Create a ‘Clear Vision’ with your CV

It’s easy to write a list of things you have done but if you were the employer, which CVs would you throw out? Get hold of a few sample CVs and decide who you would employ and why. Pretend you’re a ruthless manager and tear the CVs apart. What is the worst you can make up about gaps in the job history? Do they tell you things you don’t need to know and does this mean they’ll waffle on the job? Does every line tell you they want the job on offer? For Clean Slate, CV should stand for ‘Clear Vision’, just telling the employer how well you meet their needs.

The basics: Taking the role of the boss, imagine you have limited time and dozens of CVs to read. How would you feel about long, waffly CVs? If the candidate wastes your time at this stage, what are they going to be like when you employ them? We reckon most people can get the relevant info onto a single page – the rest is showing off. It’s the same with a messy CV with poor spelling. It suggests someone who doesn’t care about getting the job done right.

Personal Statement: This is your personal ad but it’s not that you WLTM a new partner but you would like to meet the right employer. Next time you’re somewhere boring, like a GP’s surgery or the Job Centre, imagine yourself recruiting staff there. Make a list of what would be important to you as the boss and what the ideal candidate would be like. Write a statement in 50 words or less that tells the employer you’re the right person for the job. Do you have a statement that tells an employer you’re the right person for the dream job (or the next job) you’ve set your sights on?

Skills and abilities: Everyone has skills and qualities that make them who they are. Don’t take those things for granted, shout about them. If you don’t feel you have what employers want, start with things you do every day or every week. If you’re a parent, you’re probably mature and responsible. If you’re into sport you may work well in teams or along, motivated by goals. If that’s you, you can probably give work-based examples of when you have used those skills or displayed those qualities.

Your past: Employers can be hard to convince that you’ve put your past behind you, although it isn’t surprising that we believe everyone deserves a ‘clean slate’. If your job history has loads of gaps in it, you’re just lining up doubts in employers’ minds, so only present the jobs that prove you have relevant experience, with a round-up of the kind of other work you’ve done.