How to Identify the Right Skills for Your CV in 2023

Do you have the right skills to be hired?

According to recent reports 75% of HR professionals admit there is a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings. What do they mean by “skills,” though?

Skills are your natural talents and the expertise you develop to perform a task or a job. Life skills help you deal with daily tasks in all areas of life while professional skills allow you to perform specific work duties. When it comes to getting hired, there are several key types of skills: soft skills, hard skills, domain-general, and domain-specific skills.

But how do you identify the right skills for your CV in 2023?

Don’t worry continue reading and we will teach you exactly what to do.

CV in 2022

Don’t underestimate the importance of skills on your CV

Determining the right skills for a CV in not easy. You get hired based on your skills, and hiring managers want to make sure they are selecting the right candidate, so to get hired you must pay attention to skills.

It’s not just a laundry list of skills that no one reads—knowing which to include and which to leave off can help convince hiring managers to interview you.

These tips can help you determine which skills to put on a CV and also help you optimise this crucial section to attract the eyes of discerning hiring managers.

Types of Skills for a CV

There are two categories of key skills for a CV: hard and soft skills. Both need to be highlighted clearly on your CV.

Hard skills are skills learned through experience or education and generally produce measurable results. For example, hard skills for an accountant could include cash management, financial analysis, and financial reporting.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more like personality traits and characteristics that determine your work style. Think communication skills, emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, and initiative.

You might think employers are focused only on job-related hard skills, but soft skills are equally—if not more—essential. Soft skills routinely top lists of attributes employers seek on applicant CVs.

Both hard and soft skills should be included on a CV, as both types are required to succeed in virtually every profession, no matter how technical. For example, even for a typical technician job, engineering knowledge is not enough: you also need good communication skills to explain the problem and present viable solutions.

The best method for creating a CV with all the right skills can be summarised as:

  1. What skills to choose.
  2. Where to put them.

Here’s how to choose skills for your CV:

Target your skills to match the job

If I was to summarise this section in a single sentence it would be:

Customise the skills list on every CV to match the requirements of the job offer.

This way, you’ll achieve two crucial things:

  1. Show recruiters that you’re made for this job specifically.
  2. Beat CV-screening bots that scan CVs for relevant keywords.


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How to make a CV skills list tailored to the job ad?

Scrutinize job ads.

The best way to get started finding good skills to put on a cv is to search jobs online and review several postings for your target job. Look at the job descriptions and write a list of frequently repeated skills. Pay attention to the “Requirements” or “Key Skills” section of the job ad. Look for skills-related words and phrases such as “meticulous time-management,” “knowledge of XYZ software,” “proficient in Lean management” and so on.

Note them down.

Identify your matching skills

Create a “master” list of all your professional skills. List everything that makes you good at your job, both hard and soft skills. Keep in mind you develop skills in everything from work experience to education, training, hobbies, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and self-study.

Compare your master list of skills with those you see in the job ad. All those that match should be included on your cv. 

Research your target employer

Another way to find keywords? Check out their website and social media posts, paying attention to the descriptive words they use to describe their company, brand, and employees. Use those words on your CV to indicate you’d be a good cultural fit.

Tell the truth!

One word of warning though – tell the truth! If you exaggerate your qualifications on a CV, recruiters will find out at some point.

How to structure your CV to allow you to best flaunt your skills.

Now that you know what’s expected of you, its important to structure your CV to allow you to best flaunt your skills.

Include key skills in a separate skills section.

In most cases it is best to use a standalone skills section where you put your most important qualifications. Make sure to:

  • Be specific and precise (“Written and verbal communication,” instead of “good communicator”).
  • Divide the skills into categories: usually, “Hard Skills” and “Soft Skills.”
  • List no more than 10 skills in total.

Brief Description of Your Proficiency Level

CV in 2022

You can also indicate how advanced your abilities are using descriptive words such as “Advanced,” “Intermediate,” or “Basic.” Once again if you are doing this do not be tempted to exaggerate your proficiency in a particular skill.

Add your work-related skills in the professional experience section.

This is where you can prove you can apply your skillset in real-life professional situations.  Very often a recruiter will view your CV, see that you have relevant skills listed and then check for evidence in your professional experience that you have applied these skills.

Recruiters often work on the principle that past performance is a good indicator of future performance. Your work history section with descriptions of past jobs is your most tangible way of demonstrating to a recruiter that not only do you have the skills but that you can apply your skillset in real-life professional situations.

Incorporate the most relevant skills into your CV profile.

The profile section of your CV is that short paragraph at the top of your CV, the purpose of which is to give an overview of your career and explain why you’re an ideal candidate. 

Depending on your career level, you’ll write it as either a CV summary (for experienced candidates) or a CV objective (for entry-level job seekers).

The best CV writers subtly but deliberately include their most relevant skills in their profile section towards the top of their CV.

One Final note

How do you rate your work readiness from a skill perspective? When creating your master list, did any skills stick out to you as opportunities for improvement?

Having followed the advice above in how to identify the the right skills and portray them correctly on your CV are you worried that you have a skills gap. Don’t panic – here are two simple actions you can take today to sharpen up your skills.

So how do you get started?

Take a class

There are plenty of online short and longer courses to help you strengthen your skills. Here’s one place to get started. Then, once you’ve got a course under your belt, it’s time to practice—at work and in your personal life. You might also seek out new tasks or projects at work, in volunteering, in your community or at home where you can put these newer skills to use.

Interview someone who has the skill you want

Informational interviews are also a great way to learn from other people who are already strong in the skills you want to build. For example, if you know a family member that has excellent stress tolerance and you’ve witnessed them staying calm in stressful situations, ask them how they approach stress and what their advice would be for you to get better in this area.

The good news is that skills can be learnt and honed. Follow our tips to get started and open up more work opportunities.

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