How to describe your skills in 5 easy steps.

Nov 02, 2020

I cannot believe how much I have actually accomplished! I have remembered new things all week! I am actually capable of doing a lot of stuff, Gary exclaimed. 


He was glowing. What a difference a week makes. Only last week, Gary seemed depressed and beaten. And now: Gone was his defeated demeanor. He knew that at 55 years of age, he still had a lot to offer an employer and that he had way more choices that he was aware of initially. You could tell that his self-esteem was higher than in years.

 Initially, When asked to fill out a total CV, he hesitated. I don't need an all-encompassing CV; I'm not an academic! I only use resumes! Now, he fully understood what a resource he could be.

People do not have an overview of how much knowledge they have and how many skills they possess.  Knowing all your skills opens up the job market for you. You will feel more qualified and become a better candidate.

Get an overview by making an all-encompassing CV embodies every working experience you ever had and all skills you have developed. 

This assignment will help you get an overview and is particularly helpful if you are a senior or want to take your career in a new direction. Listing it all may seem like an undertaking. However, once done, you'll be thrilled you did invest the time:


  • You will realize how much experience you have and all the competencies and skills you possess. Seeing how much you know will usually give a massive boost to your self-confidence. 

  • You will be able to articulate and prove your skills and build up your candidacies and courage to cross over to new careers.

  • You will be better prepared to position yourself, write applications, ace your interviews, and network effectively.

  • You will get more effective in your job search. An all-encompassing CV will serve as a template for any resume and application. It is so much easier to delete than to come up with all the relevant tasks on a whim. 


1. How to make an all-encompassing CV

You start this process by writing an ordinary CV. If you have one laying around, you already have the framework in place.  Ensure you fill it all in:

  • Experience - List all the jobs, including all the tasks, assignments, and projects you've done and the results you achieved. Keywords like project management may be used by anyone managing a project of any size and not saying much. Consider providing details: Project leader for the procurement and implementation of new CRM software.

  • Education - List your degrees and years in school. Make sure you explain all your degrees and list the correct and updated title. Don't worry if you don't have much schooling. Just focus on the other items to show what you have in skills.

  • Courses - What courses internal and external have you completed? Do include the dates and the course provider.

  • Memberships and board experience - what have you done as part of or in addition to your jobs.

  • Volunteer experience - employers love candidates who donate some of their free time to worthy causes - ensure that you only list "worthy causes."

  • Honors and awards like sales competitions, an employee of the month, might indicate that your performance is above average.

  • Hobbies and personal interests might be irrelevant in most cases. You may also have picked up some skills outside work. However, there might be situations where hobbies might be related to the opening. You may even have picked up some skills that can help you land job opportunities. 


Tip: Keep a digital version of your CV on your phone to add items that pop up in the weeks following this exercise (my favorites are Evernote and Google Docs)- You may also opt for a print-out to put on your fridge. Just make sure that you leave lots of blank spaces for adding ideas.



2. Define your skillset -

Once your complete CV is ready, you want to make a list of all your skills, knowledge, resources, and personal strengths.

Skills are your expertise in performing tasks or processes. This exercise will help you exemplify your skills and prepare you for all behavioral interview questions. Many of your skills may be transferrable skills and very attractive to a new employer. If changing careers, transferable skills are vital.

Go through each item in your complete CV and reflect on what you have accomplished in each role: 


What hard skills have you acquired in each position?

Technical, process or hard skills are specific knowledge or work content skills required for particular functions. Accounting, tax planning, project management, programming languages, technical writing, digital marketing, and processes within customer care, logistics, recruitment, procurement, innovation, strategy development, product development, and solution selling are examples of hard-skill expertise.


What soft skills do you possess?

Soft skills or general employment skills are and are developed from natural talents or acquired throughout life. These are interpersonal skills, communication, time management, decision making, problem-solving, conflict resolution, to name a few. What soft skills have you developed in each experience?


3. Prove your skills

There are plenty of examples that show that doing something for a long time does not guarantee mastery; Use DEFEATS to prove that you are qualified for the opportunities you want. DEFEATS is an acronym for Demonstrate, Exhibit, Facts, Examples, Analogies, Testimonials, and Statistics.



Demonstrating your super skills in social media. In this video age, showcasing your skills is easier than ever: dance, bake, entertain, code, present, work out, sing, do yoga, or make a training video to demonstrate your super skills. 


