The importance of hard skills and soft skills is not a new conversation. However, now we’re finally seeing hard and soft skills as two sides of the same coin. Let's dive deeper into this discussion.
Are you looking for a new job? If so, have you ever wondered what the difference between hard skills and soft skills are? Soft skills are often seen as being less important in most industries like Tech, Engineering etc. However, this might not be the case with your desired profession. It's no secret that we're living in a world where jobs are scarce and competition is heavy. It's not enough just to be an expert at your craft; you also need to be able to communicate effectively, inspire others, and sell yourselves. So, if you want to increase your chances of getting hired then it is important to know the difference between hard and soft skills.
While it is true that despite the difference, both kinds of skills are somewhat equally important in their own unique way, it is also essential that you know how to identify these skills within yourself and most of all, how to showcase them on your resume in the best way possible. Given the rapid pace of change, skills that were important a few years ago may not be as valuable anymore. Thus, we shall also look into some of the most highly sought-after as well as some examples of hard skills and soft skills. As a job seeker or applicant, it is worth knowing how a hiring manager or employer is going to evaluate skills in your resume, so keep reading to find out some unique ways in which an employer might evaluate or test your skills during the whole hiring process.
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Hard skills are usually learnt from education, experience or on-the-job training. Hard skills are either theoretical, abstract or technical in nature. Hard skills are the skills of specific knowledge and ability that enable a person to do a particular job. In other words, hard skills are something you can do, with a tool or your hands. They are the concrete foundation on which someone can build an idea into a company. The term 'hard skills' is most often used to refer to technical and vocational job-related skills and as a general term to describe abilities that can be acquired though hard work and training.
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There is no doubt that hard skills play a very important role in the whole hiring process and form the main reason why you might be selected for a job. While it is true that soft skills become an eventual deciding factor in getting selected, hard skills are the entire reason why an employer would consider you for the job in the first place. For instance, if someone is applying for the role of a graphic designer, it will not matter much if they are the most amicable and collaborative person at work if they do not have the required knowledge and experience with photo and video editing softwares.
Furthermore, the more hard skills a person has on their resume, both in terms of quantity and experience, the more chances they have of being considered by an employer even if they do not showcase a lot of soft skills because according to the hard skills definition itself, these are specific skills that make you competent for a job.
Hard skills are included in a resume pretty much the same way as soft skills, that is, they are not just written in the form of a simple hard skills list, but should be showcased in a bit more detail. Here are some ways in which you can include your hard skills on your resume as well as some hard skills examples for resume:
The first step to including hard skills to your resume is identifying which ones you need to add. This may be an easy task since the number of hard skills a person has tends to be less than the number of soft skills they may have. However, you do need to figure out which ones the company explicitly asks for in the job description and make sure to highlight them the best in your resume. You can also add certain general or non-specific hard skills such as proficiency in certain languages if, for example, you are applying for a job that requires you to relocate to another country so the language skills may become an added benefit for the employer.
Including your skills to the Work Experience or Employment History section of the resume can be done by detailing your achievements and experience using those hard skills at work. This will let the employer know that you do not just have the required hard skills but are also good at them. Use statements like in the following hard skills for resume examples that showcase your competence and achievements with the help of useful facts and figures:
Since the Summary section of the resume is probably going to be the first thing a hiring manager looks at, it is a great idea to add your most prominent skills there. Be sure to add the most relevant skills to the job in both the Work Experience and Summary section to get through the ATSs.
The Skills section is yet another place to add your hard skills. They do not need details or any description in this section and can simply be added in the form of a list.
Soft skills are important for every job and career. Soft skills are the personal attributes and capabilities, which complement and enhance your technical skills and education. They are also some of the most essential skills to have if you want to advance your career.
Soft skills are skills that require the person carrying out the task to have interpersonal or communication abilities. This can range from the ability to interact with others effectively and the ability to communicate well. These are the intangibles that employers will determine if you have what it takes to succeed in a job. These skills can be developed through life experiences and formal training. For example, an individual may learn the fundamentals of customer service from one job and then use this knowledge to build a career in another field, other soft skills that are transferable across jobs include: problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and judgment.
