Why a competency-based CV may be for you!

A competency-based CV, also referred to as a “Skills” or “Functional” CV, focuses on highlighting your experience and knowledge by organising them into similar categories or groups. This is opposed to a “Traditional CV” that focuses on the chronological order of your work history where you list your skills and tasks under each respective employer. A competency-based CV generally contains the same information as a normal CV, but is structured in a way that steers the focus away from job titles and length at each company, in favour of highlighting key skills. In order to draft a competency-based CV, think of the skills you have consistently used well throughout your career and present them as a collective. It is also optimal for showcasing transferable skills i.e. skills you gained in one environment that you can use in another.

If for example, you did Project Management at 3 different employers, you will consolidate all your project management skills under one category.  Think of it as a box of Smarties, if the different colours represent your entire work experience, a competency-based CV is like taking the same colour smarties and grouping them together.

A major benefit of the competency-based CV is that it allows prospective employers to immediately align your work experience and skills with the requirements of the role you are applying to, especially if your previous job titles are not an obvious link to what you are applying to.

Who should consider a competency-based CV?

A competency-based CV is a great option for job seekers who;

  • want to change industries
  • want to switch careers
  • have occupied different unrelated roles (e.g. marketing, accounting, real estate) and may confuse employers about their career identity
  • have a spotty work history and want to downplay employment gaps
  • have a lengthy work history and are worried about age discrimination.

Competency-based CV Template

The front page of your competency-based CV should have a list of 4 or 5 carefully selected key skills that are directly relevant to the position that you are applying for. Here is an example of a job seeker who has worked in several unrelated roles and industries and needs to consolidate his experience in a manner that does not confuse employers about what role he fits into. The template can be downloaded on MS Word on this link.