CV Writing Faqs
Answers to commonly asked questions (faqs) on effective CV writing
What if my work history is not relevant to the post I am applying for?
Think about transferable skills! Remember you are aiming to demonstrate
both your past skills and those relevant to the position you are applying
for. If you identify general skills such as ability to work under pressure
and to tight deadlines, excellent communication and interpersonal skills,
or language skills, highlight them. If other skills bear no relevance
whatsoever, simply list your previous jobs, with approximately three
sentences of narrative. When you write your cover letter, emphasise the
fact that you are hoping to change career goals.
What if I have significant gaps in my CV because I have been unemployed?
Consider what you might have done while being unemployed. Did you pursue any short or long
courses? Were you nurturing children? Teaching yourself new skills? Did you undertake voluntary
work? Do not be apologetic for gaps. Unemployment within today’s fiercely competitive labour
market is a fact of life for many of us at one stage or the other. List any voluntary or part-time
work you have done, no matter how short the stint was. Also consider your skills and makes sure
you present them on the CV.
What if I have had a long employment history, but have no CV writing experience?
More often than in the past, a wide range of employers are recruiting by CV submission.
If you have a long employment history, always remember to list main jobs you have had
within the last ten years. There is hardly need to chart those before this period, except
in particular circumstances where employment has been with possibly only one or two companies.
Remember you have to present your CV on no more than two sheets of A4 paper. Think about the
skills you amassed in relation to the position you are applying for. It may be useful for you
to present a “KEY SKILLS” category at the top of the CV, where all your capabilities are highlighted.
Do not try to record ALL duties, only main tasks undertaken, again, in relation to the job you are
applying for. If you have no relevant skills, simply list your duties and emphasise in your cover
letter, that you are hoping to change career goals.
What if I’ve spent time travelling extensively?
Account for this time. If you undertook employment during your travels, say so. If you have
lived abroad and had several long-term employment stints, describe your duties as you do for
those in the UK. If you undertook temporary positions whilst aboard, don’t worry about giving
too much detail, unless it is relevant to the post you are applying for.
What if my employment was carried out abroad?
If this is the case, ensure that you emphasise skills you have amassed in
all the jobs you have had abroad. If these skills are relevant to the job
you are applying for, remember to state on the CV, the countries or country
you have worked in.
Aim to capture an employer’s attention with as much
detail as possible, slanting descriptions of duties to the job you are applying for.
If your employment history is not relevant to the position, as above, simply
list details and in your cover letter, remember to emphasise that you wish
to change your career destinations.
Or, it may be necessary to think about
undertaking voluntary or work placement stints in the United Kingdom before
seeking paid employment. From an employer’s point of view, this will secure
references from the UK.