Hobbies, soft skills and languages: 5 ways to improve your CV
These days, having a good CV just isn’t good enough. To land the job or internship of your dreams, you’ll need a great CV, and creating a great CV is about more than listing your academic achievements and your work experience. Sure, it’s essential to include those, but there’s so much more you can do to make your curriculum vitae work for you.
Your CV is also an introduction to you, your wonderful personality, your passions and your hobbies. People applying for the same position as you will likely have similar qualifications, so then it comes down to being the kind of person that your future employer can’t wait to have on their team.
Ready to show off (just a little)? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
1. Work on your soft skills
Are you great at delivering presentations or comfortable sharing your work and ideas with a room full of people? Well, you’d put it on your CV if you excel at organising spreadsheets (sorry, not sorry), so why not also let your future employer know that you’re a people person, you’re great at communicating and problem-solving as part of a team, and you’re not one to shy away when it’s your turn to make the tea!
All these transferable skills, also known as ‘soft skills’ make you a better, well-rounded candidate and can help your interviewer picture you as part of their team. Travelling, studying abroad and trying new experiences can all help you nurture your portfolio of soft skills.
2. Learn a language
Having a second or third language on your CV is one of the best ways to make your application stand out from the crowd. People who are bilingual are also often better at creative problem solving and multitasking. Don’t believe us? Read our article exploring why investing in language learning is great for your career, and find out which languages can help you get ahead.
As the list of benefits of having a bilingual workforce keeps growing, more and more major employers are actively looking to recruit people who are fluent in another language. Having taken the time to learn a new language makes you a great candidate for businesses with international clients or travel opportunities. It’s also proof that you can work hard to achieve big goals.
You can develop the language skills you need with a study abroad program. One of the neat things about doing this is you can put overseas study experience on your CV as well as your new language fluency – it’s great fun for you and looks good on your résumé twice, making it a win-win-win. (Which is totally a thing.)
3. And don’t forget your hobbies
Not all of your skills might seem totally relevant to your new job, but that’s not to say that they don’t deserve a spot on your CV. Make space near the bottom of the page to include a little about your hobbies and interests to help your future employer get to know the real you.
Sharing that you’re a qualified scuba-diver with a passion for marine conservation or letting them know that you volunteer at the local animal shelter in your spare time allows your personality and your values to come across on paper. If you’re a keen runner, part of a triathlon club or love to spend your weekends on long cycle rides, people in your new office might love those things too. It’s all about being open and honest so that you can connect with the right job and be part of a team that’s right for you.
4. I, I, I
It’s not all about you… Well, actually, it is, but you also don’t want to start every sentence with “I”. Mix it up a little to make it easier for your future employer to read and show off your creativity. Swap sentences which begin with phrases like “I can speak French,” and “I studied abroad,” for the much nicer-sounding “During my six-month study abroad placement in Paris, I improved my language skills and am now fluent in French.”
5. When you’re done, get someone to proofread
Whether you ask a parent, an older sibling, a teacher or that next-door neighbour that’s known you since you were a kid, make sure someone reads over your CV before you send it out. First of all, they’ll help you catch any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, and secondly, they’re the best people to suggest things you may have forgotten to include!
Talking about yourself can feel a bit unnatural, but these guys know you so well that they’ll remember that event that you attended a few years ago or that course you participated in while you were at school, which might actually strengthen your résumé.