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Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills

man and woman in a workplace smiling at each other

You have probably been faced with the dilemma of which skills you should put on your resume. A good resume should have a good balance of both: hard skills and soft skills. However, you are probably wondering what’s the difference between those two and which you should put on your resume to stand out in the crowd. You should not just list those skills but also tied them to your experience.

What are Technical (Hard) Skills?

Hard skills are those that relate to specific technical knowledge and those can be measured. These skills are usually specific to a job and those can be learned either thru schooling, online education, or the workplace. These skills are easily tested through various assignments or role-specific interview questions.

coding hard skills

Example:

  • Programming
  • SQL
  • R
  • Tableau
  • Bookkeeping
  • Language proficiency
  • Digital marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Coding
  • Analytics
  • Statistics
  • Research

What are People (Soft) Skills?

Soft skills, on the other hand, are not quantifiable or tangible. These skills are also called ‘people skills’ or ‘interpersonal skills.’ Soft skills are universal and those are related to character, personality traits, the ability to work with others, and overall understanding of the company’s culture. Not all people are alike and that is why those people skills are difficult to measure. The good thing is that you can learn any skills through various situations and experiences (personal or professional).

a man presenting in front of the audience - soft skill example

Example:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Working under pressure
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Strategic thinking
  • Innovation
  • Creativity

Saying that you possess certain soft skills is not very useful or meaningful. You must tie the skill to the experience through examples of situations when you used a certain quality. For example, when I worked as a business analyst for XYZ company, I was able to cooperate with a team of 5 from different departments and we delivered the project before the deadline through good planning and time management.

Which skills to focus on?

Working on your both skills matters. According to LinkedIn study, 57% of employers value soft skills more than hard skills, and keeping your job and advancing your career will depend on how well developed are your soft skills. You can learn hard skills faster and they are the backbone of how well you do your job, but soft skills will make you progress. That is why it’s important to work and have a good balance of both skills. You should incorporate both skills into your resume and cover letter. However, adapt those depending on the job description. If you are applying for a sales rep, then communication and convincing are far more important than bookkeeping or innovation.

Need help with your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile? Contact us and we’ll help you write a perfect resume.

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