Follow these tips to make sure your CV hits the spot when applying for jobs after a career break.
Tip 1 – Embrace your Career Break
The term ‘returner’ is now recognised in business, and employers will know exactly what this is, and expect a gap or two in your work experience. Don’t worry about this. Returners are very attractive to employers due to their varied experience, maturity, and transferable skills from previous jobs or childcare.
Whatever the job you’re going for, and however long you’ve been away from work, it’s very important to have an updated CV, and even more important to tailor it to the job you’re applying for.
Your personal statement is the perfect place to talk about your ‘planned career break’ and why you’re ready to restart your career. Employers want to know why you are the right fit for their company and this is about more than just the skills you possess.
Tip 2 – Considered Word Placement.
Look at the job specifications of the role you’re applying for and clearly demonstrate throughout your CV how you have those skills. More specifically, the top of your CV is where employers and recruiters will look first (sometimes the only place they’ll look!) so make sure the key words and phrases from their job advert jump out at them from the top of the page.
Tip 3 – Experience
This should make up a good section of your CV. However long your break has been, there will definitely be things here that are relevant to a future employer. Being able to manage people, having customer service experience, and having a friendly attitude are all skills that are needed in any business.
Don’t hide from your career break! If you’ve done any volunteering or work with your child’s school in this time be sure to include it and why it may be relevant to this role.
Emphasise your achievements and contributions to any previous employment. It’s not what you did but how you did it that counts. Highlight the achievements that relate to the role.
Don’t waste precious space on jobs that are completely irrelevant to the post you’re applying for. Be sure to try to keep your CV to 2 pages maximum!
Tip 4 – Achievements
Shout about what you’ve achieved. Whether that’s your graduate degree or the completion of an online course, an award you’ve won for volunteering, what you’ve done to contribute to the growth of your department, or a project you saw through to completion at work. If it’s relevant, prospective employers want to hear about it.
Tip 5 – Contact details
It seems pretty basic, but never forget to put your contact details on your CV. A phone number and email address is a must! It used to be common practice to include your home address on your CV, though it’s not essential as employers are unlikely to write to you or appear on your doorstep! Nowadays they are much more likely to pick up the phone or send you a quick email!
And just for free, here are a few of our pet-hates in CVs.
Things your CV should NEVER include:
• Spelling mistakes – It’s just a big fat no. If you’ve got a spelling mistake in the first line of your CV and cover letter, it’s highly likely employers won’t keep reading. Check your work. Check it again. Then check it a third time.
• ‘Track changes’ – It’s great to get someone to look over your CV, in fact we recommend you do, but don’t leave those ‘track changes’ visible! The best way to make sure your CV looks the way you want is to always submit it as a pdf.
• Lies – Always tell the truth. If you don’t have a skill, don’t make it up, just be willing to learn it!
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