Five ways a CV writer can help you return to work after a career break

, career guides


If you've got 'get new job' on your to-do list and you don't know where to start, your CV is a great place to kick everything off. Victoria McLean, founder and CEO of award-winning career consultancy City CV, shares why you might want to consider a CV writer to ensure your job search is a success.

Are you about to embark on ‘Project Back to Work’? I know it can feel daunting. But, as with any other big project, it helps to break the process down into smaller, more manageable steps. 

Many people returning to work after a career break struggle with getting back into a positive workplace-focused mindset. Before they even start the job search process, they’re questioning if their skills and expertise are still relevant. If they’ve tentatively started emailing a CV off to job boards and recruiters only to be ignored, it can be even more dispiriting. 

My first piece of advice is: don’t despair. My second is: invest in a professional CV writer. Why? We all use experts to write for us at some point – for legal contracts, financial planning reports or marketing websites – so a CV writer should be your go-to expert for your career marketing documents. 

A good CV writer has the skills and tools to guide you through the practical steps you need to take to find a suitable role. Although returning to work is a challenge for most people, with patience, persistence and the right support it is possible. 

Here are five more reasons why I believe a professional CV writer is one of the best investments you can make if you’re looking to return to work after a career break. 

1. Your CV writer/consultant will help you get your work identity back

Even highly capable and experienced professionals can suffer a crisis of confidence after an extended career break. But a consultation with a CV writer will help you really nail down your specific strengths and skills. They’ll be asking you questions such as, ‘how did that job make you feel?’ ‘what did you enjoy/dislike about that role? and ‘what made you so good at that particular function or project?’

This approach gives our clients a real boost to their self-belief. They spend an hour and a half with a consultant drawing out their unique strengths. It serves as a great reminder of what they have to offer.

2. Your CV will stand out from the competition and beat the CV robots

CVs getting lost in a ‘big black hole’ is probably the biggest source of frustration for all job seekers, not just career returners. Recruiters are frequently faced with hundreds of CVs for each job opening and the research suggests you only have about six seconds to make an impact with your CV. But, don’t despair because a professional CV writer can add value here.

A high-impact CV is much more than a list of your education, professional qualifications and employment history. Your CV is your sales pitch. And, probably the most important and potentially lucrative marketing document you are ever likely to create. 

Almost all recruiters and large companies now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These algorithms scan for keywords in CVs and reject those that don’t meet their criteria. A CV writer is trained to research relevant keywords and include them in your CV in a way that sounds natural and professional.

Our CV writers are experts at summing up what you offer to an employer, in a few key sentences and bullet points that you feel comfortable with. When your CV is written in a compelling and dynamic way, it can give you access to multiple opportunities and should deliver exactly what it is designed for – an open door to the interview room. 

3. Your CV will be precisely targeted to the role, industry or function you’re aiming for

A good CV writer will never sell you a generic, one-size-fits-all CV. They’ll use their industry specific knowledge and take the time to get to know you, your long-term career ambitions and short-term objectives. They’ll also dig deep into what makes you special; what are your unique talents, skills and value proposition?

They’ll make sure your CV positions you as the perfect candidate for a specific role or industry. It is about understanding what the employer is looking for and what their pain-points are. And, then selling you as the best person to help solve them. 

4. Your CV will be achievement focused 

When summing up your career history, most candidates just list their responsibilities. But, it’s more compelling to state your key achievements and transferable skills using powerful words that will capture attention. And, provide evidence to back up your claims. 

This also applies to your career break. Caring, voluntary work, freelancing, setting up a micro business, travelling, house renovation – whatever you’ve done in your break remember you’re now bringing maturity, new skills, perspective and energy to the workplace. That is hugely valuable and should help to address any self-doubts you may be feeling. 

5. You’ll save a huge amount of time – and will recoup your investment ten-fold

You’re no doubt already juggling numerous responsibilities and time is a scarce resource. It simply isn’t possible to compile a convincing CV in a couple of hours. It takes us around six to eight hours to create each CV, and we do it all the time.

Even getting the basics right takes time. According to a nationwide survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), 47% of recruiters said that over half the CVs they receive contain spelling and grammar mistakes. 98% of recruiters will reject on two errors or more. Many also fall-down on other basics such as layout and difficult-to-read typefaces. All our CVs are checked and proofread at least twice to ensure these common errors don’t occur. More importantly, our rigorously trained writers are experts in this sector and use a unique, effective strategy  to create a keyword-rich, compelling narrative that clearly demonstrates your value and why your future employer needs ‘you’ in their team.

Whatever your return to work plans – a returnship, employment or a contract role – the decision to interview or reject your applications is often purely made on the strength of your CV. A professional CV consultation is also an opportunity for you to get clear on your unique offer. That’s going to boost your confidence when you’re networking, building your social media presence, going to interviews and negotiating the terms of your new job offer.

If you’d like to chat to City CV about getting back into the world of work give them a call on 020 7100 6656.

Or join one of our fantastic FREE webinars to get your job search off to a great start.