Exhibit: Publish pictures on Instagram of your work: paintings, photos, interior design, the styling of anything. Exhibit your communication skills in vlogs, blogs, or other relevant samples for the jobs you want.


Facts: Facts should be verified and indisputable. Getting into ivy-league schools does indicate that you have I.Q. Beyond average. Being a navy SEAL suggests that you're disciplined. Having had a special kind of job suggests that you know something about that industry or craft. Facts like promotions, licenses, prices, and awards will give you credibility for skills and expertise.


Examples: Think of some situations or incidents you use or have used your skills and write out the answers. Use the S.T.A.R. method to structure your answers and sound articulated:

Situation: What happened? Was there an incident?

Task: What task did you need to accomplish?

Action: What Action did you take? 

Results: What was the result(s)  


The S.T.A.R. method is a great way to showcase and prove your soft skills, especially behavioral Interviewing.


Analogies: You may make your competence more relevant by making analogies between your experience and your new potential position: 

You may not know the products, but you have target clients or working with the same suppliers.

  • You may not have been in procurement before, but you've negotiated as a sales representative and have learned all the tricks in the book (or vice versa)
  • You may not have been on an oil-platform before, but you've been weeks on boats, and you do know teamwork and how to behave as a crewmember.
  • You may not have worked in a kindergarten before, but you have homeschooled your five children.
  • You may not have a bachelor in fashion design. However, you developed the essential styling skills by working with fashion designers for eight years as a fashion model.
  • You may not have been in that specific industry. Still, you, too, come from a manufacturer and know the issues of manufacturing.
  • You might not know their exact project process. Nevertheless, you have experience with project management in a similar industry, and the framework and challenges are the same.
  • You may not have been a leader before, but you have led account teams to win deals as a key account manager. That may include initiated projects, developed account strategies, coaching your colleagues on what they need to say, and leading the overall process.


Testimonials: Being likable is often more important than being skilled. Having testimonials from reputable and credible sources that verifies your claims goes a long way. Do you have customers, partners, suppliers, direct-supports, coworkers, or managers that will vouch for you?


Statistics: Trends and numbers that are understandable, credible, and valid may also support your claims. Like facts, they need to be true. Your sales numbers, customer satisfaction reports, growth, and development in any area may verify your capabilities.

4. Define your other value-add items: Knowledge and resources

Your competencies, insights, networks, results, zero sick-leave records, and personality may be value-adds for a new employer. What knowledge and ideas have you acquired throughout your career?

  • Do you stay abreast of particular industries or technologies? Industries, policies, technologies, regulations, or value chains may take years to learn. Industry knowledge will help you hit the ground running.


  • Do you know specific cultures and subcultures? It may help you connect faster and better.  


  • Do you have a customer, partner, or expert network? It may help you solve problems or generate income faster. 


  • Do you have little or no sick days? One 55-year-old man had a 100% attendance record the past 20 years, which was very well received by his new employer.


  • Do you have any personal attributes that people appreciate? Some people have high energy, a neutering nature, or a comic talent that makes others appreciate having them around. Personality matters! Hiring managers are not only hiring good employees. They are hiring people that they will have to hang out with every day for the years to come.


5. Use the all-encompassing CV and skill list to tailor and power up a resume or CV

Words create feelings and energy. Make your skills more impressive and energetic by using strong action verbs



  • Having an all-encompassing CV and a skillset list will help you position yourself in meetings, interviews, and applications.  Be kind and patient with yourself, and allow some time to remember it all. Experiences and ideas will pop up when you least expect it.
  • Write an all-encompassing CV template with all work experiences, educations, courses, hobbies, volunteer, board, and membership experience, and what you have done under each item.
  • Define your skillset - go through your all-encompassing CV and decide what skills you have used and developed in each role.
  • Prove your skills by using DEFEATS. Demos, Exhibitions, Facts, Examples, Analogies, Testimonials, and Statistics.
  • Consider other value-add items like other competencies, insights, knowledge of rules, regulations and policies, markets, and networks.
  • Enhance and power up your CV using verbs that make your examples come alive.

Use your all-encompassing CV and skill list are templates for your resume. This exercise is one of the best time investments you can make to move ahead or get the job. Once done, you will be so glad you did put in the time.

Picture by Anna Tarazevich fra Pexels

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.