“I’m sorry, you don’t have enough experience.”
Or you don’t have the right experience, or you have too much experience, or somebody else has more relevant experience.
Experience - the recruiters’ best friend when it comes to rejecting CVs that don’t have the right words in the right order.
However, whether you are returning to previous career, changing direction or starting something completely new, there is always a way to make ‘experience’ like you more and force the recruiter or hiring manager to take notice.
If you have decided to continue in the same career, then highlighting your experience may feel pretty straightforward, but this is where most people trip up. We typically see experiences listed with little thought about how relevant they are to the job you are applying for.
Stop and think.
What is the job description asking for and which areas of my experience do I need to highlight?
The other classic mistake is writing a CV like a job description, which is un-inspiring.
Focus on impact instead. Show the impact you’ve had in previous roles by highlighting achievements and using numbers. If you’ve had an impact on previous roles, you’re going to have an impact on this role.
The same is true if you’re thinking about going back to work at a lower level, just make sure you are clear in your Professional Profile about wanting a more junior position.
Demonstrating impact is always important. It builds trust early and makes the interview more straightforward.
If you’re thinking of changing direction or moving into something completely new, there will always be aspects of your experience that you will use in your new career.
Download several job adverts for the career you want to move in to and look at where you have experience or skills in those areas - they could be in your professional or personal life.
Research the industry or function. Try to get some voluntary work-experience (always great to set you apart from others), even 1-2hrs per week can make a difference. If you’re not sure how to do this, drop me a line!
But, as always, sell your experience, demonstrate impact and show recruiters and hiring managers why you are the right person for the job!
And believe this - the right company will look at your experience and see the opportunity. If they say no, they are not the right company and you have dodged a bullet.
If you are worried about showing you have the right experience on your CV or in an interview, relax. You are in the right place.