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Written by Anna MuckermanAnna Muckerman

50+ Soft skills for CVs

23 min read
50+ Soft skills for CVs
Soft skills: they're not just buzzwords on a job posting anymore. In today's fast-paced and interconnected workplace, these interpersonal skills set top performers apart from the crowd. Whether leading a team, collaborating with colleagues, or navigating complex challenges, your soft skills can make all the difference in your career success.

So, what exactly are soft skills? Why do employers care about them? And how can you effectively highlight them on your CV to make a lasting impression? In our comprehensive cvapp.nz guide, we'll break down the what, why, and how of soft skills, providing practical tips and examples to help you craft a CV that reflects your unique value and potential. 

In Aotearoa, where we love a good yarn and a can-do attitude, showcasing your soft skills alongside your technical know-how can be the difference between blending in and standing out. Whether you're a seasoned professional looking to make a career change or a recent graduate just starting your career, understanding how to weave your interpersonal strengths into your CV is a game-changer. 

Statistical insight

A recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends survey revealed that 68% of hiring managers in New Zealand have chosen a candidate with stronger soft skills over one with superior technical abilities. Being a team player and a good communicator might be your secret weapon in landing that dream job!

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the unique interpersonal abilities and qualities that make you a valuable asset to potential employers. These skills are the foundation of your professional identity, showcasing your expertise and potential for success in the workplace. 

Traditionally, CV skills were often categorised into hard skills, the technical and measurable abilities acquired through education and training, and soft skills, the interpersonal and transferable traits that enhance your interactions and performance.

However, the lines between hard and soft skills are becoming increasingly blurred, with employers recognising the importance of a well-rounded skill set encompassing technical expertise and interpersonal strengths. In today's competitive job market, showcasing key CV skills is essential for standing out from the crowd and securing your dream job.

By understanding the value of your skills and effectively articulating them on your CV, you can present yourself as a versatile and adaptable candidate ready to tackle any challenge and contribute meaningfully to any organisation.

Professional tip

What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills?

Think of hard skills as the "what" and soft skills as the "how" of your professional toolbox. Hard skills are the specific tools you use to get the job done (e.g., programming languages, data analysis, project management), while soft skills are the techniques you employ to utilise those tools effectively (e.g., communication, collaboration, problem-solving). 

Both types of skills are essential for achieving success in the workplace, so make sure your CV highlights a balance of both to demonstrate your well-rounded capabilities.

Hard skills vs soft skills

Consider your CV a well-crafted sandwich: the hard skills are the hearty fillings, providing substance and showcasing your technical expertise – think qualifications, software proficiencies, or trade certifications. 

The soft skills, however, are the condiments and toppings that elevate your sandwich from basic to gourmet. These interpersonal skills add flavour and complexity—your ability to collaborate effectively, communicate clearly, or problem-solve creatively. While both skill sets are essential for a satisfying meal (and a successful career!), those soft skills often leave a lasting impression, making you stand out in a sea of similar applicants.

Soft skills examples for CVs include: 

  • Communication: The ability to clearly and effectively convey information through various channels, both verbally and in writing.
  • Teamwork: The capacity to collaborate effectively, contribute to shared goals, and foster a positive work environment.
  • Leadership: The skill of motivating and guiding others towards a shared vision while empowering them to reach their full potential.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to analyse challenges, identify potential solutions, and implement effective strategies to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Adaptability: The capacity to embrace change, learn new skills, and adjust to evolving circumstances with flexibility and resilience.
  • Time management: The ability to prioritise tasks, manage deadlines, and utilise time efficiently to achieve maximum productivity.
  • Creativity: The skill of generating innovative ideas, approaching problems from unique perspectives, and developing novel solutions.
  • Critical thinking: The ability to analyse information objectively, evaluate evidence, and draw logical conclusions to make informed decisions.
  • Interpersonal skills: The capacity to build rapport, establish trust, and maintain positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to navigate disagreements, mediate disputes, and find mutually agreeable solutions to maintain a harmonious work environment.
  • Emotional intelligence: The capacity to recognise, understand, and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, to foster positive interactions and build strong relationships.
  • Active listening: The skill of fully engaging in conversations, paying attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues, and demonstrating genuine interest in the speaker's message.
Professional tip

How do you list soft skills on a CV?

Instead of simply listing "communication" or "teamwork," weave these skills into your work experience descriptions. Use action verbs and quantifiable examples to demonstrate how you've utilised these soft skills to achieve specific results. 

For instance, instead of saying "strong communication skills," you could say "led weekly project meetings with cross-functional teams, resulting in a 20% decrease in project delays."

What soft skills should I put on my CV?

When showcasing soft skills on your CV, focus on accuracy and relevance. The skills you list should accurately reflect your proven abilities and align with the specific job you're applying for. Building your soft skills list involves two key aspects: 

1. Your strengths: 

Begin by conducting a self-assessment to identify your key soft skills. Reflect on your past experiences and accomplishments to pinpoint the skills that have consistently contributed to your success. Ensure you can confidently articulate how these skills have benefited your previous roles and how they can add value to your next position. 