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While certain hard skills are absolutely required to perform a job, soft skills ensure that you have the ability to do the job well. After all, you can have all the technical skills necessary for a position but if you cannot communicate or collaborate with your coworkers efficiently, then you might not be considered good at your job regardless of the amount of hard skills you have. Here are some more reasons why soft skills are important:
Now that you know what soft skills are and why they are so important, you would be wondering how to actually include your soft skills on resume. They cannot be inserted as a simple list but there are other methods of inserting them in a resume in a way that is sure to increase your chances of getting the job! So here are some points to keep in mind while trying to add your soft skills to your resume in the best manner possible as well as some soft skills examples:
The very first step to adding soft skills for resume is identifying which ones out of the many you need to add. This is done by looking at the job description or job offer posted by the employer, where they may appear as straightforward as “excellent management skills needed”. These become keywords for you to add to your resume as it is always recommended to include words directly from the job description because of applicant tracking systems (ATSs).
After figuring out which soft skills are needed for the position from the job description, list out all the soft skills you have apart from those. Remember to only consider those soft skills that you are good at and can back up with a good example or experience from your past. Next, think about all the soft skills you think would be useful for the position but aren’t mentioned in the job description. For example, if the position you are applying for is that of a sales representative, then soft skills such as problem-solving or conflict resolution skills might not be mentioned in the description but are definitely important for the role and the employer may select you based on these skills. Find common soft skills from both the lists and select them to include in your resume.
Soft skills can be included in a resume in a few ways. One of those ways is including them in the Work Experience or Employment History section. It is preferred to display some of your soft skills in this section as it will allow you to add some credibility and quantify your skills by giving the employer an example of how you have used them in your past. Following are some soft skills resume examples that are included in the Work Experience section:
Notice how each point starts with a verb that denotes a skill, here the soft skill - leadership, and is followed by an achievement with facts or figures.
Including soft skills to the Skills section of your resume is another way of adding those skills that you were not able to include in the Work Experience section but are still relevant to the job. Here, you can simply list out your skills using bullet points. However, the Skills section is normally used to show any technical skills that you have but it can also be used to show both soft and hard skills. Thus, it is recommended that you include those soft skills that do not require further explanations such as public speaking skills, time management skills, negotiation skills, etc.
Including your soft skills in the Summary section of the resume is also an excellent idea as it will probably be the first thing an employer will look at in your resume. Be sure to only include skills relevant to the job or position you are pursuing. For example, soft skills for project managers would be leadership, communication, conflict resolution, etc.
Soft skills determine how well an individual will work with others, it is a summation of all individual skills that make up interpersonal traits, whereas hard skills are technical in nature, and are specific to a job in hand. Hard skills are trained and taught techniques, while soft skills are general relationship competencies.
Hard skills are defined and measurable, whereas soft skills are not. On the other hard skills are not transferable between roles and jobs. A marine engineering can’t use the same principles as an SEO job. On the contrary, soft skills are transferable between roles and jobs.
Soft and hard skills are like Rum and Coke. Hard skills being the rum, the essential ingredient, while soft skills the coke, which elevates the taste. In today’s workforce, it is important to not only focus on your hard skills — such as your job duties, knowledge, and education — but also on your soft skills, which include communication, organization, and time management to name a few.
Including these under a separate skills section, on your resume can make all the difference in getting a job. Often, as an applicant, you will have to decide between skills that fall into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. The skills must be specific to the job. It must also increase your chance of conversion based on what is mentioned in the job description. When listing what exactly make up a hard or soft skill on your resume, be sure to include examples that showcase how you demonstrate these particular skill sets.
If the job is technical, it is important to brush up all the fundamentals of that skill and be able to communicate with the specific jargon. If the job is managerial in nature, you’ll have to demonstrate leadership, storytelling, organisation and teamwork capabilities from your experience.
Soft skills (Adjective +Skill)
E.g. Demonstrated Decisive leadership, etc.
