The Power of Using Your Values in Your CV

Recently I was coaching a person who had been made redundant and actively looking for work for over 5 months with no joy in the financial services sector.

In one session we worked on not only discovering her values and strengths, but also their impact on her job satisfaction.

At the end of this session, she took up the idea to be open about her core values on her CV (she already covered her strengths). She recognised that any organisation that she would find a pleasure to work for would consider her personal values of significance to them. In addition, she thought this would also be a way to stand out from all the other CVs.

Within a month of making this change to her CV, she was offered a job in an organisation that suited her completely. And she accepted it. She said that she noticed the interviews included a discussion about values. This included her giving examples of how they guided her behaviour at work and the interviewees giving such examples when working in their organisation. This increased both parties understanding and appreciation of each other.

Her recommendation to those still looking for a job that they will enjoy is to include details about their core values on their CV.

Go for it!

The Challenge of Choosing the Right Career

Steve Pavlina has written a great blog on the challenge of choosing the right career. You can read it at

Whatever career (or non-career) path you take and however ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you find it, it is possible to gain something positive out of it, if you choose to look at life in that way.

When I was a student I took a holiday job working in administration for a high street bank (the sort you and I go to). I quickly knew that this type of organisation would not suit me for a permanent career as it had so many rules and regulations, leaving little opportunity to use initiative. And the level of detail involved was incredible! None of my strengths that I like using were relevant at all.

There is solid evidence (linked to positive psychology) that when you can use your strengths in your work, it is better for all concerned.

So if you’re trying to work out what career to choose, one area I’d strongly recommend you consider looking at is where your strengths lie. When you know this you can then think what types of career might require you to use them.

Top 5 Reasons CVs End Up in the Bin

Here’s an article that will be of interest to people writing their CV – Top 5 Reasons Why most CVs End Up in the Bin:

I would add two other types of mistakes people make:

– sometimes people forget the purpose of the CV, which is to get them an interview, not the job!
– assuming the person sifting the CVs knows technical shortforms – often CVs are sifted by people with no experience in the field whatsoever.

Naturally before you get to this stage you need to know what work you would love to do. This is a separate topic for the future.

Richard Branson’s 5 secrets to business success

Here are Richard Branson’s 5 secrets to business success:

If you want a job in an organisation, rather than set up your own, these secrets may help you look at any recruiting organisation and check what culture they have. In so doing it helps to know what’s important to you – what do you value? This includes a variety of matters (in no particular order):

Firstly, what personal values do you have that need to be present in the organisation? For instance, if you value teamwork and you find out that the company seems to stress individual contribution, with competition between colleagues being encouraged, you are unlikely to flourish in such an environment. Your values are part of what motivates you – if your core values are not in align with the organisation it will certainly be at best neutral and at worst a real de-motivator and energy sapper.

Secondly, which type of organisation appeals? For instance, a relative of mine knew he wanted to work in non-profit organisations as that fits his values – indeed that’s what he has always done and he’s really enjoying his work. I knew I liked working in the private sector, yet knew I wouldn’t want to work for a company that is involved in producing and selling cigarettes because I didn’t want to support something that is detrimental to people’s health.

Thirdly, what sorts of role interest you? One client of mine was pondering about being a nurse. However, once she knew more about her own working style preferences, she recognised that she would find the relative level of similarity in what takes place each day and limited opportunity to use her initiative would mean she would quickly become bored – not good after investing time and money to train!

Fourthly, where do you want to work? This includes options like town/country, different parts of UK, another country, no set location, etc. You may appreciate that for a period of time to get your career up and running, your ideal location may not be possible, but later on it will. I found that it was fine to work in a city as long as it was feasible to live in the countryside. It could be the opposite for you!

Finally, under what working conditions do you wish to work? I was reading a discussion on the Guardian Career Forum ( and one person liked her existing working conditions as it gave her so much flexibility yet her job was not what she wanted – and she had the opportunity to apply for internal promotion into a job she’d really enjoy but the terms of employment meant she would lose the flexibility. In that situation she needed to look at the picture as a whole and include the longer term too.

This summarises what people, who are looking for work they’d love and enjoy, need to do too!

Can’t You Enjoy Work Without Knowing Your Core Values?

Of course you can! And I personally have enjoyed my work without consciously knowing my core values. And yet …

When you consciously know your core values you have a boundless sense of certainty and commitment to what you’re doing. Your enjoyment reaches a different dimension. What you do, say, feel, think are based on an extra foundation of assurance, confidence, which is sound in form.

Because you have this stronger internal foundation, you are likely to:

– be bolder in what you’ll try, accepting the consequences of mis-takes as an opportunity to learn. Naturally not risking anyone’s health or safety!
– find you are less dependant upon external sources of support e.g. less need to please others, less need to have other confirm you’re doing fine
– discover decision making is more straightforward
value more what you have to offer
– be more self-assured and less likely to act like a victim
– be less defensive and less attacking
– be more open to other possibilities
accept that other people may have different opinions, ideas, beliefs, etc and that’s OK

i.e. you’ll be more often you at your best!

Now you’re not going to be like this ALL the time! After all, you are human. However, you will be more consistently and more often.

How do I know? Especially as I said I enjoyed my work without consciously knowing my core values.

Well, now I am working consciously knowing – and referring to – my core values in my work. And outside work too. And I notice I have all the above more consistently and more often. In addition, I’ve spoken with other people and they have had a similar experience. Yes, they describe it in slightly different ways, but the essence is the same.

There are sure to be other ways to achieve the same results – this is the way I know other people (as well as myself) have found works! How about giving it a go?

All the best