How to make the perfect skills-based CV

During this blog we will discuss travel, philosophy, cooking, mirrors and back again! All of which will be about how to make the perfect CV…trust me.


For those of you who see a contrast between the title and quote above, firstly let me explain…some time ago a close friend of mine talked me out of an impulsive, expensive decision of a pretentious art trip to Paris to stay at home in Derby – believe me, even if you haven’t been there (Derby), there really is no contest! My friend recited the quote above, my initial response to her wasn’t repeatable for this blog but for one reason or another I decided not to go.

Some time later, I reflected back on the quote, which felt such a kop-out at the time, and realised its not about Paris or dreary Derby its about what’s inside me that matters. If I constantly search for external experiences to be perfect without addressing why I need them I will always fail.” Paris was never about enhancing my experience; it was about  me avoiding exploring myself first.

…if you’re still reading, what the hell does this have to do with CV writing? Actually a lot!

Answers are closer to home than you think!

The students we meet in search of the perfect CV template or worse still, have someone else write it for them miss the point…how can I best match myself to the opportunity. Only by drawing the best skills, knowledge and experience from yourself and being agile enough to adapt for each role will you succeed.

My point is this, external help is useful for inspiration and guidance but always in conjunction with the picture inside about how you will approach this.

Authenticity beats template!

What are your Skills, Knowledge and Experiences (SKE)?

Draft a list of these, perhaps five or six for each S.K.E. Try to include job/course-specific SKE and transferable (relevant to any occupation) SKE too. Include where you’ve acquired these and what they are?

it’s difficult isn’t it? Don’t let this put you off though because any new thinking feels uncomfortable first time round and this is the return home and find it stuff!

Be seen in the best light: skills-based CV

Specific beats generic!

Now, once you feel more informed of your SKE try comparing this to the type of opportunities you are interested in. What do you think are the three core requirements of the opportunity (or job functions)?

It’s like looking in the mirror

Can you find any strong connections between your SKE list and the core requirements? If the answer is yes then that means you are a suitable candidate to apply for the position. If the answer is no then perhaps it means going back to the drawing board and applying for an alternative and/or acquiring the required SKE for the job.

Back to the CV: convincing the reader is like baking a cake!

Now we have what I would call a CV-database what ingredients are required to make the perfect skills-based CV?


The proportions you use with your ingredients and how you present them in terms of the medium and appearance is entirely up to you and the type of impact that you want to make.

Enjoy your own CV journey!

We’re still here to help!

As always, the Careers and Employability is here to help, even in these difficult times. You can access us, via emailtelephone or video call by emailing as well as My Careers Centre.


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