Experience, but no qualifications

Despite having no formal qualifications, I grew with the hotel chain I joined at 17, becoming a sales manager, and eventually an area sales director. Now that we’ve been taken over, I’ve been let go. I have no idea how to start with my CV – if it’s all about what exams I’ve got, it’s going to look rather bare!

You have had an amazing learning journey that’s stretched over 20 years, so your CV certainly isn’t going to be bare, just different. And different is OK. A CV isn’t about exams, it’s is all about making a connection with the person who’s going to hire you.

Go back through your career, highlighting particular times when you learned a lot. How did you learn to run budgets, manage teams, set targets, win customers? What were the stand-out times in your career that you’ll never forget? What qualities did those times bring out in you? In addition, make a list of all your training, whether formal courses or on-the-job.

Most people evidence what they learned and how they were tested by showing exam passes, so your work and training records will need to do double time, illustrating how you learned the things you needed to know, and how your key skills were tested and proven in the field. Include real figures – revenues vs target, growth, sales units, team sizes, time frames – wherever you can.

You certainly shouldn’t let your lack of qualifications hold you up in your job search, but if you still have most of your career ahead of you it might be worth at least looking into whether getting some would further your ambitions. Start with your most relevant trade or professional association, and also take the advice of a professional recruiter who specialises in your trade.

September 13th, 2009 | Category: CV, unemployment | No Comments »

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