Whether you’re a recent graduate with a hotchpotch of part-time jobs and work experience placements, or an experienced manager looking to change industry, shaping a CV which lends itself well to a prospective new opportunity can prove challenging at the best of times. There are ways to remedy this application-vacancy mismatch however, read on to discover them…
As is the case for many graduates, your CV may currently read as a list of Saturday jobs, sprinkled with a few stints of work experience. So of course when it comes to applying for your ideal job in your dream industry, there may be somewhat of a disconnect between where you think you’re heading, and where your CV shows you are heading. After all, an employer wants to see why you would fit in well with their organisation through your CV, but if all they can see is experience associated with an unrelated field, they may struggle to do so.
But the question is, how to rectify this? The key is to tailor your CV. Depending upon the position, manipulate it (and by this, we mean move around and give prominence to certain sections over others – not elaborating the truth!) so that it gives potential employers a better understanding of your career path to date. Give premier importance to an administrative role, if the position you’re applying for requires admin experience for instance – make it easy for them to see your relevant skills and experience.
Naturally, this may be tricky if you don’t have a wealth of associated experience, but this may highlight a CV deficiency. If you’re really struggling to communicate why you would be a great addition to the company, then it’s definitely worth considering upping your experience so that your skills do the job for you.
In a similar vein to graduate applications, as a career-changer your CV may not lend itself well to a new position. Although, at the other end of the spectrum to a graduate, you may have too much, rather than too little experience to play with – which, equally, can make it tricky to prove to an employer you’re serious about their company and sector.
This is where transferable skills become crucial. If you’ve been in a particular industry for a while, not only have you learned skills specific to that area, but you have also gained experience of a host of duties and tasks that are necessary no matter what organisation you work in. If you’ve worked in marketing in the publishing industry, your marketing expertise will still prove relevant in the third or charity sector.
If it’s a total career overhaul you’re looking at, however, then it’s about looking at your stripped-back, and basic qualities that make you a good employee. Here, it may be your management skills that you choose to emphasise, your ability to work in high-pressure environments or a project that you led and brought to completion. It’s also worth acknowledging your career change in your CV objective or header: “Experienced Sales Manager seeking a challenging new role in digital marketing where I can put my extensive consumer knowledge to good effect’. But again, you will need to have some experience or knowledge to back your transition.
A CV mismatch can in many ways be remedied, but only to a certain extent. At times, it may prove more worthwhile to re-train and gain more experience so that the bridge between your CV and the vacancies you’re applying for, becomes a little more steady to cross.
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