Most graduates looking for a job don’t use a skills-based CV and this may mean that you don’t get across the skills you offer to a recruiter as well as you might. The most common type is a graduate chronological CV. However this may mean you hide your true potential. So if you believe you have the skills required for a job a skills-based CV might be right for you.
In this article we explain how to create a skills-based CV for a graduate and provide an example CV which you can use as a template for your own.
In this type of CV the focus is on your skills and competencies rather than a chronological history of your education and work experience. This is how you can identify how your skills set and experience matches the requirements of the job. Your career history is kept short and just shows the company, service dates and job role. One thing to be aware of when using a skills-based CV is that recruitment agencies tend not to like them. However employers are generally happy to receive them.
We tell our graduate career coaching clients that an employer will tend to make up their mind about whether you are right for a job after the first two thirds of the first page of your CV. So it is critical you get across the key things that you have to offer on page one. Remember a CV is like a key – its purpose is to open the door for interviews. Not to provide a full life history. So your aim must be to have a sharp and professional CV no longer than two pages. There are some tips on format just before the example CV at the end.
Creating Your Skills Based CV
- Contact Details: At the top of your CV put all your contact details. Make sure you have a professional looking email address – not something like sweet shoes@. The example CV shows you how to lay out your details
- Profile: Your profile is very important it is a communication of what you have to offer an employer and should be tailored to the requirements of the job. Think of it as the three or four messages you want to get across about you. It’s a bit like a personal ‘elevator pitch’. It is this statement that can distinguish you from the competition for a job, so it needs to be written with care. It should be no longer than four or five sentences long. One good way to consider what goes in it is; who you are, what you have to offer and what is the right kind of challenge for you next.
- Creating Your Key Skills: How you do this depends on what you want to achieve with your CV. We advise our career coaching clients that a good start point is to look at the type of job you are looking to get and what the requirements are in adverts. Then use the requirements to form the basis of your headings. Another way to do it is to pick the most relevant headings from a set of typical competencies. There is a list of competencies in our article on competency based interviews. So for instance you might decide to use headings like; communication skills, interpersonal skills, planning and organising, delivering results and budget management for a sales type of role.
- Achievements: As far as possible they should be in a format which includes – what you did/to or with what/with what result. Each statement should start with a good positive action verb such as; developed, implemented, created, designed. Do not use more passive verbs such as; liaised and coordinated. Make each statement an expression of what you achieved not what you did as part of a team.
- Company History: After your Key Skills put in a list of companies and organisations where you have had work experience. In our example below Helen has included her gap years in order to show her people and planning skills. This should be done in the same way as the example CV template.
- Qualifications: Here you should include all qualifications that are relevant to the job. For a fist CV this should include your actual, or expected degree classification, A levels and grades and the number and grades of your GCSEs.
- Not Required: There is no need to include on your CV your age. In the UK it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age. You do not need to include your marital status. We suggest our career coaching clients only include interests if in some way they may be relevant to the application. So reading, music and watching TV is unlikely to be helpful to your application. But if you work for a charitable organisation and this has given you some relevant skills you may want to mention at interview you should include it.
- Use Ariel font 11 or 12
- Make use of bullet points
- Avoid jargon related to your company only
- Use bold for the profile at the start
- Make a margin of 2.5 cm
- Ensure good spacing for maximum impact and readability
Example Graduate Skills Based CV
123 Next Avenue, Birmingham B16 8QT
Home telephone: 01111 123456
Mobile: 07589 123456
Business studies student with strong organisational, communication and team working skills. Prior experience of working with the public in customer service roles in the retail and catering sectors. Public sector experience obtained through a series of placements with Birmingham City Council. Now seeking an opportunity to develop a career in the public sector
Key Skills Areas
Organisation and Planning
- Managed staff rotas such that all holiday periods were successfully covered without temporary staff
- Provided administrative support for a Summer Sports festival involving the co-ordination of 5 Sports Centres, 200 events and 60 staff. Sent out questionnaires, monitored and evaluated results for the Leisure Services Manager
- Planned and organised travel plans for gap years including flights, accommodation and work placements. All within tight budget constraints
- The completion of timely and accurate stock records, orders and invoices for Next Retail store with no stock deficits
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Making presentations to groups ranging from 12 to 400 students as part of degree course. Positive assessment feedback given about confidence in public speaking and impactful PowerPoint presentations
- Creation of a regular column in the student newspaper being voted best reporter of the year
- Production of written assignments as part of the degree programme with high scores on content, structure and accuracy
- Developed an understanding of a wide range of people and different cultures during two gap years
- Strong interpersonal and customer service skills dealing with customers in both retail and catering businesses. Voted employee of the month on 3 occasions as a waitress
Effective Team Working
- Led two assignment project teams successfully delivering outputs on time and achieved marks of 75% and 83%, both being in the top 3 results in the year
- Team Leader for 6 waitresses ensuring that all customers were served within 5 minutes of being seated and that overall service ratings were higher than 75%
- Advanced knowledge of common office packages including Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Power Point and Project.
Education & Qualifications
Birmingham University 2009 – present
BSc (Hons) in Business and Management (expected 2:1)
- Business management modules included strategy, business
psychology and management accounting
- Elected modules in Public Administration
- Dissertation involves research into Public Sector service levels
The Rightsome School Milton Keynes 2001 – 2007
- A Levels: English (A), History (B), French (B)
- GCSEs: 8 grades A* – C including English and Maths
Birmingham City Council Summers 2010/11
Graduate trainee in the Leisure Services Department
Red Restaurant, Old Town (part-time) 2009 – present
Silver service waitress
Gap Years 2007 – 2009
Travelled and worked in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia
Next, Birmingham 2006 – 2007
- Treasurer of Tennis Club and Chairperson, University Tennis Club
- Member of the University Drama Society
- Volunteer for a humanitarian aid charity – this involves packaging pharmaceutical and health care products.
If you would like to know more about our career coaching services for graduates please see the career coaching section of our website.
Keywords; Career coaching, Skills-Based CV, Graduate Skills-Based CV, Graduate Career Coaching, Example Skills Based CV, Example Graduate CV
Executive Coaching|Executive Coach
Very often when I start working with a new executive coaching client they do not really understand what it is an Executive Coach does. Here I explain what to expect in ...
What is Executive Coaching?
As an Executive Coaching Company we find that we are often asked 'what is Executive Coaching?' It seems there are many views about what executive coaching is and what executive ...
Executive Coaching – is a Key Development Tool
As an Executive Coaching Company you might expect us to promote executive coaching as a key development tool. However the latest CIPD Learning and Talent Development Survey finds that executive ...
Popular ArticlesExecutive Coaching Success Stories
People are sometimes unsure of how Executive Coaching might help them. These Executive Coaching ...
Mentoring or Executive Coaching?
Mentoring is one of the services our Executive Coaching company provides to some clients. ...
What Was Executive Coaching Like?
What an Executive Coaching Company does is still a mystery to some people. So ...
Executive Coaching – is a Key Development Tool
As an Executive Coaching Company you might expect us to promote executive coaching as ...
- 01789 261202
- 186 Loxley Road
Stratford upon Avon CV37 7DU