new. Before you start your job search, it’s important to identify what isn’t working for you in your current role, as well as what’s working well, because that will help to define the deal breakers when applying for any future position.

What do you like about your current job and what gets you down? What are you looking for in your next job? Do you want a similar role, more responsibility, or do you want to move into a different role or industry, capitalising on your transferable skills?

By assessing what works for you and what doesn’t – a bit like running a scan to pinpoint the problems – you can come up with a plan of action for your job search.

Defrag your CV

Your next step is to dig out your CV. When was the last time you refreshed it? Does it include your latest skills, experience, and achievements?

As well as updating the information included in your CV, it’s also important to check it over for flabby bits that need trimming. Are there sections that would flow more smoothly if they were pulled together? Is there duplicate information? Are you wasting valuable space with unnecessary information such as ‘References available on request’ or too much detail about irrelevant hobbies? Now is the time to make sure all your information is in the right place.

Although you can create a generic CV as a starting point, it’s important to adapt it to complement the job for which you’re applying. Reflect the language used in the job description and show how you fulfil the essential and desirable attributes of the ideal candidate.


Is there anything blocking you from the next step in your career? Perhaps not having a particular skillset or a lack of experience in a specific area is making you feel like there’s a firewall preventing you from accessing your dream job?

If so, now might be the time for an upgrade. Is there training you can take to improve your management skills? Would working with a mentor help you tackle the challenges of a leadership role? Do you need to learn new computer skills or get more hands-on experience?

If you don’t have the time or resources to upgrade, don’t panic! There may be a workaround. You can still be a successful applicant by demonstrating how you’ve been able to learn a similar computer program quickly, or that you have the transferable skills that will enable you to succeed in your new role. You can use your CV to show how you’ve risen to challenges in the past, or how you’ve grabbed every opportunity to learn and grow in your career.

Call an expert

Sometimes pressing CTRL ALT DEL is just the start and even after a reboot, refresh, or defrag, you need to call in a professional.

Having an expert review your CV may make all the difference to getting your career and job search unfrozen and back on track. A professional CV writer will be able to look at your career history objectively, highlighting your achievements and reframing skills you take for granted so that they leap off the page to prospective employers.

A professional eye can be a great time saver too. Instead of you spending hours trying to make your CV work, an expert CV writer knows what works and what doesn’t and can give your CV that all-important refresh in half the time.

If you think your CV would benefit from an expert eye, why not try our free CV review service for starters?

Lis McGuire

Lis McGuire

Lis McGuire is a professional CV writer at Giraffe CVs. She has 15 years of experience gained delivering interview-winning CVs and cover letters for professionals at all levels, helping individuals to stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive job market.
Lis McGuire
Lis McGuire