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Written by Karl KahlerKarl Kahler

180+ key skills for a CV

22 min read
180+ Key Skills for a CV
A list of skills for CVs based on industries and job roles, along with a comprehensive description of types of CV skills, how to present skills on CV, what are the key skills to be listed on Curriculum Vitaes and more than 180 key skill examples. Use as this as your foundation to understand which skills to put on a CV, as well as a good inspiration of specific qualities employers may be looking for!

When you are describing your difference, your list of skills for a CV will show the  hiring manager whether you have what it takes to succeed. 

Thinking about your CV skills will keep you up at night, though…. 

How do you showcase your skill set to create an irresistible sales pitch?

There are so many questions. What are some of your strengths? What are your skills gaps? How do you define your skills? How do you list skills on a CV? When you describe one of your skills, you need it to serve a dual purpose: it starts a conversation about a career win in your past and it also signposts the fit for your future job.

This blog will explore how to create the perfect mix of skills for a CV:

  • What are the key skills to include in your curriculum vitae?
  • List of 180+ skills for a CV.
  • Where and how to include skills in your CV.

When pondering your CV skills, think about the talents, traits and wisdom that you have picked up over the years. Which of these skills will help you take the next step?

What are Key Skills for a CV? 

There are three main types of skills for CV: hard, soft and technical. Below we will dive into what each of those CV skills categories means and how to use them.

Hard Skills

The hard skills that you might list on your CV are those needed to do a specific task, often with specialist knowledge (software or languages, for example) or with a functional slant. Hard CV skills are easily quantified, are easily improved by training or self-development, and are sometimes tested in the course of the hiring process. 

Hard CV skills are easier for a potential employer to measure and the first stage of many hiring processes will be a scan by the ATS software to check the hard skills on your CV. If you don’t list the important ones for the role, your CV may not be read by the hiring manager at all. Your choice of CV skills matters a great deal.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are the more human aspects of your personality, attributes and approach that modify your relations with those around you. Your hard skills show that you have the tools to do the job and the soft CV skills often indicate how you go about using your tools. Outlining your soft skills is critical when it comes to cultural fit.

Communication, creativity, organization, adaptability, decision making, reliability, problem-solving and time management are all soft skills that can greatly influence both your success and the success of those around you. These skills are not always learned in a classroom. If you care, the trial and error of life lessons is all you need.

Technical Skills

If you work in STEM-led and knowledge-heavy functions such as programming, IT or engineering then you will likely have a list of highly technical skills longer than your arm that no one apart from your immediate boss will understand. Should you include them in your CV? Absolutely. Your technical skill-set is what sets you apart.

There are other areas such as marketing which might seem simple to an outsider, but when you get into the nuances of the role, those with the rarest technical CV skills are worth their weight in job search gold. 

180+ List of Skills for a CV

No matter what role you are looking to secure, every employer will be looking for a blended skill set of hard, soft and technical skills.

The following skill categories should cover the core requirements of most roles, so read between the lines of the job description and consider what exactly your future boss will need from you. How do you piece together the puzzle of how your skills join up to ensure success for you and for all around you?

Communication Skills

Getting your message across to the right people in the right way is the foundation of success. Whether the communication is face-to-face or in a Zoom call, here are some of the communication skills for a CV that are required to ensure that you’re understood.

Communication Skills for a CV
Empathy Active Listening Clarity
Rapport Building Requesting Feedback Public Speaking
Body Language Questioning Friendliness

Organizational Skills

Once you know what needs to be done and the required direction of travel, the next challenge is to make it happen. Organizational skills on your CV should show how you bring people and resources together and ensure that your best-laid plans stay on track.

Organizational Skills for a CV
Setting Expectations Focus Operational Excellence
Delegating Physical Organization Prioritization
Self-Care Goal Setting Time Management
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Teamwork Skills

Making sure that you work well with others is one thing, but great teamwork skills for your CV also help to facilitate people working well with you and also with each other. Keeping every looking and moving in the same direction is no mean feat.

CV Skills - Teamwork
Persuasion Critique Participation
Collaboration Patience Respect
Dedication Encouragement Reliability

Analytical Skills

With the rapid proliferation of analysis tools and technology, analytical skills have entered the mainstream in many industries and occupations. Everyone needs to be able to work out what is going on around them and which levers to pull to improve.

CV Analytical Skills
Benchmarking Audit Continuous Improvement
Mindfulness Scenario Planning Argumentation
Process Analysis Investigation Troubleshooting

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are easy to talk about, but impossible to perfect when the pressure is on, and expectations are high. These skills help leaders to set an example to both subordinates and colleagues. Be someone who is worth following.

Leadership Skills for a CV
Decision Making Mentoring Training
Coaching Risk Taking Planning
Ambition Proactivity Honesty

Computer Skills

It is a fact of life that most 14-year-olds have more advanced computing skills than a typical adult, but with the inevitable march of technology, computer skills are essential in an increasing number of industries. Learn to code everyone (or at least list your computer CV skills on your application).

Computer Skills for a CV
Word Processing Coding Languages Spreadsheets
Systems Administration Version Management Development
Network Security Proofreading Automation

Problem-Solving Skills

In the world of work, you can either solve a problem (with the help of those around you), or you can pass it on to those around you. These problem-solving skills help to tell the story of how you decrease both your workload and that of your colleagues.

Problem-Solving CV Skills
Research Flexibility Inventiveness
Determination Collaboration Critical Thinking
Data Gathering Mediation Evaluation

Personal Skills

Personal skills, often referred to as soft skills, are the interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities that enable individuals to interact effectively with others and manage their own emotions and behaviours.

