Have you got the key skills graduate employers look for?

You’ll need to give examples of these essential competencies in your job applications and interviews to impress recruiters and get hired.

Employers place a lot of emphasis on finding candidates with the right skills and competencies for their organizations.

Depending on the career sector and profession you choose to work in, there could be very specific skills, abilities and knowledge needed to do the job.

However, complementing these are general competencies and behaviours that are essential for successful working.

These are the key employability skills – the core skills that will make you effective at work, whatever job you do.

They are sometimes known as transferable skills because you develop them over time and take them with you as your career develops; think of them as your passport to career success.

You’ll need to draw on your work experience to give evidence of these skills.

So without much ado, we have curated the 10 Best CV skills that every Nigerian employer likes in no particular order.

Quick snippet:

  1. Commercial Awareness (or business acumen)
  2. Good Communication
  3. Teamwork
  4. Negotiation and Persuasion
  5. Problem-solving
  6. Leadership
  7. Organization
  8. Perseverance and Motivation
  9. Interpersonal skills
  10. Technical skills

10 Best CV Skills that Every Nigerian Employer Likes

Best CV Skills #1: Commercial Awareness (or business acumen)

best cv skills

This is about knowing how a business or industry works and what makes a company tick.

Showing that you have an understanding of what the organization wants to achieve through its products and services, and how it competes in its marketplace.

Commercial awareness is prized by graduate recruiters across all industries and in the private and public sectors alike.

It is not so much a skill as a way of thinking and may be described on a graduate job advert in various ways, including:

  • commercial thinking or commercial understanding
  • having a commercial attitude
  • having big-picture focus
  • being business-minded.

Best CV Skills #2: Good Communication

best cv skills

This covers verbal and written communication, and listening. It’s about being clear, concise and focused; being able to tailor your message for the audience and listening to the views of others.

Employers look for applicants with superior written and verbal communication skills for almost every job they hire for.

What’s the best way to show them you have what they need?

Your cover letter will often be the first place an employer will review your writing abilities.

In addition to demonstrating your grammar skills, you will also be showing how you can compose a letter that is to the point and, hopefully, interesting to read.

Examples of communication skills include:

  • Written communication
  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Empathetic communication
  • Picking the right medium

Best CV Skills #3: Teamwork

best cv skills

You’ll need to prove that you’re a team player but also have the ability to manage and delegate to others and take on responsibility.

It’s about building positive working relationships that help everyone to achieve goals and business objectives.

Employers expect employees to be team players.

Teamwork is required for almost every industry, ranging from business services to information technology to food services.

Regardless of your role, you need to be able to work well with others – and also convey that fact to hiring managers, recruiters, and prospective employers.

Scan any job listing, and you’ll see that even ads that seek “self-starters” also inevitably drop the phrase “team player.”

So since being a team player is an important skill, here are the top team building and playing skills you need to have.

  • Communication
  • Conflict management
  • Listening
  • Reliability
  • Empathy and respectfulness
  • Inclusiveness
  • Decision making

Best CV Skills #4: Negotiation and Persuasion

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What are negotiation skills, and why are they important to employers?

Negotiation within a work context is defined as the process of forging an agreement between two or more parties that is mutually acceptable.

This is about being able to set out what you want to achieve and how, but also being able to understand where the other person is coming from so that you can both get what you want or need and feel positive about it.

There are many different jobs where negotiation skills are valued including sales, management, marketing, customer service, real estate, and law.

However, in general, being able to negotiate a solution is a predictor of workplace success.

When you describe examples of how you’ve effectively used negotiation skills in the past, explain how you adhered to the four common steps in workplace negotiation by answering the following questions:

Planning and preparation: How have you gathered data to build your case for a successful negotiation? How did you define your objectives and those of other involved parties?

Opening discussion: How did you build rapport and establish a positive tone for a negotiation?

Bargaining phase: How did you present your argument and respond to objections or requests for concessions?

Closing phase: How did you and the other parties seal your agreement? Which of your objectives did you achieve? What concessions did you make?

Best CV Skills #5: Problem-solving

best cv skillsIn nearly every career sector, problem-solving is one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants.

It is hard to find a blue collar, administrative, managerial, or professional position that doesn’t require problem-solving skills of some kind.

You need to display an ability to take a logical and analytical approach to solving problems and resolving issues.

It’s also good to show that you can approach problems from different angles. Your problem-solving skills should be on display in your cover letter, resume, and application materials.

When invited for an interview and asked how you can solve a problem, you should use these steps to problem-solving in answering the question.

Best CV Skills #6: Leadership

best cv skills

When companies hire for leadership roles, they seek employees who can successfully interact with employees, colleagues, clients and others.

Even if you’re not applying for management jobs, leadership is a valuable skill to bring to the employer.

You may not be a manager straight away, but graduates need to show potential to motivate teams and other colleagues that may work for them.

It’s about assigning and delegating tasks well, setting deadlines and leading by good example.

You should be able to demonstrate these top leadership skills for the corporate setting.

Read more about leadership skills

Best CV Skills #7: Organization

best cv skills

Organizational skills are some of the most important and transferable job skills an employee can acquire.

They encompass a set of capabilities that help a person to plan, prioritize, and achieve his or her goals.

