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Transforming your CV

If you’re returning to work after a career break or looking for a change of direction, it’s likely that your CV is either out of date or not fit for purpose.

All is not lost. Follow these tips to put together a CV that will open doors for you.

1. Realising your value in the workplace
You’ve got a lot going for you – you just have to identify what it is and showcase it to potential employers.

Firstly, write down five to 10 transferable skills that you’ve used at work. These are skills that are not job-specific and can be used in any role. Think broadly and don’t be modest. For example, you could be great at building relationships, fantastic with numbers or speak another language fluently.

Next, narrow this down to the one thing you’re best at. This is your ‘unique selling point’, or USP.

Use these skills and your USP to build the professional profile section on your CV. If you’re looking for a career change, it helps a recruiter to understand that you have relevant skills, even if you don't have lots of direct experience in a particular role.

2. Turn transferable skills into results 
When recruiters look for candidates, they have a good idea what they want the person to do. They’ll try to match skills and experience against a job specification and select the best candidates for interview.

To impress recruiters with your CV, it’s important to highlight the results you’ve achieved in past employment. Results are evidence-based, meaning that you need to prove them. This is where your transferable skills can be beneficial.

For example, if you’re great at building relationships, perhaps you landed an excellent new client. Maybe you provided superb service that meant customers spent more money with your employer.

Think about the list you’ve made and see if they can be turned into results for your CV.

3. Offer something different 
Employers often look for candidates who can offer well-rounded life experience and demonstrate skills in different scenarios. This is where any hobbies, club memberships or extraordinary interests can be useful.

Think about what you do in your personal life that can add value to your professional CV, including any measurable results.

For example:

  • Being an active member of a sports team demonstrates team spirit; organising transport every week to ensure players got to every game on time would be a result
  • Having a keen interest in scientific hobbies can demonstrate logical thinking skills
  • Leading a local Girl Guides or Scouts group demonstrates leadership skills; supporting six participants through their DofE Award is a result
  • Being a school governor demonstrates critical thinking skills; pushing through a healthier menu for school meals is a result

This week, why not challenge yourself to work your transferable skills and results into your old CV and give it a whole new lease of life?

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