Diligent, reliable, decisive, productive, passionate, active, keen, enthusiastic, energetic, persistent, imaginative, innovative, novel, amiable, articulate, genuine
Hard skills (Verb+Experience)
E.g. Developed a new statistical model, etc
Adapted, Computed, Determined, Maintained, Rectified, Restored, Applied, Conserved Developed, Operated, Re-designed, Solved, Assembled, Constructed, Engineered, Overhauled, Re-engineered, Specialized
Now that we have talked about what is a soft skill and hard skill, technical skill vs. soft skill, why each of those is important in their own way, and how to include them in your resume, let us talk about the skills themselves. Here are some of the most important soft skills and hard skills that are also in a lot of demand these days:
Communication skills refer to the ability of a person to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings clearly, as well as how well they listen and are able to understand others. These skills are regarded as highly valuable as effective communication in the workplace leads to smooth workflow and overall better productivity and performance. Listed below is the list of skills and abilities that are included under the communication soft skill:
Problem-solving skills are those skills that enable a person to correctly identify a problem, think about all the possible solutions, choose the best alternative, and effectively implement it. These are one of the most important soft skills of leadership and since every job involves some kind of problems or obstacles, they are used in every job across all industries. Some other skills associated with problem-solving skills are listed below:
Leadership skills refer to being able to train, mentor, or influence others. These skills are always desired in a candidate as people who display leadership skills are more likely to take initiative, solve problems creatively, and be overall great employees. Employees with the leadership soft skill are also frequently considered for promotions. Leadership skills involve the following skills and abilities:
Since creativity is the ability to think out-of-the-box and come up with unique solutions, creative thinking skills are highly valued in all fields as they will enable a person to solve problems more efficiently, saving more money and time for the company. Here are some other skills related to creative thinking skills:
Adaptability skills refer to the skill or talent of being able to quickly adapt to changing conditions or environment. Since the business environment, both internal and external, is quite dynamic, employees need to be flexible in order to remain efficient no matter the circumstances. Given below are some skills and abilities related to adaptability skills:
Did you know that more than 94% of organizations with more than one thousand employees have moved their workloads to the cloud? This is a clear sign that cloud computing and cloud management skills are in high demand. These include Linux, multi-cloud deployment, cloud security, Microsoft Azure, AWS etc.
Microsoft Suite or Microsoft Office is one of the most popular and common technical skills as it is used in almost all kinds of jobs. You can easily get certification or enroll in courses to improve your Microsoft Suite skills, which could also be of great use when trying to include your technical skills in your resume. Microsoft Office includes MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Outlook, MS Access, etc.
While everyone in the creative industry is expected to know their way around editing softwares such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro, many other fields such as marketing are starting to require basic knowledge of these softwares as well, which makes photo and video editing softwares one of the most highly sought-after technical skills.
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), 22 million new jobs are expected to be created for project managers in project-oriented sectors by 2027. Thus, employees possessing hard skills related to project management are also expected to be in high demand. These include project management softwares such as Monday.com, Microsoft Teams, Trello, Zoho, etc. as well as various project scheduling tools and project budgeting.
Soft skills, defined as attributes or capabilities that enhance someone’s hard skills, are undoubtedly very difficult to measure and thus, evaluate. While candidates include soft skills in their resumes, hiring managers or recruiters have little reason to believe them based only on their resumes as the candidate might have purposely added only those skills that are required for the job, not because they actually have those skills. Therefore, hiring managers have come up with other ways to evaluate a candidate’s soft skills during the hiring process. Some of them have been mentioned below:
Hard skills are obviously just as, if not more, important than soft skills. It is relatively easy to evaluate candidates based on their hard skills but there are a lot of factors to be considered. An important one, especially in the IT industry, is the obsolescence of hard skills due to a very dynamic technological environment, that is, skills considered to be highly valuable 5 years ago are considered as “basic knowledge”. Here are some of the ways a hiring manager or
employer may evaluate a candidate’s hard skills:
The list of all soft skills is limited but long, and each job requires a specific set of those skills in order to be successful, which can be difficult to figure out. So let’s look at the soft skills required for some specific jobs:
Hard skills are specific skills that are learnt or acquired through education or experience, while soft skills are personal attributes and capabilities that can enhance hard skills. This is the basic point of difference among many others between the two types of skills but both of them are considered equally important in most jobs. Hard skills make you competent for the job and ensure that you will be able to do your work correctly, whereas soft skills are bound to make the whole process of work smoother and enhance your hard skills further.
