Make Your Skills Stand Out
Putting the strongest possible CV in front of an employer means effectively highlighting your CV skills. On average, recruiters spend just 6 seconds looking at each CV they receive. Luckily, our online CV builder is a quick and easy way to help your CV to stand out from the crowd.
10 Key CV Skills That UK Employers Want
Every jobseeker has different skills. 'Hard skills' are usually defined as specific measurable competencies. 'Soft skills' include things like communication and teamwork. Employers are looking for a mix of both in top candidates.
Demonstrate that you can express yourself clearly and concisely. Show how you get ideas across and can persuade colleagues to support your projects.
Willingness to learn
It’s important to be open to new ideas, and willingness to learn new skills at work is key. Show you’re both open-minded and keep up-to-date with the most current skills for your role.
Working well to tight deadlines and knowing which tasks to prioritise is very important. Help employers understand how well you multitask and work to even the tightest of deadlines.
Good time management means knowing how much time you should spend on a particular task. Ensure that you spend enough time on important jobs, rather than spending hours on less important things.
Employers expect a basic level of computer literacy in most roles, and significant expertise if you’re applying for a job in IT. Include the names of software packages or suites where you can.
When presented with difficult choices, you need to know how to quickly pick one that’s right for the business. Think of ways you can demonstrate this in your CV.
Consider situations where you’ve defused arguments or managed conflicting perspectives. Using the skills you’ve learned in the past will help you resolve other conflicts in the future.
Being a self-starter
Employers want to onboard you in a new role, but they don’t want to have to micromanage you. Help them to see you’re a self-starter who doesn’t need babysitting on the job.
It’s important to be able to adapt at work. The ability to change your approach based on successes or failures is a CV skill that all employers value.
Leadership doesn’t necessarily mean managing a team - it can also mean showing initiative and taking charge. Consider how you’ve taken control of projects or situations in the past.
8 Top Tips to Build a Strong Skills Section
Even the most qualified jobseekers find it hard to build a strong CV skills section. It’s not always easy knowing which key skills for a CV are worth including. The following tips will help you quickly master this part of a job application.
Check the job ad
Scan the job ad to discover which CV skills are the most important. Key skills for a CV are often included on the job ad in a bulleted list, making it easy to pick them out.
Draw a mind map to help you decide which additional skills are likely to support your application. This should include your hard skills as well as complementary soft skills.
Review other CVs
Review examples of other CVs to get additional ideas for what to include. These also include skills that may be helpful.
Choose a template
Choose from a wide selection of professional looking CV templates to help display your skills as clearly as possible. Look at CV examples to ensure you’ve chosen a template style suitable for the job you’re applying for.
Reference skills elsewhere
As you write your CV key skills, consider ways of referencing skills in other CV sections. For instance, the hobbies and interests section of your CV isn’t just a way to tell employers about your extra-curricular activities. It’s a great place to show off your skills too.
Take a break
After building your CV key skills section, take a break. Make a cup of tea, stretch your legs, and then review it with fresh eyes.
Get a second opinion from someone you trust - do you have key skills you aren’t sharing? Key skills for CV sections often include traits we take for granted. A friend will be more objective at pointing these out.
Use spellcheck when reviewing your CV. Print your CV and read it out loud. Automatic spellcheck is good for picking up obvious mistakes but isn’t infallible. Reading your CV aloud will help you spot errors that spellcheck might miss.
Top CV Skills Questions
Including the right skills on your CV is becoming more important as industries evolve and ATS systems filter out applications. Here are two of the most popular CV Skills questions below.
What Skills Should I Write On My CV?
The skills you should include in your CV are the ones that you genuinely possess and are relevant to the role you’ve applied for. Common skills might include:
- Software or hardware you know how to use: important for many roles such as office jobs or accounting positions.
- Qualifications: important for showing that you can commit to a goal and for demonstrating specialist expertise.
- Transferable skills: perhaps you’ve led a team before or juggled multiple projects? These are key skills for CVs, especially if you’re applying for a job that falls outside your existing area of expertise.
What Are Important Skills?
The following are all key skills for a CV:
- Computer technology: think about software programs you have used like Microsoft Office, Slack, Adobe Creative Suite, or project management tools. If a company uses these tools it means you will be easier to onboard because you already have experience with them.
