Applications / career development

5 essential skills to include on your student CV

It’s a common misconception that work experience is the only part of a CV most hiring managers care about. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of showing off your other relevant skills and experience to employers. Because students entering the workforce often lack professional experience, effectively demonstrating transferable skills is especially important. By showcases your relevant skills using concrete examples to back them up, you’ll give employers an idea of how you’ll fit into their workplace and what strengths they can expect you to bring to the team.

If you’ve never written a CV before, use a well-reviewed resume builder to ensure you get the formatting right. Be aware of the expectations and standards of your industry, and remember you may need to tailor your CV to suit each specific job to which you’re applying. A good resume builder will include templates for just about every type of job, from entry-level positions and internships to healthcare, reception, and office positions.

Some of the top skills for students to include on their CV are: computer skills, communication skills, collaboration, organisation and analytical skills

Here’s how to demonstrate these skills on your CV…

Computer Skills

Computer skills comprise a wide array of abilities ranging from internet research and typing to web design, video editing, and spreadsheet management. Students build these skills in their day-to-day lives as well as throughout their academic career. 

Having strong computer skills is increasingly essential in just about every industry. Whether it’s for conducting research, using productivity software, website management, booking appointments, or tracking inventory, computer skills are one of your most widely marketable student skills.

To stand out and ensure your individual talents are noticed, include details about your computer skills that demonstrate your specific expertise to your employer. For instance, if you want to highlight your impressive typing skills, list your typing speed (WPM) in your skills section. If you took any audio editing classes, consider listing them as “Relevant Coursework” in the “Education” section of your CV.

Communication

Excellent communication skills are a hallmark of any appealing candidate. Whether you’re a student or a seasoned professional, you need to be able to express yourself clearly and succinctly, both verbally and in writing. You need communication skills to relay important information to your team. You also need to know how to switch up your communication style depending on who you’re talking to – for instance, a customer versus a peer-level coworker.

Successfully communicating online is another skill entirely. Today’s students have a natural proclivity for communication on online platforms; however, remember that most employers won’t be impressed if you highlight your Twitter or TikTok feeds as evidence of your effective communication (unless you’re applying for work in social media marketing). Focus primarily on your ability to write a formal email or your familiarity with frequently utilised productivity and collaboration tools like Slack.

Highlighting your ability to communicate may sound like something that’s easier to do during a face-to-face interview, but including communication on your CV shows that you understand the value of conversational skills in the workplace. Try to think of a time when you used communication skills to solve a problem or gave a presentation, and include that information under your relevant experience.

Collaboration

Teamwork is an essential part of most jobs. Even if you’ll be working remotely, employers want to know you’re someone they can count on to participate in team meetings and help colleagues when needed. 

Fortunately, your education has provided you with ample opportunities to hone and demonstrate collaboration skills, from group projects and musical ensembles to student government and playing on sports teams. Highlight these experiences wherever you can, especially in your personal profile and education section. If you held a leadership role in one of these organisations, include that on your CV as well.

Organisational Skills

Staying organised means more than just keeping your physical workspace tidy. Solid organisational skills include time management, work-life balance, and knowing which tasks to prioritise on a busy day. Employers want to know you have organisational skills because it means they won’t have to micromanage you and will be able to trust you to manage your time and workload efficiently.

When detailing your relevant experience, find opportunities to highlight how practising good organisational skills allowed you to succeed in the role. Mention the colour-coding system you used to stay on top of emails. Discuss how making the time to fully de-brief your team after each practice session helped you win a championship.

Analytical Skills

No matter what industry you’re entering, analysing situations and thinking on your feet is an asset. Analytical skills comprise an important part of most subjects in school. Whether you’re parsing text in a literature course or determining why a science experiment failed, identifying patterns and drawing conclusions based on your observations will help you confidently separate tactics that work from the ones that don’t.

As you fill in the “work experience” section on your CV, demonstrate your analytical skills by pointing out times when you addressed an issue by looking at the information before you and using logic and reasoning to fill in the gaps. Highlight your ability to solve problems, identify patterns, and keep a cool head in the face of difficult problems.

Summary: show what you’ve learned

Resist the temptation to pad your student CV with irrelevant odd jobs or side gigs. Instead, demonstrate these five essential skills with specific examples relevant to your experience. You’ll show potential employers you’ll be an asset to their workplace, even if you don’t have the job experience to prove it (yet). Use a well-designed resume builder to really go the extra mile and make your student CV stand out.

The author Conrad Benz is a digital media & resume expert at Resume Genius, where he helps job seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers. His career expertise has been cited by numerous publications, including Glassdoor, Resume Library and Typsy

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