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Job hunting in the time of Corona: CV writing

19th May 2020

By Bethan Phillips

I know that a lot of us are in a period of uncertainty right now; there is a lot up in the air. There are the really important things like where to buy flour for your banana bread, which football team in Germany to support, your progress on Duolingo… or those little things like health, the economy, and our future.


Whether you are worried about your health, your family, a job, or something as simple as your toilet paper supply, we are all in this together and feeling a similar way.


In these times of uncertainty, I am trying to take the time to focus on a few things I know are still certain;


  1. Coffee is still vital to my life
  2. Anything can be made an enjoyable meme
  3. I cannot control many things, but I can certainly control aspects of things


Being a part of a talent team who works across multiple functions at multiple levels, I have been in a unique position to watch as the job market flip from one that was candidate driven to one that’s employer driven. With so many people looking for new roles for a variety of reasons, and inspired by number 3 on my list to ‘control the controllables’, I wanted to write a brief post for candidates with some Do’s and Do Not’s that may help you find more success in your job hunt…


Personalise your CV, we constantly hear how you should tailor your CV and it’s true!


  • Don’t put every job you have had since you were 14 on it if you are 20 years into your Do include the relevant last 4-5 jobs with more detail and only brief information on your earlier career roles.
  • If you are starting out in your career and looking for your first job, put down all your experience that links to your role! Think about clubs, volunteering or different academic achievements that relate to the demands of the job you are applying for.


Do apply to relevant jobs which relate to your experiences. ‘Easy Apply’ on job boards can be the devil, encouraging applications with just a few clicks does not mean a job is a click away.


  • Don’t take on a “Spray and Pray” approach – hoping a company will notice your CV in a group of applications for Role A when your experience is closer related to Role B does not mean they will spot that and offer a chance to interview for Role B; it will only lead to more rejections than responses – choose which jobs you apply to wisely and you will see far better outcomes!
  • Take a closer look at the job advert, the job spec or any information regarding the responsibilities, the type of experience they look for or different qualifications needed and consider if you feel like that is something that you already have and could be a fit for, or if it is a logical next step in your career – highlight this in your CV introduction.


Do make sure your CV is clear and reads well.


  • Consider the order of your CV, its length and clarity. If your CV is 6 pages long with essay-length entries under each role, it will be hard for the company to see how you relate to the role. The same goes for cover letters; if they are more than a page, they will not show the reader your understanding of the company and why you are a fit for this role in particular.
  • Chronological order (most recent first) with 4-5 bullets under your recent roles and experiences to explain your role and but mainly your achievements. This helps us to understand why you feel you are a good fit.


Do make sure you put down all your qualifications and education.


  • Don’t be afraid to overshare your qualifications, these are things that you have earned and it helps the company gain a more rounded view of you
  • Creating sections within your CV can help make it clear for the reader, but also jog your own memory of different experiences you have had (consider sections including Qualifications and Diplomas, Education, Volunteer Experience, Apprenticeships, Awards)


Do make sure you have contact details on your application.

  • Don’t leave out email addresses, phone numbers or even LinkedIn pages (you’d be amazed how many people do this – ask someone to proof-read it for you too!)


Whether you are a recent graduate, a recent redundancy, a candidate struggling in this competitive market, please put any suggestions down below or questions you have so we can all help each other in this crazy time!


Image via Unsplash.com

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