Competencies: What Are, List & Examples for Resume

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Competencies – List of Examples & Key Competencies for Resume

Understanding your competencies is a sure way to show evidence of the knowledge and skills that the employer is seeking.

Competencies are those inner abilities and outer skills you have gained from previous experience, education, or training that testimonials and references can verify.

They provide an objective view of how your capabilities meet employers’ needs, such as financial, educational, environmental, learning and training organizations.

In this article, I will speak about core competencies that you must have in your personal and private life to become the best version of yourself. Let’s get started.

What are Competencies? Definition and Meaning

Competency is an ability to carry out the task and knowledge of methods and techniques, transforming inputs into desired results through human activities.

Employers who want to bring about change or achieve operational excellence must work on developing their competencies. It’s important to remember that competency has nothing to do with personality or attitude; technical know-how will help you improve performance.

Competency is an important element in the process of Human Resources Management. It refers to the ability of managers, employees, and other professionals to carry out tasks successfully.

What are Competencies – Definition & Meaning

Competencies are personal skills and knowledge that underpin capability. They provide an objective view of how your qualifications meet the needs of employers such as financial, educational, environmental, learning and training organizations.

Competencies describe what people can do and their demonstrated capacity or performance level in carrying out defined activities or roles: ‘what they do (behavior), ‘how well they do it (capability), and ‘how often they have done this (performance).

Above all else, Competencies define the core areas that each employee must excel at for an organization to be successful.

What are the Most Essential Competencies to Start Learning & Developing?

Learning and developing the essential competencies is very important for you to excel in your current role, be identified for promotion. If you are an ambitious individual, it will help you climb the career ladder at a much faster pace.

Identifying these competencies will also allow you to develop a plan that will hone them over time through formal training and on-the-job experiences.

Developing essential competencies can be an extremely challenging task if you are not sure where to start. For instance, do you know what your most crucial personal and professional competencies are?

As employers seek more skilled individuals to stay ahead of the competition in this fast-paced world, it becomes increasingly important to know what is required to meet their needs.

Employers will ask questions like ‘What can you bring to my organization?’ or ‘How good are you at doing XYZ.’

Competency-based questions require specific skills-based examples that can be used as effective answers even though they may seem difficult to answer at first glance.

20 Most Critical Key Competencies to Develop

  1. Creativity
  2. Communication
  3. Decision making
  4. Negotiation
  5. Creative thinking
  6. Attention to detail
  7. Leadership
  8. Pro-activity
  9. Team working
  10. Customer focus
  11. Commercial awareness
  12. Business acumen
  13. Social responsibility
  14. Adaptability/Flexibility
  15. Learning agility
  16. Impact and influence
  17. Time management
  18. Motivation
  19. Initiative
  20. Resourcefulness

Leadership Competencies & How To Use Them (Examples)

Leadership competencies are the most important personal traits that managers (and would-be managers) need to demonstrate. Using your competencies to develop and encourage employees is a key skill of any leader.

Leadership competencies are a vital part of your professional development and career advancement.

As you work to strengthen your leadership expertise, or when you’re just starting in a management role, knowing what specific qualities distinguish the best leaders can help guide you toward becoming an effective leader yourself.

Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is one of the important leadership skills because it provides the vision and innovation necessary to create new growth opportunities, reduce costs and generate revenue through intelligent strategies.

The ability to think creatively helps leaders understand that there is more than one solution to every problem. Leaders need to be self-aware about their creativity levels and how best to employ them for employees to feel comfortable putting forward their ideas.


A critical component of any leadership role in communicating, listening actively, and speaking assertively.

Leaders who can set goals make plans related to achieving goals, and effectively convey the message and sell the strategy for employees to feel motivated to follow through on tasks assigned will be successful in driving performance improvement.

Developing excellent communication skills helps leaders demonstrate empathy toward others, form bonds with co-workers, and earn respect from peers, all traits contributing to solid relationships within an organization.

Decision making

Making decisions quickly when necessary is a key success factor for leaders making this competency extremely important. Strong decision-makers have a high level of trustworthiness and remain calm under pressure.

They can separate emotion from fact, weigh the pros and cons of a decision carefully and understand the implications on others before making a choice.


Problem-solving is one of the key leadership competencies that leaders need to have. Being able to look at a situation dispassionately and determine what would be the best course of action in response to it identifies great problem solvers.

Leaders must also know how to guide people through their troubleshooting process to feel comfortable suggesting how to solve any issues encountered within an organization.


A good negotiator always seems to get what they want by fostering cooperation with both subordinates and superiors alike while negotiating team goals.


A critical component of any leadership role is communicating, listening actively, and speaking assertively.

Leaders who can set goals make plans related to achieving goals, and effectively convey the message and sell the strategy for employees to feel motivated to follow through on tasks assigned will be successful in driving performance improvement.

Developing excellent communication skills helps leaders demonstrate empathy toward others, form bonds with co-workers, and earn respect from peers, all traits contributing to solid relationships within an organization.


Proactive leaders seek opportunities for growth without waiting for them to present themselves. They need knowledge about what their company does to spot problems or potential solutions when they arise.

Proactive leaders always have a plan for when opportunities arise and can communicate their vision clearly to others. Hence, they understand how specific tasks fit into that broader goal.

Time management

Time management is one of the key skill sets that all leaders need to have. Setting priorities, delegating responsibility, and tracking progress against goals will help you become a better leader with a strong focus on improving office efficiency.

Conflict resolution

Leaders need to know how to resolve conflict effectively, whether between peers or within teams; this allows employees to feel comfortable challenging ideas without fear of retaliation or reprisal.

A leader needs to be approachable, confident, and willing to listen while remaining impartial throughout such disputes. The ability to turn conflict into constructive dialogue will help create a positive work environment.

