Skills-based CV: What to write on your CV when you lack work experience?
- 3rd December 2019
- Posted by: Mia
- Category: Internship Tips
When it is time to apply for your first work experience, be it an internship or an entry-level job, you will need to submit a CV. However, if you are still a student or if you have just graduated from college or university, you might not have any experience. So what can you add to your resume? We suggest you consider writing a skills-based CV.
Just because you haven’t done a particular job before, it doesn’t mean you aren’t suitable for it. You may already have the transferrable skills required. You just need to convince your recruiter of that very fact – which is the perfect situation to shine with a skills-based CV. Skills-based CVs place an emphasis on your transferable skills and personal attributes, rather than your work history, so they are perfect for those who haven’t had much work experience – including students!
There are four steps to crafting your perfect skills-based CV. Let’s have a look at them!
Step one — Identifying your skills
Since you don’t have previous experience to fall back on, you want recruiters to focus on examples from your studies and informal experience during the application and interview process. So it’s important that you can articulate your skills. Start by reviewing the skills you’ve gained from volunteering or maybe informal work (such as babysitting or helping with the family business). You can also use examples from your academic life.
Here are a few examples of common skills – maybe you relate to some of them! If do, you can definitely put them on your CV. But do not limit yourself to the skills listed here. Be creative!
- Communication skills – for example. presenting in seminars, writing essays
- Interpersonal skills – for example. working with peers on presentations, mentoring
- Self-management skills – for example. planning your time effectively, meeting deadlines
- Planning and organising – for example. organising events for a society, planning an essay
- Creative skills – for example. developing new ideas, designing and creating images or plans
- Cognitive skills – for example. solving problems, observing and analysing information
- Digital skills – for example. selecting and assessing appropriate information, protecting yourself online
Step two —- Understanding and translating your skills
Once you have identified your skills, you need to show how you have used them. So think about where and how you developed particular skills. For instance, if you want to translate your communication skills you might write something similar to:
- Wrote demanding essays at university and achieved a consistent 2.1
- Taught English as a second language to French cousins
Step three — Demonstrate your transferable skills
Read and re-read the placement advert and requirements, and understand what skills they are looking for. Then, demonstrate how you have acquired that skill through your previous experiences. For example: You may have worked at a bar during your studies and are now applying for an internship role in HR. You will have gained interpersonal, communication, self-management, planning and organisational skills from working at the bar. These skills will also be useful in an HR role and you can use your work experience to show that you have them.
Step four — Developing your skills
You can develop your skills further through:
- Work experiences, such as a part-time job, or an internship
- Volunteering, especially if you find a cause close to your heart
- Your academic life, as you likely have delivered a lot of presentations, written essays and might even have specialist software
- Attending careers and study skills workshops (your current school or university is a good place to start!)
- Joining a society, club or band
- A personal hobby, for example: crafting, or sports
If you would like to develop your skills further, an internship might be the perfect item to strengthen your CV. We at IIB would be happy to advise on what would be the best fit for your current needs and your skills. Get in touch!