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Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: List of Best Examples for the Workplace in 2022


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Anyone hoping to land their dream job needs a resume that demonstrates both hard and soft skills. But not just any skills will do; you need to have the ones that potential employers want.

Though hard skills have traditionally been seen as more important, soft skills are what seal the deal in many cases. Employers want candidates with the right balance of knowledge and interpersonal skills.

If you’re crafting your resume and you’re not sure about the difference between hard skills and soft skills, keep reading to learn more.

Watch this Educational Video: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: List of the Best Examples for the Workplace


Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills in the Workplace: An Overview

Let’s start with a high-level overview of hard skills and soft skills, both of which you need to be successful in the workforce. The best way to distinguish them is by remembering that the former is easily measurable while the latter is more subjective.

Hard skills refer to the knowledge needed to be successful in a role. These skills include abilities or talents that an employer or test can measure, and they are typically unique to a particular role. In general, hard skills are:
● Measurable
● Specific
● Can be defined

Soft skills are also vital for job success, but they are more universally applicable to all jobs. They describe your work ethic, personality, and how you relate to others. They are:
● Difficult to measure
● Universal
● Difficult to define

At their core, these skill sets are entirely different, but they complement each other. Nowadays, employers want both, which is why getting your next job offer is not a matter of having one or the other. You must be well-rounded to be competitive (especially when it comes time to negotiate your salary).

Hard Skills Explained

When someone talks about hard skills, they’re referring to skills one gains through education (such as a degree), training, on-the-job experience, and other practical learning situations.
Hard skills are sometimes called technical knowledge.
They are also career-specific. For example, if you want to work as a bartender, you need to know how to mix drinks. If you want to work as a software engineer, knowing how to code is a prerequisite for working, much the same way a marketing manager needs to understand social media strategies.

Hard skills are teachable and easy-to-measure knowledge. The evaluation criteria for them is an easy yes or no. You either have them or you don’t.

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Examples of Hard Skills

It’s easy to identify hard skills, as you can demonstrate them. Some examples include:
● Having a relevant degree or training
● Knowing computer programming languages
● Speaking another language
● Typing proficiency
● Social media management
● Plumbing expertise

Soft Skills Explained

When comparing hard skills vs. soft skills, defining soft skills is a bit more challenging, as they are subjective. They refer to characteristics that describe personality traits, mainly the way you interact with other people--otherwise known as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills.” These people skills are what enable you to get along well with others and thrive in the workplace.

No one teaches you soft skills. Instead, they are the inevitable consequence of life experiences. And unlike hard skills, which are position-specific, soft skills are universal. Traits like being a good collaborator or communicator are desirable for every employee, no matter what their position or experience level.

Soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify. You can show that you speak a foreign language by taking a test. But if an employer is looking for someone with strong problem-solving abilities, how can you show that you possess this trait?

Despite being necessary for a positive and productive workplace, soft skills are also often difficult to develop. For example, how do you teach emotional intelligence? Someone just entering the workforce or changing careers may struggle with people skills. For this reason, some employers may choose a candidate with a stronger set of soft skills instead of hard skills.

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Examples of Soft Skills

Soft skills include things like time management, the ability to work under pressure, and how you interact with others. Some examples include:
● Communication
● Collaboration
● Interpersonal skills (people skills)
● Problem-solving abilities
● Organizational skills
● Work ethic

How to Highlight These Skills on Your Resume

Your resume is the first (and often most critical) opportunity you have to highlight your skills and show a potential employer that you’re the ideal person for the job.

The best way to do so is to include a “Skills” section. It should include information about any abilities relevant to the job, especially if the position requires specific knowledge. Use numbers or percentages where possible. You should also provide proof of your skills throughout your resume’s work experience section.

Though time-consuming, it’s best to tweak your resume for each position you apply to. Use the listing to guide you, as listings have lots of information about the skills the employer is looking for. The “qualifications” or “education” sections are an excellent place to start. Some listings even include a dedicated skills section, so take advantage of this information.

How to Highlight These Skills in a Job Interview
If you make it to the interview phase, you will be able to demonstrate your soft skills and discuss your hard skills.

You can highlight your soft skills in several ways, such as by:
● Being on time (dependability)
● Being attentive and maintaining eye contact (active listening)
● Giving clear answers when asked a question (communication)
● Giving honest answers about your employment history and experience (honesty)

Highlighting your hard skills will look a bit different. Make sure you’re prepared to do so by:
● Correctly answering any technical questions related to the job
● Bringing a portfolio (if asked to do so)
● Successfully taking skills tests (if required)
● Elaborating on your experience using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result)

It’s also a good idea to review the job listing before the interview. Assess your experience and be ready to talk about a few hard skills you have that directly relate to the position. Additionally, if any specific soft skills are listed, you should be able to provide examples of how you fit.


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