Jobless? How to cover this on your CV
If you are unemployed, particularly if you’ve been jobless for six months or more, you will need to tweak your CV in order to cover for this period. The employment market is terrible at the moment and looking for a job becomes a bleaker prospect the longer you are out of work. Long term unemployment is defined as being without a job for over six months. According to the ‘experts’ if you have been unemployed for six months there is a 20%+ possibility that you will be unemployed in a year’s time if you are not careful. But how do you get your foot in the door? Well the first thing you need to do is improve your CV. Here are some tips.
Be honest – explain why you’ve not been working
Instead of trying to hide a big gap on your CV, explain it. This can be done either on your CV or in a cover letter. Address the fact that you’ve had a large employment gap and give it some context. This is especially important if you have been made redundant, in this market any reasonable employer will understand this, particularly if you were part of a large layoff. This is important as it makes it clear to a prospective employer you were not let go because of poor performance.
Create a job to go on your CV
How do you do create a job you may ask? Well this is easy. If you have been out of work for sometime think about creating a small business, by doing this you will also make yourself an income. An easy business to start is selling unwanted clothes, jewellery, household items or children’s toys on ebay. Another easy option is to start a gardening or window cleaning business, there is lots of work out there for these two services. Or perhaps you are good at baking, how about making cakes and selling them in independent cafés. Whatever you are good at utilise that skill as it will give you a current role to put on your CV.
Skip the chronological format
Traditional CV formats present your experience as current/last job first and in backward date order. There is nothing set in stone to say that this is how your CV must be presented. Why not produce a hybrid CV that ditches the traditional style. List your jobs for up to the last 10 years, starting with your first and ending with your last. Just list the dates you were employed, the employers name and type of business and your job title. In a paragraph after this listing give a summary of the type of job you are seeking and the skills, strengths, accomplishments and knowledge you can bring to the role. For instance say “I am a HR professional and am looking to to X, Y, Z here is a brief summary of what I can bring to a new role.
Focus on result as well as experience
You should look at all the jobs listed on your CV and under your tasks and duties you should list what you achieved for your employer. This could be improvement on systems used to do the role. Introduction of quicker and slicker systems. Winning or retaining clients. Training other staff members etc. But make a list. Show that apart from doing the prospective employers job you have the ability to bring more to the role.
Keep you CV current
Whilst you are unemployed you should seriously consider doing contract, temporary or even voluntary work to show that you’ve remained active in the work environment. Also use your time off to improve your skills. Learn new technology or get an industry qualification. All courses etc should be documented on your CV – even if they are still a work in progress. Qualifications have become more and more common in many fields. Being able to show that you have recent training in your field can definitely be a plus. It demonstrates that you are staying current.
Customise your CV for each job
Gone are the days of one-size fits-all CV’s. Customising your CV is as easy as highlighting sections and changing them to suit the role you are applying for. Few people create tailored CVs for the jobs they are pursuing but at this time it is worth doing, you’ve got the time so use if wisely and you will get the job. For instance highlight areas in your past experience that are most relevant for the job you are applying for. This may mean putting your skills or your daily responsibilities in different order. Make yourself the perfect candidate for the role.
Send your CV everywhere
Once you have produced a good CV, get it out there. Send it to everyone you know may be in a position to pass it on. You may think that everyone knows what you do or that you are out of work, but that’s often not the case, so use your friends and acquaintances. Send it to jobs advertised online which are suitable. Sent it to all local Employment Agencies. Sent it to large/small businesses in your local area. Send it to the HR Department of the local Council, Hospital or DOE. Simply get it our there. The more CVs you get out the more chance you have of getting an interview and ultimately a job.
It is a really, really tough market for sure but the one thing that never stops is recruitment. It may slow down. Certain sectors of jobs will virtually disappear. But there will always be someone who is recruiting you just need to ensure your CV is good enough to convince them to employ you.
Wishing you every success