Your CV is one of the first things that your potential new employer will see when you apply for a role. As such, it’s a key selling point – along with your cover letter, it will determine whether you manage to secure the all-important interview. But what should it consist of?

Many people take the approach that their CV is a place to simply list off all their achievements. To an extent, that is true – detailing your experience is an important part of applying for a job. But you are far more than just your job title, and it’s vital that your employer gets a feel for your working style to see if you’ll fit into their team.

In this post, we share top tips for incorporating soft skills into your CV, for a well-rounded application.

What exactly are soft skills?

Soft skills are traits that are transferable to a range of roles, and aren’t measured with a certification or job title. The seven main soft skills are:

  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal skills

You probably use these in your day-to-day responsibilities, but it can be hard to explain them on a CV. Let’s explore how you can do this effectively.

The value of soft skills in the workplace

It’s easy to think that only qualifications, promotions, and job titles matter on your CV. Soft skills have historically been seen as less important than hard skills, but it’s important for modern workers to get a balance on their application. Especially if there are several suitable candidates for the role, the hiring manager will be looking for the person who is most likely to fit well with their existing team and contribute to a positive culture in the workplace. In fact, a 2019 report showed that 92% of talent acquisition professionals said soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills.

Additionally, soft skills can help you integrate with your new team and hit the ground running once you’ve secured the job. Making a good first impression is really important, and being able to be adaptable and listen to others will stand you in good stead.

Where to include them

By simply listing your skills on your CV, you’re telling the hiring manager you have the necessary tools for the job rather than showing them. You should be making it as easy as possible for the reviewer to see why you’re a great candidate, and this means going the extra mile on your CV, too.

Explaining these skills in context will allow you to show off your abilities in their best light. Highlight an example of where you used each skill in a previous role, and make sure to include the positive impact that had on the team or your customers. For example, you might demonstrate your flexibility and teamwork by explaining how you took on new tasks where needed to support a colleague. Not only is this more interesting to read, but you’re also showing the hiring manager that you actively use these skills – it’s not just a tick-box exercise to get them on your CV.

Making sure they align with the role

Soft skills become increasingly important as you rise up the career ladder. With seniority often comes an element of management, and managing people requires a whole new host of skills in comparison to just completing tasks by yourself.

Additionally, as a senior, you’ll need to show advanced soft skills – working with people who have different views to you, negotiating, handling sensitive conversations, encouraging and teaching junior team members, for example. Therefore, it’s important to update your CV to match the level of role you’re applying for so that the hiring manager knows you have the right qualities for the job.

Believe in yourself

If the role that you’re applying for would be a step up, don’t shy away from highlighting the experience that you do have. Whilst you might feel underqualified, even small examples show your potential employer that you’ve started to take on more responsibility and are heading in the right direction.

Ultimately, everyone has to work their way up, so you shouldn’t be ashamed if you’re not a perfect fit for the role. Reviewing the job description may help you understand if the employer might be open to supporting and training you as a new manager, or if they’re looking for someone with several years’ experience in a similar role already.