Creating your skills story…

A CV tells a story about you and your professional journey to date.

As a student it can be common to have a varied range of work experience, such as part-time jobs, internships, or even placements during your degree. This can mean that your CV can seem quite broken up, with some of the work you did before or during university no longer feeling as relevant to the career you want to pursue now.

But by focusing on the skills you got from these jobs, rather than just the tasks they involved, you can refocus your CV to tell a story about a portfolio of skills you have developed across these different experiences.

Here are three quick ways to try this on your CV:

  1. Start with skills: When describing your work experience, start each bullet point with a skill. Then describe the actions you took in the job that evidenced that skill. Even if you have done lots of different kinds of jobs, you will then be able to highlight the similar skills that connected them. Here are some examples…
  • Written communication: wrote weekly mail outs to inform customers of new services.
  • Teamwork: chaired monthly staff meetings, ensuring that all staff were able to speak and raise their concerns and thoughts.
  • Organisation: updated the online room booking calendar daily on Microsoft Outlook.
  1. Include a profile: Try writing a profile at the top of your CV, which gives potential employers some context about you and highlights the key skills that link together your different experiences. The profile should be short (no more than a couple of sentences) and specific to you, for example…

I am a bilingual BSc Mathematics student, who has developed strong communication skills across a range of customer service jobs, and is now seeking to apply my knowledge of statistics in the public sector.

  1. Use a cover letter: If you have the opportunity, submit a cover letter alongside your CV. On the cover letter you can select the most relevant aspects of your work history and education, to create a narrative about how your previous experience has given you skills to undertake the job for which you are applying. You can find advice on how to structure a cover letter here.

Good luck! And don’t forget you can always book a 1-2-1 appointment with an Application Adviser to get some feedback on your CV, cover letter or application.

Eleanor, Application Adviser


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