You need to demonstrate mastery of both soft skills and hard skills to show employers you’re qualified. We’ll go over what soft and hard skills are and then provide industry-specific examples of skills you can put on your CV.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills are the learned abilities and specialised knowledge you use to perform specific job-related tasks. They’re usually acquired through education, training programs, qualifications, or on-the-job experience, and are often quantifiable and easily demonstrated.

Proficiency in a foreign language or expertise in Adobe Photoshop are good examples of hard skills.

Employers always look for hard skills on a CV to ensure candidates have the technical expertise required for the role they’re hiring for, so make sure your skills section includes the hard skills requested in the job advertisement.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills include personal traits and relational skills and are often developed through experience. They’re crucial for working on a team, managing others, and adapting to new situations and environments. For example, if you’re tasked with onboarding new hires, you’ll need soft skills like patience, clear communication, and organisation.

In contrast to hard skills, soft skills are more subjective and are often assessed through observation. While hard skills can get you an interview, your soft skills often determine whether you get the job.

Demonstrate your transferable skills (sometimes known as portable or universal skills) on your CV by integrating them into your experience section and backing them up with specific examples of how you’ve used them and what results you achieved.

Industry-specific soft and hard skills examples

Not sure what skills to include on your CV? Here’s a selection of the most relevant hard and soft skills for some of the largest industries in the UK.

For each industry we also provide two examples of how to best include these skills in your CV.

Retail and wholesale skills

Working in retail and wholesale in the UK involves engaging directly with customers or businesses to meet their product needs. In this industry, you need to demonstrate exceptional customer service, sales, and inventory management skills.

Examples of hard vs soft skills for retail and wholesale

Hard skillsSoft skills

  • Proficiency in point of sales (POS) systems

  • Inventory management software (e.g., SAP, Oracle)

  • Sales techniques and strategies

  • Proficiency in customer relationship management (e.g., CRM software such as Salesforce, Zendesk)

  • Call centre phone systems

  • Customer service: provide excellent support to enhance customer satisfaction

  • Communication: effectively convey product information

  • Persuasion: encourage customers to make purchases

  • Empathy: understand and address customer needs

  • Organisational skills: manage customer inquiries and follow-ups efficiently

  • Conflict resolution: prevent and de-escalate conflict situations

This experience section from a customer success manager’s CV showcases their Zendesk proficiency:

Sample customer success manager hard skill
  • Taught a team of 5 customer service representatives to implement advanced ticketing workflows, automate response systems, and track customer satisfaction in Zendesk, enhancing customer retention rates by 10%

Here’s an example of a CV bullet point from a sales assistant’s CV demonstrating the candidate’s interpersonal skills:

Sample sales assistant soft skill
  • Leveraged interpersonal skills to provide clients with attentive service, successfully fostering long-term business relations

Health and social care skills

If you work in health and social care, you’re responsible for providing essential support and services to people in all stages of life. You need to know and adhere to established standards of care to ensure the well-being and quality of life of your patients.

Here are some relevant hard and soft skills to add to your health care CV:

Examples of hard vs soft skills for health and social care

Hard skillsSoft skills

  • Proficiency in patient management software (e.g., Epic, Cerner, Meditech)

  • Electronic health records (EHR) systems

  • Knowledge of advanced life support (ALS) techniques

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)

  • Knowledge of health care regulations and compliance (e.g., GDPR, DPA 2018, CQC)

  • Understanding of pharmacology and medication administration

  • Knowledge of patient care standards and protocols

  • Understanding of geriatric care principles

  • Patient care: build trusting, supportive relationships with patients

  • Compassion: provide emotional support to patients and residents

  • Patient education: teaching patients and families what they need to know about prognosis and care

  • Patience: handle challenging patient behaviours calmly and effectively

  • Organisational skills: manage care schedules and documentation

  • Attention to detail: administer treatments accurately

  • Critical thinking: making quick decisions in patient care

  • Active listening: showing you understand, and responding with thoughtful feedback

