The CV Consultancy » CV Writing Providing a dedicated CV writing service for Professionals Mon, 29 Nov 2010 15:17:48 +0000 en hourly 1 Tailor your CV for Periods of Self Employment Fri, 06 Nov 2009 15:41:42 +0000 admin It must be well known that employers are frequently wary of giving full time jobs to people who have previously been long-term self employed. 

When writing a CV it is always a good idea to put yourself in the position of the prospective employer, writing from an objective viewpoint and this is particularly important for people in this situation.

So to create a CV which overcomes this problem, the first thing we need to do is to ask ‘why?’ and then directly address those issues.

I believe that the main issues are that self employed people are perceived as ‘marching to your own drum’ and being used to working alone. Not necessarily being disciplined, taking direction and fitting in with processes and procedures decided upon by others.

Obviously the circumstances will differ from one person to another, yet whatever your area of expertise, you will presumably have had clients (or customers), and you will have needed to take direction from them, so make sure that you use your CV to demonstrate this. ‘Working under direction of clients’, providing a service which is ‘in accordance with Company guidelines’, these are the type of phrases which you should be using.  If at all possible show that your clients or customers have been loyal to you, thus proving that you have provided a consistently high standard of service which they have been happy with. Mention how you have fitted in with their management (or any other) team and how you have been able to work closely with clients’ own staff. 

If you have been a contractor, working within a firm or Company, then it becomes even easier to make it clear that you are still used to working as part of a larger organisation.  If your contracts have been extended, or repeated, then be sure to mention this as it demonstrates that the clients were happy with the service you were providing and that they liked having you around. 

Often the particular words you use can make things feel different, for example I would advise that you should avoid the description ‘self employed’.  Somehow that tends to emphasise the fact that you were independent and alone.  It is far better to describe yourself as ‘freelance’ followed by whatever is your particular area of specialisation.  You may be a ‘freelance consultant’, a ‘freelance artist’ or even a ‘freelance contractor’, but any of these sounds better than ‘self employed’.  If you worked in a role where you were filling in, for example, for maternity leave then describe the role as ‘interim’ rather than ‘temporary’ which again has a better sound.

No matter what your circumstances, you should always use your CV to market yourself carefully, making sure that you demonstrate the qualities and qualifications  that the employer is seeking.   If you have recently been self employed, then it is just a little more important that you should get it right.  With careful thought, or professional advice if necessary, there is no reason why you should not be successful.

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Other Information Thu, 08 Oct 2009 14:45:59 +0000 admin When writing a CV, I often include a section entitled ‘other information’.  Most of the items included under this heading are, of course, optional, but then, as you probably know, there are no hard and fast rules for CV writing. A CV is a marketing document, for use in a very competitive environment and its one and only function is to give information, usually to a prospective employer in support of a job application.  What information you give is entirely up to you. 
The purpose of my ‘other information’ section will usually be to include things that don’t belong anywhere else on the CV.  It can also be useful for giving a bit of background about the type of person you are, but don’t fall into the trap of including too much of this type of stuff, for fear that you make it appear that your out of hours activities are more important to you than your work.. 
Some personal information including date of birth and marital status, used always to be included on a CV but, following the introduction of the age discrimination act in October 2006, this is no longer required,.  However, Nationality and Visa status (if applicable) does need to be included to show whether you are eligible to work in the UK.
Many hours of valuable working time can wasted by people escaping from the office for a quick cigarette, so I usually take the opportunity to put in “Health: excellent non smoker”.   If you do smoke, just leave this item out and nobody will notice its absence.  “Driving: full clean licence (full UK licence if you have points), is another thing that may or may not be relevant to the job application and which you may choose to include.
Extra curricular activities may be included under a section of their own, but unless they are significant, this also may be the type of thing you may relegate to ‘other information’, along with any achievements which are not job related.
Depending upon the nature of your job, things like languages, IT skills and computer literacy may already have been included in your profile, but if they haven’t, it is useful to include them somewhere – so this section comes in handy for that as well.
Lastly I come to the ‘Interests and Hobbies’ section which many people believe should be left out altogether.  If you have the space, I don’t see any harm myself, in including information about yourself and your interests. But keep it in perspective, remember that the CV is being address to an employer who may prefer to think that your work is the main thing in your life.   
One good reason for including ‘interests’ is to demonstrate that you have an active lifestyle.  I always try to start with some activity such as sport or keeping fit – even walking the dog is better than nothing!  Things to avoid mentioning are dangerous activities, which might mean you would need time off work with broken limbs.  Also ‘travelling’ which could mean that you would be seeking to relocate at some time. 
Now, I am well aware that things like ‘reading and current affairs’ ‘theatre and cinema’ ‘family life’ ‘socialising with friends’ are boring and everybody does them, but as long as the interests are confined to only one single line there is no harm in presenting yourself as a well rounded person.

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