Self-assessment: knowing yourself to know what to look for 


A good CV is one that has been well prepared. The first step is to do a personal inventory. This process will lead you to reflect on your career path, your motivations, and your skills, so that you can showcase your assets effectively. 

Why do a personal inventory?


This is the first question to ask yourself. According to Sandra Miles, director of the firm Miles Employment, “doing a personal inventory is not that easy and it takes time.” It is important to understand why and for whom you are doing it. 

- For yourself:


You do this assessment mainly for yourself. “Before going out to look for work, you need to ask yourself why you are doing so,” says Hilary Predy, regional director at Adecco. “Is this your first job? Are you going back to an activity after having put your career on hold? Do you wish to change the type of work you do? This primary motivation will guide you in your search.” 

- For the recruiters:


You must never lose sight of the aim of this assessment: to convince an employer that you are the right person for the job. “Often, recruiters have piles of CVs on their desks,” explains Sandra Miles. “If you don’t showcase your attributes effectively, your CV remains one of hundreds. And to present your attributes well, you must know yourself.” 

How to do a personal inventory?


It is a good idea to begin by recalling everything that you have done till now: education, professional experience, personal activities… “It is not enough, however, to list all the functions or training courses one after another,” adds Sandra Miles. “It is important to highlight accomplishments, acquired skills or distinctions; otherwise it will be impossible for the recruiter to know if you are the right person. These elements will make you stand out from among the other candidates.”  

Aside from these hard skills, you must also determine what your soft skills are. “You cannot be described only by a list of diplomas and work experience; you are also your values, qualities and personality,” adds Sandra Miles. “It is not always obvious how to describe oneself, and this is exactly where the help of a mentor is essential,” explains Hilary Predy. “A mentor can help you reflect on your character traits, on the principles that you adhere to.” Are you creative, autonomous, organized, rigorous, patient, open? These personality traits are among the assets that you will bring to your future employer. To not take them into account is already a move in the wrong direction.   

Do you have to get outside help?


Not necessarily, if we believe Sandra Miles. “You are the person who knows you best. You don’t need any outside help.” On the other hand, in order to keep yourself honest, it is sometimes useful to call upon another person. “The best thing is to have a mentor who knows you but who can remain objective, something that may be difficult for a parent or a friend,” explains Hilary Predy.