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The top 10 soft skills you must have on your CV



Knowing which soft skills to demonstrate on your CV could be the key to success. But if you don’t know what a soft skill is, then you could be missing out!

What is a soft skill?

Unlike a specific skill – computer programming or speaking 5 languages – a soft skill relates to a more common and generic trait. A soft skill is what enables a worker to perform their daily tasks – interaction, communication, time management, and so on.

Injecting lots of relevant soft skills into your CV helps present the employer with an indication of how well you could perform for them. Provide as many examples as possible that cover the most relevant to your career, which will boost your chances of getting an interview.

Here are the top 10 soft skills you must have on your CV if you want to get a job interview:

1. Communication

Every employee has to have effective communication skills, and it may be essential to your career. If your chosen profession requires a high level of communication on a daily basis, then it would benefit you greatly to focus upon this particular soft skill within your CV.

Communication can come in many different forms – most commonly categorised to verbal and written. But within those two sub headings you can explore even further.

Here are a few examples of the personal attributes required to make an effective communicator:

  • Confidence
  • Ability to listen to others
  • Patience
  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Able to build rapport

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2. Teamwork

Very few roles require little or no interaction with other colleagues. Some company’s even rely completely on team efforts, and anyone wanting to be the hero isn’t welcome!

Having good teamworking skills will help the employer to see that you will integrate easily into the team. The manager of each department needs to have that reassurance that the team will focus on achieving the goal, and not let anything get in the way. Even just the one employee who fails to work with others and tries to do things on their own can massively affect the results.

Although you are supposed to write a CV all about yourself, you should also incorporate some teamworking examples. Give some examples of team results, and try not to look like the hero in each scenario. It will come across as arrogant, which does not make for a good team worker.

3. Flexibility

Are you ready for change? Expect the unexpected, and let the company know that you are open to change. Your ability to adapt and remain flexible at all times will be a great asset to the business.

Being flexible means you can be relied upon. When the going gets tough and someone is required to step in and step up, you should be at the front of the queue. Whilst some of your co-workers may dig there feet into the sand and remain stubborn, you should look to step outside your comfort zone whenever it benefits the company.

The business may be looking for someone to take on more responsibility, promotion, move departments or even branches, train others, learn new skills, and so on. Write down a few examples on your CV which shows how adaptable you are, and when called upon to help, will keep going with a smile on your face.

4. Creativity/idea generation

Not all roles require a high level of creativity, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t show the employer that you’re able to offer the occasional great idea or two.

Creativity comes in many different forms, and whether you’re a graphic designer, a digital marketing manager, or a plumber; your ability to create, be creative, offer ideas and suggestions will always be a valuable trait.

Even the most routine and static of roles require some kind of creativity. The employer wants to be able to trust you to tweak processes and offer suggestions to save time and cut costs. Show examples on your CV of anything you’ve implemented that has benefited the company and/or the customer.

Heavily creative roles require you to write a CV that oozes creativity. In this scenario you may need to provide actual physical evidence of your creativity, either in the form of a link to a website, a video, or even to bring in your paintings, pictures, drawings, blueprints, or whatever may be appropriate.

5. Problem solving

A very popular soft skill an employer will look for in a CV is problem solving. An issue will always arise at some point during the day – some small, some catastrophic!

You need to be on hand to deal with and solve any problem which may arise. This issue could directly affect the customer, which could mean a bad review. You should not have to be micro-managed, and your ability to solve problems effectively by yourself will look great on your CV.

6. Time management/organisation

One of the most important aspects of every role is organisation and being able to manage your time effectively. An employee who is organised and keeps to deadlines is far more efficient. Failing in this area could even mean dismissal!

On your CV you should aim to show examples of your scrupulous time management, and how that had a positive effect on your daily productivity. Make it clear to the employer that you have a proven track record of always hitting deadlines; projects are always completed on time, and you can be relied upon to deliver the goods when under pressure.

7. Hard working

This soft skill is an absolute must, but can be quite hard to portray in a CV. It can be done very subtly by including examples of your integrity, discipline, promotions, commitment, and overall professionalism.

Having a hard working ethic doesn’t just come down to showing up for work on time every day. It’s about going above and beyond, and offering the company more than they ask for. Completing overtime without pay to meet a deadline is a great example. Helping out in other departments and working weekends could be another.

8. Human relations

Interpersonal skills are required for any role, but some more than others. For example, the hospitality industry would require an employee to have an exceptionally high standard of interpersonal skills. Without this they would fail to portray the company’s ethics and provide a poor service to the customer.

If you’re applying for a customer service role you would need to write a CV that heavily leans towards providing examples of exceptional customer service. Performance indicators need to be included, as well as a clear indication of your experience in the customer service industry.

9. Accuracy/attention to detail

Certain professions require an accurate mind. For example, an Accountant would need to be 100% accurate 100% of the time – with no exceptions. So if your chosen career requires a lot of accuracy and diligence, write a CV that demonstrates you have this soft skill to a high standard.

Here are a few examples of what your CV should focus upon:

  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Great memory
  • Observation
  • Computer literacy

10. Leadership

Not every CV needs to be written from a leadership perspective, but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t instil a little bit of this soft skill. Joining a company after leaving school means that your entry level position is all about training and building up new skills. However, if you write a CV which shows the company you have potential for more, then you could be a great prospective.

If you’re a recent school leaver or are applying for a role that requires no supervisory responsibility, then this still could be important. Make yourself available for an opportunity down the line. You never know what might happen after a few months or years, and you could find yourself landing a supervisor or manager role.

You could write a CV that hints a little at leadership qualities by providing examples of your manager mindset. To become a manager you have to act like one, which means there may have been instances in your career or education when you took charge of a project and led a team to success – so include this on your CV.

Applying for a leadership role? Your CV would absolutely need to ooze leadership experience, qualifications, commercial awareness, and much more. Writing a management CV is very different from anything else, and would require a large emphasis on your ability to lead others to success. Provide lots of examples of successful projects and implementations, along with the results yielded.

Read more: Find out how to show soft skills on your CV.

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