You can briefly mention your skills in the Skills and Summary sections of the resume but it is recommended that you give a more detailed version, citing examples from the past, while including your skills in the Work Experience section. Employers are likely to evaluate or judge you based on your resume but since some skills are usually difficult to evaluate just by looking at the resume, they might also ask for a test, exercise, or a trial run to get a better idea of how a candidate is suited for the job.
It is important to know which skills you want to highlight and be noticed for when looking for jobs. Soft skills are necessary but you should also make sure to work on your hard skills, so that you stand out in the job market. To make sure you are well-rounded, it is important to not only to focus on hard skills, but also on soft skills. Strive to acquire the skills that are relevant to your industry, but also develop transferable skills that can help you in any career or industry that you are interested in.
Knowing exactly how to include your soft skills and hard skills in your resume is essential as it is on the basis of the resume and its contents that an employer will select you for a job. There are also a few soft skills such as communication skills, adaptability, problem-solving skills, leadership skills, and creative thinking that are considered to be most important as these can be used in any kind of job and industry. Similarly, some general hard skills such as basic knowledge of programming, computer skills, language skills, etc. are also considered essential. However, it is always preferred that a candidate has the specific set of skills which are most necessary and relevant to the job they are applying for.
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Soft skills are often called "people skills" or "emotional intelligence." They include personal qualities that are not typically learned in the classroom, but are just as valuable for career success. Examples of soft skills include leadership, interpersonal or communication skills, judgment. Hard skills on the other hand are specific skills, for example, programming. These are craft based skills that you can acquire via a course, textbook, etc.
The short answer is: It depends on the industry! Soft skills are important in any field, but when it comes to programming, engineering, design and development, hard skills are more important than soft skills. But, in general, it's a good idea to have a balance of both.
Leadership is a soft skill. Developing leadership skills is challenging, requires hours of effort, delegation, etc. Leadership can’t be learnt by reading a book, but some fields require technical leadership to succeed.
Multitasking can’t be put into one box with certainty. It is again field-specific and requires further scrutiny before one enters it as a soft or hard skill on their resume.
Empathy is certainly a soft skill. It is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice. It's also a skill that will differentiate you from others in any field you might choose to pursue.
The soft skills that go on your resume should be both relevant to the job you are applying for and be consistent with your personal attributes and capabilities. To find out which soft skills you should put on your resume, look at the job description posted by the employer and prepare a list of all the soft skills mentioned as required in the description. Next, compile a list of soft skills that you believe you have but remember that you should only include those which you can back up with examples from your past experience. Find out all the common soft skills from the two lists and select those to include in your resume.
A resume should generally consist of at least 3-10 skills in total. Out of these, some can be hard skills and some can be soft skills. Make sure to only add genuine skills that are relevant to the job. If you want to include more than 10 skills in your resume, showcase out of them those skills that you feel are your strongest.
Similar to soft skills, you can prepare a list of the hard skills required for the job (usually given in the job description) and a list of skills you are good at, compare the two lists and find out common skills. It is worth keeping in mind that you should only add those skills that you can back up with examples from past experience.
Hard skills are a lot easier to develop than soft skills as there are a few different ways to do so. You can enroll in online or offline courses to develop or improve a hard skill. Certifications of these courses can also be included in your resume and serve as evidence for the employer. Many hard skills such as language skills or computer skills can also be improved by consistent practice.
There are some hard skills that are more in demand nowadays than other skills in many kinds of industries. These include general computer skills such as Google or Microsoft Suite, project management skills such as Scrum, Zoho, Trello, etc., digital marketing skills such as SEO, SEM, email marketing, etc., and design skills such as Adobe Creative Suite.
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