What Skills to Put on a CV? (Examples & Tips)


What Skills to Put on a CV? (Examples & Tips)

by CVMaker

  • CV
  • · April 23 2024
  • · 10 min read
Types of skills to put on a cv

Table of contents

In today’s market, skills on a CV are key to demonstrating your suitability for a job position and showcasing your capabilities. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a student just starting your career, this section is a must-have in any CV.

However, determining the right number and type of abilities to include can be challenging. Knowing where and how to incorporate them can greatly enhance your chances of securing a job interview. We advise keeping them short and tailored to the job while ensuring your CV is applicant tracking system (ATS) friendly.

Explore our guide to learn more about different skill types and stay updated on the latest industry trends in the UK. We would help you understand the distinction between soft and hard skills and their role in crafting a good CV. Check out our job-specific examples below to boost your chances of securing that all-important first interview!

For further inspiration, refer to our related blog article on the best soft skills to add to a CV.

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What are the key skills to list on a CV?

They are the backbone of your CV, playing a pivotal role in showcasing your abilities. To identify the key competencies, we suggest looking up the job description on the company’s website of your choice. By thoroughly examining the requirements, you can compile a comprehensive list your employer expects you to possess. Many job seekers believe you should only include your strongest proficiencies on a CV. However, matching your skills to what recruiters are looking for is more effective to make your CV stand out in a sea of applicants.

Check out our guide on top skills employers look for in your CV for more guidance and valuable advice.

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Pro tip

If you still feel uncertain about your key abilities, consider asking your friends or colleagues about what they think your top qualities are.

List of top 10 skills to put on a CV in 2024

In the fierce UK market, hiring managers and recruiters seek a diverse skill set and not just your technical proficiencies. Let's explore the top skills to add to your CV and how they can benefit you in work settings.

1. Communication

This helps you convey your message more effectively to persuade others, both written and spoken. Good communication means you can explain complex terms clearly, deliver impactful presentations, and foster valuable and results-driven discussions within teams.

2. Leadership

It means guiding and inspiring others to achieve shared goals. You can take initiative on projects, motivate colleagues to achieve their best, and guide junior members as they develop their expertise.

3. Problem-solving

This helps you approach challenges proactively. For example, this includes identifying issues swiftly, analysing causes thoroughly, and devising solutions effectively. You could troubleshoot technical problems, resolve any colleagues' concerns, and continuously improve ways to streamline organisational or team processes.

4. Organisation

It is crucial for managing tasks efficiently, prioritising responsibilities, and meeting deadlines. You can prioritise efficiently, consistently meet deadlines, and develop clear schedules. Maintaining a productive work environment and leveraging IT tools can help you streamline project management.

5. Customer service

This is vital for fostering positive relationships and meeting clients' needs. This could entail assisting clients, showing empathy, addressing queries, resolving complaints in a call centre, or resolving complaints with professionalism.

6. Creativity

It means developing new ideas to solve problems or improve current processes. Think of it as creating a game for completing your chores or assembling stories to entertain your colleagues. Creativity helps you think of new ways to perform tasks or improve products in a job. For example, you could demonstrate how you created a revolutionary design for a magazine or devised a motto for an advertisement.

7. Emotional intelligence

This encompasses managing one's emotions and empathising with others. This means staying calm during stressful situations, understanding colleagues' feelings, or resolving conflicts using reason.

8. Team management

It is essential for coordinating group efforts, delegating tasks, and fostering collaboration. Effective team management involves motivating individuals, resolving conflicts, and aligning team goals with the company's mission and vision, whether leading a sports team, organising a community event, or coordinating a group project.

9. Negotiation

This is valuable for reaching agreements and resolving conflicts or disagreements. Whether negotiating a salary raise, haggling at a market, or finding compromises in personal relationships, this expertise is helpful in any industry.

10. Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking involves analysing situations, setting long-term goals, and developing plans. For example, you could create a career development plan, prepare a budget for a new year, or devise a marketing campaign for a new business venture.

What is the difference between soft and hard skills on a CV?

Soft skills refer to personal qualities or traits you have acquired over time, whether through education or experience. On the other hand, hard skills relate to technical or job-related competence required to perform a specific job. They are teachable and measurable abilities. Soft skills are often intangible, and it’s more strategic to incorporate them in your personal profile section. See below examples of top soft and hard skills to put on a CV.

For more inspiration, read our blogs on how to improve your CV and personal profile on a CV.

Examples of key skills on a CV

See our list of top 10 skills depending on a job type or industry below:

Top 10 retail CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills


Point of Sale (POS) system management

Active listening

Inventory management

Customer service

Visual merchandising


Sales techniques


Product knowledge

For more information, please refer to the retail CV article.

