The top five skills that you should perfect in order to get ahead in your career

books, skills to get ahead

By Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library

Our recent research found that nearly three quarters (73.9%) of recruiters believe that candidates should still list basic skills, such as Microsoft Office, on their CV. And while these hard skills are clearly important, recruiters are also acknowledging the importance of soft skills amongst job hunters, and the need to perfect these in order to get ahead.

Below, I explain what these are in more detail, and offer my advice on how you can hone in on these areas in order to nab the best job and get ahead in your career.


The vast majority of roles will require elements on communication. And remember – effective communication must be exerted in all areas – whether that’s over email, on the phone or face-to-face. Being able to communicate well is also beneficial in some of the trickier conversations – for example – asking your boss for a promotion or a pay rise!


Employers always admire a self-starter. And that’s not to say that you have to be able to work solely on your on – but – you do need to be able to drive your own workload on a day-to-day basis. It can be difficult to stay motivated and we all need a pick-me-up now and again but if you’re able to talk yourself into doing a great job, you’re more likely to stand-out as a great achiever in the workplace.

A strong work ethic

Similarly, having a strong work ethic is extremely important! Laziness in the workplace is frowned upon and employees that aren’t pulling their weight will quickly get found out by their boss. Hard work does pay off: even if your employer doesn’t say anything, a good manager will be noticing what a great job you are doing and reporting it back to the wider business.

Team work

And while being a self-starter is important, it’s very rare in today’s working world that you wouldn’t work as part of a wider team. Being able to work with a range of people in order to get a job done (and without any arguments!) is important. Employers will admire your ability to do this, especially if you are seen to be motivating the team to do a great job.

Time management

Punctuality is a must. Someone that is always late, never meets deadlines or fails to turn up to meetings will ultimately be deemed as an untrustworthy individual. It could also suggest that you aren’t interested in making a good impression! Keep on top of it and buy yourself a watch if you don’t have one.

While some employers now place more importance on broader experience and niche skills, it’s important that job hunters really shout about their soft skills, and highlight transferable qualities that they can apply to the role in question. It’s widely-acknowledged that only the best candidates make the cut, so it’s important that you do all that you can to standout to existing or potential employers.

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1 Response
  1. Good Article,
    Ask any hiring manager why most sales people fail and they will invariably chalk it up to weak “soft skills” rather than a lack of the technical qualifications. This is not because the technical abilities are not important. It is simply due to the fact that soft skills are primarily natural to the person whereas the technical abilities can be learned. For decades many companies have used tests to identify the underlying personality traits of sales people. I have noticed more and more over the last couple of years that hiring managers are using our tests to evaluate candidates for many non-sales roles. I believe this is a very healthy development as it will reduce job turnover and increase the likelihood that the new employee will succeed. This is a win-win situation since it does mean that more employees will be satisfied in their roles.