How to best describe your skills in an English CV?

//How to best describe your skills in an English CV?

How to best describe your skills in an English CV?

Why are skills important?


Every time you apply for a job hundreds of other candidates apply as well. This is the market reality. In other words, the HR department will get hundreds or even thousands of applications for every job opening. 

Knowing that their office days are already busy we must accept that they will not have time to read every single application. As a result, they will have to make a selection based on a few criteria, which include education, work experience and, above all, skills.

There is a very simple explanation to it- it is much cheaper to hire a person who already has the skills necessary for the job than it is to train them. Training takes time and money, and, as the famous saying goes “time is money.” That is to say that finding a qualified candidate with the right skills is a much better deal for the company.


In recruitment time is money


This is why when you prepare your CV you have to spend some time listing your skills. If done correctly, it may help you to get the job you want and build a creer you have always wanted.

What are hard skills?

Out of the three types of skills the recruiters are interested in, hard skills typically come first. 

Hard skills are the skills you learn, in other words the skills you spend time learning. Most of them will also get you a certificate or a diploma. A very simple way to understand it is to imagine that one day you have zero competences in a particular field, then you spend some time studying it and as a result you can now do this new thing. 

A great example of hard skills are languages. One day you don’t speak German, then you study it and after some time you can speak German at ease. Similarly, the capacity to drive, and as a result a driving licence are also hard skills.

To learn more about your language levels read this article.

Globally, we can say that all manual skills are hard skills: welding, car reparation, food preparation or  flying a helicopter. Then again, using specific software such as Archicad, Photoshop, GDS Amadeus or CRM Salesforce is also considered a hard skill. 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills, also referred to as “human skills,” on the other hand are innate, which means you are born with them. That is only partially true, because as much as some people are born with natural charisma (a soft skill), almost everybody can learn and improve their time management skills (also a soft skill) with some training.

What are the most researched soft skills?

This will of course depend on the job you are applying for, since different hard and soft skills will be necessary for a sales rep, a teacher, a project manager or a bus driver.  Nevertheless, there are some soft skills which will be sought for in nearly every line of business. 

Top 10 of soft skill companies want


attention to detail



interpersonal skills 



teamwork time


work ethic 

When analyzing the job offer, take a moment to think about which soft skills you think would be necessary for this job. Is leadership a must? How about creativity? And time management?

Make a list of your soft skills and match them to the job offer. Now you are ready to go!

top 10 soft skills companies want
Top 10 soft skills companies are looking for

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are the skills you have learnt on one job and can easily apply to a new job, maybe even a new career. 

Transferable skills are not a third category, they are rather a common denominator of skills you have and which can be useful for the company or an NGO you want to work for. 

Which skills, both hard and soft, are transferable? 

Firstly, languages. If you speak a foreign language it is perfectly transferable from finance to events to teaching. So are numeracy skills, in other words working with numbers. A capacity to budget, prepare quotes or advanced excel skills can be transferred to any new job.

On top of that we should also include communication, both verbal and written. This skill is easily transferable to any job out there. You could go from marketing to public relations and be great at your new job in no time.

How to choose the skills for your CV?

Choosing the right skills to include in your CV is paramount. It will make the recruitment process much easier and will help you to stand out among hundreds of candidates.

This can be done with the 3 easy to follow steps:

Step 1: analyse the job offer

Step 2: make a list of your skills

Step 3: filter and match

Step 1: analyse the job offer

Imagine you are the recruiter. What skills would you look for in a candidate for this position? Make a list and try to be as detailed as possible.

Step 2: make a list of your skills

Be honest. If you are not sure what to put on your list, ask a friend or a trusted coworker. What skills, soft and hard, do I have today? Make a list.

Step 3: filter and match

This is the moment of truth. Simply take both lists you made and cross check them. If the job requires impeccable time management and you have it- write it on your CV. Procees with every skill on both list and you will soon be ready to apply.

What if you don’t have a skill which is required for the job?

If it is a hard skill, one which you can learn, and you really want the job, apply and make sure to learn it asap. You can find some online training or a masterclass on this subject and you will be ready in no time.

If it is a soft skill, such as teamwork and you know you work better alone, in this case reconsider and look for a job which will be a better match for you.


To sum up, both hard and soft skills are important when looking for a job. Before preparing your CV make sure you read about them, and if necessary remember that it is OK to ask for help. 

2020-02-13T12:13:55+00:00February 13th, 2020|Business English vocabulary|0 Comments

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