Should you organize your CV by skill or experience?

How can you summarize your expertise and skills accumulated over the years? This a challenge which requires a good amount of reflection to achieve a succinct and coherent CV.

Preparation for professional mobility must be thorough. For a professional with advanced experience, the first challenge is summarizing the experience accumulated over several decades. Before you even start writing your resume , start by using a blank page to list everything you’ve accomplished.  

This reflection on oneself, allows you remember acquired skills and to regain confidence. For Stéphanie Lecerf, President of Equal Competence, an association that works against discrimination in hiring and for diversity of employment, “ this exercise allows the candidate to translate into competence what he has obtained from his experience. And as a bonus, it will also help him prepare for the interview when the recruiter asks him on what occasion he was able to exercise these skills ”.

Highlight your expertise

Writing a CV is a meticulous job that takes time even when you are a seasoned professional. The exercise is all the more delicate when you have a long career behind you. The first (bad) instinct would be to want to list everything you have accomplished. “  

Often, management level processionals tend to discriminate against themselves by thinking that the only thing of value is their experience in years worked more than their colleagues.  We advise people with a fairly rich background – more than 20 years of experience – not to make a chronological CV. 

Indeed, this methodology does not cover all the skills possessed and does not highlight the necessary keywords in a CV ”. The ideal cocktail would therefore be to mix the job titles and the functions performed. “  What interests a recruiter is to the projects entrusted to you and the skills you developed from the experience. 

Today, most of the jobs of tomorrow do not yet exist, so recruiters will seek transversal skills that are even transferable from one job to another  ”. Skills which, for Stéphanie Lecerf “  encompass professional knowledge, technical skills and behavioral skills ”.

An agile and coherent CV

Focusing on skills will prevent the candidate from overloading his CV, which could be detrimental. And to choose the right skills for the position, it is in their interest to optimize their CV according to the position targeted with relevant information. “  It is not a question of cheating on the CV but of appropriating the codes of the profession that we are looking for. 

From there, you can adapt your CV according to the offers while showing a consistent course. For this, focus on the significant experiences from recent years, no need to indicate all professional experiences and internships ”. And in the case of an accountant who would has worked for the same company for 20 years, he can  demonstrate that his career represents several positions held, evolutions and acquired transversal skills.  The recruiter will notice that the candidate has been able to evolve and has “learned how to learn”. 

Become familiar with recruitment codes

If your last job interview was in 2003, things have changed a lot since then. We are talking about soft skills, transversal skills, keywords or even video interviews . It is therefore crucial to learn about the current expectations of recruiters. For this, there are many associations that help candidates suffering from a serious confidence deficit.  

It would be wrong to believe that writing a CV is intuitive: there are codes to know in order to meet current expectations. You have to update yourself on the semantics of your profession to be in line with current themes. Just as it is also wise to find out about the company you are writing to, its environment and its needs ”.  

Be careful not to isolate yourself. It is important to maintain your network, meet local associations and make yourself known  ”. And thus broaden your professional horizon.