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Please help me write my CV and to explain a long gap

(14 Posts)
paranoidandconfused Wed 14-Oct-09 09:39:32

Just been round looking for a job yesterday in various shops and nowhere just gives you an application form anymore you have to send them your CV!!

How would I explain a 4 year gap in employment? I have been looking after my kids and doing various admin jobs for my dh (he is selfemplyed) I don't even know how to word it grin

I get the bit about writing about your previous jobs etc but how far back should I go? Should I do my last three jobs even if we're talking ten years ago?

Also what should I write in the personal bit at the beginning? Obv that I am loyal trustworthy etc etc etc but how should I word it?

Also someone told me once that employers prefer your cv to be limited to one this true

Thanks soooo much in advance smile

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Wed 14-Oct-09 20:15:34

I would suggest that you write in the gap bit about the type of administration work you have done, bullet point it, keep it factual.

With regards to how far to go back, I'm 40 (next Feb) and have gone back all the way to when I started work but have only described in detail the last 2 jobs, just put a brief description (2 lines at most) on the jobs before that.

Re the one page thing, I think that depends on what you have done. Mine is 3 pages long and includes all my qualifications, relevant training courses and achievements of particular note (I'm in marketing so I need to show what campaigns I have managed have been successful etc). Having employed lots of people in the past I would find a one page CV too short - not enough detail for me to decide whether I wanted to interview. Also, when I was made redundant I was advised by a company that specialise in helping people find work that 3 pages was perfectly acceptable.


whichwitchisthis Thu 15-Oct-09 09:27:02

so glad I found this thread!

I am also returning to work soon and having to write a cv

How do you start one these days would your name be at the top of the page as a header? and then the personal stuff?

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Thu 15-Oct-09 10:23:08

Mine is laid out:

e-mail, telephone

Personal Profile

Last job
Time at job
Brief job description paragraph
Bullet points on key aspects of job (maybe up to 8)
Key job achievements

Next job
Time at job
Bullet points

Next job
time at job
brief description

and so on


Relevant work courses attended


I was advised this was a good way to lay it out from a firm that specialises in helping people made redundant find work.

If you google it you'll find many different varients but I think this one works quite well.

islandofsodor Thu 15-Oct-09 10:30:26

A plea from someone who reads CV's. Most recent first please!

I am fed up of wading through pages of what someone did at school to find right at the bottom that they do after all have a degree or vocational qualification that is relevent to the post I am recruiting for.

whichwitchisthis Thu 15-Oct-09 13:54:50

thanks I have laid it out like that

I put my most recent qualification at the top too

Now as I will be going for various jobs but all of a similar type what should I include in my cover letter

Obv my name and address

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find enclosed my CV for your perusal??
I would realy like the opportunity to work in your store??


dollyparting Thu 15-Oct-09 14:23:30

Although 3 pages is acceptable, if a recruiter is looking through hundreds of applications (and these days they often are), then make sure you put the most important information on the first page. Make it easy for them to select you.

So if you are applying for a job in a restaurant and you have a catering qualification and a food hygiene certificate, then make sure they can see that easily and don't have to hunt through your cv to find it.

If you are applying for a retail job and you have relevant work experience - make sure that is on the first page. etc. etc.

Don't worry too much about the gap - it is pretty much irrelevant until you have got through the first sift. I have seen some people put it in their personal statement e.g. "after 4 years in temporary admin roles, I am now looking to use my skills and experience in full time employment"

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Thu 15-Oct-09 15:05:14

It does depend on how long you have been working. 3 pages if you've only been in the work place 5 yrs, not acceptable IMO. 3 pages for someone working 20 odd yrs with professional qualifications etc - acceptable. No more than 3 though I would say.

Tortington Thu 15-Oct-09 15:06:30

id say i was company secretary for your dh's firm

whichwitchisthis Thu 15-Oct-09 15:06:43

thanks I mines only run to two so should be ok, fingers crossed it gets me a job! grin

islandofsodor Fri 16-Oct-09 11:02:18

You need to do spearate covering letters (and sometimes even a slightly different CV for each application.

I recently re did my dh's Cv and tailored it for a specific job he was applying for (FE/HE college asking for a particular specialism, his dream job). I highlighted that specialism, made sure his CV answered every single person specification and he got the job (OK the crakcking interview lesson he taught helped).

For secondary school jobs he would probably highlight different things.

Most CV''s I get are two pages.

Silvj Sat 17-Oct-09 15:46:47

You may find the Careers Advice Service useful:

secretskillrelationships Sat 17-Oct-09 16:13:49

I have a 7 year gap in my employment history and wanted a job to fit in around school hours so was prepared to apply for anything I could do.

Basic format as mycat said but added a section after employment history title 'Other Roles' in which I included lots of other things I had done which I thought would be relevant in some form. So, for example, I ran a mother and toddler group, I was treasurer at preschool and I've helped out at a local youth group. These cover some of the gap and also show that I have the capacity to be organised around children.

I used the covering letter to draw out those aspects of my CV which are particularly relevant to the job I'm applying for and anything else that is relevant.

The aim of the CV is to get yourself interviewed. Then it comes down to whether you gel with the organisation.

Used this approach recently and got the first job I applied for (using this approach!). I was not the obvious candidate but my letter made them look carefully at my CV (I saw what they'd highlighted!) and persuaded them to interview me. I interview well, so I'm told, and talked myself into the job.

It is a bit of a shock to the system working every day but I'm really appreciating being somewhere where I am me (not Mum!).

Before I started I thought finding a job to fit in round the children locally would be next to impossible. That I have found something that is less than 10 mins away and has enormous potential in a very short space of time just shows that it can be done.

secretskillrelationships Sat 17-Oct-09 16:18:01

Oh and a CV application is much better in your situation imho. An application form is too rigid for you to show what you have to offer. The first thing anyone sees on an application form is how long it's been since you worked. With a CV you control what they see first - make it interesting, relevant and specific.

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