Think of your CV as your first impression to the hiring manager. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it is important that your CV makes an impact for the right reasons.
Once you have the basics right like spelling, presentation and layout, its time to think about what kind of content you need on your CV.
Education and work experience are the most obvious things to list on your CV and they're vital, but you shouldn't ignore the importance of including soft skills.
Listing your soft skills, such as time management or interpersonal skills, helps to complement previous work experience and show a little personality.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are defined as "character traits or interpersonal characteristics" which impact how you work with others.
Soft skills are natural abilities that tie in with emotional intelligence, as opposed to hard skills which are job-specific and usually learnt through education or training.
These types of skills are transferable skills which are useful across all industries, whereas hard or technical skills are more often industry-specific, for example, programming or Microsoft Office.
Important soft skills
When choosing what soft skills to include on a CV it is important to consider which skills are most relevant to the job you are applying for and which skills you actually possess. Lies on a CV might get you
an interview, but it'll be clear in an interview that your skills don't match up.
Most job descriptions will outline desirable skills from potential candidates. For example, if you are applying for a management role communication and teamwork skills will be really important.
When it comes to your CV, all of your information needs to be clear, concise and relevant - not just filling space. Rule of thumb being, if you can’t back it up with a real-life example in the interview, don’t include it.
Some examples of desirable soft skills to include
Here are some examples of good soft skills to include on your CV and ways you can incorporate them. These don't need their own section, instead, they should be weaved into your professional experience.
1. Communication skills
How to show communication skills on a CV: Give an example of a time you had to communicate difficult information or sensitive information to a colleague.
How to show teamwork skills on a CV: Give an example of a time you worked collaboratively to achieve a common goal.
3. Strong work ethic
How to show a strong work ethic on a CV: Give an example of a goal you set for yourself and how you achieved it.
4. Critical thinking
How to show critical thinking skills on a CV: Give an example of a challenge or opportunity you identified in work and how you actioned it.
How to show your adaptable on a CV: Give an example of a time you didn’t meet a target and what you did.
Presenting soft skills on a CV:
Anyone can list skills on a CV but in order to make an impact, you need to expand on these skills and clearly demonstrate your ability. A good way to do this is by highlighting relevant skills in your cover
letter with examples.
For example “My role as store manager allowed me to develop strong communication and teamwork skills. In order to achieve targets, I motivated and incentivised the staff by ensuing expectations were clearly
outlined and everyone contributed”
This will show the hiring manager that you have the skills the company is seeking and will be a good conversation point for an interview.
The job market is tough at the moment and there is a lot of competition, but if you market yourself in the right way, ensure your CV has the right information on it you will find opportunities.
If you’re feeling stuck or don’t know where to start in order to stand out get in touch, I’d be happy to advise.