How to Write the Perfect Skills-based CV this Year?

A skills-based CV can highlight your practical capabilities and disguise employment gaps. Do you know how to write a skills-based CV that wows?



Table of Contents

  1. Skills-Based CV
  2. What is a Skills-based CV?
  3. Who is a Skills-based CV Best For?
  4. Three Examples of Effective Skills-based CVs
  5. FAQ: Skills-based CV

Skills-Based CV

There are many different CV formats out there, and when you’re looking for a type of CV that reflects your talents, you might need to consider something that’s different from the norm. The functional CV, also called the skills-based CV, is a great way to put relevant skills at the top of your CV, including significantly more key skills than you usually would with another CV format. Here’s how you can write a professional CV that highlights your skills.

What is a Skills-based CV?

If you’re looking for a CV that really highlights your skills, then you’re typically going to turn to a CV format that highlights skills. The chronological CV and combination CV both put work history in the spotlight at least somewhat, which means that it’s the functional CV format that you might want to look toward. This format, which is also called the skills-based CV, is a great way to get through a CV that has less employment history and more skill categories, as it emphasizes your skill sets.

A skills-based CV will still have all the same headings as a chronological or combination CV.

  • Start your CV with a header, which will include your full name, phone number, email address and any job networking profile links such as LinkedIn.
  • Write a CV summary or CV objective, which will showcase your best professional experience and technical skills in two to three sentences.
  • Even though it’s a skill-based CV, you’ll still have a work history section. Include volunteer work, work that provides  you with transferable skills and other job experience.
  • Also include an education section, where you can include all certifications, training and college education, if applicable.

The important thing to remember is that while you’ll still have all of these headings, you’ll be focusing more on your technical skills and soft skills over what you learned at a previous job.

Who is a Skills-based CV Best For?

Typically, a skills-based CV works best for the following people:

  • Job candidates with limited work history
  • Job candidates with large employment gaps
  • Job candidates pursuing a career change

In these situations, creating a CV that highlights your work experience section would show a lack of experience.. That can make it significantly more difficult to impress a hiring manager. However, if you have lots of skills, you can position those at the top and give recruiters a reason to want to continue reading your CV.

Remember, skills-based CVs aren’t recommended for every job seeker. If you have a lot of work history, including internships, volunteer work and academic work, then write  a work-based CV.

Three Examples of Effective Skills-based CVs

Sometimes, CV samples can be helpful in understanding a CV style. Here are a few CV examples from the CVHelp website to give more insight into skills-based CVs.

1. Radiologic Technologist Student

This CV lists ten different skills, setting them near the top of the CV, just below the professional summary. The skills include soft skills like, “Excellent oral and written communication skills”, as well as technical skills like, “Proficient in major X-ray systems.” This approach works well because, as a student, all of the applicant’s experience is academic, so she needs a way to indicate why she’s qualified for the job title.

2. Tim Hortons Supervisor

This CV lists 11 skills, and they all shine well in the CV. The applicant is fluent in four languages, indicates hero ability to upsell to a customer and states that she’s a team player, which she needs to be to supervise at a fast-food restaurant. Although the applicant has around four years of experience, it’s all with a single company at two separate locations. These skills allow her to showcase her work ability more effectively.

3. Pathology Collector

This CV uniquely splits the Clinical Skills section into “Competent In”, “Observed and Assisted” and “Other skills and attributes.” Altogether, there are 17 skills in this CV, but with the splitting up tactic, no section has more than seven individual skills. That means this applicant, who has a lot of academic experience and much less on-site experience, is able to showcase what she’s best at more easily.

FAQ: Skills-based CV

Q: What types of skills can be listed on a skills-based CV?

Any skills that are relevant to the job description should go in your skills section. However, remember that you also need to be thinking about what you’re genuinely good at. Consider writing down a list of your best skills and compare them to the specific skills and CV keywords the job application is asking for. On your CV, be sure to list your skills that match the job posting.

Q: When should I not use a skills-based CV?

Typically, once you gain ample work experience in your field, your skills stop being the main focus of your CV. If that’s the case, switch from a skills-based CV and create a CV that focuses significantly more on your work experience. Your job search type should fuel your CV style, and if you have lots of work experience, then you should consider changing to a different CV template.

Q: Are CV builders effective for creating a skills-based CV?

Yes. The CVHelp CV builder is a great tool if you’re trying to create any CV, regardless of the format. With this CV builder, you can find the right CV template, add your information and proceed with your job search as quickly as possible.


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