Create a comprehensive list of your soft skills, ensuring you can confidently demonstrate them in your next role. Prepare to discuss these examples during interviews, as employers often probe deeper for more details.  

2. Tailoring your skills to the job: 

After assessing your strengths, thoroughly examine the job description to identify the soft skills your potential employer prioritises. Align your master list with the specific skills mentioned, and research the company culture and industry. This comprehensive approach will enable you to pinpoint the top five soft skills that best showcase your suitability for the role and organisation.

Professional tip

Be bold and let your personality shine through your soft skills. If you're known for your quirky sense of humour that diffuses tense situations or your infectious enthusiasm that motivates your colleagues, find subtle ways to weave these unique qualities into your CV. This can make you more memorable and appealing to potential employers who value individuality and a positive workplace culture.

Where do soft skills go on a CV?

Instead of confining soft skills to a mere list on your CV, strategically integrate them throughout the document. By weaving these essential qualities into different sections, you create a compelling narrative that highlights your unique strengths and value proposition.

Personal Statement

Begin by crafting a powerful personal statement or profile that goes beyond a simple list of skills. Use descriptive adjectives to paint a vivid picture of your personality and professional demeanour. This allows potential employers to instantly grasp your key attributes and understand how you can contribute to their team.

Employment History

When detailing your employment history, focus on tangible results achieved through the application of your soft skills. Use specific examples and quantifiable metrics to illustrate how your communication, leadership, or problem-solving abilities have positively impacted your previous roles. This approach demonstrates the real-world impact of your soft skills and adds credibility to your claims.

Skills Section

While weaving soft skills throughout the document is important, explicitly listing them in this dedicated section offers a clear snapshot of your diverse capabilities. Potential employers often scan this section for specific keywords, so ensure that the skills you highlight align with the job requirements and showcase your versatility. 

For instance, listing "problem-solving," "adaptability," and "leadership" not only demonstrates your soft skills but also signals your potential to thrive in various professional settings.

Professional tip

To identify the most impactful soft skills to include on your CV, thoroughly analyse the job description and company culture. Look for keywords that align with specific soft skills, such as "collaborative," "innovative," or "customer-focused." 

Prioritise relevant skills to the role and demonstrate your ability to meet the employer's needs. 

Additionally, consider seeking feedback from colleagues, mentors, or career coaches to gain a better understanding of your strengths and how they align with industry expectations.

The top 10 soft skills for CVs with examples

Need help determining which soft skills will make your CV shine? We've curated a list of ten essential soft skills that you can tailor to your unique background and career goals: adaptability, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, eagerness to learn, leadership, positive attitude, resourcefulness, strong work ethic, and time management. 

Let's delve deeper into these skills to further explore how to enhance your CV.

Adaptability 

Adaptability is a highly sought-after soft skill in today's ever-changing work landscape. Employers value individuals who swiftly adjust to new situations, technologies, and challenges. Showcasing adaptability on your CV can significantly boost your appeal to employers. 

Consider highlighting skills like flexibility, resilience, open-mindedness, and the ability to learn quickly. By demonstrating your ability to embrace change and thrive in dynamic environments, you position yourself as a valuable asset to any team or organisation.

Example

 “Developed and implemented a new inventory management system within a two-week timeframe, adapting quickly to unfamiliar software and ensuring a seamless transition for the team.”

Copied!

Collaboration skills

Effective collaboration is the cornerstone of high-performing teams and successful projects. Highlight your proficiency in communication, active listening, conflict resolution, teamwork, and consensus building. 

By showcasing your collaboration skills, you portray yourself as a team player capable of fostering positive working relationships and achieving shared objectives.

Example

“Collaborated with a remote team of 5 developers across three time zones to troubleshoot and resolve a critical software bug, ensuring minimal disruption to service and maintaining a 90% uptime.”

Copied!

Communication skills

Effective communication is the lifeblood of any successful workplace. Articulating your ideas clearly, actively listening to others, and conveying information concisely are essential skills employers highly value. 

Highlight your proficiency in verbal and written communication, presentation skills, active listening, negotiation, and interpersonal communication on your CV. 

By demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively across various mediums and audiences, you position yourself as a valuable asset capable of building rapport, resolving conflicts, and fostering a positive work environment.

Example

 "Successfully mediated a complex contract negotiation between two international clients, utilising strong communication and active listening skills to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.”

Copied!

Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking is a prized asset in today's complex, fast-paced work environments. Employers seek individuals who can analyse information, solve problems creatively, and make informed decisions. 

Consider showcasing skills like problem-solving, analytical thinking, decision-making, logical reasoning, and attention to detail. By demonstrating your critical thinking ability, you outline yourself as a valuable team member capable of navigating challenges and driving innovation.

Example

"Evaluated and optimised existing operational processes, resulting in a 15% reduction in production costs and a 10% improvement in efficiency.”

Copied!

