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CV writing tips for the 40+
Learn how to sell yourself and your skills
It is not uncommon to find companies HR departments have a personality profile as a part of the initial application process. You must be prepared to provide very detailed examples of work skills that they like to call ‘competencies’ such as:
customer focus – listen to the needs of customers and try to match or exceed their expectations.
effective communication – not just the ability to communicate orally, but also in writing, appropriately to different types of audiences.
teamwork – being a constructive team member, contributing practically to the success of the team. Not being a maverick or loaner
interpersonal skills – similar to teamwork. You must show your ability to get on with others and to establish good working relationships with members of staff, suppliers and customers
problem solving – thinking things through in a logical way in order to determine key issues and then finding solutions, often also including creative thinking;
numeracy - competence and understanding of numerical data, statistics and graphs. Have IT skills in the use of spreadsheets.
commitment/motivation - having energy and enthusiasm in pursuing projects. You must be able to show your dedication.
self-awareness - knowing your strengths and skills. You must have the confidence to put these across. Being aware of your areas of weakness is also a strength.
flexibility/adaptability – How do you handle change and adapt to new situations
initiative - ability to see new business opportunities, set achievable goals, take control of future development
leadership - Have good management skills and show that you are able to motivate and encourage others, whilst taking the lead.
IT literate – have good skills in Microsoft Office applications, e-mail and know how to use the internet as a research tool. More advanced skills should be listed.
commercial awareness – display an insight into how companies operate, what is happening in the business world and the impact this could have on their
Some adverts specify the criteria, skills and qualifications the applicant needs. Some are identifiable from the job description, or the company’s web pages. You can phone them and ask. If there is little information about the role available conduct research to try and form your own idea on what you believe the company would be looking for in applicants for that post.
You need to present evidence of the skills and qualities that the employer is looking for. This evidence does not just have to come form past work experience. It could be in the form of academic projects, research and achievements. Another good source of evidence can be found in voluntary activities, involvement in your hobby or running sporting activities.
The key is to match the evidence in your application with what the employer wants. Exam your past and list what you have you done, what you were responsible for, the outcome and how you achieved success. Can you remember any incidents that you can use to evidence your skills that are relevant to the vacant job. Just listing your skills is not enough.
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