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Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

hard skills vs soft skills

When you are applying to new positions, a combination of your hard and soft skills will often determine whether or not you make it to the interviewing process.

Therefore, knowing how to present your hard and soft skills correctly, in line with the job requirements, can make or break your chances. Before you type out a list of 50 odd skills that may have no relevance to your desired position, you should learn the differences between them and the best way to best present them.

So, let’s take a look at the difference between Hard Skills vs Soft Skills so that you get that job!

hard skills vs soft skills

What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are the skills you are taught throughout your life, education, and work experience. This is the literal “know-how” on performing a task pertaining to your job. For a plumber, this is knowing how to fix pipes, for an electrician, how to wire a home, or for a software developer, how to code.

When you present these skills, you have to ensure that you name everything you can relevant to your position. Never “assume” that they will know that you have a certain skill. Some skills are new as we are constantly advancing in terms of technology.

Read more: What are Soft Skills?

Always keep it concise…

Your uncle may have 30 years of experience in marketing but have no clue how to do a paid Facebook advert. But you might, even though you only just graduated. If you don’t list it, the potential employer might just assume that you just can’t do it.

Of course, you can’t list an undetermined amount of skills; it will take forever to read through it all. You can, however, use encompassing phrases that the employer can ask more about later.

hard skills vs soft skill

Resume Example

For example, we know that the Microsoft Office package has many applications, and you likely won’t be able to use all of them. Listing them individually may also just be overkill.

So instead, you can group them as follows:

  • Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook.

The same can be applied to other parts of your skillsets, grouping them together:

  • Social media management: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – Copywriting, Graphic design; Account Management, paid ads, monthly growth analysis, etc.

Include your level of proficiency…

You will have to mention the different aspects, as some may be able to do Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter. They can manage an account but will need someone to create ad designs and copy for them, or they can track the growth but have no idea how to set up a target audience to reach the most relevant customers.

For each profession, there will be some skills that you may “sort of” know how to do, or you are rusty and have not practiced them in a while. Listing them without disclosing your level of proficiency may come back to bite you in the rear – so be sure to sharpen up those skills if they are needed for the job before you start.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are more like skills that form part of your social and emotional development. Being able to communicate clearly, listen to others, and be a natural team leader counts as soft skills. These can basically be seen as personality traits.

However, not all of these skills will always be valued. For example, being too chatty when you are an operating theatre nurse will be a hindrance to surgeons. Or taking charge of every situation may offend some managers.

the hard skills vs the soft skill

Resume Example

In this regard, you may have to “repackage” your “enthusiasm” by using more appropriate descriptors. If you are applying for an internship or an entry-level job, your instinct will be to mention things such as:

  • Extrovert with strong leadership skills.

But you should rather say:

  • Ambitious team player with an eagerness to learn.

Highlight Your Skills In Your Interview!

Congratulations on the job interview! Now comes the tricky part, highlighting your unique skills in your interview answers…

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our great finds such as the Knock ’em Dead Job Interview: How to Turn Job Interviews Into Job Offers, the High-Impact Interview Questions, or how about The Key to Landing A Job – The Interview and the insightful 60 Seconds and You’re Hired! to begin with.

In addition, we recommend reading How to Answer Interview Questions and my top choice, INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job, or the excellent Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview.

The end of the interview means it’s your turn to ask the questions; we found Ask Me This Instead: Flip the Interview to Land Your Dream Job very informative, as well as Master The Interviewing Process: Questions To Ask The Interviewer, and The Key to Landing A Job – Interview Secrets Employers and Headhunters Don’t Want You to Know all available online in 2023.

Final Thoughts

It is always best to create your resume specifically for every job application. Your best bet is to read the job requirements and descriptions before you send it, and focus on featuring the most desirable skills on your resume.

You may be qualified to be both a plumber and a home inspector, for example, and they may have significant overlap. However, they will have unique skillsets that you will need to highlight, as one job may need physical stamina and endurance, and the other requires a lot more paperwork.

All the very best with your next job application, and don’t forget to highlight your best hard and soft skills!

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