20 of the Most Important Skills for Your CV (For All Jobs) – CV Nation

20 of the Most Important Skills for Your CV (For All Jobs)

Preparing an effective CV that makes a positive impact isn’t easy. Recruiters receive hundreds of applications for jobs, so competition is strong.

One of the best ways to impress recruiters and stand out from the crowd is to show relevant skills. Employers are always on the lookout for candidates who possess sought-after skills, so if you can demonstrate them on your CV, you’ll stand a greater chance of succeeding in the job market.

This guide includes 20 key soft skills for your CV, as well as examples of how to show them on your CV. We also include lists of the most important hard skills for multiple jobs.

Hard Skills and Soft Skills

Before determining the most essential skills to include on your CV, it’s important to learn the difference between hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills are skills that are taught and specific to certain professions. Soft skills are attributes and traits that are often inherent, such as communication and organisation.

The most important hard skills to include on your CV will depend on your profession. For example, if you’re a store manager, key hard skills will include people management and sales planning. If you’re an accounts assistant, hard skills will include proficiency with Microsoft Excel and relevant financial systems.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are often a requirement for all jobs. This is because, as they’re basic human traits, they’re a principal factor in the achieving high standards of performance on a daily basis.

While hard skills are more job-specific, they are not always considered to be more important. According to a study conducted by Career Builder, 77% of employers believe soft skills are just as important as hard skills.

20 Key Soft Skills For All Jobs

1. Communication

No matter what job, industry or country you’re in, communication is a valuable skill that will help you perform to higher standards. Even if you work alone, you will probably come into contact with customers or members of the public at some point.

Communication is one of the most sought-after skills in candidates because it is so fundamental to success. From overcoming problems and improving efficiency to boosting morale and enhancing teamwork, good communication brings a wealth of benefits to the workplace.

2. Organisation

Effective organisation saves time and optimises efficiency in the workplace. It also helps employees achieve goals in line with deadlines.

As such, recruiters are always on the lookout for candidates who can demonstrate good organisation skills on their CV.

3. Adaptability

As the world is constantly changing, the need for adaptability in the workplace is as important as ever. Employees need to be ready to respond to the changing landscape of the industry they work in. And adaptable employees are capable of quickly picking up new skills to do just that.

They’re also more suitable for promotions as they’re able at adjust to new expectations and environments.

4. Time Management

Time management is an important skill for all jobs because it enables employees to maintain control over their work. By managing their time effectively, they can improve their performance levels, meet targets and minimise stress. Sub-standard time management often results in missed deadlines, growing workloads and below par punctuality.

For leaders, good time management is a key factor in the management of staff, tasks and projects.

5. Problem-Solving

Employers want to recruit people with good problem-solving skills because they’re well-equipped to deal with the problems that are sure to arise as they perform their daily tasks. Employees with strong problem-solving skills are able to evaluate problems, assess appropriate solutions and implement corrective actions in a timely manner.

To demonstrate your problem-solving skills on your CV, highlight problems you solved and show how your problem-solving led to positive outcomes.

Here is an example:

Reduced customer complaints related to the company’s online system by 87% by fixing bugs and implementing changes to the coding

6. Critical Thinking

In simple terms, critical thinking is the process of analysing and evaluating facts and thoughts to form well-founded judgements. Critical thinking enables employees to enhance their decision-making and their ability to solve problems.

When employees think critically and evaluate their own ideas, they will also improve their communication skills and the way they get their views across.

7. Active Listening

Active listening is a key component of communication. It refers to the ability to fully understand what someone is saying by actively listening and interpreting their body language.

Employees with sound active listening skills are able to accurately follow instructions. They also work well teams as they communicate more effectively with their colleagues, which leads to better productivity.

Active listening not only improves productivity in the workplace, but it also plays a key role in defusing conflicts, strengthening relationships and reducing errors.

