What information should a CV include?
Personal details: Most CVs start with these but take care to avoid superfluous details, such as religious affiliation, children’s names and so on.
Education and qualifications: Take care to include the names of institutions and dates attended in reverse order; university before school results.
Work experience: The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological CV. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with most recent. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis/information should be put on more recent jobs. It is very important to provide the interviewee with what you have achieved and why you feel that it is important.
Skills: Include computer skills and (genuine) foreign language skills and any other recent training/development that is relevant to the role applied for.
If you can afford it, attach a Personality Profile Analysis to your CV; it adds tremendous value and gives the Company looking for candidates very useful information about you.
If you’re unemployed, it can be difficult to know what to write, how to write it, and whether to tell a potential boss that you’re currently not working.
Below, we’ve answered some common questions about writing a CV when you’re unemployed.
How do I explain my unemployment?
Employers won’t refuse your application just because you’re unemployed, so don’t feel you have to hide it; you can actually use it to your advantage.
When you begin your cover letter, you need to tell the employer why they should hire you, and it’s in these opening sentences that you should mention your unemployment. If there are valid reasons for your unemployment (e.g. redundancy, you were looking for a career change etc), certainly don’t be afraid to mention it.
If you’ve been proactive during your unemployment, don’t forget to mention that too. So if you’ve been doing work experience, learning new skills or taken up voluntary work, write it early on your cover letter; it’s bound to impress and will show employers you haven’t just been sitting in front of the television.
Of course, you don’t have to tell employers that you’re unemployed; you can just mention your skills and accomplishments from previous jobs. However, be prepared to talk about any CV gaps during the interview.
How do I convince them I don’t just want the job because I’m unemployed?
You need to make sure they know you aren’t just after any job; you want a job at their company, so you’re going to need to do some research before you start writing your application.
Find out about their company, go on their website, check out their competitors and make sure you understand what they do and who their customers are. Talk about why you want to work for their company in particular, what you like about them and what you could bring to their working environment. This isn’t just useful for your cover letter, but also for your interview.
Without any research, your cover letter could end up looking like a generic application, and employers may assume you’ve sent the same thing to thousands of other companies in a range of sectors, and that you’re not at all passionate about their vacancy.
What if I don’t have much work experience?
If you haven’t had many jobs, don’t worry. Focus on transferable skills and accomplishments you’ve achieved from hobbies and education instead.
Talk about your personality and work ethos to show that, despite not having much work experience, you’re still prepared to work hard and learn new things.
Of course some companies will want to see previous experience and particular qualifications before they consider you for an interview (especially if it’s a senior or specialist role), so make sure you read the job specifications before you apply.
If you think your cover letter is looking a little bare, why not take up some extra training or look for work experience or voluntary opportunities in your area?
How do I show I’m employable when I’m unemployed?
Write about any successes or skills learnt in previous jobs (or hobbies etc), and back them up with examples. Explaining your main achievements and the effect it had shows you’ve made a difference or accomplished something by working hard.
Mention any existing skills that would be useful in the role, even it’s from a hobby (e.g being in a drama group means you can work well with others) and back it up with why it would be an asset to their company.
Job Interview Techniques
The things to do and be aware of when going for an interview.
Punctuality: Make sure that you get there on time and if you are delayed for any reason and cannot make the appointment let them know and make sure the person doing the interview knows about it.
Dress and grooming: Look smart and well-groomed — clean hair, clean nails, polished shoes (if you are a male) and don’t chew gum. First impressions are very important and establish a good feel for the rest of the interview.
Make sure your cell phone is off (one of the pet hates of those doing the interview)
Listen … Listen … Listen
Listen carefully to what is being asked and don’t interrupt. If you are unsure about the question, ask for it to be repeated, or just simply rephrase it. Feeling a little bit nervous is natural; take a deep breath, relax, smile and try and be as confident as possible.
Ask about the Company (research on the web will give you loads of information), the job, your future prospects and career path as well as the general culture of the organization.
Make sure your Facebook profile is a good one. (Companies are looking at this as part of a selection process and you need to make sure that yours is a professional one.)