How to Effectively Highlight Soft Skills on Your CV

92% of recruiters say that soft skills matter more than hard skills when hiring.

According to a LinkedIn report, 92% of recruiters say that soft skills matter more than hard skills when hiring. Unlike hard skills, soft skills cannot be taught in a classroom. Instead, they’re natural abilities that enable you to work well with others and perform your duties effectively. 

This makes them highly valuable to employers in a range of industries. So if you’re applying for a role in marketing and sales, healthcare, education, or any other field that requires you to interact with people as part of your job, use these tips to highlight your soft skills on your CV.

1. Use keywords from the job advert

CV keywords are words and phrases describing the job requirements of specific roles that employers want to fill. They outline the skills and qualifications employers are looking for in candidates. In a job advert, you’ll find them under the key responsibilities or qualifications sections. 

When you browse through job ads, note down any soft skills–related keywords. Some commonly in-demand soft skills include: 

  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability
  • Persuasion
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork

If the job posting states that candidates need ‘good collaboration and teamwork skills’, for example, include the keywords ‘collaboration’ and ‘teamwork’ on your CV. This aligns your application with the job description, positioning you as a qualified candidate. 

Besides making your CV more relevant, CV keywords also ensure your application isn’t filtered out by applicant tracking system (ATS) software. Today, many recruiters and top-tier organisations use ATS software to profile applicants’ skills and automatically reject unqualified applicants. 

2. Highlight your most relevant soft skills in your personal statement

A CV personal statement, also referred to as an opening statement, is a brief summary of your professional background and most relevant skills. It’s your chance to leave a good first impression on employers.

And if you’re looking for your first job after graduation and don’t have many hard skills to list, including your soft skills in your personal statement is a great way to show recruiters that you have other qualities that make you suitable for the position.

The ideal length of an opening statement is three to four sentences. This should be enough for you to:

  • Introduce yourself and your background
  • Highlight your top professional hard and soft skills 
  • State your career goals
  • Explain what you can offer the company

Because a personal statement appears at the top of your CV, it’s the first section that recruiters and employers read. Therefore, highlighting your most relevant soft skills here helps capture and maintain a recruiter’s attention.  

3. Start your bullet points with action verbs

Unlike overused phrases such as ‘tasked with’ or ‘responsible for’, action verbs imply that you’re an employee who takes initiative and gets things done. By using action verbs to start your CV bullet points, you effectively emphasise your professional accolades, skills, and experience.

When listing your achievements, use some of the following soft skills-related action verbs: 

  • Collaborate
  • Conceptualise
  • Facilitate
  • Cooperate
  • Negotiate
  • Delegate
  • Navigate
  • Advocate
  • Correspond
  • Persuade

Including action verbs like these will help make your experience section stand out and set you apart from other similarly qualified applicants.

4. Give examples of how you used your soft skills in the past

Placing your soft skills in context when writing your CV gives employers a better idea of how you can benefit their business. Provide examples of times when you’ve applied your soft skills in a professional setting, and what you achieved by doing so. Quantifying your accomplishments also helps emphasise your soft skills.

For example, if you’re a shipping and logistics employee in a managerial position and have good negotiation skills, don’t just say you’re a shrewd negotiator. Instead, give a scenario where you applied your negotiation skills and quantify the outcome. 

If you negotiated better supply rates for your company after supply chain disruptions eased, you might say:

  • Negotiated better supply rates post-COVID and reduced our purchasing cost by 20% in the first quarter of 2022.

5. Include a separate skills section

The skills section of your CV should summarise your most marketable and relevant soft skills in a quick and easy-to-read format. If you’re using a chronological CV format (the most common CV format that suits most job applicants), you should place your skills section after the work experience section. If you’re not sure where to place the different sections of your CV, there are plenty of downloadable CV examples available online that make the process easy.

Once you’ve ensured your CV is structured correctly, add your most relevant soft skills to your skills section. Recruiters have a limited amount of time to spend on each application, so by focusing on soft skills that will help you perform your job duties, you increase your chances of getting selected for an interview.


Ida Pettersson is a Content Writer who enjoys supporting job seekers as they plan their next career moves. She graduated from New College of Florida with a double major in Philosophy/Chinese Language and Culture. In her spare time, Ida enjoys hiking, reading, and gardening.


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