CV & Interview Tips
What does your CV say about you?
In today’s job market finding the right job opportunity and actually getting that job is mind-boggling. Having a good CV is essential, no matter what kind of employment you are seeking. As an Army spouse who probably has a chequered career history or postings-induced career breaks, it’s even more important that your CV makes you stand out from the crowd. Here, we take a look at a few tips to make your CV work for you…
CV writing is a form of marketing or advertising, and the product is you. It should be simple, concise and tailored to what the reader is looking for but, above all, it must sell you to the prospective employer. Of course, other applicants will be doing the same, so the challenge is to make your CV more appealing and attractive than the rest!
What should my CV say about me?
The way you present your CV demonstrates your ability to communicate. Write a description of the person the employer is looking for and use this as a starting point for your CV. Your CV and covering letter should show that you possess the right skills, experience, behaviour, attitude and morality that the employer is looking for. If you find it difficult to match your CV to the requirements of the role, perhaps it isn't for you!
How should I present my CV?
The layout and presentation of your CV depends on your career history and the type of work you are seeking. There are three types of CV; the chronological CV is best suited to career ladder climbers, while the qualifications and skills-based CVs are probably suited to the majority of Army spouses. Templates can be downloaded from www.totaljobs.com - click on the ‘career advice’ tab.
How do I sell myself as an Army spouse?
Never lie to cover up gaps in your employment or short-lived jobs – you’ll be found out in the end! Think about what you have done or learned in the times when you’ve not worked; you may have got involved in unit activities, coffee mornings, been on courses; take a look at the skills that you will have gained – supporting peers, communication, running a busy home on your own. Tailor your covering letter to impress your prospective employer, matching your skills and abilities to those required by the job and think about including the following qualities in your CV’s personal statement:
- High emotional tolerance and adaptability – As the spouse of a Service person, you deal with unique stresses, demonstrating a capacity for emotional strength and resilience quite beyond what most people normally experience
- Maturity - Maturity cannot be taught - it is the result of life experience. The life experience of Army spouses generally fosters a very mature outlook, and the valuable attributes associated with this
- Responsibility and dependability – You’re often solely responsibility for family and home while your soldier is away. These are powerful indicators of reliability, responsibility and dependability which are much sought-after by employers
- Flexibility – You’re probably highly adaptable when it comes to housing, kids’ schooling, friends and social life, etc. In the modern world of work, which is very fluid and fast changing, employers want people who adapt and respond positively to new challenges.
Never be afraid to blow your own trumpet; you’re worth it!
Many thanks to Alan Chapman of BusinessBalls (www.businessballs.com) for the information in this article. For even more information, take a look at these sites; www.cvwriting.net – loads of information and resources on CVs, covering letters and interviews. www.direct.gov.uk – click on the link for ‘employment’ then click ‘help and advice when applying for a job’ under the ‘jobseekers’ heading.
Here are a few websites that provide useful information on preparing for an interview and what questions you may be asked:
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