Many of us fall into the trap of thinking a CV only needs updating when we’ve had a new job, but this is not the case. Each job you apply for is different, so each employer will ask for different skills and experience, meaning that you will need to re-word your CV to better fit their specification. That doesn’t mean lying! It just means that you need to big up the strengths of yours that correspond with the strengths the recruiter is looking for.
There are two types of CV: a skills CV is more effective for those without a great deal of work experience, and a traditional CV is better for those who have a longer employment history. A skills CV lists examples of skills under specific headings, such as communication or teamwork, while a traditional CV details the particular skills you gained from each job you’ve had.
There are helpful websites such as nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk which have a CV Builder that can help structure your ideas. And whilst it might feel like a lot of effort constantly working on your CV for every application, it will be worth it if it makes you stand out. Most employers will spot a CV that has been churned out to lots of people and one that has been thought through – those are the ones that make the shortlist.
With this in mind, set yourself achievable targets for the week. For example, there is no point telling your Jobcentre advisor you will apply for several jobs a day. Not only will you fail almost immediately because it’s exhausting and disheartening, but you won’t write a winning application form if you only spend an hour on it. Instead talk to them about a more realistic target, which you can spread out over the week. This way you will have sufficient time to make your application as strong as it needs to be, and once you have met your target for that week you will feel more in control.
However, if you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of transcribing your life onto two pages, you might benefit from some one-to-one help. CAP Job Clubs run a free Steps to Employment course, which covers how to write a great CV as well as other useful tips for finding work.
The CAP Job Clubs is a relaxed place to meet with other job seekers and to get the encouragement and support to help you through your return to work. Facing unemployment can be extremely difficult, but you don’t have to face it alone. For more information check out capjobclubs.org or to book your place call 0800 328 0006.
Written by Kimberley Taylor