The point of a CV is to summarise your hard and soft skills, as this video explains:
Here are some of the top hard and soft abilities to list on your CV for a UK job in 2023:
|Top Hard Skills||Top Soft Skills|
|IT & computer science||Communication|
|Foreign languages||Customer service|
|Administration & office support||Organisational|
If the list above hasn’t helped you decide what skills to put on your CV, keep scrolling to find:
- Good hard skills to put on your CV
- The best soft skills for your CV
- Job-specific CV skills examples
- Expert tips on how to add skills to your CV
- Advice about how to find more CV skills
Good hard skills to put on your CV
Hard skills are skills you learn (coding languages, for example) so they often relate to technical expertise and are job-specific. The employer you’re targeting will be looking for certain hard skills, which means you need to clearly show all your job-relevant hard abilities on your CV.
Below are 50 common hard skills to help you decide what to put in your CV depending on the field you work in:
IT & computer science
- Successfully implemented a new cloud-based infrastructure, resulting in a 25% reduction in server downtimes and improving website load times by 15%
The UK parliament’s latest Data science skills in the UK workforce report indicates that there aren’t enough data analysts to meet demand. So if you can highlight analytics skills like the following on your CV, you’ll be an attractive candidate for data analyst roles:
- Spearheaded a data-driven marketing campaign analysis, identifying key customer segments and boosting conversion rates by 18%, resulting in an additional £500,000 in revenue over Q2 2023
When you write your CV for a finance role, these are good hard skills to highlight:
- Financial modelling
- Accounting skills
- Budget management
- Tax software (like Accountsability)
- Oversaw a portfolio restructure that diversified investments and reduced risk, yielding a 12% return on investment in FY 2022 and outperforming the benchmark index by 5%
These are good examples of hard skills for an engineering CV:
- Manufacturing processes
- Quality control
- Structural analysis
- Computer aided design (CAD)
- Documentation procedures
- Led a cross-functional team in the redesign of a hydraulic system, achieving a 20% increase in efficiency and reducing production costs by £50,000 annually
As AI takes more and more jobs, creative skills become more important. Here are hard skills that recruiting managers look for on designers’ CVs in the UK:
- Colour theory
- UI/UX design
- Conceptualised and executed a rebranding campaign, leading to a 35% uplift in brand engagement and contributing to a sales increase of £1.2 million within six months
Companies get ahead by streamlining their processes and getting products to market faster than their competitors. They need talented project managers to improve their efficiency. So if you have any of the skills below, emphasise them in your CV for project management work:
- Agile methodologies
- Productivity software (for example, Trello)
- Remote communication
- Negotiation techniques
- Knowledge of development processes
- Delivered a complex digital transformation project on time and £100,000 under budget, resulting in a 15% increase in operational efficiency and a 10% uplift in customer satisfaction scores
Every day the world shrinks a little more as communication technology brings us closer together. So being able to communicate in multiple languages clearly is a skill employers need in 2023. These are examples of hard skills connected to your foreign language skills:
- Text translation
- Language proficiency proof (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, for example)
- Business writing
- Leveraged fluency in Mandarin to secure and manage three key client accounts in China, contributing to a £2 million revenue increase and expanding the company’s market presence in the region by 20% in 2022
If you’re looking for hard skills that’ll make your marketing CV stand out, here are some good options:
- Orchestrated a multi-channel marketing campaign for DEF Brand, achieving a 30% rise in online engagement and driving sales growth of £750,000 within the first quarter of 2023
Administration & office support
Applying for an administrative role? Here are some hard skills for an administrator CV to give you ideas for what to put on your own:
- Streamlined office processes and introduced a new digital filing system, reducing document retrieval times by 50% and saving the company an estimated £20,000 annually in man-hours
No matter what industry you work in, showing good research skills on your CV will set you apart from other job applicants. Here are some of the key research skills recruiting managers will be impressed by:
- Data mining
- Search engine manipulation
- Database queries
- Interview techniques
- Speed reading
- Conducted comprehensive research on nanoparticle drug delivery, resulting in 3 published papers, a 40% improvement in drug efficacy in pre-clinical trials, and securing £250,000 in grant funding for continued studies
The 10 best soft skills for your CV
These skills are vital in every industry. They’re also transferable skills because they can be used in all kinds of jobs.
Here are 10 soft skills employers are seeking in 2023, along with examples of how to show them on a CV:
1. Communication skills
To explain concepts to people and handle requests, you need good communication skills. Employers want to check that you’ve got good communication skills because they’ll help you interact with your colleagues and customers if hired.
