How to Write a CV after Having Been Out of Work for a Long Time

July 13, 2014 • In search of self

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) can mean the difference between you being considered for a job or being jobless for an even longer time. One of the challenges some people face is getting back into the workforce after being unemployed for a long time.  If you are one of these persons, you may be wondering how you can decorate your CV. The following tips can help you to add some substance to your CV that can hopefully help you land a job interview.

Include Volunteer Work

Human Resource (HR) managers and other interviewers hate seeing empty years on an applicant’s resume.  The first question that comes to their minds is “Why should I hire this person who has done nothing for so long?” Instead of giving them a reason to throw your CV into the unwanted pile, you can fill in the gaps. Volunteer work adds depth to your CV. So, never neglect to include any volunteer work you have done during your down period. Probably you assisted with work at your local Soup Kitchen. Maybe you assisted at a local homework center. Whatever it is, ensure you include it.

Include Freelance Work

Also, during those down years there must have been something that you were doing to earn some cash. Regardless of how menial the task, include it in your CV. A general heading that you could use is “freelancing”. Under the heading you would describe the responsibilities you undertook for each freelancing assignment. Even if your freelancing work was arbitrary, there must be a way for you to coherently write it on paper.

Include Leadership Roles You Have Played

If you are an active member of your church or community, you should include all of the roles you have played. All executive positions are important. For each role you have played, write a description of the responsibilities you undertook. For instance, I included my role as Deputy Hall Chairperson for Rex Nettleford Hall because my job entailed managing 800 people. This role has been a strong selling point for me when I have gone on job interviews.

Include Certifications and Educational Achievements

Although this point is obvious, I have stated it because it is very important. If you have gained any certification or furthered your education in any way during your down period, you should include it. It doesn’t matter if the certification is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. What is important is that it shows that you have done something to advance yourself. Also, don’t forget to include the years in which you go these certifications.

Don’t Underplay the Importance of the Cover Letter

Your cover letter is the first thing that the HR manager will see. It is your selling point. Therefore, you should explain what unique qualities you bring to the job and what makes you the right fit for the job. You have to ensure that you stand out from all of the other applicants. The cover letter should also be grammatically correct and well written. You don’t want to give the HR manager the wrong impression before he or she has even met you.


Being out of the workforce for awhile doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Follow the aforementioned tips and you are bound to make the right impression on a potential employer.


Christine is both a blogger and author who has a passion for inspiring others. She is the author of “Becoming the Best You-Ten Pressure Points that Lead to a Successful Life” that is available on Amazon, the iBookstore, and You can visit her blog at this link

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