5 essential skills for your student CV

By Andrew Fennell on 27-06-2018

Your CV is your first opportunity to impress recruiters, and showcasing your most in-demand skills is essential if you want to get noticed.

The skills you include will obviously differ greatly depending on your desired industry and the roles you are applying for. But there are certain skills that are applicable to almost every job which need to be present in your CV regardless of your field.

These skills are often called “soft skills” or “generic skills”, and here are 5 of them that you should endeavour to include in your CV if you want to land job interviews.

student cv skills


The ability to effectively communicate is a skill sought-after in any position so it’s essential to showcase this within your CV.

Include examples where you have had to communicate with people of a variety of levels from shop customers in part-time roles, to managers in work placements, or even fellow students when working on University projects.

Consider situations where you’ve spoken in group settings or presentations whether in employment or whilst studying. When documenting your communication skills it’s also important to emphasise your ability to be a strong listener.  

Problem solving

Employers are looking for candidates who can display their ability to review and assess a situation and overcome obstacles to reach a required outcome.

Think of occasions where you’ve identified problems whether in project work, employment or education, and how you were able to come up with ideas to resolve the issue. If applicable, add instances where you have personally implemented new ways of working to put your ideas into action.

Team work

Any sector you are looking to pursue after your studies will require the capacity to work within a team. Use examples of previous project work to show how you were able to work with other team members to accomplish a common goal.  

If you have limited team involvement in a working environment reflect on any extracurricular activities such as sporting teams or associations you have been part of.


Recruiters will be looking for candidates who have a passion to progress, so illustrate your desire to develop in your chosen career.

Motivation can be demonstrated through examples of how you have gone above and beyond in any internships, projects or even during your studies. Don’t just state you have a desire to achieve but instead pinpoint examples where you have proven the aptitude to direct your own career, whether this was through joining professional organisations or having a portfolio of work you can present.


During your educational history, you will no doubt have organised and prioritised your own workload to ensure assignments were completed to the required deadline.

Draw on these examples and detail what strategies or plans you put into place to maintain a balance between studies and any work placements or club involvement. Showcase your proficiency to prepare and structure your work to ensure deadlines or action plans are met.

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV advice centre StandOut CV. Check out StandOut CV’s detailed guide to CV skills with over 60 valuable skills you can add to your CV.


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