Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: Unveiling the Positive Differences
Many recruiters may not specifically say in the job descriptions what hard and soft skills are they looking for, but they are there. This is one of the reasons, you ended up here to learn more about hard skills vs. soft skills. Hard skills generally refer to the technical competencies related to your job like if you may be excellent at auditing the books of large conglomerates. On the contrary, soft skills are more like your personal qualities that refer to skills like problem-solving, communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, time management, and critical thinking among others.
Hard skills act as a backbone for every type of business. It lays the foundation of a company. On the other hand, soft skills are the abilities you need to run this business.
You would never hire a baker for heart surgery, as you would not hire a doctor to bake a cake on your birthday. But you can hire a baker as a host if they have good public speaking and communication skills. That is the difference between hard and soft skills. This blog will dive deeper into the hard skills vs soft skills debate. And how you can highlight them in your resume.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: What are the Differences?
Hard skills come from hands-on experience. Meanwhile, soft skills are, to some extent, innate. They are related to personality traits that you have acquired throughout your life.
For a recruiter, these skills help judge how well a person would do professionally. Hard skills help a recruiter judge the technical competency of a candidate on paper. Meanwhile, soft skills help them evaluate how well a person will thrive in the workplace. However, they can synergize when presented professionally to show your value as a potential employee. The following section describes these skills separately to make a clear comparison.
Hard Skills – The Practical Capability
Hard skills are quantifiable and can be explained using numbers, percentages, or other metrics. They are essential to any occupation and are gained through certifications, formal education, and professional/personal experience.
Unlike soft skills, hard skills can be cross-checked and verified with official certificates and degrees. These skills are not innate or transferable. If you write codes, you cannot use them as a skill to get a job in a restaurant. They are learned and applied to a specific job. All expert-level jobs require these skills. However, entry-level positions may compromise them since a potential candidate will learn them through job experiences.
Employers and industries evaluate a candidate’s skill proficiency through years of experience. For instance, a paralegal assistant who has 3 years of experience in legal research will be more proficient than a beginner with 6 months of experience. Many companies hold annual assessments, training, and workshops to polish and evaluate their employee’s potential.
Companies may conduct a stage-wise hiring process that may consist of several stages like the assessment stage, technical interview stage, and suitability interview stage to assess the hard skills of the individuals. Employers can easily judge them through resumes, job-related assignments, portfolios, and job-specific interview questions. These skills are usually a prerequisite for a skill-based job; therefore, they are mentioned in the job description to help applicants curate a job application highlighting these skills.
Here is a list of some notable hard skills:
- Language Proficiency
- Coding Skills
- Statistical Analysis
- Database Management
- Adobe Suite
- Mobile Development
- Marketing Campaign Management
- User Interface Design
- Programming Languages
Soft Skills – The Innate Ability
Unlike hard skills, you cannot prove that you have the soft skills you claim to be by presenting certain documents and/or certificates. These are acquired personal skills and developed with different personal experiences throughout your life. Some people are good communicators but not experts at critical thinking, while some are good critical thinkers but poor at communicating. Soft skills are something people are naturally good at.
Soft skills are transferable. You can work well in any field or industry if you have good leadership and teamwork skills. For instance, retired military personnel with good communication, management, and organizational skills can easily adapt to civilian work fields. However, explaining and evaluating soft skills through a job application can be challenging. Therefore, many companies hold interviews and group assessments to evaluate these innate capabilities.
Soft skills are an overpowering factor for candidates short on certain job-specific hard skills.
Many companies state them in their job descriptions as keywords and requirements.
They play a progressive role in your professional development.
Soft skills can be identified through behavioral and situational interview questions, soft skill-based quizzes, or overall personality traits. Solid evidence that can attest to the effectiveness of your soft skills adds volume to your resume, and the employer may give you preference over others.
Although soft skills are a lot fuzzier to explain, they are the most valuable asset to thrive and collaborate in the workplace. People transitioning to a new career or beginner-level applicants can leverage these soft skills to stand out. You are not born with these skills. You develop them over time.
Here is a list of some notable soft skills:
- Critical thinking
Add the Right Hard and Soft Skills in Your Resume
Stating these skills is not a choice anymore. It’s the primary and mandatory part of a resume. One way to include them effectively is to use the correct format. You can use functional or chronological format to add job-relevant skills to your resume. If a job description demands leadership skills, then you need to style your resume to relate your work experience, summary, and skill section around these skills. You can apply this strategy much more easily on hard skills. You can add numbers and action words to your statements to make them more impactful and positive.