Skills to Include on a CV

The skills of your CV are arguably the most important section of all. It’s what employers will look at first and it’s what they’ll be basing their decision off of. A good skills section will be attractive to a potential employer, whilst a bad one could put them off without even reading the rest of your application.

Writing a good skills section takes a lot of thought and time. You should spend a lot of time thinking about which skills you want to include, and then writing them in an effective way. In this article, we will help you write the best CV by guiding you through how to write a good CV skills section.

So, let’s get into it… Here are a few tips and CV skills examples to help you craft the skills section of your CV.

Hard skills vs. soft skills

Firstly, when putting together a skills section, you need to decide whether you’re going to include hard skills or soft skills.

Hard skills:

These are the specific skills that you have that relate directly to the role you’re applying for. For example: If you were applying for a job as an electrician, then hard skills would be “I’m qualified to work as an electrician” or “I am qualified to install solar power.”

Hard skills might include proficiency in things like:

  1. Computer programs
  2. Foreign languages
  3. IT skills
  4. Professional qualifications (e.g., degree, certificate, etc.)
  5. Technical skills (e.g., graphic design, Microsoft Office, etc.)

The most important thing to remember is that your hard skills should be specific and relate directly to the role you’re applying for. For this reason, you should always have a CV template so that you can plug and play different sections in depending on the job. For example, if you were applying for an engineering job , then you would include a specific CV engineering skills section.

Soft skills:

These are skills that are transferable and that you will be able to use in a large variety of different roles. For example: “I’m a quick learner” or “I have the ability to work well under pressure.”

Soft skills might include proficiency in things like:

  1. Communication
  2. Interpersonal skills
  3. Networking
  4. Relationship skills
  5. Teamwork
  6. Self-management (e.g., time management, goal setting, etc.)
  7. Stress management (e.g., taking time out, prioritizing tasks, etc.)
  8. Work ethic (e.g., ability to work long hours without complaining)

The most important thing to remember is that your soft skills should be transferable skills that you can use in many different roles. This means that these are skills that are useful beyond a specific industry or role. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have an 80/20 rule when putting together your skills section. In other words, 80% soft skills and 20% hard skills.

You should be careful about including proficiency in software programs as these can become dated quite quickly. The same goes for foreign languages.

Therefore, You should write both hard and soft skills in your CV, but more of one than the other depending on what type of job you’re applying for.

It’s important to note that not all managers will care about technical skills, and you may have to display the same soft skills on your CV as you would for a more routine type job.

What Skills Can I Include on my CV?

A CV is a document that provides an overview of your work experience, skills, and education. When you send in your CV to apply for a job, it’s usually the first thing that the employer will see before they look at your application form. If you do not have any previous qualifications or are just starting out in the workplace, then it is likely you will include skills from vocational courses such as First Aid at Work or Emergency Life Support.

Here is how the skills should be placed in the right order with good presentation:

Good CV vs Bad CV

How to identify your best skills

To identify your best skills, you need to think about the evidence you have that supports the skills that you claim. This should include official documents, awards or certificates from work or school, and examples of how you’ve used specific skills.

It could be a good idea to use some form of a mind-mapping tool like MindMeister to help put all of this together. Mind-mapping is highly effective for visualizing complex information and involves linking together different ideas through clear connections.

You can then organize your thoughts so that you can clearly see what your best skills are. This will make it easier to highlight the most important skills.

It’s also useful to create a list of the best skills you have when doing this exercise as it could help you decide which ones to highlight in your CV.

Tips:

  • Be realistic with your hard skills. If you are claiming to be good at something that’s completely unique to you, then other employers may find this difficult to believe.
  • If your hard skills are related to the role you’re applying for, then make sure you include it in your section.
  • Similarly, try to avoid claiming to be an expert at anything.
  • If you’re having difficulty identifying your best skills, ask friends or family members for feedback.
  • You may need to do some research on what soft and hard skills are important for the industry you want to work in.
  • Try different techniques for brainstorming your best skills. For example, you could try mind mapping , mind writing , word association or drawing pictures .
  • The importance of your hard and soft skills should be about the same. A good rule of thumb is 80% hard and 20% soft skills.
  • Make sure you write down as many skills as possible so that you have a complete picture of your skills.
  • Try to highlight your best skills in bold and most important ones in italics.