- Facilitated and presented at over 20 company-wide workshops in 2022, enhancing inter-departmental collaboration and contributing to a 15% increase in project delivery efficiency through improved team communication
In our constantly changing world (thanks, AI), flexibility allows you to adapt to changing circumstances and work effectively in a dynamic environment.
- Demonstrated adaptability by taking on dual roles during a staff shortage, managing both client relations and project coordination, which ensured the timely completion of 5 major projects and saved the company an estimated £30,000 in temporary recruitment costs
3. Critical thinking skills
Critical thinking skills allow you to analyse information, make informed decisions, and solve complex problems. If you want to show an employer you’re a critical thinker, list skills like this on your CV:
- Identified and resolved a recurring operational bottleneck by critically analysing workflow processes, resulting in a 25% increase in production output and saving the company £40,000 in potential overtime costs annually
4. Leadership skills
Want to show recruiters that you have good leadership skills? Give examples from your studies or work history that show you can inspire and motivate others towards a common goal, like this applicant does:
- Spearheaded a team of 15, implementing a new agile project methodology that increased project delivery speed by 30%, while simultaneously reducing team turnover by 20% over the 2022 fiscal year
5. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills enable you to communicate effectively, build relationships, and work collaboratively with colleagues and clients. The example below shows you how to emphasise your interpersonal skill to employers:
- Fostered strong relationships across multiple departments, enhancing cross-functional collaboration and resulting in a 10% reduction in project delays and an overall increase in team satisfaction scores by 15% in 2022
6. Management skills
Employers prefer to hire applicants with management skills, which refer to your ability to plan, delegate, and organise tasks, ensuring efficient and effective use of company resources.
- Managed a diverse team of 25, implementing targeted training and performance measures that boosted overall team productivity by 20% and reduced absenteeism by 15% within 2 months
7. Customer service skills
Customer service skills help you provide excellent service to customers by addressing their needs and concerns promptly and professionally and helping retain them.
- Consistently achieved a 98% customer satisfaction rate by proactively addressing queries and resolving issues, leading to a 25% increase in repeat business and a 15% reduction in customer complaints during 2023
Thinking outside the box and generating innovative solutions to problems are examples of creative soft skills. UK companies value creativity in 2023 because it helps them develop new products or services that build a customer base.
- Developed an innovative marketing campaign using mixed media techniques, resulting in a 45% boost in brand visibility and driving an additional £200,000 in sales within three months
9. Organisational skills
Can you manage multiple tasks and deadlines, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget? You’ve got great organisational skills — something employers will love to see on your CV.
- Reorganised the company’s inventory system, categorising over 10,000 items, which led to a 30% faster retrieval time and contributed to a £50,000 reduction in yearly storage costs
10. Time management skills
Time management skills let you prioritise tasks, manage your workload, and meet deadlines, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency for the company you work for.
- Coordinated and completed five concurrent projects ahead of schedule, saving an estimated 50 man-hours and ensuring timely delivery to clients, which boosted client retention by 10%
Role-specific CV skills examples
Below are great skills for CVs written for particular jobs, followed by a list of industry-specific CV examples you can look at for skills ideas:
Writing your CV for a retail job? Here are some skills that retailers look for when they review job applications:
- Inventory management
- Merchandising techniques
- Customer service
- Point-of-sale (POS) system proficiency
If you’re looking to get hired as a cleaner, you’ll need to show skills like these on your cleaner CV:
- Time management
- Attention to detail
- Relevant certifications (for example, your Level 5 Certificate in Cleaning)
In the UK, demand for healthcare skills is rapidly increasing. So skills like these are extremely valuable on your CV:
- Bedside manner
- NHS Constitution knowledge
- Charting and familiarity with Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
- Medical confidentiality and data protection
A good teacher CV emphasises skills like the following:
- Point of sale (POS) system operation
- Latte art
- Foreign language skills
- Wine pairing
How to add skills to your CV
Here are five tips for adding your skills to your CV in a way that makes employers want to hire you right away:
1. Find out which skills the employer needs the most
The most important skills for your CV are the ones the employer seeks. Finding those skills is easier than you think. Just look closely at the job advert and note any skills mentioned there.
Here’s an example job advert with some of the skills the employer is looking for underlined:
Once you’ve identified the skills that will make your CV stand out to the employer, create a CV (and build a cover letter) that features them prominently. Keep scrolling to find out how to put skills in each section of your CV:
2. List them in a skills section
You should list the most important skills you see in the job advert in your CV’s skills section — if you have them.
If you were writing a CV to apply for the Software Engineer role above, here’s what your skills list might look like:
As you can see, all the skills mentioned in the job advert appear in the candidate’s CV skills list.
