When writing the Career History, or Employment History, section of your CV, you want to create something that is easy to follow and easy to navigate. This can be achieved with three easy steps:
List your employment history in an a-chronological order, meaning that you list your most recent job at the top and work down in date order to the first job you had.
Clearly display the job title in the top left of each entry in bold text, followed by the company name, town and employment dates in standard text or italics.
Keep a similar format for each entry, clearly breaking down your responsibilities, achievements and skills learnt and used for each role.
Now that a potential employer can easily skim through your employment history within your CV and find the information that they are looking for, here are some ways to really maximise the impact of your CV content:
Don’t assume that the person reading would know what your previous job involved, even if you were working under a standard job title that you would expect to be the same everywhere. Clearly break down your main relevant duties, skills used and learnt, and any achievements from your time there. Otherwise, the readers assumption of what that role involved may sell you short.
Include more detail for your most recent job and for the jobs most relevant to that particular application. Older jobs that have less relevance to your application can be listed with a brief synopsis and perhaps one or two key skills or achievements. This will allow you to pad out the rest of your CV where is it most relevant, giving you more space to match your experiences and skillsets to the person specification listed within the job ad that you are responding to.
Move the points most relevant to the job you are applying for towards the top of each entry of your career history. For example, within each listing you may have a list of duties, some of which may be listed within the job specification for the job vacancy that you are applying to: move these duties towards the top of that list so they are read first. The same can be done for skills and achievements within your CV, as well as other areas. The main goal here is to spotlight the reasons that you are right for the role and make sure that these are read before anything else.
Clearly demonstrate the impact that you had on the success of your previous employers. Do this by giving examples and explain how your involvement improved the performance of your team. If you can demonstrate the positive impact that you had at previous companies, it gives the prospective employer more confidence that you might be able to have a positive impact within their company too.
Account for any gaps in employment. Whether this be due to job searching, a gap year or family commitments, blank spaces on your CV will raise questions and doubts unless you clearly explain why they are there. When clearly explained, periods of unemployment should not harm your application.
Give the reasons that you left each employment and be honest about them. CVs with several job changes can make a recruiter nervous that you might not stick around, but giving clear, fair, and honest reasons for each job change can help overcome this. Even if you have a stable work history, explaining why you left somewhere after a long period of employment is also just as important. This saves any uncertainty or incorrect assumptions damaging your chances of a successful application, and the recruitment team will appreciate your honesty.
Further sections of our comprehensive guide to writing a CV:
James comes from a Sales and Retail Management background, so really understands people and how the right people can drive a business forward. He brings this experience into recruitment, leading the Industrial, Commercial and Catering team to deliver fantastic temporary staff recruitment solutions to our clients. James also enjoys his successes in recruiting outstanding candidates for permanent posts across several industries at several levels. Client care is always top of his agenda as he strives to deliver a fantastic and personal service. He also strives to bring on new business and grow the Agency, welcoming new clients to the agency and enjoying the new recruitment challenges that brings.