Employers often look for special hard skills when reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for an open position. Knowing how to successfully display these skills on your resume and interview can increase your chances of getting the job.
Here we discuss the key hard skills for a resume, how to highlight them, and how to improve yours.
From teaching to marketing, every job requires candidates to have specific hard skills. Find out which skills to highlight and how to properly list your hard skills on your resume in our in-depth guide.
Table of Contents Hide
- What are Hard skills?
- What are hard skills in the workplace?
- How to highlight hard skills
- Top hard skills for your resume
- How to include hard skills on your resume
What are Hard skills?
Hard skills are skills that are acquired through training or education and that are required to perform a job. These skills can be technical knowledge or skills that can be easily defined and measured.
Hard skills can also be viewed as job-specific skills and can vary from job to job.
These types of skills can be acquired and enhanced through certifications, training, education, courses, and on-the-job training.
Hard skills are skills with which you can cope with job-specific tasks and responsibilities. Hard skills can be learned in courses, in vocational training, and in the workplace.
These skills usually focus on specific tasks and processes such as the use of tools, devices, or software.
In contrast, soft skills are your traits and abilities that are not unique to every job – think of collaboration, time management, empathy, or leadership.
Which skills are more important? A LinkedIn study suggests that a slim majority (57% versus 43%) of employers value soft skills over hard skills.
What are hard skills in the workplace?
Below are some examples of how you can use different hard skills in the workplace:
Master the computer basics
Computer literacy is a tough skill that can be easily demonstrated in the workplace. Most positions require a basic understanding of computer skills, including the use of email, Microsoft Office, and other applications.
Make it your business to be as familiar as possible with the computer applications that you need to do your job.
Contribute to the organization’s social media strategy
Many companies rely on social media to market their business. Contributing to your company’s social media efforts can showcase your social media expertise and improve your marketing hard skills.
Edit your digital messages before sending them
Editing is often viewed as a difficult communication skill. You can make a habit of editing all digital and written correspondence before submitting or submitting it to demonstrate your editing skills at work.
How to highlight hard skills
Here are tips on how to highlight your hard skills on your resume, cover letter, and during an interview:
Hard skills for resume and cover letter
You should include your relevant hard skills on both your cover letter and resume to ensure that they are noticed by potential employers.
On your resume, include your hard skills in a skills section that clearly defines each skill. You can also mention the most important hard skills in your field of experience as part of your previous job descriptions.
In your cover letter, select two or three hard skills that you want to mention and include an example of how you have used each in your previous jobs.
Hard skills for the interview
When attending an interview there are a few ways you can show off your hard skills. One way is to physically show the interviewer your ability to perform a hard skill.
For example, if the job requires you to type a certain number of words per minute, you may be asked to take a typing test. Be prepared to demonstrate any hard skills that you have listed on your resume during the interview.
In addition, you may be asked to indicate when you have used your hard skills in the past. Before the interview, get at least one example of each relevant hard skill related to the position you applied for.
You can also bring all the documents that you have with you to the interview that shows your completion of a course or certification that supports a hard skill.
Being as prepared as possible will help you successfully portray your hard skills and eligibility for the job.
How to improve hard skills
Here are some ways you can improve your hard skills:
Practice hard skills regularly
Most hard skills require regular practice in order to master them. The more you practice, the better at performing the hard skills required for your career. Create an exercise program that you follow and track your progress.
Ask for feedback and constructive criticism
If you are currently working with others who already have mastered the hard skills you want to improve, ask them for feedback and constructive criticism on your current performance and suggestions for improvement.
You can also ask them for recommendations on how to most effectively improve a particular skill and what steps they have taken to master their hard skills.
Take a course or course. Many hard skills require training in order to master them
Taking a course or online course is a great way to learn more about hard skills and complete tasks that will improve your skills in the field.
Continuation of higher education
Another way to improve your hard skills is to study in the field that interests you. For example, if you want to become a computer scientist, you can get a degree in computer science or a related subject.
Most degree programs offer you several topics related to the hard skills you need and offer you the opportunity to master them.
Get a mentor
Mentors are like cheat codes for learning the specifics of hard skills. Online courses are great, but sometimes it feels like only a fraction of what you are learning is actually applicable to your job.
With a mentor, you can ask questions directly about your tasks and acquire the essential hard skills more quickly.
Ask for feedback often and accept constructive criticism with grace. A good mentor will put you on the right track and keep you going.
Top hard skills for your resume
Hard skills tend to be more technical in nature and each industry or type of job usually has its own requirements.
Finding out what range of hard skills to bring with you in your field may require some research. Here are some hard skills that are in demand across many industries.
Computer skills and application skills
Most jobs require at least basic computer skills, while many employee positions require advanced computer skills. This type of skill refers to a person’s ability to use hardware and software to accomplish a task.
The list of professions that do not require the use of a computer and certain types of software is very short. You could very likely break “computer literacy” into two or three specific technical skills for your area of expertise.
Computer skills in demand in today’s work environment include:
- Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Social media
- Database management
- Jog / WPM
- CSS / HTML
Understanding data is very much in vogue right now, and there are many jobs that require you to analyze metrics and extrapolate a practical use out of them, which makes analytical skills extremely valuable on your resume.
Important data analysis skills in today’s work environment include:
- Data mining
- Database management
- Creative thinking
- Resource management
- Data presentation
- Data visualization
- Network analysis
Technical skills are hard skills that are specific to a particular area and typically relate to engineering, IT, science, or technology.
These types of skills enable individuals to work with software or equipment that is required for the job. Common technical skills include:
- Linear regression
- Develop a prototype
- STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, math)
- CRM platforms
- ERP systems
- Network administration
- Operating systems
- System administration
There are many jobs that involve selling a product or service, buying inventory or goods, arranging manufacturing or transportation deals, partnering for advertising or investing, and so on.
