Layout of a modern CV

(3 Posts)
Pavonia Wed 19-Aug-15 12:59:42

I am about to apply for a job and really want to make my application as good as I can as employed opportunities in this field are VERY rare.

I had a MASSIVE career break with my children (my eldest has just taken his GCSEs!) but need to work full time in the future due to now being single again. I have done some retraining to enable my career change.

It seems to me that CVs have changed a lot while I was out of the workplace. I am in the process of redrafting mine as follows:

1. a profile/statement - I have drafted this and I think it usefully explains my current position and ambitions but I'm not sure if that is the right thing.
2. qualifications/education - I am including everything but thinking about supplying extra detail for the recent and relevant stuff to give emphasis
3. section on my other activities (volunteering and hobby) related to the area I want to work in
4. Career History - I plan on pruning this section so that I have 3 bullet points for each job focusing on skills rather than responsibilities as the jobs themselves are not in the same area and frankly feel like ancient history (to be honest I can't remember much about some of it!)

This is an entry level professional job but as there is a clerical element it specifies a minimum typing speed, which I don't have (Obviously I plan to work on this), can all recent graduates type? Am I showing my age by never having bothered too much about this in my earlier (professional) career? How quickly can I go from 30 wpm to 55 wpm?! So far I have not included anything about typing in my application, would I be OK to leave it out and (hopefully) tackle any questions at interview?

I haven't decided whether to include details of referees on the cv or put "references available on request", I don't know if it matters?

The application is online with the opportunity to upload a cv and enter a message, I see this as the equivalent of the covering letter so I will try to sell myself at this point.

Is there anything else I should have thought about?

I applied for a job last year and put a lot of effort into my application but didn't even get an interview. It is a job I could easily have done but I assume they had other applicants with more relevant experience. I have more obvious directly relevant qualifications for this one and really want to give myself the best chance.

Can anyone offer advice?

Many thanks for reading.

basildonbond Fri 21-Aug-15 21:44:03

There's masses of helpful advice about how to lay out CVs in the Guardian's jobs section

Think about what kind of CV you want to go for - you might be better off doing a skills-based CV but whatever kind you do you'll need to bump up job-related stuff - you don't need to include all your GCSE/O-level grades

I've just done an online application for which I needed to upload my CV and yes, the message is the equivalent of a covering letter. Make sure you address all the elements of the person specification in this. If they've specified a minimum typing speed then you will need to mention this. There are lots of typing programmes online - it shouldn't take long to get your speed up, you just need to practise, practise, practise ....

Bear in mind that if it's an entry-level position they may well have an idea of who they're going to appoint and it may well not be someone your age - of course age would never be the reason given for not appointing you but unfortunately ageism is a real hurdle for mothers returning to work after a long break

If positions in this field are few and far between them is there any way you could boost your employability? Could you volunteer, freelance or network somehow?

Good luck

Pavonia Sat 22-Aug-15 07:50:02

basildonbond thanks for your comments.

I have been looking at online guides and I will look at the Guardian one before I submit. I finished redrafting my CV yesterday and will review it today. I still have the cover letter to write.

I know what you mean about them having an idea of who they're going to appoint. At least if that happens I will know I tried, I was expecting to have to work self-employed anyway, but then this came up.

There won't be many applicants with the specific post grad qualification that I have, but they may well go for a graduate with a degree in a related field.

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