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WHY should you include a skills section in your CV?
Your CV is meant to market you, your skills and abilities. Your skills section is the part of your CV where you list and specify your skills as they relate to a specific job position. The role and the content of your skills section will depend heavily on the style of your CV.
Your CV should not be a documention of your education and work history only. Your qualifications and experience are equally important, but you need to find a way of expressing what you can do based on the qualifications and experience you have acquired.
WHAT is a skill?
Is “strong work ethic” a skill or a personality trait? Understanding the difference is crucial when you want your skills on a CV stand out.
- Skill is the ability to do something that requires training, experience, or practice. Skills can be taught and they can be forgotten, such as: HTML, copywriting, contract negotiations, public speaking, etc.
- Trait is something you were born with, a quality that makes you different from other people. For instance: hardworking, sociable, motivated, etc.
What Skills to Put on a CV
For a job-winning CV, you’ll need to include two types of abilities: soft skills and hard skills.
- Soft skills are universal and not associated with a particular job or industry. Think communication, active listening, or empathy.
- Hard skills are abilities you learn on the job, through formal education, or additional training. They are teachable, measurable, and related to a specific job. For instance, if you work in customer service, your hard skills will include Zendesk, data-entry, and product knowledge.
Examples of Skills
Today I will let you know one of the secrets we use to create professional CVs. Those who have taken our professional CV writing service will attest to this. We have a detailed skills and abilities section. It is not just enough to say “I have good communication skills” in your CV, yet you are not communicating clearly why you should be hired. Again, communication skills for different professional fields should be structured differently.
For example, a teacher can say this on their communication:
I have the ability to explain complex concepts to a student in a way they can understand using simple language and examples. In addition I ask question to assess understanding and give feedback.
Similarly, an accountant can say this on their communication:
I can talk to clients to convey financial and accounting information effectively to people with no accounting knowledge. In addition I can give full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
The same applies to all the other skills. Some skills cut across all the professional fields but should be organized differently to fit in. Another example, ICT skills for a teacher and an accountant should be different.
A teacher can say this:
I have the ability to use word processing and presentational application to teacher students. I also use videos, audio clips, interactive software and online classes platform to engage the students and cater for the visual, audio and kinesthetic students.
An accountant can say this:
I am conversant working with accounting applications such as Quick Books, I-TAX, Fin-Sacco and Micro Banker. In addition I am fully proficient and with experience using these applications in data entry, processing, real analysis and numerical analysis.
Good Soft Skills for CV
Let’s start with soft skills because they’re universal and aren’t tied to any career in particular.
Here’s a list of the most important soft skills to put on a CV:
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Decision Making
- Time Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Emotional Intelligence
- Active Listening
Already see some skills you have, right? And the best part is… Soft skills are universal and transferable. Add a few of your most relevant soft skills to a CV whatever job you’re applying for.
That’s especially important if you’re a recent graduate seeking an entry-level position. Studies have shown that the most important skills employers seek on entry-level candidates’ resumes are all soft skills:
- problem solving (83% of employers)
- teamwork (83%)
- written communication (80%)
- and leadership (72%).
So, get your CV to market you properly. What challenges are you facing when writing a CV? I’d love to hear them. Please send me an email.
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