A few months ago, whilst I was flicking through Mumsnet, I saw a job that suited me down to the ground: in advocacy on something I am passionate about. As it was pretty flexible and suitable for “Returning Mums”, I was quite tempted to apply (though I hasten to add, I am happy being an unemployed housewife raising my 17-year-old, writing books and running 35kms a week on some of the most stunning beaches in the world).

Of course, the job called for a CV. And that was the deal-breaker for me: I did not have an up-to-date CV, and it would be too rude to tell prospective employers, “Please go to my website”.  By the time I thought about sitting down to update my CV, the closing date had passed by.

Thus, a couple of days ago, I decided to sit down and update my CV.  I am soooo rusty in this department, because it has been over a decade since I had to apply for a job.  I couldn’t find my old CV and I had to start from scratch; having to remember the dates of my schools was a chore in itself (tracking down and scanning 33-year-old certificates was even worse).

Things have moved on since I last applied for jobs, so I decided to browse around and see what’s “in”. Good news, still the same: keep it clean and simple.

The layout – forget fancy stuff that doesn’t translate well in e-documents.  Keep it simple with clear headings.

The typeface – don’t get adventurous. Times New Roman, Calibri and Cambria.

The font size – 11 is the smallest!

Use active language. And make every word count. Ensure that you don’t ramble on.

Contact details on every page.

And this is the funny bit. I decided to send my CV to one of those companies that offer CV writing (basic package £70 and goes up to over £200) for a “free” assessment.  OMG, what a joke!  Apparently, they have a system called Applicant Tracking System and this was what the glorious system pulled out:

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This was hilarious, because I have never claimed to know anything about Information Technology (managing this blog is challenging enough for me) and as for LINUX and UNIX, I would have better luck writing a thesis in Swahili.  As for engineering, does figuring out how the electric oven works found as exposure?  “Low-level position” is absolutely spot-on though….that’s my current job!!!!!

So this is what I have learned. Don’t get conned into paying for something that probably is not required.  Just focus on the basics. Did mine in under two hours, on word, three pages long, Times New Roman, font size 12!

Happy CV-ing!