Crisis management

Managing crises is an important part of any leadership role. Leaders should take control of the situation, make sound decisions, and bring everyone together quickly for a coherent response.

Being cool under pressure while harnessing the knowledge of their staff are vital skills for leaders who are required to get people working together during times of challenge or upheaval.


Delegating effectively allows leaders to focus on what they do best while leveraging the capabilities of others around them.

Identifying tactical tasks that can be handed off, along with personnel capable of taking ownership, ensures goals are met without overtaxing the leader or leaving projects incomplete.

Competencies Formula = Knowledge + Skills + Abilities (How to Develop)


Developing knowledge is about acquiring information or awareness of a subject. Leaders who continually update their knowledge base by reading articles, conducting research, and interacting with mentors will increase their exposure to new ideas and learning opportunities, leading to growing professionally.


Skills are the abilities leaders must develop to accomplish goals. A leader can apply hard skills when completing certain tasks that help them progress toward larger goals.

For example, understanding financial reports is an important skill for many CFOs since it can track key business performance indicators over time.

On the other hand, soft skills are more personal rather than task-oriented, so they involve behaviors that impact relationships inside and outside the workplace. Developing soft skills requires interaction with others and a willingness to learn from mistakes.


Ability is defined as “the capacity of the mind to do things” according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus and as “a special talent or quality” according to, which emphasizes the mental component often associated with leading effectively.

Abilities can help leaders accomplish goals faster since they have developed these skills either independently or by enrolling in programs that allow them to improve how they tackle certain tasks.

For example, a leader who has enrolled in a training program will likely show greater effectiveness when completing a project than a leader who has not.

This is because the ability to lead will allow them to manage time and resources efficiently to meet deadlines or other milestones that align with organizational goals.

Competencies Types

There are various types of competencies that leaders can develop depending on what is needed for success. Let’s have a look at the main ones.

Core competencies

These competencies are essential for leaders to have to work effectively no matter what the environment is.

  • Vision Leadership: visionary leadership is a style of leadership that allows leaders to see potential in employees, projects, and opportunities even when others may not. It requires a desire to bring people together under shared goals and values, which will help them achieve something more significant as a team.
  • Adaptability: A leader who is flexible enough to adapt to future challenges will be able to reap business benefits since they can adjust their approaches or ways of working without incurring significant losses from failed strategies.
  • Relationship Management: developing strong relationships is an important quality for effective leaders since it helps them secure better resources, get buy-in from employees, build trust and foster more productive relationships with customers.

Cross-Functional competencies

These skills are important for leaders since they will help them perform a range of different tasks.

  • Communication: Good communication is an essential skill required for effective leadership, particularly when setting direction, providing feedback, and checking in on the performance. It ensures employees have the information needed to meet expectations and adjust their actions or behaviors accordingly without misinterpreting what the leader has communicated.
  • Collaboration: collaboration involves working productively with others from various backgrounds, whether inside or outside the organization, including collaborating internally across functions by sharing resources, knowledge, and problem-solving ideas or externally among teams at other organizations who provide the necessary support.
  • Decision making: The ability to make decisions will help leaders since it’s about doing the right thing in the face of uncertainty. It also allows them to make timely and effective choices while considering long-term goals and evaluating potential consequences involved when choosing a direction or strategy.

Functional competencies

These skills are important for achieving success within a specific field or area within an organization.

  • Finance: the ability to understand financials, budgeting, risk management, and compliance can be handy for leaders since it provides more insight into how the organization is performing financially. It also allows them to provide better support and contributions to help the company grow.
  • Marketing: as a leader, identifying customer needs and developing appropriate products or services that meet these needs will allow you to contribute by making more intelligent business decisions or managing teams responsible for providing relevant information about new products/services that would attract customers.
  • Operations management: The ability of leaders to manage operations effectively will allow them to ensure that processes are effective and efficient so they can achieve high-quality performance from their employees while delivering positive business outcomes.

What are Competencies in Education

When it comes to education, there are a variety of competitions that one should have. Let’s have a look at the three most important ones:

  • Communication Skills: It is one of the most important skills as a teacher as it will help you connect with your students and help them understand things better.
  • Planning & Organizing: A student can manage his time and effort efficiently if they have great planning and organizing skills.
  • Teaching Skills: A person should have good teaching skills to decode interesting concepts for students to grasp what you are trying to teach them well. You would need these three competencies, whether you are teaching at the school level or college level.

What are Key Competencies to Showcase on Resume?

You will need to showcase various skills on your resume to show that you are a perfect candidate for the job. Some of them are listed below:

  • Good communication skills
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Ability to multi-task and manage several projects at a time
  • Ability to use technology that the job is asking for, such as specific software programs or social media tools
  • Motivation, drive, enthusiasm, and energy towards your work

Frequently Asked Questions About Competencies

What are the five key competencies?

  1. Communication skills
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Ability to work as part of a team
  4. Critical thinking skills
  5. Problem-solving abilities

What are the competencies in a job?

When you apply for a job, there are certain abilities that the company is looking for in the candidate. These skills are commonly called core competencies. They differ depending on where you are applying.

Every role or company will want different aspects, but one or many of these qualities should be involved if you’re going to be successful in your interview.

The best way to prepare for this type of question is by having examples ready where you were able to show this skill off at work.

What is a competency skill?

A core competency skill is a broad set of skills that a company believes its employees should have. The list of core competencies can differ from industry to industry and role to role.

Every job you apply for will have one or many requirements for any job candidate. Hence, it’s important to be prepared with examples showing your particular abilities in this category.

In the interview, the interviewer will ask questions about these qualities, so having your stories lined up will be one of the best ways to sound and seem like a good match for the position.

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