I always had a CV updated. Well, maybe not always, but in the last 2-3 years I didn't let my CV unupdated for more than a couple of months. I also got one online. I even googled my name to see what websites were popping up first. Was this information that I wanted my next employer know? If not, learn the lesson: never put your name again on such a website. Then learn a bit how Google ranks the websites and arrange for other websites to take the lead. The first page must be clean.
When my career crisis happened, I was certainly not ready [who is?]. But at least I got all my career information ready. What I did where, what I published, what conferences I attended and what were the titles of my talks, who I supervised, what grant I got, etc., etc. All I had to do was a little bit of CV cleaning/shuffling for the different positions I was applying for.
That's what I thought.
My problem number one was with my online CV. As I simultaneously applied for different jobs with emphasis on different skills, shall I rearrange it for every position I was applying for? Should I advertise for my website? Worse, should I advertise for my blog (I never did)? What I wanted to do was to match my online CV with the position I wanted the most at a given time. But that was much too much work. Keeping it simple and factual was probably the smartest thing to do.
I was unaware of my problem number two until a friend of mine, working in a private company, had a look at my CV. He knew me, knew I was a smart guy (hey, he's a friend), knew some of my skills... but couldn't find any such information in my CV. That was a good academic CV tailored for academia, with a little bit of focus on what I really wanted to do (more management / communication / supervision /...). But it was not a CV for the industry market. And he was not surprised at all that I didn't get any interview.
We spent a couple of hours starting to completely rewrite my CV. Something I wished I learned before. Something any reader of this blog should learn.
And I never finished this re-writing. Because I got positive feedback on my favorite application. So I preferred to wait a bit before spending more hours on that CV. And I finally got the job I wanted. Guess what? Well, a position in academia involving more management / communication / supervision (but not as an assistant prof). Exactly what my CV was designed for.
But I have to admit that a bit of luck helped...