How to fill in the gaps in your CV

I don’t know about you but when the kids head back to school in September with their shiny shoes and brand new pencil cases, I always feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm and excitement about the “new year”. So it’s not surprising that I’ve had a flurry of recent enquires from mums who feel the time is right to start a new chapter of their lives and return to the workplace.

Returning to work after a career break can seem scary at first. One of the questions almost all the mums I coach have asked me is what to do about the gaps in their CV. So if the thought of putting pen to paper to update your CV seems overwhelming - don’t despair! Here are my top tips on how to fill those gaps and create an impactful CV that will help you land your perfect role.

Keep it relevant

The key to creating a CV that stands out from the crowd is to tailor it around the job spec. Take the time to think about the specific skills and experience the employer is looking for. Next think back to life before kids and write a list of what you were good at before your world started revolving around changing nappies. For example it could have been your leadership skills or your decision-making ability. The next step is to identify your key achievements. Don’t just focus on your areas of responsibility, instead try and use relevant examples that show tangible results. Finally don’t overlook those skills you’ve developed since having children – perhaps you’ve discovered you have strong communication skills in your role as a fundraiser for a charity or management skills as head of the PTA.

Make it personal

As you sit in front of your computer carefully crafting your CV, remember to include any personal traits or characteristics you think the employer might be looking for. Perhaps you are a creative thinker who always comes up with an alternative solution or maybe you always persevere in the face of adversity. Highlight these traits by putting them at the top of your CV and remember to give examples of when and how you’ve used them during your career.

Change the format of your CV

Don’t assume you need to use a chronological layout for their CV as a date-by-date list of past employment can often draw the employer’s attention to any gaps. Instead try writing a functional CV. By this I mean a summary of your skills and accomplishments that explains from the start what you have to offer a potential employer.

Bring your skills up-to-date

Another common worry amongst mums returning to work after a career break is that their skills will be out-of-date. A great way to boost your confidence and fill in any gaps is to sign up to evening classes or an online learning system and refresh those rusty skills. For example, sign up for a workshop to polish your computer or social media skills or get up to speed by reading relevant publications or joining LinkedIn discussion forums. 

Believe in yourself

Last and by no means least, be proud about your decision to have a career break and focus on your children. Too many mums feel they need to hide the gaps or apologise for taking time out of the workplace. Instead be confident and show employers that staying at home was a deliberate choice and that you are now more than ready to jump back into your career.

If you need help selling yourself on paper or in person then contact me to find out about our special 2 hour CV or Interview practice session for the discounted price of £170.

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