Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
During the hiring and interview process, employers look for applicants with a solid mix of soft skills and hard skills.
Any applicant who knows the difference and can successfully apply them to a resume will increase their chances of getting hired.
Here’s our guide to these two skillsets.
- The difference between hard skills and soft skills
- Soft skills definition
- Soft skill examples
- Hard skills definition
- Hard skill examples
- How to balance these skills
And while these hard skills are essential, there’s another set of skills top companies look to find in high-quality applicants: soft skills.
What are the Differences Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills
Soft skills refer to personal qualities that define a candidate from a non-technical skills aspect. Hard skills refer to more measurable and specific job-related skills needed to perform a task successfully.
You need both skills in the working world, and a good blend of the two will create more opportunities for you.
Let’s dive into both to better understand them and their differences.
what Are hard skills and soft skills?
What Are Soft Skills? (Definition)
Soft skills are all those universal and non-technical skills that help define someone’s work personality.
They include all the interpersonal abilities that help people thrive in their jobs by getting along with their workmates, clients, and superiors. They relate to the way someone works, their attitude, how they organize their time, etc.
Unlike technical skills, these type of skills aren’t easy to acquire in school.
Soft skills comprise the way a person thinks and behaves, their emotional intelligence, and their character traits. Therefore, they are hard to learn in a traditional classroom scenario and can be hard to change because doing so requires changing a person’s personality.
This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to acquire. People who constantly work on themselves can learn and develop new soft skills to grow personally and professionally.
Soft skills are critical in any job because most jobs require employees to engage with their coworkers and customers. When someone has the right soft skills for the job, it’s easier for them to adapt to different situations and maximize the positive results that a company needs.
Now that you understand what soft skills are let’s delve even deeper and discuss the different types of soft skills, why they matter, and how they can help someone succeed in their job.
Soft Skill Examples
We’ve all heard that phrase that states: “two heads are better than one.” Well, this is absolutely true. Any brand or business needs to have team players that support and complement each other to grow and become the best in their field.
Having teamwork skills allows you to work better and in an organized way with your coworkers. People with teamwork skills help create a comfortable and more productive working environment.
Examples of teamwork related soft skills include:
- Listening skills
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Positive attitude
“On a resume, 61% of employers believe soft skills are just as important as hard skills.”— CareerBuilder
No matter what job you are applying for, communication skills are vital. They’re even considered some of the most important life skills because they pass, receive, and decode information.
Communication goes beyond the use of a voice; it can be written, visual, or non-verbal. Employers look for people who know how to balance and combine these abilities.
Regardless of where you want to work or the position you’re applying for, you’ll need to be in constant communication with your superiors, coworkers, staff, clients, etc.
Nowadays, with all the remote working trends, people need to communicate efficiently through different channels, whether in person, phone, email, social media, or videoconference.
Examples of soft communication skills include:
- Body language
- Presentation skills
- Public speaking
- Listening skills
- Creative forms of expression
You can be the best at any kind of software, but if you don’t know how to manage your time and organize your tasks, you can’t deliver the same superior results that you otherwise could.
Having self-management skills means that you can maximize your productivity. Not just because you’ve planned your day and organized your responsibilities, but also because you can control your thoughts and emotions and, by extension, the way you act and the decisions you make in a work scenario.
Examples of self-management soft skills include:
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Meeting deadlines
- Ability to work under pressure
- Work-life balance
- Managing emotions
Employers want to know that you’ll be able to act quickly in times of crisis. They’re looking for people that can provide creative and efficient solutions rapidly.
These skills include using logic, common sense, and imagination to develop smart solutions for existing problems and prevent them from happening again.
Examples of problem-solving soft skills include:
- Analytical skills
- Identifying problems
- Creative-thinking skills
What Are Hard Skills? (Definition)
Hard skills are all those skills you get trained for in a school, college, vocational training, courses, etc. They’re the reason people enter a specific major because you acquire them throughout a course of study.
Anyone can develop these abilities through education, practice, repetition, trial-and-error, time, and dedication.
In a nutshell, they’re the measurable and specific skills that you need to fulfill your job’s tasks successfully. They include knowing how to use different software, tools, or equipment and applying them to deliver better results.
Unlike with soft skills, you can prove them through certifications, exams, diplomas, degrees, etc.
