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How to Highlight Your Strengths on a CV

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How to Highlight Your Strengths on a CV

by Karien de Villiers

  • CV
  • · May 15 2024
  • · 4 min read
Strengths on a CV 2024

Table of contents

Strengths vary from person to person, whether they're students, recent graduates, or experienced professionals. They can be developed through experience or by taking new courses. Generally, strengths refer to qualities or abilities possessed by an individual. 

In this article, we cover:

  • Strategies for pinpointing strengths to improve your CV

  • Examples of how to highlight strengths on a CV

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Strategies for pinpointing strengths to improve your CV

A good CV can leave a lasting impression on employers, so it's important to highlight your relevant strengths. For example, if time management isn't considered a strong suit, one can highlight how you’ve utilised productivity tools to enhance time management skills, resulting in quicker task completion.

Additionally, another example could be effective communication. Someone might excel in presentations, team meetings, or written communication, showcasing their proficiency in conveying information and building rapport with others.

1. Understanding personal strengths

Begin by reflecting on your professional and personal past experiences to identify patterns of success and areas where you excel. Consider the feedback you've received from colleagues, managers, or mentors, and instances where you felt particularly confident and competent in your abilities. You could also consider seeking references from them.

2. Assessing skills and qualities relevant to the job

Once you have a general sense of your strengths, assess them in the context of the specific job you're applying for. Review the job description carefully to understand the skills, qualities, and experience the employer is seeking. Then, identify which of your strengths align most closely with these requirements.

3. Conduct a skills inventory

Make a list of your technical skills, such as proficiency in software programs or technical tools, as well as your soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork abilities. Consider both hard and soft skills, as employers often value a combination of both in their ideal candidates. If you're not sure, creating a master CV serves as a helpful initial step.

4. Use assessment tools

Consider utilising assessment tools such as personality assessments, skills assessments, or strengths-based assessments to gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and how they can be applied in various contexts. These tools can provide valuable insights and help you articulate your strengths more effectively in your CV.

5. Provide examples

When identifying your key strengths, be sure to provide concrete examples that demonstrate how you've utilised these strengths in past roles or experiences. Whether it's exceeding sales targets, leading a successful project team, or resolving complex problems, specific examples help validate your claims and make your strengths more compelling to potential employers.

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Pro Tip

Regularly review and update your list of strengths based on new experiences, skills acquired, and feedback received.

For more tips, refer to how to improve your CV.

Examples of how to highlight strengths on a CV

1. Skills

Soft skills encompass a blend of interpersonal abilities, effective communication, personal attributes, and additional qualities. Typically, soft skills are highlighted or incorporated into a personal profile, whereas hard or technical skills may be mentioned separately.

soft versus hard skills on a CV

Example of soft skills:

Organised and detail-oriented administrative professional with a proven track record of efficiently managing office operations. Strong multitasking and prioritisation skills, ensuring smooth workflow and timely completion of tasks. Excellent communication and interpersonal abilities, fostering positive relationships with colleagues and clients.

For more examples, refer to how to write a personal profile.

Examples of hard skills:

  • Data Analysis

  • Graphic Design

  • Content Marketing

  • Social Media Management

  • Project Managmenet

  • UX/UI Design

Learn more by reading what skills to put on a CV.

2. Achievements or work experience

When considering adding accomplishments or work experience, are you portraying yourself as a doer or as an achiever? If your goal is to captivate the interest of recruiters or hiring managers, incorporating key achievements can help set yourself apart from other candidates. If you have no experience, consider a skills-based CV format to showcase your strengths.

Example:

Sustainable Travel Consultant | Student Travel Destinations, Camden, UK | 2019-2022

Provided comprehensive travel consultations with a focus on adventure and eco-tourism. Handled itinerary customisation based on client interests and budget considerations. Showed in-depth destination knowledge, customer engagement and personalised service to deliver excellent customer satisfaction.

  • Achieved 'Top Consultant' award for two consecutive years (including the first year in the role) based on client reviews and sales performance.

  • Increased branch sales of eco-tourism packages by 40%, enhancing the branch's local presence in sustainable travel.

Refer to how to add achievements to a CV for more tips.

3. Language skills

Mastering multiple languages enhances memory, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities and also unlocks various career opportunities. Even when language proficiency isn't required for a specific role, it showcases your eagerness to acquire new knowledge and underscores valuable transferable skills.

Refer to the translator CV for a good example. Furthermore, check out how to showcase language skills on a CV for more inspiration.

Key takeaways

  • Tailor your strengths to the specific job you're applying for by closely aligning them with the requirements and responsibilities outlined in the job description. 

  • Back up your strengths with concrete examples and achievements from your professional experiences.

  • Include a mix of skills, such as proficiency in programming languages or software applications, and soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. Employers often value a combination of both when evaluating candidates for a role.

  • Keep your descriptions of strengths clear, concise, and relevant. Avoid generic or vague statements that could apply to any candidate. Instead, focus on providing specific examples and achievements that illustrate your strengths in action.

Next steps?

Explore our wide range of cover letter examples and CV examples which can be easily customised and tested in our CV Builder. If you require support, our CV Writing Service is available to streamline the process for your convenience.

FAQ

How do you add strengths to a CV as a student?

Similar to the above tips, make sure to do the following:

  1. Identify your key skills.

  2. Tailor them to the job.

  3. Provide specific examples.

  4. Quantify achievements where possible.

  5. Use dynamic action verbs.

  6. Keep it concise.

  7. Align with the job description.

What should I write in the strengths section of my CV?

Tailoring your CV based on your experience level or current circumstances is essential. Strategically emphasise the attributes, skills, and qualities that align with the job requirements. Back up each strength with specific examples or achievements.

Are skills and strengths on a CV the same?

Strengths are qualities that come naturally and help you perform well in different situations, while skills are abilities you gain through training or experience. While they're similar, it's important to know that a skill can also be a strength.

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Updated May 15 2024

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Written by

Karien has established herself as a leading figure in the career services industry, crafting over 800 professional documents and assisting job seekers globally with reviews such as "I'd hire me". Renowned for her expertise, she continues to empower individuals, specialising in creating resources to aid job seekers in securing employment and staying ahead in the ever-evolving job market. Start here today!

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