I had an interesting day yesterday, which included a visit to the Osteopath but more interestingly a telephone interview with a lady who is writing an article on CV writing for a popular Women’s Magazine.
The main subject under discussion was how to get around ‘glitches’ in your career when you are writing your CV. It was a very interesting discussion and raised all sorts of issues that people may face in their lives. I have been inspired to write an article covering how to deal with problems that may face you when you are writing a CV, which I will be publishing some time very soon.
One point that emerged from the discussion was one that I found really interesting. It was the fact that some of the ‘problems’ were not problems at all. For example, since one would never include ‘reason for leaving’ when writing a CV you don’t need to show that you were sacked. The only problem here might be with references, but that doesn’t doesn’t arise in the CV writing process because you don’t include names of references either. Incidentally I am fairly certain that most employers would prefer not to get involved in disputes so they would usually give a non-committal reference in any case.
I would usually only include years when writing a CV, so short periods of unemployment would not show at all. Long periods of unemployment can easily be shown as a ‘career break’. This is perfectly acceptable, particularly where there are young families involved or if you can demonstrate that you were studying towards further qualifications.
I recently had an e-mail from a lady who said ‘I’ve had five years out of work to bring up my family - what excuse can I make when I am writing my CV’. A classic example of somebody who saw a problem where there wasn’t one. Employers are human beings and they will understand the need for a mother to be with her children. With a little careful thought it can even be turned to advantage, for example you might say in the covering letter that you are now eager to return to work and to commit yourself once again to developing your career.
The subject of people taking time out to travel was discussed. Again this is simply not a problem. Many employers would regard this as an advantage, especially as it would enable the candidate to demonstrate that they were adaptable and had gained an understanding of different cultures.
So the lesson here is that when writing a CV think positive! Remember that your CV is not an autobiography and is not all about your life history. Writing your CV is your opportunity to demonstrate your transferable skills and competencies and what you can bring to the prospective employer’s organisation. Don’t put in too much detail and never make excuses such as ‘reason for leaving’. Try to view everything from a positive viewpoint and use your previous experience to demonstrate what you have to offer.