A skill is the ability to do something well. We develop skills through experiences and training at work and in our lived experiences. We form various skills while doing different activities. You can develop skills from work, school, studies, training, recreational and community activities (sport and hobbies) and even activities at home. Skills are any actions or techniques you know and can do well. Everybody has skills; you just might not be aware of yours.
There are different types of skills. Some skills are simple (such as good work ethic) while others are more complex (such as good problem-solving skills) but both are marketable skills. Any skill can be of value if you can match it to the job you want to apply for.
What should you include in your Skills and Qualities section of your CV?
1. Your skills and abilities:
- What are you good at and what are you able to do? What was the best compliment you received for something you did?
- Mention any skills or abilities you have developed through life or work experiences that may help you perform well at your job.
- For every skill or ability that you mention, state how you developed the skill or quality and provide evidence or examples of what you achieved or results you accomplished.
- You may include any awards or certificates you received at school as evidence of what you accomplished, such as a first aid certificate, top 10 awards, good attendance, etc.
- Do you have Computer skills? It is very important to include any computer experiences you have. Do you have experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any other computer systems (e.g. GAAP, Pilot, Microsoft, Outlook, Adobe, Pastel Accounting system)? Mention it on your CV.
For example, "Computer skills: 3 years experience working with Microsoft Office, a good understanding of Word and Excel."
Read more about what skills employers are looking for here.
2. Or your personality traits and qualities:
What qualities do you have? What would other people say when they talk about you? Only include qualities that match the keywords in the job advert or application, that would show the employer you are the best candidate for the job.
For example, "Quick learner: Not shy to ask questions and willing to learn." Or, "Self-motivated: Proactive and able to work independently."
- Try to include 2-3 skills and 1-2 personal qualities in this section of your CV.
- If you have a reference letter, you will find some things (skills, attributes or qualities) about yourself to include in this section of your CV.
- Some of the keywords (skills or qualities) you mention in your CV can be included and elaborated on in your cover letter.
All skills and qualities employers are looking for are learnt through experience and practice. Remember we all have skills but what makes them marketable is your ability to show employers what you can achieve in your work and how you can help them reach their goals with the skills you have. It is not the skill itself, but the impact or benefit it could have for the employer.
Next Step: Find out what to include on your CV under work experience, if you have no work experience.