Skills for Your CV: What Employers Want to See

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Getting in the front door is always the hardest part of any job, with only a piece of paper (digital document) in the hands of a business owner standing between you and your new role.

Your CV is an essential part of any successful job application, ensuring you stand out from every other candidate and giving your potential employer their first impression of you, why not check out our guide to writing a CV. One of the key areas you have to include is the skills section, this allows you to quickly address your full range of skills and provide the reader with an easily scannable list where sought-after skills can be identified.

But what sort of skills to mention in your CV?

There are two main ways you can categorise your skills to ensure your CV covers everything you need and that your potential employer can easily identify the information that matters.


Hard and Soft Skills

Hard and soft skills relate to the classification of technical and personal skills. Hard skills, don’t mean difficult to learn skills, but the technically specific skills you’ll be required for a job, for example, a role that requires you to drive, will require you to have the hard skill of driving. While soft skills, more commonly referred to as “people skills” or “social skills”, involves skills such as great communication, team player, or good time management.


Transferable, Job-related and Adaptive Skills

These three categories allow for the breakdown and classification of nearly all skills.

  • Transferable – This form of skill will have been gained from a specific setting but can be used in a number of other business settings, things such as management experience or basic computer word processing skills are easily transferable to a whole range of roles.
  • Job-related – These skills are only useful to list on your CV if they to the role you’re applying for and will be job specific. These are essential to include if a job specification requires a specific skill set and you have it.
  • Adaptive – This form of skill classification refers more to your personality and personal skills, which you will have simply learned and acquired throughout your life and can be utilised in all places of work. These skills are better highlighted within your CV’s personal statement or within the work experience section of your CV, where you can relate them to specific achievements, rather than simply listing them as skills.

So, what skills should you mention in your CV?   

The best way to start identifying what skills you should list on your CV is to make a master list of skills and classify them using one of the two cataloguing methods mentioned above, while prioritising them in reference to the job description and making a note of potential experiences you can mention to show where you have utilised them.

Priority should be put on job-related skills these will be highlighted in the job description, so it’s essential that if you have them, you list these first in the skills section of your CV. Things like the experience of driving FLTs or working as an order picker for warehouse roles where such skills may be required should be your top listing priority.

As you move down your skills list you can focus on transferable skills such as:

  • Time and deadline management
  • Management skills
  • Computer skills
  • Multi-tasking

All of these skills can quite easily be transferred to different role environments, it’s useful reinforce the mention of these skills in your CV’s personal statement or work experience by mentioning examples of where you have used them.

Finally, you should look to include a range of adaptive skills within your CV. If room allows these should ideally be written within the context of the experiences and times you’ve utilised them. Simply listing a range of adaptive skills won’t stand out as it is easy to gather a quick list of these skills from the web and list them out in your CV. That being said if you really can’t find space to add these skills within a contextual way, then adding them to your skills list, as long as they appear after your job-related and transferable skills, is better than not showing you have them at all.

Some examples of such skills include:

  • Team working
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability
  • Strong work ethic
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership

So, there you have a list of skills for your CV, and the way in which you should prioritise, categorise and include all those important skills that show your competencies for the role you want and that your potential employer will be looking to identify when they give your CV a quick scan.  Once you’ve updated your CV with all your skills, why not take a look through our jobs board to find your new role.

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A Star Recruitment supplied colleagues for assessment during 2017.  The approach from Sue and the team was always friendly and any issues dealt with swiftly and professionally.  From a training aspect I found the colleagues supplied to have been of a very good calibre overall.  During this time only six colleagues didn’t manage to pass the assessments required which for the time scale was excellent, as was the level of service and numbers of colleagues supplied when needed.