toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

May 04, 2010

what’s a CV?

Tahlia is 43 and now that her children are grown up enough to look after themselves she is enthusiastic and excited about returning to work and being able to build up a nest egg.

Putting the kids through school cost Tahlia and her husband a lot more money than they had expected.

"We have very little saved for our retirement," explains Tahlia, "so I'm eager to get back to work, make some money and start a savings plan to make up for lost time."

"I don't mind what type of work I do -- which is a great plus in my favor," says Tahlia, "but I'm having a lot of trouble finding work."

For starters, Tahlia had no idea that she would need a resume or a CV -- a
curriculum vitae -- in order to apply for a job. She thought only school leavers, starting their first job, needed to carry around a portfolio of their qualifications and references.

"The last time I worked, nobody needed a resume," says Tahlia, "and it infuriates me that I have to document my life on paper in order to apply for an ordinary old job."

Her problem is made worse by the fact that she has only done voluntary work in the past twenty years -- most of which was associated with various stages of her children's development.

Tahlia has the same problem as school-leavers -- most of whom have never worked, not even in a voluntary capacity -- and because Tahlia does have work experience in a voluntary capacity her resume is really not going to be much different from that of somebody who has been in paid employment for the past twenty years.

When Tahlia sat down to document her skills and the various community organizations she had worked for in a voluntary capacity over the past twenty years, the list was formidable.

"There was nothing that I hadn't done, or didn't have the capacity to do," laughs Tahlia. "But employers aren't interested in what anybody did twenty years ago, let alone five years ago, so my main objective is to concentrate on skills and voluntary work experience of the past two years."

Unfortunately, Tahlia hadn't done much voluntary work in the past two years, so she wracked her brains about other things she had done and realized that she had helped a lot of people with their taxation returns.

"From what I've read in the job ads," says Tahlia, "knowledge of accountancy and being able to understand complicated tax laws are skills that are in high demand, so I needed to stretch them out to the max."

"I gained earth science qualifications after I left school," confides Tahlia, "but such qualifications are far too old to be valid in today's world."

"I know that lots of how-to-get-a-job books say that even old qualifications have some value in that people who have applied themselves to gaining a qualification are seen as dedicated, organized and literate," says Tahlia, "but I don't think that's relevant advice for return to work moms."

"After I gain some work experience I hope to use my qualifications in a more professional resume in order to get a position more in keeping with my worth," confides Tahlia, "but until then I'm concentrating on finding a job -- any job -- and for this I just need a basic resume."

"The basic resume is just for basic unskilled jobs," explains Tahlia. "In it, I'm accentuating my people skills and mentioning my accountancy skills as icing. I don't expect to get a job as an accountancy clerk straight off, but I might get a foot in the door of an accountancy firm as a receptionist or administration assistant."

No matter what sort of job Tahlia gets -- in a shop, factory or office -- she appreciates that her ability to get along with people is paramount because she will inevitably be the first point of contact with customers. Most entry level, low paying jobs, are going to be in the customer service field.

"I gear my basic resume to whatever type of job I'm applying for," explains Tahlia. "For instance, if it is a customer service representative position, then I put telephone and communication skills at the top of the list and accentuate them. If it is a factory position, then I accentuate my manual dexterity and even my stamina!"

"If it's general office work, then I put typing right at the top of my skills list and fudge my typing speed," laughs Tahlia. "I can't type more than 35 wpm but most people are slow at typing when they first return to work and employers should understand that. Nobody is going to notice my slow typing and with daily practice I'll probably end up doing 100 wpm!"

Once Tahlia got her basic resume typed and started applying for jobs, she was thrilled to pieces!

"I had wasted so much time fumbling around looking for jobs without knowing what I was doing," sighs Tahlia. "It really makes a difference when you can call yourself a well-organized job seeker!"

She's a great communicator and has a good attitude and she should have little difficulty finding a basic job.

"It may not be the type of job that I want to do for the next twenty years of my working life," laughs Tahlia, "but it will be a start, paying money and that, after all, is my basic motivating factor for getting back to work."

"Money, money, money! I want tons of it for our retirement."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Copyright 2006-2014 all rights reserved Toxic Jobs



Index A-Z Toxic Jobs and Workplace Woes

Previous 10 Stories