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Do I need to include dates of employment?

(17 Posts)
OdinsLoveChild Tue 30-May-17 12:01:47

Ive been job hunting for over 3 years. Im just not getting anywhere. Ive had my cv professionally written for the 3rd time recently and still absolutely nothing.
The agencies are telling me I've been out of the paid workplace too long, approaching 15 years, but don't give me any advice on how to fix the issue.

Can I leave the dates of employment off my cv? I have done extensive voluntary work for the last 10 years so I dont have huge gaps in my cv but employers just dont consider voluntary work as being the same as paid employment.

I've gone from a very well paid role as PA when I left work to have my children and applied for everything from PA down to NMW roles as Admin assistant. Im just not getting anywhere with barely a handful of interviews.

Can I leave off specific dates and just put 'Employed for 4 years in this role' type statements?

newnoo Tue 30-May-17 14:45:35

The job market in PA work has changed a lot in the last decade with many companies reducing how much they spend on this kind of activity.

It used to be easy to get temp work as a secretary, now I hear it's impossible.

What sort of layout does your CV have? Is it reverse chronological or skills based?

I'd suggest possibly using skills based to put up front what you're good at, rather than highlighting old work and volunteering roles.

Are you networking locally to find jobs or just using agenices?

Is there anyone through your volunteering you could ask for help with searching for work?

The only other thing I would suggest is considering retraining to side-step into something else that could boost your chances. Is there anything you enjoy that you'd consider making more serious as a career change?

OdinsLoveChild Tue 30-May-17 16:12:12

Its incredibly difficult to find agency work yes.

My CV has been both reverse chronological order of employment and skills based. I have had 1 interview for each version. (so couldn't get my money back as per their terms) Ive just rejigged it this morning putting key skills and qualifications at the top followed by paid employment.

I used Adzuna to get a 'value' on my cv and it was initially at £25,000pa for my CV before rejigging and its gone up to £36,000pa after so hopefully I've highlighted more useful skills. Obviously I'm not actually expecting to get that as a salary but it would be lovely grin

Volunteering is still current. I do a lot of training for 1 of the roles which is easily converted into the paid sectors. (Leadership, finance, law, business).

I'm on LinkedIn although I haven't got anyone to confirm my experience/qualifications yet because I don't know anyone personally who uses it. I dont think that helps. I also have my CV on 6 jobsites and I'm registered with 5 local agencies.

I seem to get no or limited feedback despite asking so I cant work out where its going wrong. I had 1 response today where it said they felt I didn't meet the person specification but having had another look at it today I met it in every way and exceeded it with more experience and higher grades than required. Its actually my policy to only apply if I do meet the person specification on every point so I really am at a loss.

I cant afford to retrain as my savings are now completely empty. I cant get funding either so I need to find work to save up enough money to pay to retrain. Its just 1 big circle.

I did feel if I just stated 4 years as PA instead of 2000-2004 it would look better on paper. It would show my experience and not that it was years ago.

SeagullGirl Tue 30-May-17 16:22:22

My only thought would be whether you are using your covering letter to its full advantage? Properly tailored to each application and spelling out how you tick all the person spec boxes. You could also draw attention to all the things you've done to keep your skills 'current'.

newnoo Wed 31-May-17 15:19:26

Volunteering is still current. I do a lot of training for 1 of the roles which is easily converted into the paid sectors. (Leadership, finance, law, business).

Could you look for entry level training positions?

Look up "training executive" on the search engines within online recruitment places you are registered with.

Also, could you register with more agencies?

Can I ask which ones you are currently with? If you want to PM feel free.

Are you in touch with your local chamber of commerce?

Have you let HR and the people you are working with at the places you are volunteering that you are looking for a full-time paid role?

If you need some ideas about openers for that sort of conversation again I could probably help.

Are you looking full-time or part-time?

newnoo Wed 31-May-17 15:29:50

Legal secretary?

There are courses on Reed for £29?

Just an idea....

LadyLapsang Sun 04-Jun-17 11:47:12

What type of voluntary work are you doing at the moment?

OdinsLoveChild Sun 04-Jun-17 16:15:02

newnoo I already hold ILEX Legal Secretaries certificate although its 20 years old. done on a typewriter

LadyLapsang I volunteer with CAB. I'm also a FE Governor and I'm also an Administrator for the National Trust.
Obviously CAB and National Trust do not often 'employ' people for paid roles. There are no paid roles currently in my area. The college I'm a Governor with do not have any vacancies as they're actually making redundancies.