You need hard skills to be productive and efficient in any job because they focus on practical abilities. For this same reason, they vary immensely from one job to another.
They are the top skills that you need to list and prioritize when you apply for a position. Let’s talk about the different hard skills that a person can have for different job positions.
Hard Skill Examples
In the digital era that we live in, pretty much all office jobs require general computer skills.
Some jobs require more advanced skills for specific purposes while others require only the basics. Make sure that you prioritize the ones that you excel at but don’t leave out the basic skills.
Sometimes these are the ones that make the difference.
There are different types of computer skills. So, for a more organized resume, you should section your computer skills.
Examples of computer-related hard skills include:
- Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
- Google Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drive)
- Graphics (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
- Programming skills (C++, C#, Phyton, Java)
- Database management
- Hardware skills
- Software skills
Unlike computer skills, technical skills are the specific knowledge and expertise that you have in your field. They include the use of specific tools and a deeper understanding of the equipment that you manage.
Examples of hard technical skills include:
- Machine handling
- STEM skills
- Prototype development
- Result analysis
- Workflow development
Writing and Language Skills
These skills are commonly confused with communication skills. Writing and language skills comprise the technical part of communication. They’re essential for jobs in content writing, research, conceptualization, translation, etc.
Moreover, employers look for people with abilities that make them stand out from others. So, even if the job doesn’t require knowledge of a foreign language, you’ll be much more valuable to the company if you add these skills to your resume.
Examples of writing hard skills include:
- Grammar, punctuation, spelling
- Letter writing
- Managing press releases
- Linguistic skills
Administrative and Financial Skills
For many jobs, administrative and financial skills are a must. These are the skills that keep a business running and an office well-organized. They go hand in hand with certain computer skills, but these include specific software and strategies.
Examples of admin related hard skills include:
- Project management
Social media, advertisement, and publicity are vital for any business in this digital era. With all companies advertising their products and services, employers search for people with unique and creative marketing skills to make their business stand out from the competition.
Examples of hard marketing skills include:
- Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads
- SEO / SEM
- Email marketing and automation
- Data visualization and analysis
- Funnel management
- Project and campaign management
- Content development and creation
- Inbound and outbound marketing
- User experience
- Data-driven marketing
Contrary to what many people think, not just anyone can design.
Design is a form of expression and communication that goes beyond making something aesthetic and appealing to the eye. Therefore, these kinds of skills comprise a deep knowledge of current trends, ergonomics, functionality, color, materials, etc., to be able to deliver unique results that communicate with the right audiences.
Examples of design related hard skills include:
- Trend analysis
- Drawing and sketching skills
- Adobe programs
- Layout design
- 3D modeling
- Product design
- Cut and confection
- Print design
- Editorial design
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do You Balance Hard Skills and Soft Skills in Your Resume?
A couple of decades ago, having the hard skills required for a position was more than enough to get you the job.
Nowadays, we live in a wildly competitive world where human relationships, networking, and communication are more critical than ever.
Customers are looking for brands, businesses, and companies that deliver results and experiences that go beyond a product.
For this reason, employers are looking to add people to their teams that possess as many soft skills as they do hard skills. You need to portray yourself as a candidate with hybrid skills. Emphasize how you can maximize your hard skills by using your soft skills.
If you lack a hard skill or you aren’t as good as you could be at a particular software, demonstrate how you can quickly learn it thanks to your soft skills.
How Do You Highlight These Skills?
Look to highlight these skills on your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, and even during an interview to make sure you catch the eye of any potential employer.
- Incorporate these skills into the “Relevant Skills” section of your resume
- The “Experience” section of your LinkedIn profile is also an excellent location to include relevant hard skills
- While cover letters aren’t as significant as they once were, this could be a spot to incorporate your skills
- The job interview itself is the best place to show off any soft skills you have been referencing in the past
Wrapping Up | Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills
There you have it – the difference between hard skills and soft skills, along with what you should be focusing on during the job search (especially your resume).
Remember, highlight the skills that define you as a person and show that you’re the best candidate for the job. Make them known, but don’t sound arrogant and oversell yourself.
List your skills in a way that shows why you’re valuable from both short-term and long-term perspectives. The employer will see your strengths which will help during the candidate selection process.
We hope this helps – good luck in your job search!
Title: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills in a Resume
Category: Resume Resources
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Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile