On 13 January 2016, I was invited to be a panellist for the Guardian Careers Q&A on CVs and Cover Letters in 2016. Here I have compiled some of the most pertinent questions and my answers to them. Hope you find them useful. You can find complete discussion here: http://www.theguardian.com/careers/2016/jan/10/new-year-new-start-cv-and-cover-letter-advice-for-2016-live-chat#comment-66743219
Q: Is a LinkedIn profile really necessary? I don’t believe collecting “likes” is essential in being the best candidate.
A: Yes in our age it is critical to have LI profile – your online CV. You may be confusing with facebook as you don’t get likes on LI. You get endorsed and recommended, which are important things for your job applications when somebody in effect is vouching for you and it reinforces your credibility as a professional.
Q: Would you recommend CVs in WORD or PDF format or doesn’t it matter?
A: I suggest always in PDF unless required otherwise. It looks more professional and tidier.
Q: How do you best cover five years away from work raising kids? Maybe put the MBA at the top (pre kids) and then the last job?
A: Yes, this would be one solution and then explaining in your Cover Letter than you have been raising children and perhaps you have volunteered somewhere, written something, learnt a language or anything else that could add value to the CV? Perhaps some Open University course or something similar? If not, don’t worry. I have worked with a number of women in a similar situation who dedicated their whole time to raising kids and simply had no time for any of the above. In this case, just focus on your MBA and the last job and career aspirations you have going forward. Good luck
Q: Last year I was made redundant from a company where I had worked as a library assistant for 12 years. I am now at another college but feel history is repeating in terms of cuts, expectations, no progression etc. I did not go to Uni as I’ve always worked. I’m in my mid thirties and need a change of direction but don’t know where to start?
A: Perhaps it may make sense to take some course in the area that may be of interest to you? Nowadays there are lots of paid for and free online courses available that could add more flavour to your CV and help you change the direction. You should also think and brainstorm about which areas/career paths you may want to explore further and how all your previous experiences and skills feed into these.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to post in the Comments Box and I will aim to respond as soon as possible.