With around 48% of the population now going to university, the competition for great jobs is tougher than ever. Graduates are ending up in roles that didn’t require a degree in the past, or in careers that don’t match their area of study.

You need to stand out

Employers are demanding greater accomplishment from applicants. To land your dream job, you need to offer more of the key skills they are looking for. In a survey last year, the employment-oriented social media site LinkedIn asked almost 300 managers what they were looking for from applicants. The answer was that soft skills are becoming increasingly important. The top 5 most in-demand skills were:

  • Communication
  • Organisation
  • Teamwork
  • Punctuality
  • Critical Thinking
Bullet Journal ideas for boosting CV skills
How can you demonstrate soft skills?

Although you can demonstrate some of these skills in an interview (turn up on time and be able to talk about yourself confidently and you’ve nailed number 4 and 1 already!) showing some of the others can be more of a challenge.

The good news is a notebook and a pen could be all you need. There’s a technique called Bullet Journaling (or BuJo for short) that could help you demonstrate four items on that list.

What is Bullet Journaling?

Created by Brooklyn based Digital Product Designer, Ryder Carroll, Bullet Journaling is described as ‘The Analog solution for a digital age.’ Using only a notebook and pen, Carroll developed a system for the rapid logging of tasks: but this was no simple to-do list. Carroll’s system includes an indexed notebook and migration of tasks, which means that nothing slips through the net.

Back in 2013, Carroll launched his website with an introductory video. Shortly afterwards the idea was featured on several ‘life hack’ websites and the bullet journal went viral. There are now numerous blogs, Facebook groups and other communities for those who have taken Ryder’s principals and applied them faithfully or who have used the concept as a springboard for their own creativity with washi tape and glitter pens.

Journals are now used to track things like water consumption, mental health and progress on Netflixing Gilmore Girls, as well as work & study.

How can a Bullet Journal help land a job?

A Bullet Journal is more than a to-do list. It becomes a combination of diary, planner, knowledge base and task management system in one.

Having a central notebook to organise your year, months, weeks and days ensures that deadlines and appointments don’t take you by surprise (that’s items two and four on the list).

Reference information in Bullet Journals is split into ‘spreads’ which take up both the left and right page of the notebook.  Spreads are usually grouped by topic. Let’s say you had put together a spread of your skills, with notes about examples you could refer to in an interview; having that information to hand in an interview would demonstrate items one, two and five).

You could use a BuJo to keep track of which recruitment sites have the best opportunities where you’ve applied or compile a list of questions you might like to ask employers.

Simply put, having a bullet journal puts facts at your fingertips, makes you look well organised and is a great talking point. If you find another BuJo-er on the interview panel, you’ll have something to bond over.

The wider benefits of Bullet Journaling

Converts to the system use their journals to help support a whole range of life goals. Whether it’s physical health and well-being, mental health, wedding planning or work, there are examples out there of how people have adapted the technique to take control of their lives.

If you want to get a head start on the system, then there are many examples of how students have used bullet journals to organise their studies.

Does it really work?

Yes. Join any of the Bullet Journaling groups online and you’ll find evangelical users of the system happy to share their success stories. There are numerous accounts of journals being the thing that made a candidate stand out in a job interview, or of bosses asking employees to teach others about the technique because the benefits are so obvious.

The real beauty of the Bullet Journaling system is in its flexibility. You can make your journal as minimalist or intricate as you like. To get started all you need is a notebook, a pen, and a little free time: a small investment that could really pay off in the career stakes.


Sarah Dixon writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching career starters with graduate jobs. For everything from marketing internships to graduate jobs Manchester, click here.

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