How do I write a skills-based CV?

Women working

Everyone’s CV credentials differ, so why stick to a traditional chronological CV, when perhaps a skills-based approach would suit you better? There are many reasons why this approach, rather than a traditional chronological CV, could be for you.

One benefit of a skills-based CV is it makes it easier for prospective employers to tell at a glance whether or not you’ve got what they’re looking for. Another is you can draw upon extra-curricular projects and achievements far more easily.

A skills-based CV is ideal for grabbing the recruiter’s attention and summing up your expertise on the first page, rather than focusing on educational and employment history. That said, although the format is different to a chronological CV, the substance needs to be the same - it’s essential to provide the reader with relevant examples of your achievements and employability to back up your claims.

Be seen – bullet points are a great way to make your skills really stand out, so make sure you use formatting that has a strong visual impact. Pick five or six key points that are most important to the job you’re applying for and slot them in at the top of your CV, after your personal profile.

Be specific – prove your suitability for the role by ensuring you only highlight key achievements that demonstrate you can actually do the job. Reassure the recruiter of your suitability by providing enough explanation to put their mind at rest, without going into too much detail. If they want to know more, you can expand upon your key points at interview.

Focus on results – use positive language and active verbs such as developed, implemented, created and designed. Passive verbs such as liaised and coordinated have less impact but can still be relevant, so long as you use them in the context of specific achievements and results.

Reiterate– if you’re at the stage in your career where education and previous employment is a secondary focus, or you’ve yet to accumulate enough history to make it of primary importance, be sure to state – and reinforce – the ways in which you’ve contributed to path-altering projects in other arenas, such as extra-curricular pursuits. Make your contributions resonate with the reader by using similar terminology to their job ad and be sure to demonstrate how you affected various positive outcomes, rather than simply stating your involvement.

Remember the rest– as with a chronological CV, it’s essential you include the basics, even though they may not appear in the same place. Your name and contact details should still be at the very start, followed by your mission statement or personal profile. Next comes your core skills, highlighted by bullet point formatting as detailed above, then your educational and career history. Professional training can be emphasised here, too, but don’t bother wasting space with hobbies and referees.

International Women in Engineering Day 2022: Improving female representation in engineering

23 Jun 2022

For many women all throughout the world, June 23rd is a significant day. This day, which was created for two purposes, is now known as International Women in Engineering Day. First, to recognize the women who have already chosen to study and work in fields connected to engineering. The second goal is to encourage more girls to pursue engineering-related courses and careers, which is in many respects even more crucial.

Debunking the myths of Contract Recruitment in MENA Employers Edition

16 Apr 2021

The culture of ‘lifetime employment’ remains strong in various countries across the globe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is no exception. We debunk some of the myths of hiring contractors, freelancers and giggers here.

Net zero carbon emission: Where does the GCC stand?

04 Mar 2022

The GCC is in the middle of a transition and the first step towards a sustainable future. Read on to find out how to achieve zero-carbon footprint and how the GCC fits in.

5 Benefits of Contract Recruitment in GCC

18 Jun 2021

Engineering is longer just one of many industries and business types. They are now the core infrastructure of any company, regardless of industry or sector.