In the first of our series of Top 10 tips we're publishing a new article each day to help with your career development. We're kicking off the series helping you understand your own skills, knowledge and experience. In the current economic and employment climate where standing out from the crowded market of applications is even more important, understanding your own skills, knowledge and experience is key. One of the biggest frustrations we hear from clients who have received direct applications is the number of people that apply who have little apparent relevant experience for the role they are applying for.
This issue occurs for 2 reasons. Firstly there are candidates applying who actually have no relevant experience (this is happening more frequently as a result of simple internet applications) and those which have relevant experience but who haven't communicated it effectively. So, understanding your skills and how they relate to a potential employer is key. The CV is critical in communicating these skills and we'll cover that on Day 4, however before producing the CV, how are you going to evaluate your skills. Start by looking back through your experience. Experience is a combination of two elements: the practical activities and the environment. So, in work terms we'd be thinking about the activities that you are engaging in and the working environment (company type, sector) that you are working in.
Create two columns on a piece of paper and start by summarising the company and market that you are currently working in or the previous companies you've worked in down the left hand side. Then put along side that on the right a list of activities and responsibilities in order of strength. This should create a strong picture of the types of businesses you've worked for and what you've done within them. Add in at the bottom a list of 'disciplines' you feel you have particular strengths in. For example internal comms, external comms, copywriting, event organisation etc. If you truly believe these are your real strengths then check that they are referenced in your experience above. Of course, this is the start of the CV but there's a lot more that goes in to producing the best CV which we will cover over the next few days. Check back in tomorrow for Day 2 - Creating Realistic Career Goals.