- Communication skills: This could include copywriting, public speaking, training others, or the ability to speak a foreign language.
- Marketing: Think about specific marketing channels you have worked on. This could be search engine optimisation (SEO), Google Analytics, social media, or WordPress.
- Certificates or qualifications: These achievements provide proof of knowledge - be sure to include GCSEs, A-levels, BTECs or university degrees.
- Financial skills: budgeting, accounting, and experience with financial management software are all valuable additions to CVs
Best UK CV Skills Examples
To stand out in a crowded marketplace, take a look at what your peers are showcasing in CV examples.
IT Skills CV
If you’re applying for an IT role, you’ll need more than just the basic skills required to send email and fiddle with spreadsheets. Highlight which technical software packages and processes you’re familiar with.
Retail CV Skills
For retail roles, always flag key skills like cash handling and stock management. Refer to skills you’ve gained using POS software. Also consider the advanced sales techniques and people skills you have.
Sales Assistant Skills CV
Sales Assistant jobs are popular with many jobseekers. Highlight transferable skills like dispute resolution. If you’ve not worked in retail before, share skills you’ve gained from working in hospitality or other similar industries.
Transferable Skills CV
Transferable skills are valuable because you can apply them to different jobs. They might include project management, written and verbal communication, or numeracy. Consider challenges you’ve overcome in the past and what you learned from them.
Good Skills for a CV
Good soft skills to mention on your CV include being a self-starter, people management, and communication. Scan the job ad to identify skills you need to highlight.
Waitress CV Skills
When applying for waitressing jobs, past customer service experience is invaluable. Not worked as a waitress before? Then mention other customer-focused roles, such as jobs in retail or at a call centre.
Laboratory CV Skills
Laboratory work mostly focuses on hard skills such as analytical skills, statistics, and the ability to follow rigorous standards. Include any past health and safety experience you might have too.
Chef CV Skills
An obvious skill for chefs is food knowledge. You should also demonstrate your knowledge of hygiene standards and people management. These are vital competencies for a kitchen workplace environment.
Professional Skills for a CV
Professional skills for a CV include things like leadership, mentoring, project management, and conflict resolution. Mention any industry-specific skills you have too. For instance, marketing or engineering expertise.
Project Management CV Skills
Project Managers must have strong soft skills including communication and people management. Other skills include negotiation, scheduling, cost control, and change management. Be aware that required skills will vary from to role to role.
Analytical Skills CV
Whether you’re applying to a strategic position or a Data Scientist role, it’s important to highlight your analytical skills. It’s helpful to outline projects you’ve worked on where you were able to analyse a complex situation and provide a recommended solution through your work.
Sales CV Key Skills
Sales roles cover everything from finance to retail. Include your communication skills as well as selling skills. The latter might include product knowledge, rapport building, or particular approaches that have generated revenue.
Skills to Include in Your CV
It’s important to incorporate the right skills for a CV. But it can also be hard to know which ones to list.
Many recruiters now use Applicant Tracking Systems. These search job applications for the most important keywords and remove those that lack them and seem less relevant.
Effective use of keywords in your CV skills section will improve your chances of getting past the tracking system. This means your CV is more likely to seen by a pair of human eyes.
There are two main things to consider:
Show That You Have Relevant Skills
Making it clear that you have relevant skills (as outlined in the job description) is vital.
Firstly, identify what the job involves. For example, if you’re applying for a HR position, the employer may be seeking good people skills. Likewise, for a caregiving role you'll need relevant qualifications.
Key skills are usually listed at the top of the job description. To stand out, consider what else you can offer that other applicants can't. For instance, do you have experience in a similar role? Perhaps in a past job you overcame a challenge that now makes you a particularly compelling candidate.
Showcase Both Hard and Soft Skills
When you apply for a job, try to showcase a fair balance of hard and soft skills. Counter your hard skills (like email marketing) with soft skills (like negotiation). It’s important to get this right, as a good mix of both is desirable.
While job ads are likely to list required qualifications and technical expertise, you’ll have to make an educated guess about which soft skills are needed. For instance, if the ad is for a job in complaints in a call centre, conflict management expertise would good to include.
Create Your CV Today
Now you have a solid grasp of which skills are important for your CV. And you understand how vital it is to include the right skills in order to get through applicant tracking system filters, impress recruiters, and land an interview.
Sign up and use our online CV builder today.