How to have an all round CV

‘There is no future in any job. The future lies in the man who holds the job’ – George Crane, publisher. Gwen Cheeseman advises on essential soft skills

It’s all about you – nowadays more and more employers aren’t just looking at CVs to see qualifications and job experience. They want to know how you would fit into their company and if your personality is appropriate to the role and the team you’ll be working with. Companies are interested in people, not just their qualifications and technical skills on their CVs. So if yours only highlights these aspects, it’s time to gather some advantages over your competitors.

What they want – the skills you need to demonstrate are called ‘soft skills’, and ideally, employers like to see evidence of a mix of these including emotional intelligence, questioning skills, rapport-building skills, creativity, problem solving, stress management, and communication skills. Most of these should be evident in your CV, and you should be able to express why you feel you have them when it comes to an interview.

Get analysing – in order to know which skills you have, and which you need to work on or gain, you must first assess yourself. Are you good at getting your message across? Are you a good listener? Can you work well within a team? What is your style of working? Do you prefer working in a team or on your own? If a colleague comes to you with a problem can you respond appropriately? Be brutally honest – it might be uncomfortable but it will help you in the future. You can even ask a colleague that you trust – find out what their perception of you is, and what they think is lacking.

Start learning – once you have identified the areas which need improvement, find courses you think will help, and ask your employer if you may go on them. Most bosses will be pleased that you are showing the initiative to improve and hone aspects of your workplace skills. However, if these courses aren’t available in your area, there are books available on most of these subjects. There are other ways of learning too – if you feel you lack confidence in the workplace, try and join a local drama society, or a book club. It may seem daunting, but putting yourself in a situation where you have to express yourself will do wonders for your communication skills. Simply mentioning these things under the hobbies and interests section of your CV will tell a prospective employer that you have a strong and confident personality.

"Be brutally honest – it might be uncomfortable but it will help you in the future"