8. Teamwork

Good teamwork is regarded as an essential requirement for almost all job openings. Employers want to recruit candidates who they can be sure can integrate into existing teams and work well with others.

When employees work effectively together, they perform more efficiently, solve problems more easily and generate better results.

Showcase your teamworking skills on your CV and you’ll make a positive impact on recruiters.

9. Attention-to-Detail

Attention-to-Detail in the workplace minimises errors and improves productivity. People with good attention-to-detail are more likely to carry out tasks to a higher standard and require less supervision.

From the point of view of employers, a lack of attention-to-detail can result in unwanted expenses, extra working hours and various other problems.

For example, errors in the invoicing process could lead losses in earnings or customer complaints.

10. Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is the ongoing pursuit of new skills and knowledge. This may involve undertaking courses, learning about new methodologies and acquiring advice from colleagues.

Employees who are committed to continuous learning are strong candidates to progress to more senior roles. They will also be more comfortable with adapting to changes that are thrust upon them as they’re more likely to obtain the new skills that are required to meet new requirements.

11. Leadership

Leadership isn’t just a requirement for managers and directors. Employees at all levels can be leaders. Whether or not employees work in a supervisory role, they can optimise performance levels by taking ownership of their tasks, motivating colleagues and enhancing team communication.

As leadership is ultimately about generating results, the best way to illustrate your leadership skills on your CV is to highlight your accomplishments. As such, it’s beneficial to show how you achieved positive results as a leader on your CV.

View our guide to learn about the 8 key leadership skills that you should showcase on your CV.

12. Integrity

Employers like to recruit people with integrity because they tend to be trustworthy and they take ownership for their decisions. Integrity also fosters positive work environments and robust relationships.

Integrity is an especially important skill for leaders. This is largely because leaders with integrity have a propensity to create cultures of trust and openness in which staff members can flourish.

13. Emotional Intelligence

In simple terms, emotional intelligence – often called emotional quotient – refers to the ability to express, interpret, manage and regulate emotions. According to a study by CareerBuilder, 71% of employers stated that they valued emotional intelligence over IQ.

Employers who took part in this survey stated they expected those with high emotional intelligence to be more likely to stay calm under pressure, resolve conflicts and be empathetic to team members.

14. Decision-Making

For leaders and managers, decision-making is among the most important skills they can possess. The ability to make quick, effective decisions on a regular basis is a fundamental to business success.

The benefits of good decision-making in the workplace include time savings, enhanced productivity and minimisation of costly errors.

15. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to acknowledge and understand the needs of others. When team members are emphatic to one another, they build morale, strengthen relationships, and develop trust.

This, in turn, brings many benefits to the workplace, including greater efficiency, team cohesiveness and problem solving.

16. Multi-Tasking

Employers will often expect you to perform multiple tasks simultaneously while maintaining high levels of quality and efficiency.

For example, if you’re a retail assistant, you may be expected to serve customers while replenishing stock and maintaining retail displays.

So, if you’re good at multi-tasking, highlight this on your CV.

17. Enthusiasm

Employees who are enthusiastic about their job are often more committed to achieving goals. They also tend to foster positive work environments and inspire colleagues to feel similar enthusiasm for their work.

Enthusiasm is especially important for those who work in customer-facing roles. When customer service staff are enthusiastic, they show customers that they care.

18. Creativity

Those who think creatively in the workplace are more likely to come up with novel ideas and new, improved ways of working. Employees who are creative are often more productive and think outside the box when it comes to solving problems.

Boland Jones, founder and CEO of PGi, touched on the importance of creativity in regards to productivity in his article on Entrepreneur: ‘While the creative process can seem less productive than simply churning out work, by ultimately transitioning those efforts to bigger-picture problems, workers’ productivity becomes more meaningful - and the business flourishes.’

19. Resilience

Resilient employees are more comfortable at dealing with difficult situations. In fact, they tend to see difficult situations as challenges that are there to be overcome. When it comes to negative experiences, those with resilience usually focus on the positives and use the experiences at opportunities for growth.

