Posted in Application advice, Cover letters, CV tips, Graduates, Job hunting

Evidencing your skills – Seeing really IS believing

Picture the scene, you are at a bar and you get talking to a group of people that you have never met before – minutes into the conversation, you turn your attention towards one of the group, and ask… “So then, tell me about yourself”

To which they reply

“My name is Sean, and I once dated Natalie Portman. Back in the day, I once was touted as a future Olympic Gold medallist in the 100m, but eventually realised that music was my true passion and became a member of the now forgotten pop band Liberty X” (remember them?! #blastfromthepast).

The chances are that you would either think that the individual is a serial liar, or demand some form of proof to support such outlandish statements.

See, the world revolves around evidence. Our society tends to be quite cynical. If you make a claim, people naturally demand evidence in some shape or form. Imagine if we lived in a world where evidence was not a requirement – the Loch Ness monster would be real, criminal convictions would be instantaneous and King Richard III would have been buried under a car park in Leicester – ok, I’ll give you that this one happened… But the discovery was not widely accepted until the supporting evidence was produced!

King Richard III

Now you may be currently thinking – what does Natalie Portman or King Richard III have to do with my employability? Let me explain…

Just as you would be expected to back up statements (such as the ones made above) with relevant evidence, the same applies for when referring to your skills, whether this be in an Application, CV or interview.

After personally conducting countless CV appointments, it is clear to see that many people still rely on providing prospective employers with largely unsubstantiated statements, such as:

”I have leadership skills developed during my work experience”

“I am a hardworking, considerate and confident individual with excellent team working skills”

“I demonstrated my technical knowledge by being involved in the ‘insertrandomprojectnamehere’ project”

Do these statements seem familiar to you? Have you/do you currently use something similar?

The use of such unsubstantiated statements will put you at a distinct disadvantage, as you will undoubtedly be competing against individuals that have correctly evidenced their skills. You can ensure that you avoid falling short when it comes to highlighting your skills by utilising the following, easy to understand method for evidencing.

First of all you need to evaluate the skills required for the job that you are applying for. Once this has been done, it is then key to decide on the most appropriate examples from your personal experiences that effectively demonstrate how you have implemented these skills – your resulting statement will form the ‘evidence’ of your skill.

evidence skills

Now, do you want an easy to follow way of constructing the individual evidenced statements? If so – this is where the ‘CAR’ method comes into play (You may have already heard of a technique called “STAR” which is based upon a similar principle).

Thie diagram below demonstrates the three stages involved in creating an evidenced example of a competency using the ‘CAR’ Model.


It really is as simple as completing the three stages mentioned in the diagram above: Context, Action and Result.

To fully demonstrate how CAR can be implemented, let’s use the leadership statement mentioned earlier on – “I have leadership skills developed during my work experience” as our basis to generate a fully evidenced example from.

Now, let’s apply the CAR model in order to generate a fully evidenced example

Context – Set the situation

• Leadership skills developed through leading a team of five in project work at university

Action – What did you do?

• I was responsible for designing a project plan and assigning roles to team members

Result – What was the outcome?

• The project was delivered to deadline and i received good feedback.

Put the CAR sections together and voila! You have yourself an example of a fully evidenced skill!

Sean 🙂


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