Adding them in this section exactly as they appear in the job advert helps the recruiting manager:
- see you’re a perfect fit for the job
- notice you’ve targeted your CV to their specific job advert, making it clear you want to work for that company specifically
3. Give examples of your skills in a work history section
You should also back up the skills you’ve listed in your skills section with examples in your work history section. Doing so gives the recruiting manager a chance to measure your skill levels by seeing a CV achievement in a work context.
For example, say you’ve listed ‘Medicine administration’ as a skill on your nursing CV. Give employers an insight into your ability by writing a CV bullet point like this:
- Administer medicine to 11-patient ward on a daily basis, carefully following institutional protocols, doctors’ and pharmacists’ directions, and prescription instructions
From this example, a recruiting manager can see you:
- use your skill in a clinical setting
- apply this skill on a daily basis
- provide care to 11 patients using this skill
All of this information provides insight into how often and how well you use this skill at work.
4. Summarise your top skills in a personal statement
Highlight your most important skills in your CV’s personal statement.
For example, if a receptionist job advert is looking for someone friendly, approachable, and welcoming, write a personal statement (also called a CV personal profile) that emphasises your people skills while integrating hard numbers. Something like this works:
5. Show your skills in a hobbies and interests section
It’s standard in the UK to also add hobbies associated with various skills to your CV in a hobbies and interests section.
Here’s an example: you’re applying for a graphic design job and you want to emphasise your creativity. Adding hobbies like these to your CV will make you come off as more creative:
- playing a musical instrument
- arranging flowers
- creating new recipes
Even though these hobbies don’t explicitly involve graphic design, they show recruiters you’re a creative person, so they’re worth putting on your CV.
How to find more skills for your CV
Still unsure what skills you can put on your own CV? Follow these tips to identify relevant hard and soft skills:
If you still need other skills to put on your CV, look at job descriptions for similar job openings. These job descriptions will reveal skills applicable to the position you’re applying for.
Think of any other skills you’ve developed in previous jobs or university or school clubs that seem like a good fit for the position you’re going for.
For example, an entry-level position may not require presentation skills, but if you get the impression it’s a company that rapidly promotes talent, they could come in handy. You might want to add presentation skills to your CV in that case.
Viewing CV examples from your industry is a great way to find skills you can include in your CV. Here are some CV examples to get you started:
- Web developer CV
- Cyber security CV
- Software engineer CV
- Nursing CV
- Health care assistant CV
- Pharmacy CV
- Support worker CV
- Business analyst CV
- Accountancy CV
- Estate agent CV
- Civil engineering CV
- Design engineer CV
- Technical CV
- Architect CV
- Graphic design CV
- Interior design CV
- Marketing manager CV
- Social media CV
- Sales CV
- Retail assistant CV
- Tesco CV
- Personal assistant CV
- Receptionist CV
- Civil service CV
- Delivery driver CV
- Driver CV
- Mechanic CV
- Librarian CV
- Academic CV
- Tutor CV
- Restaurant manager CV
- Football CV
Frequently asked questions about skills
Here are answers to four of the most common questions asked about adding skills to your CV:
- What skills should I put on my student CV?
- What skills do I put on a resume?
- How many skills do I put on my CV?
- How do I talk about my skills in an interview?
1. What skills should I put on my student CV?
While completing your studies, you can develop many skills that transfer well to the workplace. So when you write your student CV, include skills like these (if applicable):
- Time management
- Public speaking
2. What skills do I put on a resume?
A resume is another name for a one-page CV, which means it doesn’t have as much room for skills as your standard two-page CV. So put only your most job-essential skills on your resume, cutting less-relevant skills — such as the ones listed in your hobbies and interests section.
You can always expand on the skills summarised on your CV when you write your cover letter.
3. How many skills do I put on my CV?
Generally, you should put 3–10 skills on your CV, depending on your CV’s layout and the role you’re applying for.
Putting less than 3 skills on your CV makes the list of your key skills look empty while adding more than 10 wastes space you should be using to describe your achievements.
4. How do I talk about my skills in an interview?
When talking about your skills in an interview, showcase how your skills and experience align with the job requirements and demonstrate how you can add value to the organisation.
Here are some tips to help you talk about your skills effectively in an interview:
- Research the company and the job description to understand the skills required for the role. This will help you to highlight your relevant skills during the interview.
- Provide specific examples of how you’ve used your skills in past jobs or experiences. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your responses and provide concrete examples.
- Focus on the skills that are most relevant to the job and the company culture. Highlight how your skills can help the company achieve its goals.
- Use language that is positive and confident. Avoid using negative language or underselling your skills.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your strengths and weaknesses. Use your skills to frame your weaknesses as areas for growth and development.