How to identify and showcase your skills on a CV

Recruiters see hundreds of CVs and when you apply they’re looking to see if your skill set matches the role requirements. How do you identify and showcase your skills on a CV?

How to identify your skills

1. Seek input from others

Ask for feedback on your hard and soft skills from family, friends, colleagues, and a coach or mentor. Before asking, prepare yourself mentally to receive any feedback with an open mind. Be specific about what you want their feedback on and why.

2. Identify skills from your ideal roles

  • Find several ideal roles – look on job boards, Indeed, and LinkedIn.
  • Highlight the skills required.
  • Add all the skills into a document, group them, and delete duplicates/ones you don’t have.
  • If you’re changing career focus on your transferable skills.

3. Take a personality questionnaire

The results from these questionnaires can highlight key personality attributes, help you focus on suitable career paths, recognise motivations and blockers, and highlight strengths and weaknesses. I recommend (the free services are perfectly adequate).

Barclays Lifeskills website has a lot of resources including free assessments to help you define your skills. Although aimed at students, the assessments may still be useful to you.

Add all the skills from these sources to this Skills worksheet

How to add the skills to your CV

Identify skills required

 Use the job advert to define the top 4-6 skills. Highlight all the skills mentioned and quite often, the ones most required will be featured at the top of any list. The key places to look at on the job ad are the ones usually entitled “What you’ll need”, “Your Experience”, or “What we’re looking for”.

Add to your CV

Depending on the CV format you choose, this might be a bulleted list with just the skill or a more detailed bullet with a line or two demonstrating how you evidence this skill.

If you’re using a bulleted list of simply the skills without elaboration, use columns:

  • Write the skills as a bulleted list
  • Highlight your list
  • Go to Layout, Columns, and pick 2-3 depending on the number of skills you’ve chosen and how long they are

Litter the skills throughout your CV i.e., in the profile and career history sections.

Don’t do this for the sake of it, make sure it reads well and every skill is backed up with an example or achievement.


Keep your skills worksheet updated as your career progresses.