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Advice requested please - CVs & Interviews(7 Posts)
I am just into my 50s, had a career change over the past 5 years & have achieved the standard qualification in my field....lots of experience and transferable skills but am struggling to find a job commensurate with my skills level now. I am worried that age discrimination may be affecting my chances.
Please could you give your views re the following:
I have 'disguised' my age by cutting pre-1990s jobs out of my CV and giving my qualifications without dates. Do you think that is the best strategy? Or do you think that it for prospective employers it is a transparent effort to disguise my age which thereby actually draws attention to it? Would it be better to just be upfront and not treat my history as something to be ashamed of?
One reason for the late change in career direction is that for the past few years I have been focused on caring for severely disabled DS whilst studying for qualification. Is this something I should mention at interview, or downplay? To me it says a lot about how determined I am....am worried that if I don't mention it, it will look as though I spent the past few years 'drifting'; but if I do I would be bringing up my personal circs inappropriately (and employers may worry that the situation with my DS may affect my commitment - it wouldn't).
I have always understood that one's personal/family situation should not be included on a CV but recently read that it is actually good to mention any children if under 16 - to make clear to employers that having dependents I am under pressure to earn and am not just 'marking time' till retirement. What is your view?
Lastly & on a slightly different topic - what is your view on hobbies/interests on a CV, are they worth including? My ones are running/yoga/reading/sewing & knitting.....are there 'right' or 'wrong' ones to include?
I am split between wanting to be completely upfront about the kind of person that I am, and wanting to play any game that needs to be played just so I get a damn job. Please let me know what you think is the best strategy!
H I deliver workshops on this, and I would say its important to tailor he cv to the job for which you are applying, so if a qualification that you have got is relevant to that job is relevant then include it, or if you are in a position to update that particular qualification then do so. It's worth being up front about your age because for some people, that may actually be a plus point, and if u don't you may miss conveying some of your varied skills and experience.
In terms of your career break, I can only speak from personal experience as I too am disabled, and found with my mum that she mentioned her caring responsibilities in the interviews, she also highlighted what transferable skills her caring experience had given her, and how it allowed her to gain skills in being multi functional , multi tasking etc. it also stopped any awkward situations on the few occasions when I met mum from work or whatever, not that it should matter, but it does....... If you feel better, you can briefly outline what arrangements you have in place for your DS.
Employers are more likely to hire people they have a connection or shared intrest with, so I would include your hobbies and intrests. It may also be that your hobbies and intrests may be relevant to the job you are applying for, so for example,I really enjoy chair yoga, so may want a carer, who also enjoys yoga., I also really enjoy reading.
Hope this helps, good Luck in your search.
If you're going to play the game, you may as well play it properly - and i think it's probably the sensible thing to do.
I see loads of CVs (I do a lot of recruitment) and think you're probably right to edit back some of the older dates.
Every recruiter is different, I don't pay a lot of attention to hobbies & interests so in my view, they have the potential to be a bigger downside than upside (but, this may not be the case for all). I do wonder if some of your hobbies "age" you a bit (sorry). It's maybe the combination of them.... Possibly drop the reading and sewing/knitting (I know the sewing/knitting are quite trendy currently but can be read differently). Running and yoga on their own could sound active and give you some depth for recruiters who like these things (IMO)
Also, generic CV advice (which is ignored by, I reckon, more than half the CVs I see). Spell check it. Make it easy to read. Use short sentences. Use bullet points to explain a role instead of paragraphs; each bullet point should start with a strong positive verb ("managed", "led", "prioritised", ,"delivered") And, no more than two pages, that's non-negotiable!
My view is that once you get to interview, it's best to be yourself though (or the realistically best version of this!). You don't want to end up in a culture that doesn't "fit".... A bit of game playing might help you get thru the pile of CVs tho...
Thank you both,nthat's really helpful. I think I will keep the format of my CV more or less the same but will try and tweak it to use more positive phraseology. I know that the main objective is to get my CV to stand out from the 100s of others.
My CV is about two and a half sides so maybe I should cut it down some more......
I take the point about the knitting etc so will omit that.....would like to add something though that gives a more rounded version of me. Eg I do a lot of reading but don't think it is worth including this unless I state what I read (I am very eclectic in my tastes).
Re my personal circumstances, I don't think I will mention them at interview unless it seems appropriate to do so. In one interview I was asked of which achievement I was most proud, my answer was 'achieving my qualification whilst caring for my disabled DS and working full time'. Because it was the truth. I didn't get the job or feedback so don't know if this was despite or because of this statement/whether it was a deal breaker.
Lifehope- I too look at lots of CVs as part of my job and give advice. I agree with all of the previous advice given and I would suggest a few more things to consider
- get it onto 2 pages
- focus on your skills gained from your life experiences- use examples to evidence your skills. So don't just say "I am a good communicator", say "I communicate effectively. For example......" You can have a skills section on your CV and make more of this than a chronological list of previous employment which will just highlight gaps. Put the skills on the first page- this is where you need to make the most impact. Look for examples of skills based CVs
- have you thought about a profile/career aim? This is usually 2-3 sentences that give your CV an introduction/focus. Look at examples for ideas
- don't get too bogged down about hobbies & interests, although it needs consideration. Get the rest right first
- remember that you are the product and your CV is your tool to market yourself. Keep if positive and keep asking yourself- is it relevant to the job and the employer?
- try to get feedback on your CV but remember different people will like different things but it should always be tailored. If you don't get feedback and/or interview don't worry that it's something you have or haven't done. Concentrate on improving it for next time and move forward
I hope this helps. And good luck in your job search/applications
Thanks dizzy that's great advice. I will relook at my CV & will try to cut the length further. I do have a brief profile but am constantly trying to perfect it, am fortunate in a way as I am pretty clear about the type of role I want.....just wish I could find one!!!!
hope you don't mind but if you are seeking work, and depending on what you are looking for, an online presence can be very useful. Try LinkedIn and following employers etc.. on twitter. Build your profile.
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