If you want to bag a top job following a career break, you must start by writing an interview-winning CV.
So, we have created an example Career Break CV to inspire you, along with detailed guidance on how to create your own professional CV, that will hook recruiters and get you hired.
- Career Break CV example
- CV layout and format
- Your CV profile
- Work experience
- Education section
Career Break CV example
This example CV demonstrates how to structure and format your own CV following a career break, so that it can be easily digested by busy hiring managers, and quickly prove why you are the best candidate for the jobs you are applying to.
It also gives you a good idea of the type of skills, experience and qualifications that you need to be making prominent in your own CV.
Career Break CV layout and format
Think your CV is just about the content within it? Think again.
Your CV needs to look professional and be easy for recruiters to read, meaning the structure and format of your CV are just as important as the written content within it.
Facilitate ease of reading by using a simple structure which allows anybody to easily navigate your experience.
- Length: Recruiters will be immediately put off by lengthy CVs – with hundreds of applications to read through, they simply don’t have the time! Grabbing their attention with a short, snappy and highly relevant CV is far more likely to lead to success. Aim for two sides of A4 or less.
- Readability: Help out time-strapped recruiters by formatting your CV for easy reading. Using lots of bullet points and lists will help them to skim through your info, while clearly formatted headings will allow them to navigate towards the content which is most useful to them.
- Design: Don’t waste time adding fancy designs to your CV. It generally adds no value to your application and may even end up distracting recruiters away from the important written content.
- Avoid photos: Don’t add photos, images or profile photos to your CV. Not only do they take up much-needed CV space, but they’re actually completely unnecessary and won’t boost your CV at all.
When writing your own CV, break up your CV content into the following key sections:
- Name and contact details – Place them at the top of your CV, so that employers can easily get in touch.
- CV profile – A punchy sales pitch of your key experience, skills and achievements to reel readers in.
- Core skills section – A bullet-pointed snapshot of your abilities.
- Work experience – A well-structured list of your relevant work experience.
- Education – An overview of any relevant qualifications or professional training you have.
- Hobbies and interests – A short description of any relevant hobbies or interests (optional).
Now I’ll tell you exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Start off your CV with a basic list of your contact details.
Here’s what you should include:
- Mobile number
- Email address – It’s often helpful to make a new email address, specifically for your job applications.
- Location – Share your town or city; there’s no need for a full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Make sure the information on them is coherent with your CV, and that they’re up-to-date
Quick tip: Delete excessive details, such as your date of birth or marital status. Recruiters don’t need to know this much about you, so it’s best to save the space for your other CV sections.
Career Break CV Profile
Grab the reader’s attention by kick-starting your CV with a powerful profile (or personal statement, if you’re a junior applicant).
This is a short introduction paragraph which summarises your skills, knowledge and experience.
It should paint you as the perfect match for the job description and entice recruiters to read through the rest of your CV.
Tips for creating an strong CV profile:
- Keep it concise: Recruiters have piles of CVs to read through and limited time to dedicate to each, so it pays to showcase your abilities in as few words as possible. 3-4 lines is ideal.
- Tailor it: No matter how much time you put into your CV profile, it won’t impress if it’s irrelevant to the role you’re applying for. Before you start writing, make a list of the skills, knowledge and experience your target employer is looking for. Then, make sure to mention them in your CV profile and throughout the rest of your application.
- Don’t add an objective: Leave your career objectives or goals out of your profile. You only have limited space to work with, so they’re best suited to your cover letter.
- Avoid cliches: Clichés like “blue-sky thinker with a go-getter attitude” might sound impressive to you, but they don’t actually tell the recruiter much about you. Concentrate on highlighting hard facts and skills, as recruiters are more likely to take these on board.
Example CV profile following a Career Break
office administration duties alongside being skilled at using Microsoft Office, SharePoint and file management software. I am now returning to work following a period of absence travelling overseas to support with the building of an orphanage and clean water supply in Africa.
What to include in your Career Break CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Start with a brief summary of your relevant experience so far. How many years experience do you have? What type of companies have you worked for? What industries/sectors have you worked in? What are your specialisms?
- Relevant skills: Highlight your skills which are most relevant to your chosen jobs, to ensure that recruiters see your most in-demand skills as soon as they open your CV.
- Essential qualifications: Be sure to outline your relevant qualifications, so that anyone reading the CV can instantly see you are qualified for the jobs you are applying to.
Quick tip: Your CV is your first impression on recruiters, so it’s vital to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes if you want to appear professional. Use our partner’s CV builder to add pre-written content that has been crafted by recruitment experts.
Core skills section
Next, you should create a bullet pointed list of your core skills, formatted into 2-3 columns.
Here, you should focus on including the most important skills or knowledge listed in the job advertisement.
This will instantly prove that you’re an ideal candidate, even if a recruiter only has time to briefly scan your CV.
Work experience/Career history
Recruiters will be itching to know more about your relevant experience by now.
Kick-start this section with your most recent (or current) position, and work your way backwards through your history.
You can include voluntary and freelance work, too – as long as you’re honest about the nature of the work.
Structuring your roles
Lengthy, unbroken chunks of text is a recruiters worst nightmare, but your work experience section can easily end up looking like that if you are not careful.
To avoid this, use my tried-and-tested 3-step structure, as illustrated below:
Start with a solid introduction to your role as a whole, in order to build some context.
Explain the nature of the organisation you worked for, the size of the team you were part of, who you reported to and what the overarching purpose of your job was.
Follow with a snappy list of bullet points, detailing your daily duties and responsibilities.
Tailor it to the role you’re applying for by mentioning how you put the target employer’s desired hard skills and knowledge to use in this role.
Round up each role by listing 1-3 key achievements, accomplishments or results.
Wherever possible, quantify them using hard facts and figures, as this really helps to prove your value.
Next up, you should list your education and qualifications.
This can include your formal qualifications (a degree, A-Levels and GCSEs), as well as sector-specific qualifications and/or training.
While school leavers and recent grads should include a lot of detail here to make up for the lack of work experience, experienced candidates may benefit from a shorter education section, as your work experience section will be more important to recruiters.
Interests and hobbies
Although this is an optional section, it can be useful if your hobbies and interests will add further depth to your CV.
Interests which are related to the sector you are applying to, or which show transferable skills like leadership or teamwork, can worth listing.
On the other hand, generic hobbies like “going out with friends” won’t add any value to your application, so are best left off your CV.
Writing your Career Break CV
Creating a strong CV following a career break requires a blend of punchy content, considered structure and format, and heavy tailoring.
By creating a punchy profile and core skills list, you’ll be able to hook recruiter’s attention and ensure your CV gets read.
Remember that research and relevance is the key to a good CV, so research your target roles before you start writing and pack your CV with relevant skills.
Best of luck with your next application!