Showing off your problem solving skills on your CV

We’ve looked at problem solving in some detail already, we’ve explored what they are, the tools that can help you make decisions and what you can do when a problem is just proving too much. Catch up on all things problem solving and the other 4 employability skills by logging in to your dashboard.

Problem solving is an important skill in all aspects of our lives, from helping us work through issues with family and friends to supporting us through challenging problems at school, college or university. It’s no wonder then that it is one of those skills that employers look for their next recruit, but how do they check you’ve got the skills before you start the job?

Showing your Problem solving skills on your CV:

Unfortunately it isn’t good enough to just say you are a good problem solver on your CV, you’ve got to to show your skills and wear them like a badge of honour.

You need to think of examples of when you have seen a problem and put in a fix that has made it better. Think about different situations you have been in : in school, college, university, in work experience, in team sports or clubs, volunteering or in your personal life. There will no doubt have been a number of problems you have overcome and many ways you have made a situation better.

You might have:

  • joined the school council or a society or club or college and university and noticed a new way to encourage people to join and implemented a new recruitment strategy which means 20 more people joined
  • worked on a volunteering project that had a problem meeting its fundraising target and you helped by giving ideas or putting more time in to collect donations.
  • suggested a new way of dealing with complaints in your job that has saved time and made customers happier in the process
  • given more time, support, leadership skills to a group project where members weren’t pulling their weight.

Examples can include you finding better ways to manage a process, overcoming challenges, achieving difficult deadlines (or managing lots at once) and spotting the cause of errors or problems in a process.

What will really wow an employer?

You’ve got lots of skills to squish in to your CV so one or two relevant examples will help you keep the word count down (and leave space to talk about all of your Young Professional Skills).

It will really wow an employer if you can show that you’ve read the job description and thought about the key skills you will need for their job, if the job involves lots of customer service skills try to bring in examples of where you have worked with people.

Top tips!

  • Track your successes, once you have solved a problem or made a process better you are on and moving forward and your new way quickly becomes habit. You might not remember the next time you update your CV that you’ve got those skills, keep a note on your phone, on paper or in a email folder. Record those successes somewhere that you can find them the next time you update your cv, write an application or attend and interview.
  • Always think STARS, not being famous or those pretty things in the sky but the REALLY useful way of showing off your skills.

The Challenge:

It is time to dig out your CV (don’t have one yet? Find out how to make your first CV here) and update those problem skills. You might find it useful to first make a list of the things you do, the jobs you’ve had and the groups you are part of and how you might have solved problems for each, having this list means you’ve got somewhere to keep all of your new skills updated and it will make sure you’ve got a huge list to choose from when your next dream job shows up.

Secondly, update your CV, so you might not be ready to look for a new job yet but trust us it is better to have got started now than leaving it until the last minute!


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