How to write your skills section

The skills section of your CV is often referred to as the “Hobbies & Interests” section. You need to be careful about how you write this, as some employers may take a negative view of people who have a large number of hobbies or interests. Therefore, it’s best to highlight the ones that are relevant.

Good CV Skills Example
Bad CV Skills Example

Here are some tips for how you can write a good skills section:

  1. Showcase your hard skills first so they will stand out from the other items on your CV.
  2. If you have a hobby that involves skills, then include it in your CV. This will make it much easier for recruiters to see that you can transfer what you’ve learned in your hobbies in the workplace.
  3. Try to avoid writing a single line for your skills as it will look very poor on your CV. Instead, aim to write at least four or five lines.
  4. Try to include more than one skill in each section. This will help recruiters understand that you have a broad range of skills that fit with the role you’re applying for.
  5. If you’re having difficulty selecting which skills to highlight, take a look at your CV and ask yourself which things or experiences stood out to you during the process of looking for work.
  6. Try to avoid writing over one page as this can make it look like you’re trying too hard and not being casual about it.
  7. Make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation is good. This will show that you are attentive to detail and care about the quality of your work.
  8. Don’t list hobbies that aren’t relevant to the job or industry you want to work in.

How to make your skills section stand out

  1. Difficult to Obtain – These are the skills that are special or unique. If you can walk into an interview and tell recruiters about something you’ve done that they haven’t heard before, you’re ahead of the crowd. This could be something as simple as organizing a sports team or being on a charitable committee, but what’s important is that it stands out from other people’s experiences.
  2. Relevant – These are skills that a lot of people have, but not necessarily the skills you need to be successful in the job or industry you want to work in. These might include basic administration tasks, such as how to deal with a customer complaint correctly.
  3. Transferable – These are skills that can be used in many different roles and industries. You don’t need to be very good at something if it will allow you to apply for and go into lots of different jobs.
  4. Works Confidently – This is a very important skill. It shows that you are prepared to take control of a situation or project. Recruiters want to hire confident people so if it looks like you’ve been hired because of previous work experience, consider whether you are confident in your ability to get the job done and make decisions.
  5. Active – This is essentially the opposite of “Works Confidently”. If you’re not interested in exploring how your skills can be applied, then don’t put this skill on your CV in big letters.

How to place these skills in order

You may think that if you’re a hard worker, it should be easier to pick out your best skills and highlight them. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Some of the most important skills are the ones that you have no idea how to use or they are very different than what you’re looking for in a job. In this case, it’s much better to list the skills that you find easiest to understand. This will make it easier for recruiters to decide what skills you should highlight.

Firstly, write down all the skills that you know how to use. If you’re not sure about something, ask a friend or family member if they can help you find out more information about it.

Secondly, think about the difficulty of each skill in relation to looking after a dog and helping someone with an injury. If it’s very easy, then it may not be highlighted on your CV – perhaps place it in a skills section at the bottom of the page. If it’s very difficult, then consider putting it at the top of your skills section.

How to choose what skills to highlight

When looking for a new job, don’t make the mistake of not considering each skill that you have in the same way as Hiring Managers do. It’s true that not all skills are relevant to everything, but you can use the following tips to help you decide how important each skill is.

  1. Consider how easy or hard it would be for you to learn or use this skill in your next job or career.
  2. Consider what skills are needed for you to be successful in the job or career that you want to have.
  3. Think about how often this skill is used in your ideal role and industry and other roles within the same industry.
  4. Consider the profession that you’d like to work in and the industry that you are looking for. You might find that one skill is relevant to all industries, but that it can’t be highlighted on your CV because it’s not needed in every industry.
  5. Think about how useful this skill is for other jobs or careers. If it’s too specific, then you may need to narrow it down or leave it as a hobby/interest.

