Making your CV look good for employers is always a challenge, but it can be especially tough if you just came out of an extended work absence, such as retirement. It is important to highlight your experience without drawing too much attention to the fact that you were out of the workforce for so long. Fortunately, there are ways of making your CV competitive and even superior to the job applicants who don’t have the same problem. It is all in how you approach it.
There are two ways of looking at your employment absence when you are trying to find a job again. You may see the gap in work history as something that is a potential weakness. You decide to downplay it as much as possible and hope for the best. There is also a more optimistic view. If you are an older retiree, you have years of experience and skills that the younger generation doesn’t have. If you are a younger retiree, you had the financial means to retire young which also gives you a one-up on the competition. The realistic view and the optimistic both have value, but making a concerted effort to play up your strengths will serve you better than simply trying to cover up any weaknesses.
The reason for the term “realistic”, in the first view, is that an employment gap of a few years or more will probably come out to the potential employer. Further, the interviewer will most likely ask you about it and phrase it in a way that could put you on the defensive if you hadn’t anticipated the question. Therefore, you will fare best if you are prepared with an answer that demonstrates your enthusiasm and suitability for the workforce.
If there were special circumstances surrounding your retirement, you should articulate them to yourself before a job interview. There are ways you can downplay employment gaps in your CV, but the employer may still ask you about it. One way to downplay the gaps in the chronology of your work history is to use a different format. The most popular format, next to chronological, involves listing your accomplishments for each job you held, without revealing the dates. However, if you want to list your job history chronologically, it is acceptable to only give the year, not the month, as long as you have worked at the job for more than a year. That hides gaps in your CV of a year or less.
You can try to hide your retirement through clever formatting of your CV, but make sure you spend time highlighting the positive aspects of your credentials as well. First, take stock of every accomplishment you have to offer. Weigh them against what is in demand in today’s job culture. If you are unsure and feel out of the loop, you should do research.
Check out websites for your preferred industry and talk to friends and family members, who are still working, for their input as to what employers want. For example, social networking sites have become huge in the last few years, so it could be helpful to ask your knowledgeable acquaintances what, if any, of the social networking sites their employers use. Also, ask about what online networking tools they have found success with in job hunting. Many people have found success with sites like LinkedIn, and others have had success job hunting with Twitter.
When you know which of your qualifications are current and relevant and you feel more up to speed with the job tools the internet has to offer, it will be good to look at the experience you gained while you were retired. For instance, volunteer work can be cited in work history. You may have honed some skills while volunteering or with your hobbies. If you took computer classes, freelanced, or did consulting you can cite those too.
Many people who return to work after a long hiatus often find that the jobs they used to be suited for may be in short supply. If your skills are not where you would like them to be, consider taking classes or even getting certified. A technical certification can be obtained in a short period of time and if you have any past technical experience, the combination of certification and experience will look very impressive together.
When you are putting together a CV after coming out of retirement, don’t let yourself be discouraged. Remember that you were able to retire in the first place and that you have a lot of experience and wisdom to offer employers. If you miss your old job but you are afraid your skills might not be up to par in the new working world, it’s never too late to get some more training. The internet makes information widely available and cheap to everyone. There has never been a better time to enter the workplace, even if it’s your second time.