As such, resilience is a key skill and often a determining factor in handling problematic situations or periods of significant change.

20. Relationship Building

When team relationships are strong, employees feel more confident, take more enjoyment from their jobs and have the freedom to be the best they can be.

According to a study by Gallup, those with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged at their job. This indicates the importance of having robust relationships at work.

Relationship building is a particularly vital skill for people who work in customer-facing roles. For example, in account management, success is built on strong customer relationships.


Key Hard Skills for Your CV

As we covered previously, hard skills – job-specific skills – are also important to highlight on your CV. However, the most important hard skills to include on your CV depends on your profession.

Here, we have listed the most important hard skills based on jobs and industries.

Accountancy

Microsoft Office

Technology Proficiency

Advanced Modelling

QuickBooks

Data Analysis

Business Intelligence

Administration

Filing

Scheduling

Data Entry

Diary Management

Microsoft Office

Database Management

Business Management

People Management

KPI Implementation

Sales and Marketing

Financial Management

Strategy Development

Risk Management

Construction

Site Management

Health and Safety

Budgeting

Project Management

Supplier Management

Building Regulations

Customer Service

Client Management

CRM

Software Proficiency

Correspondence

Data Entry

Conflict Management

Engineering

Design and Testing

Prototyping

Troubleshooting

Quality Control

Programming

Structural Analysis

Finance and Banking

Financial Planning

Financial Modelling

Relationship Management

Negotiation

Risk Management

Financial Analysis

Human Resources

Employee Engagement

Recruitment

Employment Law

Policy Development

Diversity and Equality

Training and Development

Logistics

Transport Management

Regulatory Compliance

Logistics Software

Resource Management

Warehousing

Supply Chain Management

Marketing

Campaign Optimisation

Social Media Management

SEO

Data and Analytics

Budgeting

Paid Advertising

Project Management

Project Delivery

Stakeholder Management

Prince2

Agile Methodology

Risk Management

Training and Mentoring

Retail and Sales

Consultive Selling

KPI Delivery

Upselling

Sales Planning

Sales Management

Strategic Selling

Software Engineering

Coding

Testing

Machine Learning

Object-Oriented Design

C++

Data Structures

Teaching

Classroom Management

Subject Knowledge

Counselling

Lesson Planning

Conflict Management

Department Management


How to Show Skills on Your CV

Skills Section

The simplest way to draw attention to your key skills on your CV is to include a skills section. In this section, you can highlight a small number of your strongest skills to show recruiters how you can add value to their company.

Here is an example of a CV’s skills section:

Example skills section on CV
Work Experience Section

Skills can also be demonstrated in your work experience section by showing how you used the skills in your everyday job. Think about how you have achieved positive results in your job by making use of your skills, and showcase this in your CV’s work experience section.

For example, if you described how you restructured the filing process or implemented more efficient data management software, you would demonstrate your organisation skills.

Here is an example:

Sourced and implemented new scheduling software, which streamlined the scheduling process and enabled Senior Management to organise events remotely

This is great way of bolstering your CV by providing tangible evidence of your expertise.

As little as one-third of recruiters believe applicants’ are honest about their skills on their CV, according to Monster’s survey.

As such, it’s important to show how you utilised your skills to achieve positive outcomes.

Education Section

Are you a recent graduate or a student with little or no work experience? If so, consider highlighting a number of key projects or activities you took part in at school or university to show off your skills.

For example, you may be able to demonstrate your teamwork and leadership skills by highlighting your involvement in sporting competitions.

Professional Profile

Your CV should start with a professional profile, a short introduction at the beginning of your CV that illustrates your value as an employee.

As professional profiles are often the first part of CVs that recruiters see, they're a great place to draw attention to your key skills.


Want to see more examples of how skills can be demonstrated on CVs? Take a look at our 24 CV samples and in-depth CV writing guide.


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