Example skills to put on a CV

Here is the list of popular and most used soft and hard skills to put on a cv. A cv should show your enthusiasm, interest, and knowledge in certain skills. Check this and use them in your cv.

1. Communication skills:

Effective communication is often the key to any job. Communication skills are vital in order to be successful at work. Communication skills also have been found to increase job satisfaction and contentment. Having a good ability to communicate can make a great difference between whether or not people decide to take up a job offer. A person can include his communication skills in their CV by highlighting their communication skills and how they have helped develop them in the following ways:

  • Written communication
  • Active listening
  • Public speaking
  • Listening skills
  • Reading ability

2. Teamwork skills:

Working cooperatively in a team is important for everyone, but especially so when it comes to leadership positions. In a team, you need to be able to compromise as well as motivate others, while knowing your own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the team’s goals. Skills that you can show when it comes to teamwork include:

  • Cooperation
  • Adaptability
  • Reliability
  • Empathy

3. Negotiation skills:

A successful negotiation can help you get a job or a higher salary. Knowing how to negotiate is a skill that will increase your chances of success in any career. Being able to negotiate will make you feel more confident and enable you to speak up for yourself without feeling intimidated by others. Knowing how to negotiate will also help you in situations that are outside the office. Negotiation skills are an important part of any job and could include:

  • Creative problem solving
  • Appropriate compromise
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Decision making
  • Flexibility of mind
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Strategic thinking
  • Teamwork

4. Time management skills:

A person’s ability to manage their time well is important for both personal and professional life. Being able to manage your time effectively will lead to increased productivity and efficiency. Having good time management skills will also ensure that items are completed on time. Individuals are often faced with the challenge of learning how to manage their time well. A person can show these skills by highlighting his or her ability to manage their time and how this contributed to their success in the following ways:

  • Agreeing on deadlines with work colleagues whether this is in the office or outside of work.
  • Organizing projects so they run smoothly without last minute panic.
  • Dealing with unexpected problems that impact deadlines.
  • Planning and prioritizing daily tasks.

5. Management skills:

A person can easily demonstrate their management skills by highlighting their ability to achieve success as a member of a team. It’s important to show that you are capable of working with others and taking on the role of a leader as it shows that you have great people skills. This can be done by adding the following skills to their CV:

  • Creativity
  • Delegation
  • Consistency
  • Teamwork
  • Continuity
  • Planning
  • Quick decision making

6. Planning & Organizing Skills:

Planning and organizing skills are important components of efficiency. In order to be successful at work, planning and organizing is essential as these are key characteristics required for every work environment. Planning and organizing skills are particularly important in order to manage to-do lists effectively. This can be demonstrated by highlighting how the following skills have contributed to your success in the following ways:

  • Managing your time effectively
  • Planning tasks and projects
  • Organizing paperwork
  • Establishing a routine for daily tasks.
  • Being detail-oriented
  • Managing multiple tasks at once

7. Teamwork skills:

Teamwork is often a key component in getting the job done. A person’s ability to work cooperatively with others is also important for leadership positions, as well as ensuring that tasks are accomplished among a group of people. The following skills are important for teamwork:

  • Cooperation
  • Adaptability
  • Reliability
  • Empathy

8. Problem Solving:

Problem-solving skills are an essential part of any job role. The ability to solve problems effectively can lead to the resolution of tense situations and ensure that projects are completed on time. Being able to develop solutions to problems will also make you feel more confident in your abilities throughout your day. Sometimes the best solution to a problem doesn’t come immediately, so it is essential to raise these issues with your colleagues. Problem-solving skills can also be demonstrated by highlighting your ability to ask questions and think outside of the box when it comes to solving problems or getting creative with solutions.

  • Thinking outside of the box
  • Collaboration
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Quick decision making
  • Decisiveness
  • Planning
  • Looking for alternatives in a situation when they are needed.

