Companies, when putting out job postings, will usually list out key skills that are essential to the position being advertised and applicants are expected to possess these skills if they want to stand a chance of getting hired.
These could either be hard or soft skills and oftentimes a combination of both. Knowing what these skills are and how to use them in your resume will help you stand out from among the seas of applicants competing with you for the same job.
In today's article, we'll be looking at definitions and examples of hard skills and soft skills, their differences and how to use them in your CV to help you secure that dream job.
Hard skills are also referred to as technical skills because they have to do with the training and knowledge that you have acquired either through your education or career.
For example, if you've worked as a teacher you must have learned how to prepare lesson notes and course outlines because it's a required skill every school teacher should possess. Also if you studied computer science, it is expected that you have coding skills.
For you to work in a particular industry, you need to have the right kind of technical skills that apply to that industry if you want to pass the interview and examination stage of the recruitment process and eventually get hired.
Some other examples of hard skills include:
Soft skills refer to your habits and character, how it affects your work and how you interact with others at work.
Soft skills are as important as hard skills for a successful career. While hard skills enable you to perform technical tasks and duties of a job, soft skills are necessary to create a functional and positive work environment.
We know that a positive work environment leads to more efficiency and productivity. This is why employers are constantly on the lookout for individuals with the right mix of hard and soft skills that are beneficial to the company's growth.
Effective communication, active listening, teamwork, and dependability are some key soft skills that most employers are after. A recent LinkedIn study shows that many employers would even prefer to pick a candidate with a stronger set of soft skills over hard skills because soft skills are difficult and take more time to develop.
However, even though adding soft skills to your resume can be huge leverage, not all soft skills are relevant for every role. Some soft skills are essential in certain roles and less important in others. For example, networking and negotiation skills are essential for marketing and sales roles but not relevant in medical-related careers.
Some other examples of soft skills include:
There are three ways we can examine the differences between hard skills and soft skills. They are:
People can acquire hard skills through formal training or education and on-the-job practice. While soft skills are developed through various personal and work experiences gathered over a long period of one's life. For example, HR managers can learn business management and administrative skills by attending a business school but may develop their leadership and collaboration skills from years of experience working with a volunteer group.
The second difference between hard skills and soft skills is how they are measured. When it comes to attaching these skills to your resume or mentioning them in interviews, hard skills can easily be described and measured using simple numerical or Yes/No criteria. Soft skills on the other hand are hard to quantify because they're intangible. They can only be described using qualitative terms.
Here's an example of possible hard skills and soft skills of a web developer in a typical resume
Thirdly, hard skills and soft skills differ in how they are evaluated. You can evaluate and assess hard skills through the applicants' portfolio, résumé, role-specific interview questions and job-related assignments. Soft skills on the other hand are evaluated by using soft skills questions and tests, asking behavioural and situational interview questions, and taking into account a candidate's overall character and personality that is showcased during the hiring process.
Read more: How to write a professional CV. A Guide for 2022
1 . Technical Skills
Technical skills are the ability of an individual to use different types of specialised software and equipment. They are typically required in science, IT and engineering fields.
Some examples are:
2 . Analytical Skills
Analytical skills have to do with gathering, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. Every job deals with some amount of data. If you can prove to the recruiter that you're fairly decent at data analysis, you'll score yourself some extra points.
Some analytical skills you can put on your resume are:
3 . Computer Skills
Computer skills refer to the ability to use both software and hardware of digital devices. Your knowledge of this could vary from basic and general to highly specialised. Computer skills are very important in today's world and it's a must-have for every job seeker irrespective of the industry but most especially for office jobs.
Some examples of basic computer skills include:
4 . Project Management Skills
Project management skills include general knowledge in management as well as proficiency in certain frameworks and software.
Project management skills ensure that things get done on time and within the allocated budget. If you're applying for a managerial position, where you have to coordinate a lot of people and processes, having this skill is a plus.
Here are some examples of project management hard skills;
5 . Management Skills
Management skills are needed in business and office-related careers. Some job-specific hard skills you'll need are:
6 . Marketing Skills
Marketing skills include the general knowledge of advertising, consumer research and sales plus highly technical and digital skills which are essential for success in modern-day online marketing. Marketing skills are of great value to job seekers or employees working in advertising, e-commerce, media, project management and social media.
Examples of marketing skills In demand include:
7 . Presentation Skills
I know you're thinking, isn't this supposed to be a soft skill, well not entirely sure but if you want to deliver a good report or presentation you'll need a few of these hard skills.
8 . Writing Skills
If your job requires some form of writing, having a good knowledge of writing techniques will give your career a boost. Some examples of writing skills include:
9 . Design Skills
Graphics design and illustration skills are hot in demand in today's job markets. The ability to create visual materials makes you a great asset in all workplaces.
Some examples of design skills include:
10 . Language Skills
If you're looking for a job in a company, that deals with international stakeholders and customers, knowing more than one language can give you an edge over the competition.
You can add them to your resume by first creating a section for languages and listing all the foreign languages you know and your proficiency level.
Before you add any of your skills to your CV, the first thing you should do is go through the job description and identify keywords that are related to the skills you have. Then create a list of your skills making sure to highlight your strengths and match them with the necessary keywords.
Where to put them
1 . Time Management Skills
Employees who can get things done with time and under uncomfortable situations are of great value to an organisation. Your ability to manage your time wisely and to work efficiently will make you stand out from the crowd. Other skills related to time management are:
2 . Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills refer to how well you interact with people around you. Such skills include:
3 . Communication Skills
Communication skills refer to your ability to express ideas and emotions. The most common communication skills include:
4 . Teamwork
The ability to work effectively together with others in a group to accomplish tasks or projects is called teamwork. Examples of teamwork-related skills are:
5 . Adaptability
Adaptability skills show how well you can adjust to sudden changes in your workplace. The work environment is constantly changing, you will have new team members, and new supervisors, you may be transferred to a new branch in another state or the company might sell off and change ownership. So you need to learn how to anticipate and adapt to these changes.
Skills related to adaptability include:
6 . Work Ethic
The conscious and constant effort you put in to get the job done is what we refer to as work ethic. Employees with great work ethics are highly valued by companies because they bring results. Skills related to work ethic are:
7 . Attention to detail
Having this skill means providing thorough and accurate results. Paying attention to little details that could potentially cause harm is a great skill that all employers look for in their employees. Some other skills related to this are:
8 . Leadership Skills
Leadership skills refer to your ability to lead, mentor, train or guide. Companies prefer to hire employees with leadership skills because they show more initiative.
Other skills related to leadership include:
It's easy to limit creativity skills to just arts and design, but every job needs individuals who can think outside the box. Here are some examples of creative skills:
You'll be faced with challenges and job-related problems at your workplace. Your ability to critically analyse and come up with solutions will always come in handy.
Skills associated with problem-solving include:
Where to put soft skills on your CV
The main difference between soft skills and hard skills is that soft skills are needed to foster great work relationships and a better working environment while hard skills are necessary to get the job done. Both of them are essential to the growth of a company, so it's best to have the right mix of hard and soft skills tailored to the job you applying for.
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