CV Clinic – February 2012
This month in our latest CV clinic, Lee Tonge – the CV expert behind The CV Store – advises one reader on how to list previous experience in a way that will catch any hiring manager’s attention.
I would like to know if it is necessary to mention all the roles I have done in my CV if I am looking for the Receptionist position? Will I be asked about the gaps on my CV on interview?
Hi, and thanks for your question.
When writing a CV, it is always ideal to target each position individually in line with the job / people spec. In your case, when applying for a Receptionist role, you will need to demonstrate skills, such as: verbal and written communication, organisation and planning, attention to detail, initiative and reliability. Therefore, without knowing your background, there are 2 options available:
1) All of your experience is relevant, but you’ve changed jobs frequently. In this situation, we would advise accentuating your recent reception experiences (up to around 5 years), and then grouping everything else together under a “Previous Experience” heading to prevent you looking like a job hopper
2) You have experience, but not all of it is relevant. Here, you might want to consider the functional CV format. This skills-based layout will allow you to showcase all reception-related skills, while taking the focus away from other details. If using this style, simply break all your skills down into headings, such as, “Communication”, “Administration”, etc., and then include a few bullet points under each to demonstrate how you have gained and used those skills
On the issue of gaps in your CV; the key objective is to prevent your employment background looking unstable. During these gaps, have you been doing any other activities (voluntary work / training, etc)? If you are returning to work in the same industry you were in before you left, demonstrate in your CV how you have maintained your awareness of the industry. Also, try and explain any significant gaps in your covering letter – this will help the reader understand your background better.
Here is an example CV profile for a receptionist you may find useful:
“A resourceful and dedicated Receptionist who utilises exceptional people management skills on a daily basis. Capably handling confidential information with the highest level of discretion, using a robust understanding of departmental goals and objectives to facilitate the management of customer issues and concerns. Combining a professional and confident approach with excellent interpersonal skills and communicating effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds.