Lacking in work experience? Gaps in your CV? Want to change careers? A skills based CV could be for you…
Skills based CVs place an emphasis on your transferable skills, rather than your work history. They’re typically used by those without much practical experience in an industry, people looking to change careers, or jobseekers looking to turn a hobby or passion into a job.
Not sure where to start? Luckily, you don’t need to spend hours reformatting your CV to create one – because we’ve put together a skills based CV template to help inspire you.
Just here for the template? Click the link below:
Your personal statement is the first thing an employer sees, so making it stand out is essential.
It should be short and succinct, providing a brief overview of who you are, what you have to offer, and what you’re looking for. In this CV format, your skills are your biggest selling point – so make sure the most important ones are emphasised in your personal statement.
Additionally, it should be in line with what the employer recruiting for – so tailoring it to each job you apply for is vital.
Skills based CVs are designed to emphasise your attributes, so this section is the key to its effectiveness.
Firstly, use the job description and person specifications to determine which skills will be most valuable to the employer. Then, pick four or five that you can effectively back up through your own experiences.
Although the amount you include is up to you – It’s still important to keep your CV at a length of around two sides of A4. So think about what’s relevant, and choose quality over quantity.
When it comes to demonstrating your skills, including a few bullet points under each will allow you to offer tangible examples to prove how you’ve gained the skills, and put them into practice.
Not only will this help to prove you’re qualified, it’ll also make your CV unique.
How you approach this section is dependent on a few things – one being your own level of experience, and another being the amount of importance an employer places on academic qualifications.
Use these as a guide to ensure your education is reflecting your skills accurately.
For example, if you’ve just finished university and don’t have much work experience – adding extra details such as modules and subjects is a great way to help employers see your suitability. Predicted grades are also a good idea for students looking for graduate roles.
But, if your work experience is more beneficial to the role, and you feel it reflects your skills better – it’s equally OK to provide less detail in your education section.
Stating grades, qualifications, subject names, and dates is usually enough if you want to save space for details elsewhere.
If you’re using a skills based CV format, you might not have a vast amount of recent work experience. So if your education is more reflective of your abilities, you should include that before your employment history.
Because your skills section will be longer than it would be in a traditional CV, this section should be relatively short and to the point. There’s no need to turn one job into an essay just because you’re worried about not having enough experience. That’s what your skills section is for.
Include clear job titles, dates, and descriptions. Then, use bullet points to focus on achievements as well as duties, providing examples for each. Using language such as ‘increased by X%’ will help to quantify your abilities and show a recruiter what you could bring to their business.
If you’re struggling to condense your employment history, only include the most relevant roles.
Hobbies and interests
Remember: you don’t have to include hobbies in your CV.
However, if you do have relevant interests, they can be a great way to boost your skills and prove that you’re passionate about what you do. Especially if you’re lacking in practical experience.
For example, someone applying for a writing role may have their own blog, a graphic designer might design websites for fun, and tech applicants could be expanding their coding knowledge.
Unless an employer states otherwise, it’s absolutely fine to say your references are available on request.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any references prepared.
Speak to family, friends, teachers, or career councillors to ensure you can gather credible ones in advance – and have them to hand when the time comes.
Interviewers won’t hesitate to check your references, so don’t let them hold you back from your dream job.
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