This nursing CV does an excellent job of showcasing the applicant’s skills in handling health care management software:

Sample nursing hard skill
  • Proficient in health care management software (Epic, Meditech), with extensive knowledge of patient care standards and regulations (CQC) ensuring efficient management of care schedules and documentation

This is a good example from a carer CV demonstrating the candidate’s relevant soft skills:

Sample carer soft skill
  • Provided emotional support and clear communication to three children with disabilities and their extended families, effectively managing challenging behaviours and addressing care issues

Business administration and support skills

If you work in business administration and support, you need to show employers that you can thrive in the office environment by highlighting your tech, analytical, and interpersonal skills.

Here are some hard and soft skills to add to your administrator CV:

Examples of hard vs soft skills for business administration and support

Hard skillsSoft skills

  • Organisational skills: keeping files and records systematically arranged, maintaining workflow

  • Attention to detail: spotting errors in documents and data, ensuring accuracy in all tasks

  • Time management: prioritising tasks, meeting deadlines, and managing multiple projects simultaneously

  • Communication: effectively conveying information both verbally and in writing, facilitating clear understanding

  • Problem solving: identifying issues, generating solutions, and implementing effective resolutions

  • Confidentiality: handling sensitive information discreetly, maintaining privacy and trust

  • Multitasking: managing several tasks at once without compromising quality or efficiency

  • Conflict resolution: facilitating solutions to maintain a harmonious workspace

Here’s an example from a receptionist CV of how to show employers you can multitask with ease:

Sample receptionist soft skill
  • Adept at multitasking in a fast-paced office environment, regularly handling multi-line phone systems and managing client databases while welcoming and assisting visitors

Here’s an example of how to demonstrate software proficiency on an operations manager CV:

Sample operations manager hard skill
  • Use SAP SCM software for inventory management, demand forecasting, and supply chain optimisation to ensure my team delivers timely and accurate work in accordance with contractual agreements

Education skills

As an educator or administrator, you need to show employers that you can stay organised and support your students.

Here are some skills to highlight on your education CV:

Examples of hard vs soft skills for education

Hard skillsSoft skills

  • Adaptability: adjust teaching methods to accommodate diverse learning styles and needs

  • Interpersonal skills: Interpersonal skills: build strong, positive relationships with students, parents, and colleagues

  • Collaboration: work with fellow teachers and staff to enhance educational outcomes

  • Emotional intelligence: recognise and respond to the emotional and social needs of students

  • Active listening: understand student concerns and feedback to improve teaching methods

  • Organisational skills: manage classroom materials and schedules efficiently

  • Time management: balance educational responsibilities and administrative tasks

  • Conflict resolution: mediate disputes and foster a positive classroom environment

  • Resilience: maintain composure and effectiveness under pressure and in challenging situations

In this teaching assistant CV example, the candidate shows employers that they’re up-to-date with classroom technology:

Sample teaching assistant hard skill
  • Supported 4 Chisholm Primary School teachers in Year 3 in maintaining classroom environment by setting up, managing, and maintaining annual lesson plans on Blackboard

Here’s an example of how an educator can demonstrate soft skills on a teacher CV:

Sample teacher soft skill
  • Leveraged teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills to collaborate with colleagues on planning and coordinating English literature lessons across five Year 7 classes, focused on Victorian authors, empowering students to lead peer discussions and self-study

Accommodation and food service skills

Employers hiring for roles in accommodation and food service want to know that you can deliver an exceptional customer experience. Here are some skills to highlight on your CV to show hiring managers you have what it takes:

Examples of hard vs soft skills for accommodation and food service

Hard skillsSoft skills

  • Commercial kitchen equipment operation and maintenance

  • Using point-of-sale (POS) systems (e.g., EPOS, Square)

  • Menu planning and recipe costing

  • Culinary techniques (e.g., baking, grilling, sautéing)

  • Proficiency in hotel management software (e.g., Opera, RoomRaccoon)

