CVs & Cover Letters

7 Skills Recruiters Want to See on Your CV

Female executives meet to discuss a document

A CV is an all-important document, one that highlights, in detail, your job experience and skills — one that recruiters use to vet job candidates. “A CV is essentially a sales tool. It is a way to sell yourself as the best person for the job before even meeting your potential new employers,” explains Jessica Salter, talent acquisition manager for Best Response Media.

One thing recruiters are looking for on your CV is your skillset. In fact, they’re often hunting for keywords that tell them whether an applicant is a viable candidate for the role. Leaving skills out of your CV “will more than likely leave you unnoticed,” says Andy Mason, director of Mason Frank International, a technology recruiting firm. So to keep that from happening, we asked recruiters for the skills they want to see on your CV, and here’s what they said.

1. Problem-Solving

No matter your job or your industry, problems will arise. And that’s just one reason why “having someone who is capable of thinking it through and coming up with a solution is an essential skill for any organisation to have under its roof,” says Mason. You don’t have to say you’re a problem-solver — this is one better to show. So, within the body of your CV, consider sharing a problem you faced and how you creatively solved it.

2. Career Progression

“It is important to show any employer how you have progressed in your career,” says Salter. When writing your CV, ask yourself questions such as what skills you’ve gained, and what promotions you’ve earned over the last several years, Salter says. Even if you’ve stayed within the same company for years, Salter says it’s important that you outline the various jobs you’ve held, with descriptions — plus the reason for each move.

3. Communication

Not only is communication a valuable soft skill for any employee, it’s an important one to have when starting a new job — especially at a new company, Mason says. “[In the short term,] a good communicator is critical to getting up to speed with the processes of your company and being able to identify any short-term knowledge gaps,” he says. “And in the long term, I’d almost classify it as a prerequisite to anyone I’ve ever hired.” You can include this in your skills section, writing that you’re an “excellent communicator.”

4. Leadership

Recruiters look for employees who’ll “be able to push others to constantly improve in performance,” says Salter, as well as leaders with “the drive and determination to manage teams and grow and develop talent.” Be sure to call out these skills on your CV. You can add this as a bullet-pointed skill, or spend a paragraph explaining how you’ve led.

5. Positivity

“Every employer wants people who embrace changes and challenges, so a positive mindset is always appealing” on a CV, Mason says. “When things get tough, you want somebody who’ll meet it head-on, rather than complaining about it during a break.” This is a skill you should give detail on, when possible; so, if you can, spend a sentence or two describing a challenging work situation, and how you met it with a positive attitude.

6. Time Management

Showing that you can juggle multiple tasks and prioritize them — while hitting your deadlines — is very attractive to recruiters. As Mason says, “There’s nothing more frustrating than someone repeatedly missing deadlines, forcing everyone else to work harder to play catch up.” On the flip side, “having someone who you can trust this won’t be an issue ensures that teams can work more harmoniously,” Mason points out. Add this to your skills section, and be sure to call out what it means — i.e., you can juggle multiple projects and deadlines, or that you’re good at prioritizing projects based on need.

7. Customer Service

You may not work in the customer service industry or as a customer service representative, but “virtually every role will involve you working with customers, whether that’s internal or external,” says Mason. So, recruiters look for good customer service skills, which “demonstrate you are a people person,” he says, adding that, “as businesses prioritise this more and more, it’s a vital and often overlooked skill to possess.” Be sure to explain on your CV — in your skills section or within the body — how you’ve provided excellent customer service and how you would do so in this new role or company.

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