Job hopper, overqualified, too long out of work? You can still get your CV to the top of the pile with our practical tips…

Even when vacancies are booming, there are three types of job seekers who will always have a harder time getting work. Are you one? Don’t fear – there is plenty you can do with your CV to ensure you get an interview.

The job hopper

Hiring the wrong person is an expensive mistake, so understandably recruiters are wary of applicants who seem to have a habit of changing jobs.
At the same time, frequent job hopping has become more and more common. A recent survey showed that 91% of millennials expect to stay in a job less than three years – with 71% of this group planning to change their current job before 2020. So how can a job hopper stop employers see them as a risk?

You need to focus on what you gained from the experiences. The benefit of job hopping is that workers are more accomplished at doing different work and are regularly adding to their skill sets. So it makes sense to write a CV focused on your skill set and achievements. Use facts and figures to show that you generated value for past employers. For example: “acquired major clients generating an increase of X amount in annual revenue”. If you can do that, the recruiter can imagine you creating the same tangible value for them, canceling out your risk factor.

The long-term unemployed

Once you’ve been out of a job for some time, it becomes even more difficult to find work. If you’ve not quite hit the six-month mark, find something to occupy your time and fill your CV, be it freelance work or volunteering.

If you’ve been unemployed for longer than six months, there are ways to make yourself more employable. Alongside volunteering, try a less conventional approach to job hunting: contact hiring managers directly by phone or email. It’s also important to optimize your social media profiles and get in touch with people in your professional network.

Nearly half of all hires are made from job referrals, even though they make up only 7% of all applications. If you can find someone on the inside to push your CV, or if you can make a personal connection with a hiring manager, there is a much greater chance that they will overlook the gaps on your record.

The overqualified job seeker

While it is tempting to assume that being overqualified is a good thing, that’s not always the case. Recruiters may make some confused assumptions, such as the candidate wants more money or are likely to leave for a better offer.

Hiring managers need to know that you understand the job on offer, and that requires an explanation. Perhaps you’re choosing less responsibility for a better work-life balance, or you want to go back to what you were doing before a promotion. Whatever the reason, it’s best explained. Your cover letter is the perfect place for this sort of information. A CV summary can also help you say where you are, where you’re going, and how that will benefit your new employer.

Whatever is holding you back, you can always upgrade your CV to make you top of the pile. And, above all, tailor your CV to match the job, instead of sending generic CVs to many different employers.

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