Skills-Based CV – How to Write One

July 08, 2013  |   Career Coaching Blog   |     |   0 Comment


What is a Skills-Based CV?

In career coaching most of our clients want  a chronological CV where they list their achievements in each job starting with the most recent one first. However there are occasions where this may not be the best type of CV to get the job required.


Sometimes in career coaching clients may be looking to move into a different kind of job. Or they may have worked in one company or one sector for a long time and be looking for a move to a different type of business. In these cases career coaching clients want the recruiter to focus on their transferable skills rather than their career history. This is where a skills-based CV template is much more appropriate.


In this type of CV achievements are listed under appropriate skills headings such as ‘Leadership’ or ‘Delivery of Results’. The career history is kept short and just shows the company, service dates and job role. This article explains how to create a skills based CV and then gives an example that can provide a CV template for you. 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 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 CV Template

  • 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 do 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. In the example below Carl Pearson worked in HR in one company for a long time. He wants to stay in HR but move into a different type of company. He has therefore grouped his skills under HR headings. If he had wanted to become a project manager i.e. to change the type of job he does he would have used different headings such as ‘Project Management’ ‘People Management’ and ‘Budget Management’. 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 ( in the career coaching Blog).


  • 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. So a poor statement would be;
  • Team member of the group that designed the new customer service initiative which led to a 20% increase in ratings


Instead put in your role and what you personally contributed;


  • Developed the systems design and implementation plan to accompany the new customer service initiative which led to a 20% increase in ratings


  • Company History: After your Key Skills put in a list of companies, jobs and service dates. This should be done in the same way as the example CV template.


  • Qualifications and Professional Development: Here you should include all qualifications that are relevant to the job. This would normally be the two highest level of qualifications e.g. Degree and A levels. You do not however have to list each A level or GCSE, or include the name of your school.  The only time these things are relevant is if it is your first CV after leaving school or college. For professional development list the training and development since you started work. Again list those courses most likely to be relevant to the job for which you are applying.


  • 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.


Layout Tips

  • 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




CV Template and Example

Carl Pearson

177 Key Horn Lane, Loxton, Shrybury, S14 8QU

Home Phone 02743 222716

Mobile Phone 08690 023876


Results focused Director of Human Resources with a proven track record of success.  Able to develop and deliver HR strategies to support business objectives. Strong commercial skills with extensive expertise in change management, talent development, acquisitions and disposals

Key Skills

General Management

  • Directed a team of 70 HR professionals supporting a 50,000 employee £3 billion turnover business
  • Achieved an 82% improvement in key people performance measures over a three year period
  • Delivered, as a member of the operating board, a 60% increase in average outlet weekly sales through the effective implementation of business plans and estate strategy
  • Improved staff productivity and service by implementing a sales initiative which resulted in £5m revenue increase and 20% increase in guest satisfaction
  • Reduced overhead costs by £20 million through the effective implementation of the people aspects of a major change programme


Management Development And Training

  • Implemented industry leading development programmes for operational management to improve capability in retailing supporting a 35% growth in volumes over a two year period
  • Improved the quality of retail management training and reduced costs by 30% by the introduction of a new company wide approach
  • Improved internal succession to Brand Director by 25% through the introduction of an high potential programme supported by external coaches


Recruitment And Selection

  • Increased independent customer service audit results by 20% through the introduction of retail staff brand audition events designed to match the values and attitudes of staff to target consumer groups
  • Increased the number of high performing Area Managers by designing and implementing an assessment centre approach to selection
  • Reduced retail management turnover levels by 20% through the introduction of a validated set of selection processes
  • Implemented online application process increasing conversion to interview by 30% and reducing administration costs by 15%


Employee Relations

  • Reduced legal and settlement costs by 30% through improved education programmes and more effective policy
  • Reduced retail management union membership from 40% to 8% through the introduction of a partnership employment model
  • Introduced new contractual terms designed to enable management to share in the profit growth of the company


Career Summary


Smothers & Lamb                                                                                                  1990 – 2011


Director or HR Europe                                                                                          2002 – 2011

  • Leading a team of 70 HR professionals in £1.9 billion turnover business


Director of Human Resources – UK                                                                   1994 – 2002

  • Directed all aspects of divisional HR for 1800 outlets and 30,000 employees


Director of HR – South                                                                                          1990 – 1994

  • Managed all aspects of HR what was then called  Concerto Stores



Qualifications And Professional Development

MSc in Business Administration

Fellow Of The Chartered Institute Of Personnel And Development

Qualified user OPQ, MBTI, 16PF

Harvard Advanced Management Programme – 8 weeks




Our Career Coaching Services


As one of our career coaching services for our clients we assist in creating skills-based CVs that are targeted to demonstrate how your transferable skills make you suited to the job vacancy in which you are interested. If you want to know more about our services please see our career coaching page.




Tony Goddard





Keywords; Career Coaching, Career Coaching Company, Career Coach, Career Coaching Clients, Career Coaching Services, Career Coaching Provider, Skills Based CV, CV Template

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