CV Writing: Gathering evidence for your CV

Friday, January 16th, 2009 - Article, CV Writing, How to Write a CV, tutorial


CV Writing: Gathering evidence for your CV

This is part of our series on How To Write A CV

It is not enough to tell employers that you have the skills and experience they want – you have to prove it. Hard evidence is an essential part of your CV.

CV Writing: Identify skills/experience required:

Job descriptions and person specifications are carefully written to ensure the right people apply. Go through them several times. Underline key words to help you tailor your CV to their requirements.

Use the employer’s website to get a feel for what they do and how they present themselves. Try to speak to people who know the organisation.

Always send a Cover Letter with a CV and try to find out who it should be addressed to, particularly if you are sending the letter and CV speculatively, i.e. enquiring about opportunities rather than in response to an advert.

Graduate employers are also interested in “transferable” or “soft” skills. These are often mentioned in the job details and may be skills you have developed outside your degree. Examples include:

  • Communication
  • Team working
  • Initiative / problem solving
  • Presentation skills
  • Organisation / time management
  • Negotiation

Use the employer’s website to get a feel for what they do and how they present themselves. Break the process down into steps:

1. Break your life into three areas:

  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Activities and interests

2. List everything you have done for each area:

Note down simple one-line items – eg:

  • Economics degree
  • Bar work
  • Industrial placement
  • Squash team

Check dates for each item on your list, names of employers and, if you have professional or other qualifications, the relevant awarding body

3. Go through each items and list highlights for each:

Examples would include

  • 1st class result
  • Managed the shift rota
  • Produced a savings report
  • Captain

4. Build on each highlight:

  • Identify the knowledge and skills you have gained
  • List the attributes you demonstrated or developed.

Keep in mind what the employer is looking for. For example – a part-time bar job involves serving drinks, but could also evidence skills in:

  • Communication – with colleagues, managers and customers
  • Diplomacy and ability to remain calm – when dealing with difficult customers
  • Time management – if juggling a period of intensive study with a regular job
  • Problem solving – if coming up with a solution to organising rotas, providing cover for illness, etc.
  • Creative – if, for example, you successfully came up with an idea to boost sales, eg a themed night, live entertainment, etc.

If you find this exercise difficult, ask someone who knows you well to check if you’ve missed anything

5. List specific examples of hard evidence to support your claims:

Examples include

  • Claim – “I have good leadership and initiative skills.”
  • Evidence – “I had a new idea for a fundraising scheme for the Rag Charities and recruited a team to help me. We raised £1,000 in one week.”

For each claim, think about who would act as a good reference to validate it

Good Luck!

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