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How do you make a good first impression and stand out from the crowd?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Your CV is often the first impression an employer has of you. How do you make a good first impression and stand out from the crowd?

It’s time to think about adding a skills-based section to your CV. We explain why in this article. 

Companies are beginning to change their approach to recruitment.

They want the best people they can get who are able to bring skills and experience to the roles they are advertising. Increasingly, in many sectors, employers are focussing much more on the skills they need, prioritising them over qualifications and previous work experience. Given that larger companies use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make a first sift, your CV could put you head and shoulders above the competition by including a Skills-based section. You have nothing to lose including this. If the employer is not yet skills orientated the section is at worst redundant, but will not harm your application. It may provide a useful talking point at interview and at best provides the computers with all the information needed to make sure you are through the first sift. 

According to LinkedIn data, 45% of companies are now explicitly using skills-related metrics to find candidates, 12% more than a year ago.

This comes as Human Resources has moved to a skills-based economy in an effort to fill roles, create a diverse workforce, find and nurture talent. Some employers may even find that once they move to a skills based recruitment approach they will increase the potential pool of employees to select from significantly. In fact, companies adopting a skills based recruitment method are reporting that the benefits go beyond a larger number of available candidates. They find the skills-based employees they recruit tend to innovative, efficient, and adaptable. More so than traditional counterparts. In addition to this companies who have adopted skills based recruitment early have the mind set to provide development opportunities for their employees. That means that workers have more opportunities to grow, adding to their existing skillset and building long term success. This may be a good reason in itself for you to shape a skills based CV and target companies that value that.

So how should you go about tailoring your CV?

Firstly resist the urge to make you CV a long list of skills. That’s not going to impress employers nor make any AI based first sift. You need to build a CV that showcases your individual skills and abilities. Don’t list generic or In-demand skills, but provide examples that demonstrate your skills. The golden rule is show the employer your skills in action, don’t just say you have that particular skill set. 

It’s fine, and advisable, to add a section to your CV titled ‘Core Skills’ or ‘Areas of Expertise’.

In this section provide bullet points of the skills you have, but follow them with an example of where you used this skill to great effect. Remember, be selective about the skills you present. Target them to the role you are applying for. How do you do that? Read the job description carefully. There will be key words within it that will help you identify the skills the employer is looking for. 

It’s also useful to build your personality into the example you are using to illustrate your skills. This helps to show you would be a good fit for the company and increases your chances of getting an interview significantly.

Try building a CV with a skills based section in it when you apply for your next job. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the top 5 candidates being called for interview. 

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