Finance, economics, engineering, construction, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and operations require some math skills.
If you’re in a job that’s more into math, you might want to consider breaking it down into a few more specific skill areas.
Many jobs require project management skills. The ability to manage your flow of tasks and complete tasks on time is part of project management.
Perhaps you have used project management software in the past or completed a project prematurely – all of these testify to good project management.
Design and marketing skills
Labeling and design are an important part of many organizations and can include online and physical marketing, as well as design for products, websites, and advertisements.
Marketing involves selling and promoting products and services. Even if you’re not a marketer per se, many companies may wish for this tough skill.
Knowing and being able to talk or write about the highlights and benefits of your company’s products and services can be valuable for many different jobs. If you have specific marketing or social media experience, even better.
Marketers and designers need several hard skills to do their job efficiently. These marketing and design skills include:
- Pay per click advertising (PPC)
- Digital Marketing
- Social media
- UX design
- Adobe Creative Suite
- UI design
- Graphic design
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- A / B tests
- Hopper management
- Google Analytics
- Email Marketing
Management and administration
While a manager’s job involves using soft skills to unite and motivate employees and to communicate effectively with employees and upper management, they also require some hard skills to be effective in their position.
Even if your job is not of an administrative nature, it is likely part of your role. Administrative skills include the things you do to manage your role: organizing, planning, scheduling, emailing, and managing files, and so on.
Employers want to know that you are in control of the details.
Hard management skills include:
- Business knowledge
- Project management
- Hiring skills
- Business development skills
- Team management
- Public speaking
- Resource Allocation
Many jobs involve writing. Whether they are clients or colleagues, basic writing ability is required and an absolute ability to write your resume. Emails filled with typos and grammatical errors won’t reflect you well, and a bad tone can send the wrong message.
Show this skill through your cover letter and emails with the recruiter, listing any specific write-intensive projects that you have completed.
You don’t have to be or want to be a writer to need excellent grammar and writing skills. Writing is necessary in so many different areas of business that if you are good at it you need to brag a bit.
Even in the most technical and scientific job, you still need to know how to write an email, come up with a smart proposal, and write down your results.
Let them know that you are that person when you have these skills:
- Technical writing
- Write an offer
- Other languages
- Press releases
- Content management systems
- Academic writing
- To edit
- Social media
Not all professions fit into the examples above and some have very different skills. For example, if you are an electrician, you will need different certifications, which can vary by state.
And that’s just one possible career path. The following jobs are just a few that have their very own hard skills that don’t fit into the types listed above:
- Radiology Technician
- Tool and Mold Making
- Pharmacy technician
- Physiotherapy helpers
- Automotive engineering
Being bilingual can be challenging and set you apart from your competition. Even if a position or company does not initially need bilingual staff, your skills may be rated positively.
It is common to need someone fluent in another language to help clients or clients, so play this skill up on your resume.
How to include hard skills on your resume
Your resume is a great place to highlight your tough skills and make it easy for hiring managers to quickly identify your qualifications for a position. As long as you have more than half of the required hard skills, apply.
And in the meantime, you start looking for hard skills in courses that you are missing, which keep coming up in job descriptions for your dream job.
Use the following steps to include hard skills on your resume:
- Read the job description carefully.
Pay close attention to the “Requirements” or “Qualifications” section in the job description. This part is usually loaded with all of the tough skills that the hiring manager found essential for a candidate.
- Create a master list of hard skills.
Next, write down any hard skills you have, even if you are unsure whether they are relevant to the position you are applying for. Brainstorm a lot so you have a big list to choose your best hard skills from.
- Decide which hard skills you want to include.
Even if you have several hard skills, they may not all be relevant to the position you are applying for. Look at the job posting and write down any hard skills specifically mentioned. Include these skills on your resume.
- Add Hard Skills to the Skills section.
A good place to list your hard skills is under the “Skills” section on your resume. Clearly define each skill and use bullet points to separate them.
- Mention hard skills in your work history.
You can also include your hard skills in the “Work History” section of your resume. In the task descriptions for previous work experience, mention relevant hard skills and include a quantifiable example of how you have used them.
- Match your skills with those in the job description.
If you can match all of your hard skills with those in the job description, you’ve come to the right place. But even if you can only find 2-3 hard skills that are perfectly matched, you can still turn to your master hard skills list. From there, try to find skills that are at least similar to the skills required.
- Earn certifications.
Gather up any certificates you have and make digital copies to include on a resume or application. This comes in handy when a hiring manager or recruiter wants to test your skills.
- Add a section on skills.
The competency area of your resume can take different forms. For a chronological resume that most job seekers should use, you can simply add a list of 4-10 skills (most of them hard skills) after your education level.
- Complete your list of skills with solid examples.
It is not enough to simply list skills in the Skills section of your résumé. Bring them to life in your internship area with some of your greatest accomplishments in any skill.
- Understand keywords.
Sure, that sounds a bit outlandish to some applicants, but here’s the deal – most companies now use applicant tracking software that will check your resume before a human does. That said, if you apply for the social media manager position but never list social media managers on your resume, your resume may never get to anyone.
Likewise, you know that a job as a social media manager is likely to be closely related to keywords like Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, YouTube, etc.
Whatever area or industry you work in, hard skills are the key to your next appearance. They show employers that you can actually do the job they’re hiring for. So getting the right people right on your resume is a must.
- Hard Skills: Definition & List of Best Examples for Any Resume|zety
- Top Hard Skills to Put on a Resume (And How to Improve Yours)|indeed
- Top 20 Must-Have Skills In Your Resume | FlexJobs
- The Right Way to Put Hard Skills on Your Resume | The Muse