I know the feeling. You really want to start working on your CV, but you keep putting it off as you don’t know where to begin! You haven’t had to compose a CV in years. You are even not too sure of the CV styles which work these days and how to remember your previous skills and experience history in any great detail? If you can, simply remove any fears and remember this is your sales pitch. You are selling yourself……
I do believe CV styles change over time, however, you can be sure that this market is an entirely different place than before. Employers behaviours towards hiring has shifted enormously during this economic downturn making the environment unfamiliar not just for returning parents but for all potential employees.
You have a good chance as any other person applying for the job you feel suits your experience/skills. Here is some guidance on how to make yours stand out!
In today’s world I firmly believe a “good attitude” is an essential quality. It’s not just all about a skill-set. Employer’s would rather hire the right mindset who is a doer over a toolkit of skills. You must be able to demonstrate “commitment”, “trustworthiness”, “adaptability”, “accountability”, “loyalty” and “honesty”.
I am not suggesting a set format for your CV but my top advice is to “keep it simple”. These are some key points to consider;
A personal profile/summary
This should be the opening paragraph and needs to be short and succinct statement at the top of your CV. Here it is all about you selling yourself with your skills, experience and personal qualities. Be positive! Use words like “adaptable”, “competent”, “tenacious”, “multi-task”…Make it interesting and set the scene….
Allmumkind tip – You could compose several different statements here to tailor towards each application. Use this an opportunity to highlight you are the best person for the job!!
Put your most recent jobs in chronological order so that employers can view your career to date – Title, Company and include dates. NO GAPS.
If you have been out of the workplace for several years then you need to clearly provide the dates since leaving employment. Don’t feel that you have to highlight in bold – FULL TIME MUM! This is your moment to demonstrate your non-employment years to your absolute advantage! As a mum you will have been building and gaining new skills without even realising. My advice is to use them!
Time-management, budgeting, multi-tasking, organisation skills, project planning, meeting deadlines, administration, computer skills, writing skills, fundraising, problem solving and not forgetting negotiating. You may have been performing a lot, if not many of these skills without even thinking about it! Have you helped organise a school fare? fundraised for your local school, club, charity? Do you offer your time voluntarily for different causes? Have you contributed your time/skills to an event which you took sole responsibility for a task? Have you completed a new course or learnt something new?
If you have helped out with school, baby groups, activity groups, community groups, small businesses, charities, committees etc– any voluntary work you must highlight. It all counts!
Organise your post employment experience/skills in clear order. Provide as many examples as possible how and where you achieved these.
Allmumkind tip - Take a step away from your CV and imagine you are actually the employer. Would you employ yourself for the job? Ask yourself some questions..
Key CV tips
- Simple format
- Profile is key. This is your opening paragraph highlighting your achievements, experience and skills. Remember you are selling yourself.
- Keep to around two pages, no more.
- Keep to clear bullet points – Paragraphs of rambling information can be boring!
- Before you start write lists of strengths, successes, achievements so that you can cross reference to.
- Write a constructive list of positive words to describe your experience eg “Leader”, “Negotiating”, “Time management” etc.
- Get a friend, ex colleague to critique your CV. You may not like the feedback but it could be the best feedback you receive!
- Finally, be confident!