Top 10 marketing CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills


Digital marketing


Market research


Content creation


Analytics and reporting


Brand management

For more information, please refer to the marketing CV article.

Top 10 waiter/waitress CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills


Order taking and processing


Menu knowledge


Table service



Conflict resolution

Cash handling

For more information, please refer to the waiter/waitress CV article.

Top 10 teacher CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills


Curriculum development


Student administration


Classroom management


Assessment and grading


Language skills

For more details, please see the teacher CV and language skills articles.

Top 10 customer service CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills

Active listening

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


Point of Sale (POS)


Data entry

Problem solving

Outbound calls

Continious learning

Product knowledge

For more details, please see the customer service CV article.

Top 10 warehouse CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills


Inventory management

Time management

Forklift operation


Order picking and packing


Safety compliance


Warehouse organisation

For more details, please see the warehouse CV article.

Top 10 care assistant CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills


First-aid knowledge


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)


Safe patient handling


Sanitation standards



Learn more about how to write a care assistant CV.

Top 10 data analyst CV skills

Soft skills

Hard skills

Attention to detail

Machine learning




Data visualisation




SQL, R, Python

How to list skills on a CV

Your first instinct might be to add all your areas of expertise, but the goal is to prioritise relevance over quantity. Rather than overwhelming the reader with a long list of skills, focus on the essential ones that align with your career goals. For example, if you are looking for a project manager role, only include those related to this field, such as risk management, forecasting, or resourcefulness.

Although they may have different naming conventions, we suggest using straightforward headings such as 'Skills' or 'Areas of expertise' for this section to minimise confusion or ambiguity for recruiters.

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Pro tip

For more technical CVs, it would be more advantageous to have two separate sections: 'Hard skills and 'Technical proficiencies'.

How to add technical skills to a CV

Create a separate section titled ‘Technical skills’ or ‘Technical proficiencies.’ They are relevant for a candidate with a technical background, such as a software developer, data scientist, or systems administrator. Doing this could provide a comprehensive overview of your technical expertise to recruiters, whether you are creating a footballer CV or a data analyst CV.

Tips on how to add technical skills to a CV:

  • Emphasise specific tools, data visualisation methods, or software development expertise.

  • The technical skills section specifies the exact programming languages and other relevant skills like libraries, tools, frameworks, operating systems, or environments.

Examples of technical skills on a CV:

  • Python

  • Java


  • JavaScript

  • SQL

  • CSS

  • Excel

  • Tableau

  • Cisco

  • TCP/IP.

Check out our software developer CV example or computer science CV example for more inspiration.

How to include transferable skills on a CV

Identify universal skills you can apply to different jobs, demonstrating your ability to adapt and work in different environments. These can include hard and soft abilities that smoothly transfer from one job to another. Prioritise relevant competencies based on job descriptions and industry research, ensuring you include only the most essential ones. Showcasing these transferable skills in your CV underscores your versatility and potential to contribute effectively to any team. Remember only to include them if required; otherwise, it’s best to leave them out of your CV.

Examples of transferable skills on a CV:

  • Leadership

  • Team management

  • Empathy

  • Problem-solving

  • Analytical thinking

  • Critical thinking.

If you haven’t entered the workforce yet, consider adding one of the examples for students below.

Examples of student skills on a CV:

  • Organisation

  • Time management

  • Stress-resistant

  • Adaptability

  • Planning.

See our undergraduate CV example to learn more.

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Pro tip

If you know a recruiter or professional in a specific field, contact them and ask for advice. They might be able to give you tips on required hard or soft skills. Alternatively, research hard or soft skills related to a specific job using tools like LinkedIn to review job postings.

Read more about a skills-based CV format here.

Key takeaways

Skills are crucial in showing you’re qualified for a job and increasing your chances of securing interviews. After reading this article, you should be able to better differentiate between soft and hard skills and know how and where to place them. The main takeaway is to match them to what recruiters are looking for, which can, in turn, leave a long-lasting impression. For technical CVs, a separate section for technical proficiencies can provide a comprehensive overview of your qualifications and expertise. Remember crafting a CV is a continuous process, and customising it for each job application is crucial. Apply with confidence, and we wish you all the best with your career journey.

Tips on how to add key skills to a CV:

  • Incorporate your soft skills into the personal profile section.

  • Keep them brief and concise.

  • Include specific skills that are relevant to your career goals or job targets.

  • Minimise the use of generic expertise to make your CV more precise.

  • Use transferable abilities if you have little to no experience.

  • Ensure to use professional UK English language. Alternatively, utilise sources such as Grammarly to review if proofreading is not your key skill.

Next steps?

