Strengthen your candidacy by incorporating skills on your CV.

Skills are one of the first things a potential employer will be looking for on your CV in order to get a general idea of what you, as a potential employee, can bring to the job. By incorporating relevant skills throughout your CV, whether in an ability / skills specific section, executive summary section, or within your job experience descriptions, you will demonstrate the unique worth that you present to the company.

A vital part of creating an effective CV is incorporating your capabilities and industry specific knowledge in a way that focuses on the special value that you bring to the role. Remember, the hiring manager is looking for a candidate who has just the skill set needed to get the best out of the job position at hand. You need to use your CV to show them that you are just the person for the job.

This guide will not only tell you the difference between hard and soft skills, as well as provide practical examples of both, but it will also give you a clear idea of how to make use and best incorporate these capabilities within your CV.

Types: Hard skills vs. soft skills

Hard skills are those abilities which can be classified as technical, specialized, and specific to a certain field of work. These are skills that can only be acquired via career-specific training and experience. They may also be categorized as technology or method based knowledge. These skills can be tangibly measured and show a candidate’s level of mastery within a career field or industry.

On the other hand, soft skills are generally understood to be more behavioural based, non-domain specific, intangible abilities such as social, emotional, or communicative skills, as well as character traits and personal attributes. These skills are applicable across a broad variety of jobs, career industries, and fields of work.

Although communication is technically a soft skill, language proficiency is generally listed under hard skills as it can be tested and tangibly measured. Thus, you should include your specific language abilities (i.g. Spanish, Chinese, American Sign Language, etc.) and level of proficiency wither within your hard skills section or in a separate languages section.

Examples of skills and levels of mastery

Below are some examples of both hard and soft skills. To discover more skills related to your specific position or career field, check out our CV examples.

Hard skills examples:

  • Cloud & Distributed Computing
  • Statistical Analysis & Data Mining
  • Middleware & Integration Software
  • SEO/SEM Marketing
  • Network & Information Security
  • Marketing Campaign Management
  • Perl/Python/Ruby
  • Arabic

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Time Management
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Customer Service
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability

Levels of mastery:

Your level of mastery for a technical skill or ability can be measured in various ways. For instance the levels of proficiency for languages can be calculated based on specific tests and/or course levels. A common reference level may exist within particular nations and geo-political regions or unions. For example, the European Union uses the CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Another more broadly accepted way of measuring language competency as determined by Linkedin include the following proficiency levels:

  • Native or bilingual proficiency
  • Full professional proficiency
  • Professional working proficiency
  • Limited working proficiency
  • Elementary proficiency

Level of mastery in other technical abilities or knowledge bases could be the following:

  • Master
  • Expert
  • Proficient
  • Competent
  • Novice/Beginner

You can also measure your level of proficiency of a hard skill by stating the amount of time (i.e. years, months, etc.) you have been using said technology, method, or technical language. A more creative symbol of measurement can be employed by using a representative scale or numeric percentages of competency.

How to incorporate skills on your CV

It is highly recommended to put a section solely dedicated to skills on your CV, so that hiring managers can easily identify them. You do not want them to have to spend time searching for them. They should be able to identify your skills with a single glance at your CV. However, it is important to emphasize that you should either dedicate two separate skills sections (one for hard skills and another for soft skills), or if you lack CV space, you should prioritize your skills section for your technical abilities. You should also include a level of proficiency for each of your technical abilities and hard skills.

The reason why you should prioritize your hard skills is due to the fact that these skills tend to be more important for recruiters and employers during the initial stage of CV reviewing. If you do not have the specific technical skills and level of mastery required to execute certain tasks of the specific job at hand, then your CV will be tossed out of the selection process in the first step. It’s not to say that soft skills aren’t important. In fact, it is during the interview that these skills will most likely be tested.

Incorporating soft skills within your work experience descriptions as well as your executive summary is a great way to highlight your professional characteristics. It is best to describe how you fulfilled specific responsibilities and accomplishments using your soft skills within a particular position. Highlight your strengths and provide evidence of how you are applying or have applied your skills in professional environments. Provide examples of how you utilized these abilities to achieve desired results within a role or to reach specific company or employer goals. If you can explain how you used your technical skills within these sections as well, even better!

A general rule of thumb, is that if the job description requires certain list of technical skills that these capabilities should be included on your CV. It is vital that you highlight all of your corresponding and relevant abilities that directly relate to those mentioned in the job posting, as this will help you to advance to the interview stage. Yet, it is important to remember that you must be able to justify or prove the skills that you include on your CV, as employers and recruiters will most likely ask you to elaborate on them. You need to be able to provide specific examples and situations in which you have utilized these skills, as well as be prepared for the interviewer to test you on your skills.

By highlighting all of your job-related, transferable, or adaptive skills you will be able to wow the recruiter. Remember, they want to hire you! The employer is on the search for just the right person who has the skills they need to get the best job done - so why not make that person you!

At, job hunters can create unique online CVs as well as utilize the PDF CV maker to optimize their CVs and tailor them for each application, using custom CV template designs to make all of their relevant skills stand out.