My work history is so diverse – how will this affect my CV?

Hiring managers now have to look through literally hundreds of CVs when deciding who to shortlist for an interview, which means that yours might only get a quick glance. So if your past work experience is diverse, then it might mean your CV is overlooked – with the relevant experience missed.

Managers are only able to offer a small amount of time when skimming through each CV, and one of the important aspects they will be looking out for is typically if the candidate has a similar history in a particular industry or role.

If your CV history is diverse and you’re worried it might put off a potential employer, then worry no more as we have some handy tips for you to apply to your CV today.

Create a CV that’s tailored to the role

Your CV is not just a platform for you to list everything you’ve ever done or achieved, and should be instead used as a tool for the employer to see how you are best suited to this specific role above anyone else who applies.

Far too many people are still stuck in the eighties when it comes to creating CVs – but simply listing everything is not going to get you an interview. Your CV has to be tailored to the role you are applying for so the hiring manager can easily see at a glance that you could potentially be the right person for the job, and an interview is the obvious next step.

But how can I tailor my CV to a role when my history is so diverse?

Focus your work experience

Showcase relevant work experience, with less detail about irrelevant experience

Making your work history, no matter how diverse, appear as if it matches closely to the role you are applying for requires you to look deeper into the tasks and responsibilities you carried out.

Let’s say for example you were looking to apply for a sales role. Perhaps you haven’t got any previous experience directly as a sales person but you did however take part in sales occasionally in the role. Rather than focus on the core of your experience in that position, you should highlight the sales aspect – and detail any particular achievements in a sales capacity. Although your previous job title may have been ‘administrator’, you need to focus more on the sales tasks rather than the admin tasks. Of course, you can’t completely change the job title and the tasks you had to perform, but you can however make the ‘sales’ part of the job stand out – and the same goes for any of your past roles that may have, from time to time, delved into the world of sales.

Focus on what the employer is looking for

If the employer is looking for a particular individual trait or skill for the role, then this is where your CV can shine if you ensure it highlights this particular skill or trait. For example, the job advert might be looking for someone with great communication skills who is extremely outgoing and also has experience with Microsoft Office. Rather than just listing your work history that may or may not cover this particular request, you can delve deeper into those roles to showcase the right parts.

Have you used Microsoft Office before, and what did you use it for? Have you had to lead a team before? Have you got any past experience that showcases your communication skills?

Again, this is where you can tailor the CV to ensure it highlights particular responsibilities and tasks that provide the information the hiring manager is looking for. Don’t make it hard for them and assume they will obviously know that you must have used Microsoft Office before and that you have great communication skills. Spell out the exact requirements of the job and how you meet them.

Remember – it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of experience in something, as long as you have had some experience, or at the very least, some relatable experience. Make this your focus!

About Jen Wiss-Carline

Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Chartered Legal Executive, and was admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.

Jen's qualifications include:
LL.B (Hons) (1st)
Chartered Legal Executive (FCILEx)
PG Cert Bus Admin
PgDip Law (LPC)
LL.M (Master of Laws) (Distinction)

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