Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a CV During COVID-19

December 13, 2020

If you’re out of work due to the impact of COVID-19, you may be searching for jobs that are available now. Starting a job search can feel overwhelming, especially given the current circumstances. There are, however, several steps you can take to give yourself the best opportunity for success. One of the most important things you can do is update or create your CV. In this article, we will discuss the best ways to create a CV employers will notice as we weather the impact of the coronavirus.

To upload your CV on Indeed, visit my.indeed.com/resume. You can also now add #readytowork to your Indeed CV summary to indicate your immediate availability to employers who are hiring. Read on to learn more.

The importance of updating and tailoring your CV

As you search for jobs during COVID-19, it's likely that you'll find opportunities either in the essential workforce or remote jobs (even if only temporarily) as the country practises social distancing. As you search for new positions, it's critical that you update your CV such that your background and experience align with the positions you’re looking for now. To give yourself the best chance of standing out in the candidate pool, it's also important to tailor your CV for each job you apply for, prioritising key skills and strengths as they relate to each specific job and employer.

This practice is especially important if you’re looking for job titles or industries that you haven’t worked in before. For example, if you were a flight attendant and cannot find another flight attendant job in the short term, you might be looking for other jobs that align with your skills and interests. While you may not have experience in those specific job titles, you can prioritise the transferable skills on your CV that make you a great candidate.

How to write a CV during COVID-19

As you seek job opportunities during COVID-19, consider the following practices to create a CV that will stand out to employers under the current circumstances:
1. Review your CV format and adjust it if necessary

  1. Update or write a CV summary or objective
  2. Review the job description
  3. Explain your impact as it relates to the job
  4. Make your CV easy to read
  5. Upload your CV to Indeed with #readytowork

1. Review your CV format and adjust it if necessary

If you already have a CV, you might be using a standard chronological format. This format is useful when you have three to five years of experience in the same job title and industry. If you’re searching for other jobs and industries you haven’t worked in the past, it might be helpful to consider a functional or combination CV format. These format types prioritise your relevant skills as opposed to your professional experience, which may be more useful information for employers when assessing your suitability for the job.

Functional CV

2. Update or write a CV summary or objective

Including a CV summary or objective can be especially useful during these times to provide additional context about your background and situation. A CV summary is a brief statement about your skills, impact and experience and is appropriate for people with at least a year of relevant professional experience. A CV objective is a statement about your short- and long-term goals and may be more appropriate for new graduates or people seeking to change jobs or industries.

It might help to slightly alter the tone and verbiage of your objective or summary to point out the ways your skills and experience will benefit the organisation during this time – for example, exquisite customer service, flexibility and adaptability, and eagerness to work in essential roles.

Here are a few CV summary examples that provide context around the COVID-19 job search:

  • Self-motivated university graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and critical experience in learning technology.
  • Energetic community outreach manager experienced in creating and completing outreach programmes in urban communities.
  • Organised dental office associate with seven years of experience maintaining effective client schedules, billing policies and office workflows.

Here are a few CV objective examples that provide context around the COVID-19 job search:

  • Organised and accomplished flight attendant seeking jobs in customer service to exercise a passion for providing an exceptional customer experience. Proven history of positively affecting flight and pre-flight satisfaction rates by 15%.
  • Motivated arts graduate and aspiring fashion buyer with advanced communication skills seeking to grow my knowledge of the couture industry with online retail jobs available now.
  • Accomplished human resources professional seeking to leverage extensive knowledge of employee relations, business and internal communications in a customer-focused position that works directly with clients and ensures a positive experience.

3. Review the job description

One of the most important steps you can take when creating or updating a CV is to review the job description for the positions you’re applying for. Doing so can help you understand what the employer is looking for in a candidate, and therefore tailor your CV to prioritise and emphasise those skills, qualities and experiences. Look for keywords under sections such as 'requirements', 'education requirements', 'key skills' and 'qualifications'. Place those that align with your background toward the top of your CV so it's easy for employers to find. Weave other keywords throughout your CV, including your professional experience, education and skills sections.

For example, if the job description for an executive assistant says they are looking for a candidate with skills in 'accuracy and attention to detail', you might make one of your experience bullet points read this way: 'Reduced spending on office supplies by 15% with new inventory process by exercising accuracy and attention to detail'.

4. Explain your impact as it relates to the job

On any CV, it's critical that you draw clear connections from your previous accomplishments to the job you’re applying for. The easier you make it for employers to understand the impact you can make in the role, the more likely you are to stand out from the candidate pool. If you're working in a coronavirus-affected industry and you're seeking opportunities in another field, highlight what skills and experience you have that can translate to another position. For example, if you have strong time management skills, consider explaining how you can use this skill in a variety of industries and how it's beneficial to a remote position.

Here’s another example: if you're a flight attendant applying for roles in customer service, you should prioritise and explain the impact you made in your past jobs with your customer service skills. In practice, your professional experience section may look something like this:

RIVER AIR
Flight Attendant Lead | 2015–2020

  • Improved customer satisfaction scores by over 20% throughout tenure by continuously planning and implementing service changes.
  • Trained and mentored over 45 new flight attendants, providing training in customer service skills, emergency management and safety standards.
  • Coordinated in-flight response and air-to-ground communications to resolve customer emergencies.

5. Make your CV easy to read

Because employers typically only have six seconds to review each CV, it's important that they're able to find key information quickly. To accomplish this, make sure your CV is formatted correctly in the following ways:

  • Try to keep your CV to one page by removing outdated (jobs older than 10 years) or irrelevant information
  • Try to use 1.27 cm to 2.54 cm document margins
  • Select a plain and professional font such as Arial or Helvetica
  • Make your font size 10 to 12 points if possible (anything smaller may be difficult to read and larger may appear unprofessional or distracting)

You should also be sure to prioritise the information on your CV as it relates to the position, for example:

  • Include your years of experience in your CV summary if it aligns with the employer’s requirements – this can be years of experience with a certain skill or in a specific job or industry
  • Place your skills section near the top of your CV if the employer emphasises specific soft or hard skills in the job description such as proficiency with certain software programs or advanced customer service skills
  • Place your skills section above your professional experience section if you are changing jobs or industries
  • Place your education section near the top of your CV if you are a recent graduate with little professional experience. Place it near the bottom of your CV if you have at least two years of professional experience. With over five years of experience, you can remove your attendance dates, grades and other less relevant information.

6. Upload your CV to Indeed with #readytowork

To easily apply for jobs, upload or create an Indeed CV. When set to 'public', employers are able to locate your profile on Indeed and contant you with relevant job opportunities. You can also now add a #readytowork tag to your Indeed CV summary to alert hiring employers of your immediate availability. You can remove the hashtag at any time when you edit your CV summary.

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