How to sell your skills and create a positive tone
I mentioned that highlighting appropriate skills could make the difference between winning and not winning an interview. I mentioned earlier that poorly written CVs tend to be lists of duties and work-based experiences. Most applicants neglect to tell the employer how good they are at what they do, and knowing how important this is, I want to share with you some really effective techniques for describing, evidencing and highlighting your assets so that you sell your skills in writing and really boost your interview prospects.
The first step is to brainstorm and then add action words and verbs to the start of each bulleted statement to help describe what you did in the workplace. Have a look at the list of action words I put together on page 39, and by all means add a few of your own. An action word written in the present tense brings the statement to life and creates a proactive tone. You can see what I mean in the following example.
Don’t just list your skills and experience as follows …
- Responsible for purchasing and phasing in computer software and new technology
Instead, try using an interview-winning statement …
- Purchasing and phasing in computer software ahead of schedule and 20% under budget; currently saving 25% in costs per year
Next, try the skills-analysis exercise shown below to practise constructing powerful ‘skills – experience – achievement’ statements and sentences, the table below shows the 3 elements that are important constituents of each sentence (ie 1. Skill/Action 2. Experience/Scenario 3. Outcome).
This three-stage format is a great way to help you expand on your experiences using a relatively simple format. It’s another way to highlight your skills as opposed to simply listing them one after another.
We can sometimes take day-to-day work for granted and perhaps neglect to realise the value we add. For example, a Business Researcher undervalues his worth and simply says that he finds information using Google and other databases. If we dig deeper, we see that the Business Researcher can:
- Quickly and accurately find information using Boolean search strings
- Assimilate and summarise large quantities of complex information
- Contribute to the development of business and expansion into new market areas
I guess I’m saying that it’s important to be aware of what you bring to your current or previous employer so that when you sit down to write your CV, you can sell your skills and assets to the fullest.
So now that you have the formula for selling your skills with sophistication you can begin to put into practice creating your own unique skill statement sentences and create a long-list of your most prominent and highly sought and in so doing skills, transform your CV.