In last week’s Budget, it was announced £5m will go on schemes to help women return to work after long career breaks.
In a move that’s long overdue, but way short of what’s needed, these ‘returnship’ schemes help mostly women – and some men – resume their careers, often after caring for children, though sometimes for other reasons too. But it’s most definitely more needed for women, as we’re still predominantly responsible for staying home to look after the kids (come on, guys!).
The starting point in getting back to work after raising your family is to rewrite your CV. Here are my tips to get you up to date, explain your career break and get your CV generating job interviews.
Tip 1 – Beat the ATS
A big change if you have been out of the market for a while is the Applicant Tracking System or ATS. Most organisations and 99.9% of recruiters now use an ATS (recruitment database) – 80% of jobs advertised online use it so it has a huge impact.
Firstly, it screens for a role. So before your CV even gets in front of a human being, it has to get past the computer sniff test – the ATS gives your CV a % score against the advert. A high score gets to a human, a low score gets rejected.
It also works as a searchable database. This means you MUST get the right key words in the right places, or you will be stuck in cyberspace. Your CV won’t even be seen by a bona-fide person, it will just be rejected outright.
To make it tougher, an ATS cannot normally read data in a table, text box or PDF. If this applies to you – change it. Navigate the ATS to get results.
Tip 2 – Title
What are you? Under your name and contact details, give yourself a professional title.
If you performed your target role before then title it that way. Marketing Manager, HR Director, Business Analyst. If you’ve never had this job title, then ‘Seeking: Project Manager’ or ‘Returnship Programme Candidate’ will work. This immediately aligns you with your target role in the mind of the recruiter.
Tip 3 – Make a Tasty Career Break…