Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?
Both hard and soft skills are essential requirements for every job post. Employers consider the candidates with both sets of skills competent and effective in their duties. But what is the difference between the two kinds of skills?
Hard skills vs. soft skills
Basically, hard skills are acquired through teaching and are quantifiable. They can be acquired in the classroom, by reading books, at workplaces, and so on. Such skills include the ability to speak in foreign languages, academic certifications, fast typing skills, machine operation skills, and programming, among other skills.
These are skills that basically dominate cover letters and are easily recognizable by employers. Soft skills, unlike hard skills, are hard to pinpoint unless one is allowed to prove them.
For example, an employer seeking to hire a programming staff will require certifications proving the acquisition of such a skill. However, with soft skills, it’s hard to show that you have them, for instance, leadership skills.
You can only demonstrate that you possess the soft skill by citing instances when you applied them. Although employers basically seek candidates with specific hard skills, soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market. Employers consider it easy to train hard skills, such as using a particular machine, as opposed to instilling patience in an employee!
That’s why you’d note that employers specify specific soft skills while inviting candidates for interviews. A candidate who possesses both hard and soft skills is said to have hybrid skills. Such candidates are so competitive in today’s economy.
Which type of skill is better: hard skills vs. soft skills?
Both hard and soft skills are important and are equally considered during job interviews. As such, you can emphasize a particular soft skill that would make you fit for a position even with a low hard skill qualification. If your job requires you to manage a team of staff, emphasize your team player skills and your communication as well.
How to present your skills
You need to make sure that employers notice your hard and soft skills. Therefore you need to highlight them well in your cover letter and resume. Be sure to mention them during job interviews also.
- Highlight your skills in your resume
Fortunately, a resume is a document having several sections, including the skills section. The skills section is the place to highlight your skills.
- Capture relevant skills in your cover letter
A cover letter is an important place to make your skills noticeable. Try to capture both sets of skills and demonstrate how you possess them. Prove how you have applied some skills in the past and how they solved a hard challenge. For example, say that ‘in my former company where I worked as a team sales manager, I used my team leader skills to steer the team to increase sales by a whopping 60%’. That way, it’s clear how your soft skills drove results—higher sales.
- Don’t forget to share your skills verbally at interviews
Take advantage of the job interview to highlight your skills. Research on the relevant skills required by your potential employer, and discuss with the panel how you once applied them. Note that some skills may not be as important for particular job descriptions.