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How to describe your skills on your CV and cover letter
In today’s job market, getting an interview is all about crafting a professional resume and cover letter that really stands out. Recruiters and employers will often have to look at piles of applications before setting up interviews, so first impressions are extremely important.
Here are some of the key factors for a good CV and cover letter, as well as how to highlight your skills in both.
What makes an impressive resume?
The right type of CV for you depends on a number of things, like your level of experience, the sector you work in, and the job you’re applying for. Most professional resumes, however, are broken down into two sections.
Section one sits at the top of your resume and is the area where you can cover your key achievements, abilities, and qualities. Your objective here should be to provide succinct snippets that capture your professional profile.
The second section provides evidence to support the assertions made in the first section. This is where you can outline your jobs and responsibilities, as well as your educational history.
Overall, your aim should be to concisely communicate that you’re a qualified candidate for the job because you have relevant experience, skills, and achievements.
How to include skills in your resume
To start with, read over the job description and make a note of the skills and phrases used so you can touch upon your strengths in these areas. Highlight any key achievements and skills in the top section.
The experience section of your resume is useful for showcasing your skills in a more practical manner. For example, it could be worth outlining your experience using particular technologies or systems in a past job, which are sought-after skills but may not align to any key achievements.
The skills on your resume should be a mix of the following:
Specialist skills – skills related to the specific job or industry, such as experience using a particular IT system
Soft skills – qualities and attitudes that employers value, such as the ability to communicate effectively
Transferable skills – skills that can be used in any workplace, such as the ability to multi-task
What makes an impressive cover letter?
Your cover letter should be a compelling summary of your resume and not an exact replica of it. This means that you should tell a story about why you’re the best person for the role, rather than simply listing skills and experience. Think of it as a sales pitch where you have the opportunity to market yourself.
How to describe skills in your cover letter
Your cover letter is more than just an overview of your experience and achievements, so it’s crucial to describe your relevant skills in an engaging manner.
For example, a marketing professional might include a statement like, “By developing a new online marketing plan at XX company, I was able to grow our brand awareness by 25% YOY”.
In this example, the candidate has shown that they are skilled in crafting marketing plans and have results to prove their abilities.
Put simply, your cover letter is the place to wow the hiring manager.
Looking for help writing your CV and cover letter? Visit our resume and cover letter advice centre for more guidance.