I have an interview on Monday but they re-advertised the role on Friday shock . I spotted it and already had it recommended to me as a 'new role' being advertised. I'm assuming this means my application was only accepted because no one else had applied and they're holding out for a more 'suitable' younger candidate.

BritInUS1 Sun 04-Jun-17 16:23:37

Could you offer virtual PA services from home?

I employ a few PA's and admin assistants

My main concerns would be how up to date you are with technology if you have been out of the market for 15 years

Also, I'm not sure where you are based, but the salary seems high, have you looked for lower level roles to start off?

newnoo Sun 04-Jun-17 18:00:46

You sound like you're doing all the right things. It will happen for you I'm sure - just need to keep plugging away - not easy though when you get rejections and things are thin on the ground. (I've been through it).

Are there any other charities in your area you could volunteer for instead which may have a better chance of being offered a paid role?

I would suggest registering with a lot more agencies too.

Good idea from BritUS - yes online PA work can be great.

BritUS - where do you hire your PAs from? Can you share the website?

LadyLapsang Sun 04-Jun-17 18:37:16

Really surprised to hear you have been looking for three years. How many jobs do you apply for in an average week?

LadyLapsang Sun 04-Jun-17 18:41:04

Also, not sure of your age, but in your CV do you refer to O Levels or anything such as that which will indicate your age?

OdinsLoveChild Mon 05-Jun-17 12:03:14

How many jobs do you apply for in an average week?
I apply for anything between 2 a day and up to 5 or 6 a day. I apply for a position most days.

in your CV do you refer to O Levels or anything such as that which will indicate your age?
Yes I list my CSE's/O'Levels which do show me to be over 40 and a bit but given I'm listing 15+ years worth of employment experience (only a few employers so not a job every year) it would be difficult to not show I'm over the hill 40 sad

I've never considered virtual PA but I have seen franchises/buy into the business type position for these roles so avoided them like the plague.

Ive had a conversation with someone who is head of HR this morning. She says that with any entry level I'm applying for they wont see me as a worthwhile employee because I have years of experience that I will most likely want to build on and leave them quickly. I'm not worth the investment because they want a long term commitment for their time and money.

Mid-high range salary bracket they will be looking for recent graduates who are looking to fly with their career and that can inject new ideas and blood into their company so I don't fit into that criteria either. I may not have as up to date ideas or ways of interacting in the modern business world and I may be a bit rusty on my skills so any investment they do with me is very risky as I may fall flat on my face and they end up paying for more training or need to employ someone else if I don't stick around.

She has suggested I try small local businesses who need someone they can rely on just to keep their business running and not big businesses who want to find that unknown superstar who can really add value to their business.

I'm off to write letters to all the small businesses in the local area and hand deliver them. I have an interview later today too. Thanks for the support.

newnoo Mon 05-Jun-17 13:55:16

I fully agree with the recruitment consultant.

Small local companies will appreciate your experience (hooray don't have to train you!), your flexibility (ie, they may not want someone full-time - that's expensive) and your reliability (not going to be out till 3am drinking etc etc)

If you can network locally - you're onto something great. This worked really well for me.

Also get in touch with your local chamber of commerce. They will know who is hiring currently- which companies are expanding - and may be able to point you in the right direction.

Let us know how you get on!


LadyLapsang Mon 05-Jun-17 20:25:51

Well, seeing that O Levels ended in 1984 (putting you at 49 plus) maybe you would be more likely to get an interview if you just put GCSE instead.Take your date of birth off and anything else that will indicate your age. You shouldn't need to of course, but unfortunately there are a lot of employers that will put your CV straight in the bin if you don't.

indigox Tue 06-Jun-17 20:00:02

* I volunteer with CAB. I'm also a FE Governor and I'm also an Administrator for the National Trust.*

How do you have all of these displayed on your CV? Are they listed along side your previous working experience?

OdinsLoveChild Wed 07-Jun-17 21:49:55

Thanks LadyLapsang for reminding me just how old I am confused I also do not include my DOB. The dates of employment give it away thats why I asked if I should remove the actual dates of employment and replace it with 'Employed as PA for 4 years'.

I cannot use GCSE instead of CSE because the certificates are not the same. I put GCSE equivalent in brackets to show a comparison.

indigox I have had my voluntary work listed as though its a current role/job just saying voluntary instead of xx salary. Ive had them also listed under a separate header of Voluntary Work.

My interview went dreadfully. They kept using jargon I didn't understand and I had to keep asking if they could rephrase the questions. I have another interview tomorrow for a completely different role I've never done before but its entry level and offers training. The pay is dreadful but I feel if I'm in employment of any sort thats a stepping stone to better things. smile

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