Soft Skills That Absolutely Must be on Your CV When you Work in Education
Thinking about everything that needs to be on your CV, whilst also making sure you don’t overload it with everything you’ve ever done, can be a tricky balance. It’s important to make sure it is written with a role in mind so that you can tailor it to include all the skills and experience relevant to that role and that role only.
It’s common to focus on the specialist skills you have. These are important, obviously, they are what make you stand out from your peers and are precisely why your CV needs to be tailored. However, it’s also vital that you include soft skills when preparing a CV. Soft skills are the skills that you acquire in most jobs, or in life in general, that allow you to succeed in the workplace. Skills such as communication, organisation and team work.
It’s these skills that are often overlooked as unimportant when compared to specialist skills, like being able to use certain software, or they are considered a given. However, soft skills underpin our ability to be able to do all the other things in a job and should not be neglected. When working in education, there are 4 soft skills that absolutely must be featured on your CV.
Consider this scenario: You are going for a teaching position in the field of Biology. You have the specialist knowledge having studied it for years, you have a degree in the subject, you’ve worked in the medical profession, but if you don’t have excellent communication skills, how are you going to teach this knowledge to others? If you’re not going for a teaching role, you are still going to need to communicate with colleagues, present ideas and work with other people. Communication skills are vital in all professions and should have a prime position on your CV.
Even in a very isolated role, you will need to work with other people. Showing you can work independently is important, but being a team player is essential. Showing that you can support others is a fundamental quality. Chances are, if you work in education, you will be working in an institution or at least communicating with one, so being able to demonstrate that you can work in a team is going to serve you well.
The education sector can be very varied. Whether you are in an academic role, a supporting role or a management role, you are going to be met with challenges and you’re going to need to come up with solutions, so an ability to problem solve is required. Examples can come from any walk of life, but must be included on your CV.
Working in education requires you to be adaptable. Students may not turn up, teaching staff may be unable to teach, exam boards may throw you a curve ball and it is essential that you are able to manage these, think on your feet and change direction accordingly. It’s also a good idea to demonstrate your adaptability in terms of your working patterns if this is something you can commit to.
How you choose to acknowledge these skills on your CV is a personal preference. Whether it is through a skills section, personal profile, or whether you weave them into your professional experience section, you need to make sure they are in a prominent position. You can then build your CV from there by adding all your specialist knowledge relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Thinking about your next career move?
Nikki Vivian is a Career Coach and owner of From Kids to Career, which was set up to support women who are returning to a career, or looking to move in a new direction after taking time out to raise a family. Nikki works with Mums to find their true passions and to re-build confidence that can be lost after a break from the work place. She believes passionately that being a parent does not put you at the bottom of the pile when it comes to your career. Nikki owns CV writing company Confident CV and has 8 years experience working in Careers for Cardiff University.
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