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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Coppola

How to Include Core Competencies in a CV

Updated: May 24

Highlighting core competencies in a CV is an excellent method for helping you stand out as a qualified applicant. If you want to improve your resume's effectiveness, you can benefit from featuring core competencies in your job application process.

What are core competencies?

Core competencies are fundamental skills and abilities that are related to the position you are applying for. They can be either hard or soft skills and will vary depending on your industry. Or if you're a graduate trying to update your resume, look at transferrable competencies from previous work experiences.

Typically, you include core competencies under their own heading, choosing which core competencies to have based on the particular job you are interested in. For example, if you are applying to be a dental hygienist, your core competencies list might include medical terminology, patient communication techniques and dental technology. Typical selection criteria includes such knowledge and competencies.

Why should you feature core competencies?

Catching the reader's attention

Featuring core competencies near the top of your resume provides your reader with an eye-catching summary of your relevant skills. Your core competencies should inform hiring managers or potential employers that you possess the proficiency and experience they are looking for. Creating a core competencies section also allows your readers to see your relevant skills in one place instead of having to sift through your entire work history to find the information they need.

Summarising your qualifications

Including core competencies on your tailored CV is an efficient way to provide ample proof that you are qualified for a particular job. You should include items that show both practical expertise and knowledge of the industry.

How can you include core competencies in a resume?

Here are some steps you can follow with incorporating core competencies in your CV:

1. Firstly, make a list of skills

The first step in this process is to make a list of all your professional skills, focusing on the ones that pertain to your chosen industry. The list should include a variety of hard and soft skills that you obtained while in school, gained from working in previous jobs or learned from mentors.

The list should consist of skills that would make you an effective and valuable asset to a professional team.

Everyone has a different list of core competencies, but some common examples include:

  • Strategic planning

  • Customer service

  • Communication

  • Team leadership

  • Project management

  • Risk assessment

  • Attention to detail

2. Secondly, tailor the competencies to suit the job

Once you have created a relatively lengthy list, you then need to tailor it to suit the position you are applying for. This involves choosing 10-12 skills that relate to the duties associated with the job.

To edit your list effectively, you should consult the specific job listing and read the description to see what kind of skills the employer is searching for.

3. Next, choose a layout

Next, you should decide how you want your core competencies to appear within your document. There are several layouts you can use to highlight your skills. You can position your list:

  • Above the summary

  • Above the qualifications section

  • To the side of the qualifications or experience sections

Regardless of which layout you choose, your goal should be to make your core competencies easy to find and appealing to look at. Always use a bulleted list or table that can be easily understood.

4. Finally, add your core competencies to your CV

At this stage, it is important to pay attention to the format and to make sure that all your skills fit on the page without any crowding.


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