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Energize your CV/cover letter with these tips

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CV/Cover Letter Writing Tips: Experience never gets old

Written by Karin Lee June 23 2020

A mid-career job seeker recently sent their CV and cover letter to me for editing and feedback.

In case you didn’t know, ‘mid-career’ or ‘late-career’ are terms used for people who have been on the planet for awhile – because we don’t use the word ‘old’ to describe them.

This is because ‘old’ is a loaded word, isn’t it? Implying that someone has become tired and lacks energy. That someone shouldn’t be hired for these reasons.

(This kind of thinking is, of course, ageism – which means discriminating against someone because of their age, which is not only not fair – it’s not legal. As am sure you already knew.)

Yet even though I’m sure my client absolutely didn’t want to appear as a tired and low-energy applicant, the words and way they put together their application made that impression on me at first glance.

Job listing after job listing going back twenty-odd years…course after course going back the same amount of time with content that had become outdated and irrelevant…phrases like ‘Was responsible for’ and ‘Main tasks included’ and the like.

There was no energy in their writing, and just reading through it made me feel – yes – tired and old.

There was no energy in their writing, and just reading through it made me feel – yes – tired and old.

Not the way to go. How to improve? A few tips came to mind, which I wrote in my reply:

  • make your CV/cover letter as active as possible by using action verbs to show what you’ve accomplished on the job, ones like ‘created, innovated, implemented’
  • if you’ve been involved in any new process, new system, new technology in your career, show this by writing about your role in whatever was new
  • similarly, show how you’ve adapted and changed throughout your career by using action verbs like ‘learned, attained’ etc. to show how you moved forward in it
  • use a heading like ‘Relevant Work History’ and then list only the jobs you’ve had that are relevant to the one you’re applying for
  • in the Summary section under your name, explain briefly what kind of job you’re looking for, why you want it and what you can bring to it

A lot to take in for this job seeker? And maybe for you, too?

Sure is. Writing isn’t easy, and writing about ourselves sure isn’t, either.

But if we can bring the energy we do to our job to our writing about our wanting to find a job, we can go after new opportunities with the confidence that combining our energy with our experience never gets old – and what employer wouldn’t want that person on their payroll?

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