A skills based CV focuses on skills and achievements instead of employment history. It is very different from a traditional chronological CV. Skills based CV is best suited when:
- You have limited or no previous working experience. It is a great choice for students and fresh graduates.
- You are seeking a new career path or have decided to make a career transition.
- You have considerable time gaps in your career.
- You have previously held roles that are very skills driven and want to focus on your accomplishments.
- You are at an advanced stage in your career and a chronological CV seems very basic for your profile.
In such cases, the previous experience does not hold much relevance and hence, the skills based CV is used to divert the employer’s focus towards skills and achievements to give the applicant a better chance at being shortlisted. Many suitable candidates are not shortlisted as their CV is unable to portray their skills effectively. A skills based CV helps you by focusing on what the employers want. It is tailored as per the skills mentioned in the job description, hence, giving you the edge over other applicants.
Follow the below steps in order to create a powerful skills based CV:
1. Write an engaging introduction: Start off with a personal statement that describes your suitability to the job and how you can add value to the organization. It should be written in a very impressive manner else the chances are the employer might not continue reading the rest of your CV. It is recommended to write your CV from a third person’s point of view rather than a first person narrative.
2. Move on to the skills: Before you begin writing a skills based CV, read the job description very carefully and make note of the top skills required by the employer and arrange them in order of importance. These will now form sub headings under your skills section. Describe your experience under each skill using examples. Here you do not need to mention where the experience was gained. Simply focus on your skills and how you are able to apply them in real life situations. Make sure you include transferable skills such as team management, leadership and communication. These skills are applicable to all roles and are especially useful when you are applying for a different career path.
4. Include accomplishments: Accomplishments should be related to the target job position. Avoid including irrelevant achievements such as winning contests at work or college as employers have no concern with those. Accomplishments in the field of your job and those that have benefitted your team are the ones that the employers will be interested in. Start by describing the situation at hand, followed by the action taken and then make sure you write the end result as well. This will give a clear picture in the employer’s mind. Accomplishments are a great way to prove your skills.
3. Briefly mention career history and education: After you have finished discussing your skills, you can then give a brief employment history. No need to include job roles here as you should have already covered the details in the skills sections. Just mention the employer name, job title and job period. Omitting this section completely can make your future employers suspicious. Therefore, career history has to be included although briefly. Finally list down your education details along with relevant training or coursework that you may have done.
A professional CV writer can help you draft a skills based CV if you are not sure how to make one for yourself. A skills based CV may not be suitable for all jobs so make sure you also keep a traditional version of your CV. A skills based CV is also not suitable for CV distribution services such as submitting to job boards and so on. It is a highly targeted CV and should be used only when approaching an employer directly for a specific job.