Your CV is perhaps the most important tool you have for selling yourself, whether you’re looking for temporary or permanent roles. However, CV writing is unlikely to be your primary skill! So, how do you produce an exceptional CV that will help you land your next job?
Often, the most important section of your CV is your experience section. But how do you shape this section if you’ve got gaps in employment or simply aren’t very experienced? Don’t worry, we’ll help you build an all-singing-all-dancing experience section on your CV.
Your CV shouldn’t be more than two sides of A4. As a leading recruitment agency, we can tell you with confidence that CVs akin to War and Peace are quickly dismissed. Of this, the experience section should take up the bulk of the total. This can pose two problems:
#1 Lack of experience: If you don’t have much experience, how do you pad this section out? A simple answer here is do some temporary jobs. This way, you can quickly gain valuable experience that adds worthwhile bulk.
#2 Too much experience: If you’ve worked in many jobs or are highly experienced, how do you keep the content down without losing meaning? The answer is to be succinct and relevant. If an important part of your first job was picking up your boss’s dry cleaning, but the roles you’re applying for you don’t involve personal errands, then leave it out. Generally, you should aim to leave more time (and space) for your most recent experience. Mention early jobs briefly with dates, job title, and a single sentence covering your duties.
Make it personal
Ideally, you should tailor this section to the individual position you’re applying for if possible. If you can, get a copy of the job specification for the role you’re applying for. Try to tweak the experience section to address the requirements of the position.
Mind the gap
Gaps show up on CVs like beacons. So, be ready to address them and minimise them where possible. If you have a notable gap on your CV, then own it. Put the dates down in chronological order with the rest of your experience and use a couple of words to be honest about the gap e.g. maternity/paternity leave or career break. The employer will appreciate your honesty.
It shouldn’t need saying, but we see all too often that candidates trip up because they lied in their experience section. You absolutely must be honest about your experience, qualifications, and achievements.