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Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Understand the Differences

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Have you ever seen some companies list ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’ on their job postings? Sometimes, it seems like companies expect nothing less than superheroes for the profile. While candidates are not a mythical creature, it is extremely important for them to know what they should bring to the table and what are the best ways to do so. Hence, it is suggested to examine and highlight both your hard skills and soft skills.

But what is the difference? To provide you with an accurate answer to this question, we have come up with this post. Before we deep dive into the terms, first and foremost, you must understand that the major difference between these two skills is how an individual acquires them and how they apply their hard and soft skills in the workplace.

Now, look at the following to know more about these skills.

What are Hard Skills?

A hard skill is easy to quantify. These skills are something a person generally learns in the classroom settings through textbooks, training materials, or maybe on the job. For instance, if an individual collaborated on a project, they may know well how to use Microsoft (MS) Project. One can easily describe and demonstrate their hard skills. These skills also show that a person is technically capable. The following are some more examples of hard skills:

  • Foreign Language Proficiency
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Understanding of Different Programming Languages such as Java, Python, C++, Ruby, etc.
  • MS Excel and PowerPoint proficiency
  • Data mining
  • SEO Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Website Designing and Development

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are more like interpersonal traits. These skills will help you shape how you will work and interact with other people around you. An individual grows their soft skills over time rather than being taught. Hence, these skills are difficult to quantify. Some people or employers might be more disposed toward certain skills such as great communication (both written and verbal) skills and teamwork than others. Some more effective yet common soft skills have been given below:

  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Dependability
  • Organizational Skills

Essential Steps to Highlight Hard Skills and Soft Skills

An employer typically wants candidates who can fulfil hard skills as well as soft skills requirements. Here is the three-step process of highlighting your hard skills and soft skills to stand out:

  • Step 1: Assess

Take an inventory of your hard skills and soft skills by writing them on a paper or listing them in a spreadsheet.

Related: 7 Emerging Jobs that Need a Bachelor’s Degree

  • Step 2: Organize

After the assessment, categorize your skills as hard or soft and then prioritize them as per your career objectives. For this, look at the descriptions of your preferred job options and see what skills are listed and suit you best.

  • Step 3: Demonstrate

Once you shortlist the jobs you are eligible for or interested in, find out the ways to showcase your skills on the resume and other relevant documents.

Apart from this, you will get plenty of opportunities during your interview process to demonstrate your hard skills and soft skills. Look at the following ways to demonstrate your hard skills and soft skills in your documents to get noticed:

  • Resume: To demonstrate your skills on your resume, it is best to add a section of skills. Focusing more on the technical skills that relate to the job position you are applying to or want to apply is extremely important here. While customizing your resume every time is a tedious task, you can simply modify the skills section for each job.
  • Cover Letter: This document is an excellent opportunity for you to highlight all your skills by adding professional experience and anecdotes to demonstrate how successfully you have applied these skills. For instance, you can mention how you led the process at your previous or current organization by using MS Excel along with communication and leadership skills to achieve the goals.
  • Interview: This can be your chance to demonstrate your soft skills and shine. While showing your communication and listening skills, you can tell them how you have applied the combination of your soft skills and hard skills on different projects. You can also showcase your hard skills during the interview process by discussing your experience and training.

Are Hard Skills or Soft Skills Important?

To succeed in any field, you will need both. For instance, if executive assistance could not use organizational software/application or stay calm under pressure, they would find keeping things on track difficult. No matter which industry or company you are working in, every field requires a nuanced balance between these two skills.

Importance of Hard Skills and Soft Skills

These are essentials skills for certain profiles. You would not land a job of the graphic artist if you do not know how to use the editing software. Even though hard skills and soft skills are equally important, certain profiles such as jobs in the IT field require strong hard skills. If you are applying for any position that values hard skills more than soft skills, make sure you highlight all your hard skills accordingly.

Soft skills, on the other hand, demonstrate your abilities to perform a task or job but they do not indicate how organized as an employee you are or how well you work with others. These will help you define the type of individual you are to work with. There are some positions in the market in which you will need to showcase your effective soft skills to influence others.

Final Words

Lastly, we can only say that you need a perfect balance of both – hard skills and soft skills and they should be aligned as per the requests of your employer. For further queries, give us a call.


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