The article that Michelle Dewberry wrote for this issue is pure gold, so many of us struggle to write a CV and here she has summed up for us how to make ours stand out from the crowd…
How to make your CV sparkle…
Don’t ignore the skills section on your CV, say Michelle. It can make yours stand out from the crowd…
Every week dozens of you email me to ask how can you improve your CV. One of the most common questions is : ‘How can I sell myself more effectively?’ One great way to make sure your CV gets noticed is to included a dedicated section for ‘skills’. Obviously your education and recent employment history speak about who we are, but explaining your leadership, IT, or practical skills in more detail will make your CV stand out. To get an interview, every section needs to be strong to keep employers reading until the end. So although the skills part bit might be further down your two-page CV, here’s how to make it sparkle…
Identify your strengths
It amazes me how many people are negative about themselves and say, ‘But I don’t have any skills to put on my CV!’ Even when you’re trying to make your first career move, you’ll have lots of qualities you can transfer to any workplace. Start by thinking about what you do in your spare time. It might be that you helped your mum at a car – boot sale every Saturday. On your CV, explain that you have to be punctual, organised and able to promote your goods. You might also have to adjust your prices depending on the weather and how many other sellers there are on the day, all great skills that are the basis for a job in sales or retail.
Speak to your reader
Unlike other parts of your CV, the skills section is an area where you can speak to a potential employer. Don’t use bullet points. Pick four key skills and write a sentence about each. You must demonstrate why you have these abilities. If you have leadership skills, explain what you’ve done that backs up your point. You might be a team leader on Saturdays at a youth club or have led others in a presentation. If that’s the case, say so.
Bosses have seen the words ‘I’m a team player’ or ‘I have excellent organisational skills’ written a gazillion times. Avoid these – they aren’t selling your personal skills. All jobs require you to work with others, so being a ‘team player’ is a given. If your explaining the context as I’ve advised above, then this will help you avoid obvious phrases.
Make it relevant
You might be a world champion beatboxer, but if you’re applying for a job as a chartered surveyor, that’s not going to help you get the job. Every time you apply for a different role with a different employer, try to tweak your CV to make it as applicable to the specific job as possible.
It’s not all about work
Lot’s of your abilities will be gained outside your workplace. When I got a job working for Sky News’s breakfast show, I wanted to boost my knowledge of politics and history. So I went and did a Saturday course that covered how parliament works and the history of women’s rights. My employer hadn’t asked for this, but it made me feel confident when talking about current affairs.
Get some new skills
You should always be looking to find ways to add to your skill bank. For example, volunteering for a charity that means something to you is deeply fulfilling. You’re giving something back, but you will also be gaining wider experience you can add to your CV, particularly when you commit to volunteering on a regular basis.
(Please Note: The information is from the More Magazine article ‘How to make your CV Sparkle’ By Michelle Dewberry’ in Issue 7th January 2013, I did not write this!)
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