The ability to keep work organized allows workers to focus on different projects without getting disoriented or lost, thereby increasing productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Managers look for employees who can not only keep their work and their desk organized as well as using online tools for business productivity, but also adjust quickly to the organized structure of a company.

Read more about time management

Best CV Skills #8: Perseverance and Motivation

best cv skills

If you are successful at motivating others, then this is an important skill that you want to point out to potential employers.

So what are motivation skills?

Motivational skills can be defined as actions or strategies that elicit a desired behavior or response by a stakeholder. These strategies and actions vary based on three major factors:

  • The motivator’s style
  • The target audience
  • The personality of the person the motivator seeks to influence

Employers want people to have a bit of get-up-and-go.

Working life presents many challenges and you need to show employers that you’re the kind of person who will find a way through, even when the going gets tough… and stay cheerful-ish.

Best CV Skills #9: Interpersonal Skills

best cv skills

Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact and engage with others.

I just heard about someone who was hired because of his ability to connect with people.

That trumped the other skills the employer was seeking, so be sure yours are up to par.

Your interpersonal skills will be evaluated during job interviews, so be sure you prepare for the interview.

For instance, when you walk into a room full of people, what’s the first thing that you do?

Do you exchange pleasantries?

Are you polite?

Are you friendly?

Do you get along with people easily?

These are some of the many areas that concern interpersonal skills. Your interpersonal skills should be able to charm people and even the job to you.

This will make sure you are as comfortable and confident as possible when interviewing.

Check out these top interpersonal skills that you need to demonstrate to land your dream job.

Best CV Skills #10: Technical skills

best cv skills

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates who can jump right in on the first day of work and start helping the company achieve its goals.

That means finding people with the right technical skills to get the job done.

Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks.

They are practical, and often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks.

Some examples include knowledge of programming languages, mechanical equipment, or tools.

The technical skills you need will vary, of course, depending on the job. However, most positions require at least some technical skills to get started with.

Now, here’s a pretty long list of examples of technical skills in the workplace:

  • MS Office. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Access, OneNote.
  • Email. Filters, folders, mail merge, rules.
  • Google Drive. Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides.
  • Writing. WordPress, SEO, Yoast, journalism, technical writing, ghostwriting.
  • Spreadsheets. Excel, Google Sheets, OpenOffice, comparative analyses, pivot tables, macros, link to database, vertical lookups.
  • Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, posts, giveaways, customer interaction.
  • Phone skills. Voicemail, forwarding, hold, recording.
  • Productivity. Trello, Slack, Asana, Todoist, Zapier, Basecamp.
  • Quickbooks. Invoicing, expense tracking, accounts payable, reports, payroll, employee time tracking, cash flow management.
  • Graphical. Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Free Hand, Corel Draw.
  • Web. HTML, CSS, Javascript, WordPress, Content Management Systems (CMS).
  • Enterprise Systems. Payment Processing, Automated Billing Systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRMs like Oracle Netsuite or Salesforce), Business Continuity Planning, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs like SAP, Oracle).
  • Math. Basic math, arithmetic, statistics, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, calculus.
  • Research. Source checking, intellectual property rights, networking, outreach, advanced Google search.
  • Computer Skills. MS Office, Google Drive, spreadsheets, email, PowerPoint, databases, social media, web, enterprise systems.
  • Programming Skills. C#, SQL, Java, C++, HTML, JavaScript, XML, C, Perl, Python, PHP, Objective-C, AJAX, ASP.NET, Ruby.
  • Troubleshooting. Assessment, system knowledge, analytical skills, testing, calm mindset, problem-solving, logic, collaboration, communication.
  • Planning. Analysis, brainstorming, decision-making, forecasting, logistics, problem-solving, cost-assessment, requirements-gathering.
  • Project Management. Task management, prioritization, delegation, task separation, scheduling, risk management, Scrum.
  • Video Creation. Shooting, framing, writing, editing, compressing, uploading, creating engagement.
  • Presenting. Public speaking, PowerPoint, Keynote.

How to Describe your Skills on your CV

Here are three tips to help you write your CV in a way that showcases your skills.

  • Provide a resume that uses the words employers are looking for to get their attention
  • Send a cover letter with your resume that clearly demonstrates you understand the skills needed for the job and provide examples of where you have used these skills
  • Make sure your references will say good, appropriate things about you on inquiry
  • Volunteer and have your supervisor provide a reference
  • Have great letter of reference from a previous employer to give to prospective employers
  • Have good communication skills, on your resume, on the telephone and in the job interview
  • Have examples and stories to tell in the interview of how you learned something or how you solved a problem at a previous position


To be sure you are showing your top skills during your job search, make a list of the skills and qualities that best reflect your background. Incorporate them into your resume and cover letters.

Also think of examples of how you have applied these skills to achieve success on the job, in the classroom or in volunteer work.

Share these examples with your interviewers so they know exactly how much of an asset you will be when you’re hired.

If you need help pimping your CV to fit these skills, then you have two options:

  1. Download these FREE and editable CV templates here
  2. Click here to contact us for a personalized and winning CV service that has a 90% chance of landing your dream job.

Did we leave out any major skill that employers like? Share them in the comment section.