Eagerness to learn

A demonstrated eagerness to learn is a highly desirable trait for any employee. Employers value proactive individuals who expand their knowledge, embrace new challenges, and continuously improve their skills. By showcasing your eagerness to learn on your CV, you signal your adaptability, growth mindset, and commitment to staying ahead of the curve. 

Outline skills like curiosity, continuous learning, receptiveness to feedback, adaptability to new technologies, and a proactive approach to professional development. Demonstrating your passion for education can set you apart as a candidate invested in your own growth and the organisation's success.

Example

"Consistently sought out opportunities to learn new software and tools, enabling me to streamline processes and improve efficiency within the team.”

Copied!

Leadership skills

Leadership is a sought-after quality that transcends job titles and industries. Employers value individuals who can motivate, inspire, and guide teams towards achieving common goals. Showcasing your leadership abilities on your CV, even if you have yet to hold formal management positions, can significantly enhance your profile. 

Include skills such as decision-making, delegation, conflict resolution, strategic thinking, team building, and the ability to inspire others. By demonstrating your leadership potential, you position yourself as a proactive and results-oriented individual capable of taking initiative and driving positive organisational change.

Example

"Mentored and trained five junior team members, fostering their professional development and enabling them to take on increased responsibilities.”

Copied!

Positive thinking skills

A positive attitude is a powerful asset in any workplace. Employers value individuals who approach challenges with optimism, maintain a can-do spirit, and foster a positive work environment. Showcasing your positive attitude on your CV can leave a lasting positive impression. 

Highlight skills like enthusiasm, optimism, resilience, adaptability, stress management, and the ability to motivate others. By demonstrating your positive mindset and ability to overcome obstacles, you position yourself as a resilient and inspiring team member who can uplift colleagues and contribute to a productive and enjoyable work atmosphere.

Example

 "Successfully navigated a challenging client project with tight deadlines, remaining calm and focused under pressure and consistently delivering high-quality results.

Copied!

Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is a highly valuable trait in today's competitive job market. Employers seek individuals who can think independently, find creative solutions, and maximise available resources. Demonstrating resourcefulness on your CV can set you apart as a proactive and adaptable candidate. 

Highlight skills such as problem-solving, initiative, creativity, innovation, decision-making, and the ability to work independently. By showcasing your resourcefulness, you illustrate your ability to overcome challenges, optimise resources, and deliver results despite unexpected obstacles.

Example

“Developed a cost-effective marketing campaign using social media and marketing tactics, resulting in a 30% increase in brand awareness with a limited budget.”

Copied!

Strong work ethic

A strong work ethic is the bedrock of any successful career. Employers value individuals who consistently demonstrate dedication, reliability, and a commitment to excellence. Showcasing your strong work ethic on your CV can significantly help enhance your appeal to employers. 

Highlight skills such as self-motivation, discipline, time management, responsibility, integrity, and a results-oriented approach. By emphasising your work ethic, you demonstrate your ability to meet deadlines consistently, exceed expectations, and contribute to a productive and efficient work environment.

Example

“Received multiple "Employee of the Month" awards, recognising outstanding performance, reliability, and commitment to maintaining high standards of work quality.”

Copied!

Time management skills

Effective time management is a cornerstone of productivity and success in the workplace. Employers value individuals who can prioritise tasks, meet deadlines, and efficiently manage their workload. Showcasing your time management skills on your CV can demonstrate your ability to work independently, stay organised, and deliver results on time. 

Incorporate skills such as organisation, goal setting, deadline management, scheduling, and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. By emphasising your time management abilities, you position yourself as a reliable and efficient professional who can effectively manage their time and contribute to a productive work environment.

Example

“Implemented a new scheduling system for the team, resulting in a 20% reduction in overtime hours and improved overall productivity.”

Copied!
Do

Do tailor your soft skills to the specific job requirements. Research the company culture and job description to identify the most valued skills.

Don't

Don't list irrelevant soft skills. Focus on those directly applicable to the job and demonstrate your qualifications.

Key Takeaways

  1. Soft skills are essential: Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability, are increasingly valued by employers in New Zealand and worldwide.
  2. Differentiate yourself: Highlighting your soft skills on your CV can set you apart from other candidates with similar technical abilities.
  3. Weave your skills throughout your CV: Integrate soft skills throughout your CV, including your personal statement, employment history, and skills section.
  4. Use specific examples: Use examples and quantifiable metrics to demonstrate how your soft skills have led to tangible results.
  5. Tailor your skills: Research the company culture and job description to identify the most relevant soft skills to showcase.
  6. Stand out from the crowd: A well-crafted CV that highlights both hard and soft skills demonstrates your well-roundedness and potential for success in the workplace.

By following these tips and incorporating the provided examples, you can create a compelling CV that effectively showcases your soft skills and sets you on the path to landing your dream job.

Need help to articulate your soft skills effectively on your CV? Let our online CV builder do the heavy lifting for you. With expertly crafted templates, industry-specific examples, and professional tips, CVapp.nz empowers you to create a powerful CV that truly reflects your unique strengths and value proposition. 

Don't let your soft skills go unnoticed – let cvapp.nz help you make a lasting impression and kickstart your career today!

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