‘Now let’s talk about your soft skills.’ This is a common phrase an applicant will hear from a savvy recruiter during a job interview. In fact, the more the company wants to hire you long-term, the higher the chances that the question of soft skills will emerge. But what is the difference between hard and soft skills? Why do recruiters place so much value on the latter? Let’s find the answers in the article below.
Why Are Hard And Soft Skills Essential?
First, hard and soft skills build your resume’s “Skills” section. Haven’t got a resume? Well, you can always ask yourself: “Are there resume writing services near me?” and dive into online research. However, don’t get surprised if the third party asks you about the skills you’d like your resume to focus on. Yeap, skills matter, both hard and soft.
How to define your job skills in general? Follow the quick guide below.
- Start brainstorming your main job activities. For example, what do you usually do from 9 to 5? Which are your main job responsibilities?
- Think of what makes you a special employee in your current job position. Why can’t other people do your job? Is it because of your strong knowledge of specific tools others don’t possess?
- Let’s proceed with abilities and qualities. First, look at the list of your job responsibilities and things that make you special as a professional. Then, in a column, write down the abilities you had to develop and the tools you had to learn to get your current position. Finally, in the adjacent column, list your personality traits contributing
to your quality job performance. For instance, an artist won’t become a professional if they don’t have enough patience and attention to detail. On the other hand, being a superb restaurant manager is impossible without being a great multitasker.
Now let’s dive deeper into the hard-and-soft dichotomy of skills.
Hard Skills Are Job-Related, While Soft Skills Are Universal
Hard skills make the core of your profession. For an IT specialist, knowing the programming tools and software must enter their dream field. Without the superb knowledge of Python or C++, there won’t be a programmer, right? The same goes for other professions. For example, without strong business and marketing knowledge, there won’t be a social media manager to improve the company’s sales.
From the examples above, you can see that hard skills are strongly associated with particular professions. However, when it comes to soft skills, the latter is flexible and can be related to any profession. For instance, an IT specialist and a social media manager require communication and interpersonal skills to succeed in their careers. The former will need them when conveying a message to the team, while the latter will use them when cooperating with the company’s clients and the target audience online.
Check the list of universal soft skills to add to your resume.
- Active listening;
- Stress resistance;
- Attention to detail;
- Communication skills;
- Interpersonal skills;
Hard Skills Are Easier To Define And Measure
One’s knowledge of Microsoft is easier to measure rather than one’s level of stress resistance. In the first case, you can name the Microsoft tools you know how to work with. But what to do in the second example? Can you measure one’s stress resistance?
Or take another example. You’ve been a graphic designer using Photoshop for seven years. Can you say the same about your interpersonal skills? While Photoshop is a tool used for your work performance, your interpersonal skills are a part of your daily life. At the same time, you can define your knowledge of Photoshop. But can you explain your interpersonal skills except for saying you’re a friendly person?
Soft Skills Are More About Your Personality
As you might have understood, the guide above aimed to discover your hard and soft skills based on your job duties and responsibilities. Soft skills are more associated with your personality and lifestyle habits rather than your professional abilities. Check the last column. Did you write empathy as a trait that made you a great psychologist? Could you become one without being an active empath? Obviously, no. Sure, you might have learned a few listening techniques, but they would not have made you a professional if you weren’t naturally interested in others.
While you can acquire hard skills at college or courses online, soft skills are a part of your responsibility. Check self-discipline. The college can’t teach self-discipline or self-organization unless you decide to work on your lifestyle. However, developing self-discipline is worth it since it showcases you as a reliable applicant the company can trust.
Sometimes Soft Skills Become Hard Skills
Yeap, in some cases, hard and soft skills are interchangeable. For instance, people in sales require strong communication and interpersonal skills. The same goes for any ‘people’ career. Sure, communication skills are vital in any profession, but are they equally important to a customer support specialist and a copywriter? A customer support specialist works in the service industry, while a copywriter works with texts. Hence, communication skills will travel to the “Hard Skills” section for a customer support specialist and the “Soft Skills” section in the copywriter’s resume.
Everything depends on a skill’s value for a specific job position. When trying to identify your hard and soft skills, ask yourself: “Can I perform my job without this skill?” If you can – make the skill soft. If the skill is necessary – put it in the “Hard Skills” section.
Knowing your hard and soft skills is essential for building a strong job-winning resume. All because your professional skills are one of the main things the potential employer will pay attention to. The core difference to remember is that your hard skills are directly job-related tools and knowledge, while your soft skills are more driven by your personality and lifestyle.
We hope the article was helpful to you. Good luck!