How do you turn what might be considered weaknesses in your CV / resume into strengths?
You will constantly hear that a CV is a marketing tool that it is designed to show you in a positive light. Whilst we fully endorse this statement, there may be instances when it is evident that something in your CV will let you down if not addressed. If you have obvious weaknesses in your CV it is unlikely you will be invited to a job interview.
You should never lie on your CV. As more and more employers rely on CVs as a crucial part of the recruitment process, they are also becoming more adept at spotting flaws. If you lie on your CV you will more than likely be found out. However, you can still make yourself attractive to a prospective employer without necessarily being dishonest.
One important thing to remember is that if your CV is effective and gets you to an interview; it is much easier to address an awkward or difficult issue to a person face to face rather than on paper. One of the most common interview questions you are likely to be asked is “what are your weaknesses?” Ask yourself this when constructing your CV and it will assist you in addressing the issue on your CV.
How Do You Overcome Weaknesses in your CV?
There are a number of weaknesses in your CV or Resume that may include:
- Gaps in your Employment History
- Several jobs in a short period of time
- Limited work experience
- Having worked for one employer over a long period of time
- Poor qualifications / lack of Further Education
Gaps In Your Employment History:
If you have gaps in your Curriculum Vitae due to taking time off to care for a family member, travelling, undergoing further education or, give an explanation for taking time out and highlight the skills, experiences and achievements gained whilst taking a break. Periods of unemployment can be turned into strengths. A great example of this would be a woman returning to work after raising a family. By documenting the skills required to raise a child successfully; most employers will not consider the gap in employment as a negative.
Being Made Redundant From A Previous Job:
In an economic downturn, redundancy is an accepted fact of life and can happen to anyone. You do not need to put reasons for leaving a job on a CV. However, write a Cover Letter if you feel it may help explain a short period of unemployment or gap in your employment history.
Several Previous Employers:
Too many jobs on a CV may be considered to be weaknesses in your CV. They may often put employers off as it gives the impression of no commitment or stability. If you are a freelance worker or have worked in a number of temporary placements it is advisable to use a Targeted or Functional CV format which highlights your skills, competencies and expertise, rather than a chronological summary of your employment history.
Limited Work Experience:
If you have just left education and are applying for an entry level job, you may not have much work experience. You can address this by concentrating on your academic qualifications; detailing any relevant projects, societies or clubs you participated in. Or consider writing a One Page CV which highlights any skills and experiences you have acquired from voluntary work or hobbies.
Limited Education Qualifications:
Whichever type of CV format you choose to use, education and qualifications are normally one of the last things listed. A Targeted CV or a Functional CV will highlight skills, qualities and experience which are more relevant than exam results. If you have limited qualifications or poor exam results concentrate on either your skills or work experience. If you are applying for a role that requires a degree or qualification you do not hold, writing a Cover Letter explaining why your experiences make you more than a suitable candidate can be very effective.
Overqualified For The Job:
If you believe that you are overqualified for a post and think that your qualifications may harm your chances of securing an interview; it may be that you only include the most relevant qualifications. Remember the aim of a CV is to get you an Application Form or preferably an interview! If your CV impresses enough to get you an Application Form, you can then include all your qualifications and include a Cover Letter / Job Application Letter explaining why you believe that you are an ideal candidate, even if you may seem overqualified.
Being Sacked From A Previous Job:
You do not need to include this information in your CV. However in certain situations you might be required to supply this information (e.g. a Recruitment Agency). Be as honest as possible and never bad mouth previous employers or companies, as you may asked about this in an interview.
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