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Attempting to sell myself AKA updating my CV

Posted on May 19, 2016 | 17 comments

Urgh… you know you’ve been a bit out of touch when your CV was last updated in 2007. First of all I thought it must be a mistake. I searched and searched through my old files, but no, it’s true. Lordy, this means an almost entire re-write as opposed to the quick touch up I’d hoped for.

I am going to blame the 3rd sector, yes those pesky charities and not for profits I have been working for. They insist on making you put all of your information on their own application forms and refuse to allow you any freedom in the way you present yourself. It will therefore be a revelation to go back to the ‘old ways’ and write a wonderful summary of my talents for the world to embrace. Bugger. I have spent so long box-filling I have no idea where to start.

Google is not very helpful on this front either, it confuses me.

Should I go for minimalistic?






Should I begin with my education? Work history? A bit about how wonderfully employable I am? Someone once told me that a CV should showcase your assets to best fit the role you are going for. (Sadly, that advice came when I was 22 and my main work history was from a chip shop combined with a higher education in McDonaldsology)… as my friends would say… what do you say to a sociology graduate? Big mac and fries please.

So… I digress… how do you go about updating what essentially an aged and not very fascinating account of yourself so that suddenly everyone will be ringing up? – ‘Oh yes Gretel, we’d love to give you that job, and how much should we pay you? £100,000? Marvellous, you are clearly worth every penny’ – You have to be ruthless. Cut out all the old dross. No-one is really interested in that report you wrote about Ofsted inspections in 1998  or the contract you negotiated with the gardening team in 2004 even if you were particularly proud of those moments.

You have to tell people what they want to know, which basically means tweaking your CV for each job you go for, which (yes….) basically equates to writing an individualised job application form. So, I got a load of those out and cut and pasted bits and pieces of them all, re-formatted, aligned and put it in point 12. It’s still 2 & 1/2 pages long as I need to learn to be more ruthless, but it’s getting there and this means I now need to start applying for work… eeek, wish me luck





  1. I have literally just been through the same process trying to get some more freelance work – and it’s not as easy as I thought it would be! For every 10 copies of my CV I’ve sent out I’ve probably had two replies – and I do think I made a good job of my CV! But I think part-time work is always more difficult. Good luck with your applications, I’m sure you’ll find something x #coolmumclub

    • Thanks, It’s good to hear from someone else doing the same thing. Onwards and upwards!

  2. Oh man updating your CV is a seriously daunting task but not only for the content but also these days there are so many ways of presenting your CV with some serious swagger to consider too! Good luck hon I hope your brain doesn’t fall out of your ear along the way lol! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub x

    • yes, the swagger is not something I am good at, so I have sent it to a man who can

  3. Good luck with your applications. It’s so hard to know what to include to showcase yourself in the best way.

    • Thank you, I am already thinking that my CV needs some serious sexing up… I feel so old and out of the game…

  4. Well good luck with completing your cv. This is something that I need to address now that my daughter is turning two and I will finally be able to leave her. #CoolMumClub

    • My youngest is 5 and I have been getting by on bits and pieces for a while now, but I have decided that enough is enough and I must find more regular work…

  5. Oh god luck with the job process – do what you love – go for the best – don’t undersell yourself – add in the blogging and social media skills etc – they’ll love you! Personally, I prefer the minimalistic approach but I suppose you need o tailor it to the kind of job you’re applying for #Stayclassy

  6. Let’s all just start a company where we write blogs and get paid £100k. I’m sure it will work… #stayclassy

  7. It’s tough isn’t it. So time consuming, but if you want the job it needs to be done! I worked for McDOnalds for 3 months, they tried to make me a shift manager, I left! Good luck! #stayclassy

  8. Ah yes it’s very tough competing with 1,000 other CVs that may look like yours! I went for the minimalist CV, when I’ve had to hire people I would usually quickly look for the key points/accomplishments, so a clean, straight-forward CV, highlighting your accomplishments is usually best…I think! I would definitely include the blog and social media. : ) Your blog looks fab! Good luck! Thanks so much for linking up with #StayClassy!

    • Thank you, that is really helpful advice. I am going to find someone to help me be ruthless and strip it down to the essentials.

  9. I think Person Specs are a good place to start. These will tell you exactly what employers are looking for. Your CV is the place to provide the most compelling 30 seconds of evidence you can muster. I disagree with the conventional wisdom that applications should be tailored. They may need a few slight tweaks – add a particular piece of knowledge, or match the choice of vocabulary, for example. But radical changes suggest you don’t yet have clarity about the type of role you want to do. It’s much easier to show passion and commitment if you decide this first. Good luck!

    • I think you’re right about me needing to decide on the role I want…

  10. CV’s are such a pain in the A**! You are right you end up with seven versions of the thing – tailored to each specific job you are applying for! I always put five or six key skills in bullet points at the beginning of mine – that say HEY I CAN DO THIS JOB LOOK LOOK!! Then all the other crap that comes after! #stayclassy

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