  • Inventory management systems (e.g., Oracle Inventory, Fishbowl)

  • Event planning and coordination
    Knowledge of health and safety regulations (e.g., HSE, COSHH)

  • Bartending techniques and cocktail preparation

  • Housekeeping and accommodation management

  • Online booking systems (e.g.,, Expedia Partner Central)

  • Customer service: ensuring a positive and welcoming experience for guests

  • Time management: efficiently managing time in a fast-paced environment

  • Communication: clearly conveying information to customers and staff

  • Teamwork: collaborating effectively with colleagues to achieve common goals

  • Problem solving: addressing and resolving customer complaints and issues

  • Attention to detail: ensuring accuracy and quality in food preparation and service

  • Multitasking: handling multiple tasks simultaneously in a busy setting

  • Conflict resolution: mediating disputes and maintaining a harmonious environment

  • Creativity: developing innovative menu items and service ideas

Check out this bullet point from the work experience section of a restaurant manager CV that highlights the candidate’s collaboration skills:

Sample restaurant manager soft skill
  • Led Soho Fusion’s operations fostering a collaborative and supportive work environment for a 24+ person team and maintaining exceptional service standards focused on customer satisfaction, resulting in a 12% increase in 5-star reviews on Google Maps

You can make your hard skills in your hospitality CV stand out, like how this candidate shows their ability to effectively use hospitality management systems:

Sample hospitality hard skill
  • Use Opera PMS and ResDiary to efficiently manage reservations and optimise room allocations, resulting in a 7% increase in occupancy rates to date

Frequently asked questions about hard skills vs soft skills

Looking for more answers? Check out some of these commonly asked questions about hard and soft skills.

How do I add hard and soft skills to my CV?

Here’s how you can add hard and soft skills to your CV:

  • List your most important hard skills for the position you are applying for in a dedicated skills section, mentioning relevant qualifications and proficiencies.
  • Use bullet points to detail your technical abilities and achievements.
  • Instead of listing soft skills in the skills section of your CV, show employers how you’ve put them to use with examples in your work experience section (and show tangible results where possible).

Here’s an example of a skills section on a psychologist CV that includes hard and soft skills:

Sample psychologist skills section
  • Psychological assessment proficiency
  • Adept at Psychometric Testing
  • Solid track record of clinical supervision
  • Risk assessment & management
  • Psychiatric treatment for Deliberate Self Harm (DSH)
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) assessment
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Active listening
  • Building trust and rapport
  • Discretion

Here’s an example from a hairdresser CV showing how to demonstrate communication skills in your work experience section:

Sample hairdresser communication skills
  • Focused on deep listening to best meet clients’ needs and recommended relevant hair products and treatments, leading to a 15% increase in sales in 2020

How are hard and soft skills measured?

Hard and soft skills are measured very differently. Qualifications, standardised tests, and practical assessments are common tools for measuring hard skills. Employers may also use technical interviews or job simulations to evaluate these abilities.

Soft skills are much more subjective and challenging to assess. Employers often use behavioural interviews and psychometric tests to get a sense of a candidate’s strengths.

How can I develop hard and soft skills?

You can develop hard skills through formal education, training programmes, qualifications, and practical experience. Online courses, workshops, and hands-on projects are effective ways to hone technical skills.

You can learn and develop soft skills by participating in group activities and finding opportunities for collaboration, taking on leadership roles, working with a mentor, or asking for feedback.

How can I highlight hard and soft skills in the job interview?

The job interview is where your soft skills should shine. Share stories that highlight your soft skills, like the complex conflict you resolved or a challenging project you led your team to success on. Use the STAR method to structure your responses for maximum impact.

You can also share evidence of your hard skills, such as certificates or portfolios. Be prepared to discuss specific examples and technical details during the interview.

the CV Genius CPRW Team

The CV Genius CPRW Team is made up of a tight-knit crew of dedicated certified professional resume writers who are passionate about providing the best, most up-to-date career advice possible and helping job hunters navigate the job-hunting process and find a great job.