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Key skills that all CVs need

A CV is there to concisely demonstrate all of your relevant skills. It is important that you make the effort to link your key skills to workplace experience which at this stage of your career may not be easy as we appreciate that a lot of job seekers on Graduate Broker are fresh out of university and applying for first time, trainee or junior broker roles. When this is not possible to draw on workplace experience whether a previous full time role or work placement, try to cite ways in which you have used them outside of employment situations. This could be through events during your education, sports clubs or other social clubs that can demonstrate for example, your experience to lead or be part of a team. Your dedication to get up every day, rain or shine and stay committed to a particular interest.

Fortunately most relevant skills fall into one of three key categories:

  • Transferable skills. These are skills which have been acquired in one setting but can be used in many different sorts of areas and in-turn workplaces.
  • Adaptive skills. These sorts of aptitudes are sometimes less obvious and harder to measure as they rely on personality traits rather than assessed learning.
  • Job related skills. These skills are specific to a certain area of employment and may require you to have received in-house employer training to perform.

We look at each of these in turn so that you are able to think of examples to use in your own CV.

Transferable skills

Everyone has transferable skills and it is important to confidently self-assess your strengths in order to sell yourself on your CV.

Some examples of transferable skills you may already possess that may help get your creative juices flowing are:

  • Reading or writing related skills. This is simple but at business level a firm grasp of the language is essential and being able to put together presentations and deliver on promises made will put you head and shoulders above a lot of applicants in some areas. .
  • Computer skills. There are still generations working in the industry that did not grow up with computers so if you have a better understanding of certain IT areas than your peers you may well find you are quite an expert to some employers.
  • Management experience. If you have managed people before then you could transfer this experience to benefit another type of employer, remember to think of all situations where this may be relevant it doesn’t just have to be in a work environment. You will not be expected to manage on day one but a lot of employers are wanting to employ future leaders.
  • Commercial skills. People who can negotiate and handle figures like turnover and gross profit often possess the sort of business acumen which is sought after by many companies. If there are genuine areas of interest you have within your degree, make these areas known. For example, rather than simply stating you have a degree in Business Management, mention the modules that you enjoyed, what you have learnt and how this has progressed into you applying for roles in this area.
  • Deadline success. Being able to work to deadlines is something that doesn’t happen in all jobs, but if you are used to it then this is a key transferable skill desired in many companies. If you have faced any adversity or worked to deadlines at University to achieve something that you believe will make you stand out above other junior or trainee broker applicants then state it. Employers want junior brokers that can work well under pressure.
  • Of course there are other types of transferable skills. Think of them as aptitudes that can function equally well in multiple industry sectors. Mention them in your CV as you have picked them up throughout your life experiences and employment history. Do keep it concise, there is an element of less is more as recruiters will be sifting through a lot of CV’s when hiring for all graduate, trainee and junior broker roles.

Adaptive skills

These skills can work well in a personal statement or a cover letter, as well as being listed in your work experience. Don’t double up and repeat yourself as it will create the impression that you don’t have enough individual skills to draw on even if your CV is longer than others.  Think about the sort of personality you have when discussing your adaptive skills and their relevance to any jobs you are applying for.

Some good examples to draw on are:

  • Teamwork. Working as part of a team is an important adaptive skill that many employers are looking for. There aren’t many people that want to work by themselves all day so a lot of environments will have been built to create a team mentality and a common goal to make all members of staff feel more valued.
  • Loyalty. Employers want to hire loyal people to become part of their team and work with them building their department and in-turn their company. This is a great example to draw on as stating you are loyal alongside your career aspirations will help the employer to buy into you being there for the long term rather than another trainee or graduate dipping his toe in unsure what job is the right one.
  • Positivity. If you are the sort of person who sees the glass as half full and not half empty, then this shows your positivity. Employers tend to favour positive people so mention this, especially within the junior or graduate broker roles where they need hands on people with a lot of get up and go. Another point is how you deal with negative thoughts or stress and move forward in a positive manner.
  • Creativity. Some jobs cry out for creative people. If you paint, play music or take part in any creative club then let employers know about it. This can work particularly well when speaking to clients on a personal basis or preparing presentations.
  • Adaptability. Being flexible is something we all need in the workplace from time to time, but some are better at it than others and at the early stages of your career it is an essential skill. Charles Darwin stated ”It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself”.
  • Tenacity. Taking ownership of problems and seeing them through is a key skill in many organisations. If you can demonstrate this from your past career or life experiences than put it on your CV. Tenacity goes side by side with assertiveness and many employers hiring for Junior and trainee broker roles will consider this a core skill.

Adaptive skills often mark you out from another candidate and at the early stages of your career are a great way to illustrate your potential when your work experience may be limited. Don’t overlook the importance of your blend of adaptive skills which is as unique as you are.

Job related key skills

More specific than transferable skills and adaptive skills, job related ones can get you work with another employer who needs them.

Examples of job related skills are:

  • Administration. Previous experience within an administration role whether post graduate or during your studies will stand to showcase skills learnt and your increased understanding.
  • Financial Sales. Any previous financial sales experience will help you move forward into your next role. It can be frustrating as a graduate when you are not yet on the job ladder and being pipped by others with some direct experience but at graduate broker we want to ensure you have all the tools available to help you secure a junior or trainee broker role.
  • Accountancy qualifications. Bookkeeping and accountancy roles are on offer across the financial services sector and further afield which presents plenty of job choice.

Although there are nearly as many job related skills as there are jobs, try not to think of them as restricting what you can do. If you do feel trapped by your job related skills and have trouble breaking out into new areas of work, then you can acquire some new ones by enrolling on a training course or focus your CV more on your adaptive and transferable skills.

It is best to add any courses or qualifications that are pertinent to your job-related skills in the education section of your CV.

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