9.Financial planning:

One of the most important skills to have in your job is financial planning. Why? That’s because financial planning enables you to save money and make wise choices that will lead to a long and prosperous life. It teaches you how to stay away from debt, manage finances, and save for a rainy day. Here are some ways financial planning can be demonstrated in a CV.

  • Using cash management systems to track your expenditures
  • Budgeting and planning
  • Creating a savings plan
  • Paying off debt and other financial obligations on time.
  • Compiling an annual financial statement and analyzing it to find ways to improve it.

10. Computer skills:

First and foremost, it is important to have a computer or laptop so you can write a CV that will be accepted. The following are some computer skills that will be very helpful and will enable you to write a CV that gets you accepted:

  • Using MS Word
  • Basic Internet Navigation
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Internet research
  • E-mail communication

11. Time management skills:

Time management skills are not only necessary for personal life and work history, but also in a small business. The ability to manage time well will enable you to be productive, efficient, and stay on top of your emails. You will also notice that having good time management abilities can have a positive impact on your mood and attitude towards the workplace. Time management skills are a crucial skill to have and can be demonstrated by highlighting the following:

  • Workload management
  • Multi tasking
  • Juggling a number of tasks at once
  • Managing deadlines
  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Delegating tasks to others effectively.

12. Critical Thinking Skills:

Critical thinking is very important in today’s world where almost everyone is under pressure after job cuts and social security cutbacks. It is important to be able to think critically in order to solve problems and come up with solutions quickly. Critical thinking skills can be demonstrated by highlighting the following:

  • Analyzing information
  • Planning out a strategy
  • Solving problems and finding solutions
  • Dealing with difficult people.
  • Making decisions that benefit the group as a whole but do not hurt yourself financially.

13.Customer service skills:

Customer service skills are a crucial part of any job, especially when it comes to finding a job in the customer service sector. Having these skills will enable you to handle customers with professionalism and show that you have what it takes to be successful in your chosen career.
The following are some key customer service skills that should be included in a CV.

  • Handling customer complaints and inquires on the phone
  • Responding to emails in a timely manner
  • Dealing with sales calls and getting “customer satisfaction” (being patient).

14. People skills:

People skills are the key to success at any job and are often highlighted by people who have been successful in their careers so it is important to highlight these if you want to be successful. The following are just some of the ways people skills can be demonstrated in a CV.

  • Initiating conversations in order to network professionally
  • Handling groups and meetings well
  • Dealing with people who may be difficult to handle.
  • Dealing with difficult situations and communicating effectively with others.

15. Self-motivation:

Self-motivation is a key skill that will enable you to get the job done on time, despite the obstacles. Self-motivation can be demonstrated by highlighting the following:

  • High level of work ethic
  • Being able to keep busy when things are difficult
  • Taking on extra tasks and accepting work when offered.
  • Developing a drive to succeed.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The best skills to include are those that demonstrate how you add value to and solve problems for the company.
  2. Because of their breadth, soft skills tend to be more impressive than hard skills on a CV.
  3. The best skills are those that are quantifiable, can be used in a sentence, and represent something a company is trying to do (i.e., “improving sales” is better than “sales experience”).
  4. The best skills to keep at the top of your CV are things that you can demonstrate within 10 seconds of being asked.

Most people have a tendency to put down what they think a company wants to see when they’re writing their CV, as opposed to what would actually benefit the company.

Interested to write a stand-out CV so please check our examples of good CV template for your reference. Also, use our free CV builder.

Recommended Reading:

  1. Hobbies and Interests to put on a CV
  2. CV personal qualiteis and skills
  3. How to write references on a CV
  4. How to write achivements on a CV
  5. Personal details on a CV
  6. Best CV format for freshers

Published by Sarah Samson

Sarah Samson is a professional career advisor and resume expert. She specializes in helping recent college graduates and mid-career professionals improve their resumes and format them for the modern job market. In addition, she has also been a contributor to several online publications.