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When you’re applying for a job, employers assess the qualifications listed on your resume while also evaluating some of the other traits you’ll demonstrate to them in an interview, some of which are known as soft skills. Both are important to employers, and each are necessary for any job, so it’s crucial you know how to showcase each one to prove your worth for the position you want.

Here’s the difference between the two and the best ways to exhibit them.

Hard skills

Hard skills are skills that are teachable and measureable and usually acquired through books and other learning materials—perhaps a course or on-the-job training. Applying them takes logic and knowledge of math, accounting, biology, finance, statistics or some other studied and practiced field.
Some examples include proficiency in a foreign language, typing speed, machine operation, computer programming or proofreading. Often, an aptitude in one of these skills results in a degree or certificate.

On your resume

These can easily be listed in your cover letter or on your resume in a very straightforward manner. They’re easy for a recruiter or employer to recognize, assess and verify. A master’s degree, for example, is easy to prove with a phone call to the awarding college or university. A mastery of computer programming is easy for an applicant to demonstrate by sharing something they created.

Soft skills

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more subjective qualities that are hard to quantify. They’re not necessarily taught in schools, but acquired through emotional intelligence or life experiences. Some examples include effective communication, networking and how you build interpersonal relationships. An interviewer might be trying to assess how well you demonstrate empathy or whether you work well in a team. Some of that can be listed on a resume, but most of it would probably best be determined with in-person interactions.

In an interview

Other soft skills that employers and recruiters look for are patience, flexibility, leadership, self-motivation, problem-solving abilities, decision making, creative thinking, time management, a solid work ethic, confidence and the ability to handle stress and pressure situations. Again, most of these traits can be conveyed in an interview or by contacting references and prior supervisors.

Both are necessary

Both skills are necessary for any position and play essential roles in the development of your career, but employers often prefer candidates with certain soft skills because they can more easily teach the hard skills, like how to use Excel or another computer program. Often soft skills are more important in business professions, particularly in leadership positions while hard skills might be more valuable in technical jobs.

The hard skills—certifications and qualifications—listed on your resume might get you noticed or land you the interview, but the soft skills are usually what help you get hired.

For more information on how to land your dream job, contact us today.


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