We provide the tools and resources you need to build your CV easily. Additionally, we have a collection of over 20 professional CV templates you can personalise based on your career goals. If you’re stuck and need help reviewing a CV, contact our experts at CV Writing Services. We help you in every step of the process by tailoring your CV to a specific job and selecting the right skills for your CV!

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​​How to identify your best skills for a CV?

The easiest way to identify good skills for your CV is to align them with your career goals and select those relevant to your desired profession. Firstly, list soft and hard skills acquired from your work and educational history, emphasising the most recent ones. Ensure their relevance to your job target, even if they are transferable or technical abilities. Secondly, remember the importance of creating an ATS-friendly CV, as recruiters often use software to filter and track applications. Lastly, show your key abilities and focus on incorporating relevant keywords to increase your chances of success in your chosen career.

What skills do employers look for in a CV?

According to the research study by Digits, three main skills managers are looking for are leadership, verbal communication, and teamwork. On the other hand, written communication is mainly sought after by young people aged 16-24.

How to write a CV for someone with no skills?

Consider using a skills-based CV format when writing a CV for candidates with little to no experience or changing careers. This format allows you to demonstrate your value as an employer and stand out from other candidates based on your industry. See the tips below.

  • Focus on highlighting your transferable skills, such as communication, project management or problem-solving.

  • Include relevant coursework, internships, volunteer work, and additional experiences that showcase your abilities.

  • Mention your educational background, certifications, and relevant projects or personal achievements.

  • Emphasise your enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and growth potential.

To learn what skills to put for the first CV, read our blog article on how to write a CV with no work experience.

Do employers look for soft or hard skills?

Employers seek hard and soft skills when looking for the best match. The expertise required varies based on the job and industry you wish to pursue. If you lack hard skills, possessing transferable or soft skills can help you compensate for this.

If you're unsure about including soft skills in your CV, refer to how to write a good CV article for further guidance.

Should I include soft skills on a CV?

Recruiters prefer to see soft skills demonstrated through concrete examples rather than simply listed without context or evidence. Incorporate them in your personal profile or work experience sections to make it more impactful. Thus, instead of listing soft skills such as multitasking or communication, incorporate them throughout the body of the CV.

See the article on work experience and achievements on a CV for examples.

Where to place skills on a CV?

Most commonly, job seekers include a long list of bullet points with all their acquired competencies. By now, you have learned that you can classify them into hard or soft skills, but where do they go? The former always goes into a separate section on a CV. They can also be named core competencies or areas of expertise. On the other hand, soft skills are incorporated into the personal profile section of a CV. Refer to the article on how to write a personal profile for examples and helpful tips.

How many skills should you put on a CV?

There is no limit on how many to put on a CV. The general rule is to include relevant information only while making sure you differentiate between hard skills and soft skills.

When it comes to hard skills, this is a section on its own and can be included as a bullet list. Avoid including them you have little experience in because once you are in the interview phase, you must elaborate on specific examples.

What are the naming conventions for skills in the UK?

Ensure you're aware of common naming conventions for different types of skills:

Soft skills:

  • Personal skills

  • People skills

  • Social skills

Hard skills:

  • Professional skiills

  • Areas of expertise

  • Core competencies

  • Hard skills.

Technical skills

  • Technical proficiencies

  • Technical skills

  • IT skills

  • Digital skills.

What are the benefits of adding skills to a CV?

If you add skills relevant to your career goals, you are already setting yourself up for success. It shows the recruiter or hiring manager that you tried to understand the job and are the perfect candidate. See additional benefits below:

  • If you have little experience, adding them to a CV can demonstrate your motivation and willingness to learn.

  • It can help you stand out from other candidates with similar qualifications.

  • Showcase drive, self-discipline, and curiosity.

  • Prove you’re committed to achieving outstanding results.

  • Show a desire to advance in your career.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when listing skills on a CV? 

Most starters or people changing careers struggle to differentiate between hard and soft skills, making it difficult for recruiters to identify their relevant areas of expertise. There are a few mistakes you can easily avoid, see our tips below:

  • Exclude skills you have yet to gain experience in or cannot back up within an interview.

  • Do not list all the abilities you have acquired in the past.

  • Avoid writing generic skills that are not specific to your career goals.

  • Make sure you differentiate between hard and soft skills on a CV.

  • Ensure to elaborate on more technical expertise within a new section called 'Technical proficiencies'.

  • Always do a spelling and grammar check by proofreading your work.

What skills can you not put on a CV?

If you’re unsure whether they are worth mentioning, see the below examples of generic soft and hard skills to avoid unless specified otherwise in your job requirements. While they are generally better to exclude, they can still apply and be relevant to other candidates.

Generic soft skills

Generic hard skills

Strong work ethic

Computer software





Negotiation skills


Hard worker

Knowledge of foreign languages -> use the 'Languages' section instead



Team player


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Updated April 23 2024


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