9 student CV skills to include on your CV (with definition)
Updated 18 April 2023
The skills section of your CV shows employers that you have the abilities to succeed in the role for which you're applying. As a student, you might not have much experience, so emphasising the skills you've developed during your studies can be highly beneficial. Knowing and understanding the skills that employers are looking for can help you put together a great CV to attract prospective employers' attention. In this article, we explain what student CV skills are, list nine examples of these traits, outline how to improve them and look at how to highlight them on your CV.
What are student CV skills?
There are two main types of student CV skills that employers expect candidates to have, which are hard and soft skills. Hard skills are specific abilities, related to a particular field, that people use to carry out their work. They're normally more technical skills that you learn through training or gaining experience in a particular job. Some common examples of hard skills include knowledge of foreign languages and IT skills, such as how to write code in a particular programming language.
In contrast, soft skills are abilities that relate to your personality traits and habits that shape the way you work. These skills are valuable to employers because they're harder to teach than hard skills and are transferable to almost any role. Some common examples of soft skills include teamwork, problem-solving, communication and work ethic.
Examples of skills for a student CV
Below are nine examples of skills for a student CV:
Employers want to know that they can rely on their employees to arrive on time and complete the tasks that they're given. With this in mind, include examples on your CV that demonstrate that you're dependable and trustworthy. As a student, this might include things like the following:
attending all your lectures
handing in assignments, essays and projects on time
arriving on time for a part-time job
The majority of careers require problem-solving, whether that's related to customer issues or technical problems. As a result, it's critical that you show potential employers that you can respond well to problems and come up with solutions that get results. As a student, you might have encountered a time when you didn't know how to complete a piece of work. One way of demonstrating that you have this skill is by saying that you solved this problem by:
researching the topic
talking to your teacher
collaborating with other students
Any job that involves working with clients or customers requires a good level of customer service. As a student, you may have had a part-time job, such as in a retail outlet, bar or office setting. To demonstrate your customer service skills in your CV, consider mentioning when you solved problems for customers and how you ensured their satisfaction with the service you provided.
This is an essential skill for any job and includes things like:
being on time
planning your working day
preparing for meetings and keeping to a schedule
organising and prioritising your workload
self-discipline and focus
On your CV, give an example of how you've used this skill, such as a time when you managed more than one project at once. This might be when you had assignments due for two different classes or when you held a part-time job alongside your studies.
The ability to work well in a team is something that all employers expect candidates to have. They want to know that you can work with others to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. To demonstrate this skill on your CV, think of a time when you've been part of a team. Then, discuss the things the team achieved and how you contributed to those successes through being reliable, communicating well, boosting morale and resolving conflicts.
A positive attitude in the workplace is a trait that most employers value. Being positive suggests that you're more likely to be proactive and look for solutions to any problems. You can include this skill on your CV by looking for examples of times when you've shown the following:
a proactive attitude
This might be when your workload has been particularly heavy or when you've found part of your course challenging. You can also demonstrate your positivity by talking about times when you've displayed adaptability, commitment and trustworthiness.
Employers look for employees who can communicate effectively with a wide range of people. This includes things like:
writing reports and emails
conveying information in person, on the phone or via video conferencing software
discussing ideas as a team and working collaboratively
To demonstrate this ability, give examples on your CV of times when you've used these skills. It might be that you write a lot of essays that demonstrated your excellent knowledge of grammar and the written language. You can also consider your extracurricular activities too, where you might have produced email newsletters or flyers for your society or contributed to public meetings or debates.
A good work ethic and a sense of motivation are critical in the workplace. This includes things like the following:
being punctual and rarely missing work
taking ownership of problems
showing a desire to learn new skills and go beyond your job description
You can show potential employers that you have a strong work ethic by talking about a time when you went out of your way to do something more than what others expected of you. If you took the lead in a group project or volunteered in your local community, then you can use these as examples on your CV.
Having organisation skills is attractive to employers as they help businesses to run smoothly. Organisational skills are abilities that show you can:
manage your time and meet deadlines
assess and prioritise tasks
file documents in paper and electronic forms
follow and keep track of steps in processes
see tasks through to completion
How to improve skills for a student CV
Find out how to improve skills for a student CV below:
1. Create a schedule
If you struggle with time management and wish to include this as a skill on your CV, create a schedule at the start of each week or day and try to follow it precisely. For example, if you're currently revising for exams, create a timetable for your revision. Following a schedule may help you to improve your time management skills by learning how to manage your time efficiently.
2. Follow gratitude practices
At the start of each day, write down three things you're grateful for as this can help you to improve your positivity. Regularly practising gratitude exercises may help you to start each day with a positive attitude, which is a key attribute many employers seek.
You may also write down three things that are positive when you face a challenge or difficult situation, as this can help you to overcome it. For example, if you're worried about an essay, considering that the essay can help you demonstrate your skills and abilities can be an effective way of viewing the essay in a more positive light.
3. Complete online courses
There are numerous courses available online that can expand your skill set, many of which are free. For example, if you're considering expanding your IT skills, you can develop these skills by completing online courses, such as beginner coding courses or courses on how to use spreadsheets. This helps to make your CV more appealing and improves your knowledge of specific subjects.
Skills for a student CV in the workplace
Below are some tips for improving the skills that you've listed on a student CV in the workplace:
Speak to your manager. Ask your manager to provide you with some constructive feedback so you can determine what your strengths are and the areas to improve.
Ask for a mentor. If you don't already have a mentor at work, ask for one and request that they specifically focus on helping you develop your skills to improve your CV.
Talk to HR. If your employer has an HR department, ask them to look at your current CV and give feedback.
How to highlight skills on a student CV
You can highlight the skills on a student CV by following these steps:
Consider the skills you currently have, such as the ones you've gained as part of your studies.
Review the skills mentioned in the job description.
Create a separate skills section on your CV.
List the skills you possess that are also mentioned in the job descriptions of roles that interest you.
Separate each skill with a comma or pipe so that prospective employers can quickly identify your skills.
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