Have you been wondering how to enhance your CV so that you can get your dream job? Throughout the hiring process, employers are looking to see whether you have the skills and experience to do the job. That’s why it’s important that your resume captivates and impresses them.
Part of building a great CV is knowing how to communicate your many skills, and how to reflect the ones that the job description is looking to match.
But the first step to landing your dream job is the application process. And key to this is your ability to effectively communicate that you have the requisite skills.
Considering that many HR teams use HR automation tools and applicant tracking systems that screen resumes for the first round of interviews, if you don’t list the correct skills on your CV, you may not even make it through the gates. And there are also a range of remote-specific skills that you may have, which if communicated, may help elevate your CV above other candidates.
Below we look at the types of skills that are relevant to mention when you’re busy with job applications, how and why to communicate these, and reasons to keep an updated list of your skill sets.
What types of job skills are there?
When you put together your CV, it’s a good idea to know about the 3 types of skills that employers are typically looking for when they read a resume. These include hard skills, soft skills and transferable skills.
Hard skills are essentially your technical skills that you may have gleaned from work experience, or from courses and training. You’ll typically get a certificate or degree to prove your competence in these types of skills. For example, being able to speak foreign languages, be fluent in coding and programming languages and software, knowledge about digital marketing, or your specialised educational training (e.g. law or medicine) are all hard skills.
Many hard skills are prerequisites for jobs and without them, you may not be considered for the role.
Soft skills are ones that influence how well you can perform a job, and how you may get on with the rest of the team. These soft skills also show whether you will align with the company culture and whether you’re able to communicate effectively, work well with colleagues in a team and meet deadlines.
These interpersonal skills can be more challenging to measure and acquire, with many of them being highly desirable attributes in the employer’s eyes. These soft skills can help you to influence the hiring team’s decision to hire you, where you have similar hard skills to other applicants.
Some examples of soft skills include your leadership abilities, your emotional intelligence and sense of empathy, your integrity and ability to take initiative. In a remote job setting, these soft skills include your ability to manage your own time efficiently, and to collaborate effectively in a remote office setting.
Transferable skills are ones which you typically learn on the job and can take with you to other positions and job roles. These can make you suitable for being promoted and for transitioning to entirely new roles. See our blog article about transferable skills for more information on these.
Why it’s important to communicate your skills
When you’re applying for a role, your prospective employer often won’t know you at all, so what you communicate in your application process is what they’ll use to assess you on. First impressions matter, and communicating your hard, soft and transferable skills is a way for you to let the hiring team know you have what it takes to do the job and to excel.
How you communicate these skills also helps you set you apart from all the other candidates. And considering that many jobs receive hundreds of applicants, you want to ensure that you at least make it through tho the first round of interviews – especially where ATS tracking is being used to screen the “shortlist” of applicants.
How to communicate the skills I have to match the job I’m applying for?
It’s important to remember to communicate your skills throughout the hiring process – in your cover letter, your CV and during your interviews. You’ll also need to be prepared to have examples of these skills in practice, so that hiring teams can see that you really do have them.
But to make sure that your application is successful, you also need to ensure that you communicate the skills that are being sought. In other words, you need to ensure that you match the skills that the job requires with the skills that you actually have.
To do this, it’s best to start by carefully looking at the job description and making a list of all the skills that they mention. Then make a list of all your skills, and mention the ones that match the job description.
In addition, if there are specific skills mentioned in the job description eg Python programming language, then remember to be equally specific in your application. If you just add something generic like “fluency in multiple programming languages”, then you may not advance through the first round of applications – especially where ATS software is being used to filter out the best candidates.
If the job application is posted online, you will often see tags being used in the description which can also help give you clues about which skills they are looking for. And by looking at the company’s online presence to see what other skills they value, you can gain other insights into how you can optimise your skills list. For example, their mission statement may contain mention of their company values and showing that you align with them may communicate that you’re a great fit.
Try to also mention specific and measurable examples of how you’ve used your skills in the past. For example, you may say on your CV that you “launched a new marketing campaign that improved website traffic by 35% and led to revenue increases of 15%”.
Keeping track of all your skills
Most people are continuously learning and acquiring new skills, whether through studying, training or on-the-job learning. It’s a great idea to keep a list of all your skills so that you can refer to it when you need to apply for jobs (even if they’re internal ones or promotions).
A great way to keep a skills list is to make a spreadsheet of your hard, soft and transferable skills. You can do research online into examples of skills lists to help you build your own list. Try and also add some concrete examples of how you’ve used each of these skills.
Even if you have been working as a digital nomad, you will have a range of hard and soft skills that may be highly valuable for a prospective employer – so keeping track of them is the first step.
How to write a skills section on your CV
Another great idea for how to communicate your skills during the hiring process, is to create a dedicated skills list section on your CV. Keep it succinct and incorporate some of your skills into your mission statement, cover letter and other sections of your resume.
Final thoughts on showing off your skills
You should now have a good idea of why it’s important to showcase your skills when applying for any job. And you now know how to go about building your individual skills list and matching your skills with the ones any job description is looking for. Taking time to effectively communicate your relevant skills and how you’ve used them successfully in the past, can help to get you your dream job.
When it comes to getting a remote job, remember to include some of your skills that specifically relate to working remotely. Not everyone will have had the same experiences and gained the same skill sets as you. Communicating your unique skills can help you maintain a competitive edge over other candidates.