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Skills based CVs

Skills based CVs

Skills based CVs

Many employers value employability skills as highly as a good degree and the essential criteria for the role will make this clear. When the employer has put more emphasis on skills and personal qualities, rather than the subject of your degree or specific knowledge, then a skills-based CV is a good format to use.

This style of CV is also useful when you have limited experience which is not obviously relevant to the role, or you are looking to change career direction and are applying for work in an area not directly related to your studies. Employability skills are essential to career planning and are easily transferable to different roles and employers, and a skills-based CV allows you to focus on these strengths.

However, it is still critical that your CV should be specifically targeted to the role you are applying for. Tailoring and adapting your evidence to match the role and the employer will also help you to demonstrate interest and enthusiasm for the job.

A skills-based CV is structured to focus evidence on what skills you have developed through different aspects of your life, including your academic study, work history, and extra-curricular activities. Details of your employment and education are usually kept to the essential facts and the majority of the space is allocated to a Skills Profile.


  • Position your Skills Profile prominently – it is the most important section and should have the most space devoted to it.
  • Use the same headings in your Skills Profile as those used by the employer. This will help them identify the information they are looking for.
  • You have to demonstrate that you have the skills required by providing well structured evidence. 
  • Use a different situation for each skill.
  • Draw on examples from all aspects of your life – work, study, volunteering, leisure, travel, etc. – this helps to give your CV more ‘personality’.
  • Tailor your evidence to address all the essential criteria – an employer cannot presume so don’t leave anything out, even if you think it is obvious!