Personal Skills
Empathy Adaptability Leadership
Resilience Conflict Resolution Creativity
Critical Thinking Emotional Intelligence Negotiation

Customer Service Skills

For those who provide a service to customers (internal or external), the ability to delight them and send them on their way with a satisfied smile is sadly rare. If you are, however, passionate about customer service, these skills will be familiar.

Customer Service CV Skills
Interpersonal Skills Dispute Resolution Diplomacy
Reliability Adaptability Problem Solving
Attentiveness Tenacity Closing Ability

Creativity Skills

Creating something out of nothing is not a magic trick. It is simply the output of an inquisitive mind and a mix of creativity skills that allow you to challenge assumptions, push boundaries and question everything that you thought was set in stone.

CV Skills describing Creativity
Concept Development Brainstorming Visual Thinking
Innovation Idea Generation Discipline
Iteration Design Exploration & Discovery

Collaboration Skills

We all work with other people, but collaboration skills are all about working with them effectively. Two heads are better than one and ten heads are definitely better. However, working with ten other people definitely requires some effort.

Collaboration Skills for CV
Motivation Debating Long-term Planning
Team Orientation Goal Setting Compromise
Brainstorming Engagement Transparency

Resourcefulness Skills

Much like problem solving, resourcefulness skills centre around finding innovative ways to achieve your goals. Doing things differently to others can bring hidden opportunities and will certainly broaden your outlook on what is possible.

CV Skills - Resourcefulness
Growth Mindset Adaptability Drive
Persistence Continuous Improvement Proactive Attitude
Questioning Cultivating Relationships Out-of-box Thinking

Project Management Skills

If you split your working day into separate tasks, you might find that many of these project management skills will come in useful on a micro scale. Projects come in all shapes, and you don’t have to be a high-flying consultant to benefit from these skills.

CV Skills for Project Managers
Conflict Resolution Budgeting Coordination
Team Management Strategic Planning Scheduling
Financial Planning Risk Management CRM Software

Administration Skills

Behind every bright idea lies a whole heap of hard work and administration. You can’t change the world unless you are on top of all the basic admin skills that surround the attempt. You can’t climb Everest if you have forgotten the tent.

Administration Skills for CV
Data Entry Documentation Attention to Detail
Task Planning Business Administration Calmness
Prioritization Executive Assistant Multitasking

Marketing Skills

The world might not be aware that you exist, but with the rise of social media and a mobile audience of millions, marketing skills often make the difference between success and failure. Build a collective of fans for your corporate or personal brand.

Marketing Skills
Copywriting Ad Management Branding
Social Media Management Marketing Campaigns & Funnels SEO
Media Production Data Analysis Google Analytics
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Sales Skills

In a similar vein to marketing, whether you are selling an idea, product or service, sales skills have become an ever more essential and sophisticated part of the professional toolkit. Listen to those buyers and find the fit that works for them.

CV Sales Skills
Product Knowledge Influencing Skills KPI Management
CRM Software Prospecting Objection Handling
Negotiation Skills Curiosity Social Selling

Finance Skills

Finance used to be a dark art that took years of study to understand. Now that the numbers are increasingly crunched and analysed by AI software, finance skills are increasingly about what to do with the insights in the real world.

Finance Skills for your Curriculum Vitae
Business Intelligence Client Relations Financial Modelling
Accounting Cash Flow Management Reporting
P&L Ownership Data Management Mathematics

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are versatile abilities that can be applied across various jobs, industries, and career stages. These skills are highly valuable because they enhance your adaptability and potential for career growth.

Transferable Skills for a CV
Problem Solving Organisation Public Speaking
Numeracy Communication Self-Motivation
Project Management Teamwork Analytical Skills

AI Skills

The field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) encompasses a wide range of skills that are crucial for developing, implementing, and managing AI systems.

AI Skills for your Curriculum Vitae
Machine Learning Neural Networks NLP
Computer Vision Data Science Robotics
Algorithm Design Cognitive Computing Signal Processing

HR Skills

People still matter. You don’t have to work in human resources to know that many of these HR skills are critical to career progression and management success. 

CV Skills for HR jobs
Training Recruitment People Management
Employer Branding Advising Onboarding
Employee Relations Performance Mgmt Compensation & Benefits

Where and How do I Put Skills on My CV? 

As your future employer reads through, your CV skills should jump off the page at regular intervals. It is not enough to list 5-6 key skills in a dedicated skills section. Your CV should be bursting to the seams with what you have to offer. 

Here are three places where you can list your skills:

CV Summary

The CV summary section is the most important 3-4 lines on your CV and it should be dripping with your top skills, both described and implied. It is okay to repeat the rarer CV skills that are in your skill section – you need the hiring manager to read that far, after all. Don’t be afraid to bring out the big CV skill guns.

Work Experience Section

Sometimes your skills speak for themselves if you describe your accomplishments well enough. If you mention that you saved 15% on the annual equipment spend you won’t need to state the obvious and wax lyrical about your negotiation skills. Be smart in the language that you use in your CV skills and what lies behind it.

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Skills Section

As a typical skills section contains 6-7 key skills, only the rarest and most impressive skills should get on your list. Mostly include your harder and technical skills here as your soft CV skills can come across in what you achieved in your work experience and in your summary. Suggested ratio of 2:1 in favour of hard skills.

Key Takeaways

When you come to writing, reading and re-reading your CV skills, ask yourself about what skills come to mind while you are reading. Which skills lie behind your achievements? How does your skill-set match up to the job description?

All these questions (and more) are central to finding the perfect CVskills blend.

  • Find a mix of hard, soft and technical skills (weighted towards hard skills).
  • Make sure that every skill is specific to the future job and industry.
  • Create a detailed but complementary selection of impressive CV skills.
  • List your skills in the summary, work experience and skills sections of your CV.
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