How to make your work experience stand out on your CV
You are no longer able to list all of your previous roles and expect it to impress an employer. The standard of CV writing has increased ten fold in the past few years, and an employer will expect more.
There is so much information online that a job seeker will now produce a higher quality CV than ever before. With free CV templates on offer and a plethora of guides and advice available online, an employer now only wants to see the best.
Why is the work experience section important to an employer?
Most employers will often value work experience above everything else. With the exception of lower entry roles, work experience can sometimes trump skills and even qualifications. This is assuming you also have the minimum qualifications required as stated in the job advert.
Even for an entry level position, a candidate with a good amount of work experience will be favoured. This is going to be attractive to the employer as it will mean that less training is required.
Here are a few tips to help make your CV work experience stand out…
Demonstrate your performance
One of the main things an employer is looking for when reading through your CV is how well you’ve performed in your previous role. Don’t simply list your entire work history along with the tasks and responsibilities. What you should instead consider is adding actual results and achievements within these roles.
A great example of this would be a sales role, as this will allow you to give actual sales stats and targets that were met or exceeded. Another great example could relate to system or process changes that you implemented. If those ideas resulted in huge savings or a better customer experience, then you should put this down on your CV. Any internal processes that you improved should always be stated along with the positive outcome it achieved.
Don’t have employment gaps
If you were out of work for a lengthy period of time, this may not look great on your CV. However, don’t worry! We are here to tell you that it’s not that big of a deal, as long you’re transparent.
Be honest, and don’t look too much into it. Stay positive and make sure you always plug any gaps with an explanation. Here are a few examples of why someone may be out of work for a few months or years:
They took a gap year/travelled around the world
Personal health reasons
Family health reasons or commitments
To study and take a qualification
Nothing can stop you from getting back to work
These four above are the most common reasons why someone may be out of work for a little while. Some of them are quite easy to explain, whilst others are not. For instance, if you were out of work for a year due to personal health reasons, this could be something you’re embarrassed about or may struggle to approach on your CV or in an interview. But don’t worry, tackle the issue head on and state something along the lines of:
I was out of work for most of 2018 due to personal health reasons. I have now fully recovered and am keen to get back to work. My passion, drive and commitment are now stronger than ever to succeed.
Can you see how great this would read to an employer? Imagine if you were to ignore the problem and just have this as a gap on your work history – it would not look good, right? You should not leave the employer guessing as this could raise suspicion. The employer will typically look for a negative reason, and maybe assume you were just lazy.
Travelling has made you a better person
Travelling around the world and taking a gap year should be written in a positive tone. Don’t state that you had a great time getting drunk constantly and partying. Instead, state that you visited and interacted with many different cultures from all over the world. You also learned another language to a reasonable level, and were able to interact with local people. Your journey around the world has made you a much stronger and more confident person in your own abilities.
Again, can you see how great this would read on your CV?