Why include a skills section on your CV?
On average, recruiters spend just 6 seconds looking at each CV they receive. That means you have a very short amount of time to grab their attention. One of the best ways to do that is to write a strong skills section that:
- Shows you understand what’s expected of you in the role.
- Highlights any transferable skills you have.
A killer skills section will also help your CV pass through any Applicant Tracking System (ATS) filters. Some businesses use an ATS to automatically scan applicant CVs to find ones that contain certain words.
But when it comes to the skills section, it can be tricky to know where to start. That’s why our CV builder suggests skills related to the role you’re applying for.
Types of skills employers look for regardless of the role
Demonstrate that you can express yourself clearly and concisely. You should include communication methods where you excel like ‘excellent written communication’, ‘proficient at presenting to clients’, and ‘confident communicating with colleagues with varying levels of technical knowledge’.
Time management and organisational skills
Good time management means knowing how to manage your time effectively to fulfil your role. This includes spending enough time on important jobs that contribute to your overall goals and less time on things that aren’t as important. It may also include working well to deadlines, multitasking and managing client meetings.
Teamwork and interpersonal skills
Most roles out there require some element of working as part of a team. It’s important to show employers that you know how to work with and for others. Use real-world examples to highlight your leadership and conflict resolution skills, for example.
There isn’t a job out there where you won’t encounter some kind of problem on a daily basis. Employers need to know that when you’re presented with difficult choices, you know how to quickly and efficiently pick one that’s right for the business.
Computing and IT skills
Most roles nowadays involve some kind of work with computers and IT systems. Whether you rely on technology to do your job or just need to access timesheeting software to log your hours, employers expect at least a basic level of computer literacy. Skills of this type should include names of specific programmes, tools and pieces of software you’re comfortable using.
Role-specific skills and where to find them
Here are our top tips for hunting out the skills you’ll need for a specific role:
Read the job description
Perhaps the best place to start looking for role-specific skills is on the job description itself. When an employer writes a job ad, they often know the kinds of skills they’re looking for in a candidate and will naturally include certain skills (as well as specific software and tools you might use) in the description of the role.
Look at CV examples
When you’ve picked out various skills from the job description, take a look at CV examples written for the kind of role you’re applying for. (We’ve included a few top CV examples below.) It’s okay to take inspiration from other CVs, but make sure you adapt it to reflect you and your experience.
Use an online CV builder with skills suggestions
Our CV builder tool includes skills suggestions specific to the role you’re applying for. It’s a great way to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed in steps 1 and 2!