If you’re looking for a change in direction or have gaps in your career history, crafting a CV that gets you the job you want can seem a challenge. Don’t despair, help is at hand! By downplaying your lack of direct experience while highlighting the skills and achievements that are relevant, you can overcome traditional career path expectations and make your CV shine.
Chronological vs functional?
Chronological CV’s do not work for everyone. If you’re going for a new career path, for example, highlighting your latest non-related position may go against you. Instead, consider focusing first on your abilities, outlining your core skill set, then summarise your work history. If you present yourself in the right way, your hands-on experience will speak for itself regardless of your last job title.
Gaps don’t have to go against you
Don’t try to hide gaps in your work history – this can lead to questions.  They needn’t compromise your application; if they are sufficiently explained, they are completely acceptable.
Keep keywords in mind
The HR Manager reviewing your CV, will be scanning for specific skill related buzzwords. Read the ‘skills required’ section of the job posting carefully and if they apply, be sure to use these keywords throughout your summary and experience sections.
Be transparent
It’s more than likely that your potential employer will do at least a basic online search for you when looking at your CV. If you’ve spent time cultivating your LinkedIn or other business profiles, include links in your CV to show that you’re business minded regardless of sector.
When in doubt, elaborate
If your employment history includes smaller companies from a different industry, it can be useful to offer a frame of reference. List the company name plus a line of background that summarises their principal activity.
Include a cover letter
A well-written cover letter focused on your suitability to this particular role can certainly boost your chances.  Explain your previous career tangents and highlight why you are interested in working for this particular company.
Good luck!

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Jazz Panesar is a Digital and Technology Apprentice at Severn Trent. Read Jazz’s story here.

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