Recently I gave a workshop to a small group of teenagers on writing their CV.
Just like most of us at sixteen, they didn’t have a huge amount to put on their CV regarding their work experience. But, there was one common theme that kept coming up, and it’s something we all share in common, transferable skills. In everything we do, whether it’s at work, volunteering or even cooking, we all gain and use a transferable skill. For some, it might be communicating with difficult people, for others it might be problem solving on the spot.When you are in an interview, writing your CV or a cover letter, your transferable skills need to be highlighted. Sometimes, it can seem obvious to do this, but more often than not, they tend to get looked over.
So, how do I do this?
Write down your skill set and how you use them in your day to day job. What tends to happen here is that you end up writing down around five skills and think you’re finished. Wrong! Think of every little skill you have. You may just find that you have more skills than you initially thought. At this point it doesn’t matter if you have hundreds of skills, the point of the exercise is to think of what skills you do have. How did you use it? When was it useful? How did it help you in your job? Now that you have a long list of skills, start matching these skills to the job you are applying for. This is where you highlight your key skills and cull the ones that you don’t think are as important.
How did these skills help you in your last job? Write down your examples, these examples can be used in your covering letter, CV and in your interview. You don’t have to use all of the same ones, use a couple of different examples for your CV and cover letter or for your interview. This gives the person reading your CV/cover letter or at your interview a chance to see what you can do. Make sure that the examples you do use are relevant to the job at hand, after all these are transferable skills that you want to highlight. Make sure your examples are short, sweet and straight to the point. After all, no-one likes someone who waffles.
What are you waiting for? Get your pen and paper out!