Skills Checklist

Assessing key skills and getting that CV right

When applying for any opportunity, e.g. job, placement course of further study, it is very important to be able to understand and explain what skills you have and how you could contribute.

This can be a fairly straightforward process and these notes will help you to assess what skills and supporting evidence you have and what skills might be missing or needing improvement.

The day-to-day reality of the workplace or academic world means that we are continually using skills in a very integrated, often simultaneous way.

Even a relatively simple activity like presenting a report at a meeting involves a range of competencies being deployed and synthesised at once.

Therefore, it’s ideal to consider your current skills and competencies.

It's worth doing a few as you get to see a variety of different roles you didn't know existed. It was quite stressful obtaining so many placements but it is possible!

Jeanette Pejnovic, BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile Design

Your skills

Key skills commonly sought by recruiters in the creative, media and design sectors include:

Working with others

  • Teamwork
  • Communication in speech and text
  • Negotiating
  • Networking
  • Presenting information
  • Overcoming objections


  • Being proactive
  • Taking a lead
  • Generating ideas
  • Innovation
  • Analysis
  • Research

Work-ready skills

  • Commercial awareness (understanding business context)
  • Customer/client service
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Understanding business etiquette

Technical skills

  • Use of specific software
  • Use of hardware
  • Creation of a portfolio, website or showreel
  • Working on live projects
  • Relevant work or volunteering experience

Your personal qualities

As well as specific skills or competencies (which are the ability to do certain things) other qualities are important for success in work and further study or perhaps in running your own business. The following list provides some details of the personal qualities that recruiters generally look for:

  • Motivation
  • Tenacity to complete tasks
  • Use of initiatives
  • Dealing with criticism
  • Overcoming weaknesses
  • Bouncing back after disappointment
  • Perseverance (not giving up when faced with difficulties)

Key Skills, qualifications and experience are required by a recruiter to judge your effectiveness and ability to perform in a role. If you are applying for a specific role try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Analyse the objectives, roles, tasks etc. and identify the criteria for a successful candidate. List all the skills, qualifications and experience required and compare it with your current portfolio of skills above.

It would be useful to maintain an ongoing, ‘live’ record of your skills and evidence, perhaps in an e-portfolio. That way, it is easy to make changes, update records and select evidence to suit specific applications.

These notes have provided some background to the idea of identifying key skills looked for by recruiters. The next step is to make a commitment to compete some action points. We’ve supplied some possible action points you can adopt, or you can construct your own.

Some Action Points

  • Keep a record of achievements (unit marks, part time jobs, prizes, internships, club membership and so on)
  • Use activities as a basis for creating an up to date CV and record of skills
  • Critically evaluate, and reflect upon, achievements in order to assess current skills (reflection is a very important intellectual habit, or discipline and will help throughout your professional life)
  • Use this exercise to identify any skills gaps
  • Analyse any opportunities being applied for in terms of the skills and qualities required as this will help the process of identifying relevant evidence to present and help with the adapting of your CV to specific roles
  • Use feedback from applications where possible and use it to modify your CV if necessary
  • Update your records where necessary
  • Always ask for help if needed