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Hard Skills Vs Soft Skills: Differences And Similarities

As soft skills continue to garner more attention and become a more crucial element of the recruitment process, several concerns have arisen about which between hard and soft skills are more important.

Today’s job hopefuls want to know which skills should be featured more prominently on their resume.

Some employers claim that your soft skills rank higher on your resume than your hard skills because a lot of technical work is learned on the job.

This is true for some industries because technical skills are easily learned on the job role, but the job role does not teach vital soft skills, so employers prefer job seekers who already have these soft skills needed in today’s working environment. 

Some employers, on the other hand, believe that your hard skills are more significant than your soft skills. This is also true for specific areas; for example, if you want to work as a programmer in the IT industry, you must first be able to write code before any other soft skills are considered.

In this article, we will look at what soft and hard skills are, as well as examples of these two categories of skills, the differences between hard and soft skills as well as the similarities between them, and how to showcase both skill types in a resume.

Check Out: How to Add Hard Skills for Resume | Samples

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are related to your interpersonal abilities and personality. They are based on emotions and are subjective. The majority of them are directed by your emotional intelligence and experience rather than being taught.

They cannot be quantified, and some, such as ethics, take time to prove.
These are more difficult to demonstrate on your resume than hard skills.

You must include examples that demonstrate your effectiveness in them, such as from previous experiences.

They shape how you interact with people when working together, as well as how you function as an individual. 

Effective communication, for example, cannot be quantified, but it may be demonstrated by recalling a time when you had to deal with a tough customer.

A functional work atmosphere is created by soft skills. As a result, employers will want you to present instances to back up your claims.

Some jobs, such as those in customer service, will place higher importance on soft skills because they require face-to-face interactions with people.

Read Also: What Are Interpersonal Skills? Overview, List, and Use on the Job

Some Examples Of Soft Skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Strategic thinker
  • Work under pressure
  • Responsible
  • Conflict resolution
  • Multitasking
  • Competitive
  • Adaptability
  • Integrity
  • Problem-solving
  • Effective communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Open-mindedness
  • Organization
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Good work ethic
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal skills

Soft skills are often referred to as common skills, people skills, or core abilities.

See Also: Top 20 Computer Skills for a Resume

What are Hard Skills?

Hard skills may be measured and are commonly taught in schools. You can obtain credentials for them or learn them through prior work experience.

They are work-specific and serve as the foundation for the majority of job requirements. Employers will be able to see if you have the abilities listed on your resume to know if you can do the job.

They are skills, knowledge, or specific professional abilities; for example, if you do not know how to use drafting software, you will not get hired as an architect.

Some jobs will also demand you to have a particular degree of skill to be considered for employment. Some jobs will even prioritize hard skills above soft skills. 

A corporation trying to hire a technical team, for example, will choose someone with computer and programming capabilities above someone with interpersonal skills.

Related Article: Language Skills Resume: Overview and Free Samples

Some Examples of Hard Skills

  • A degree/certificate in the relevant.
  • Driving
  • Editing
  • Computer programming Engineering Proficiency in a certain language
  • Typing speed
  • Network security
  • Database management
  • Statistical analysis
  • Data mining 
  • Interface design
  • Network security
  • Writing
  • Research

In-Demand Skills Employers Look For

While some hard skills are required for any employment, companies are increasingly looking for job candidates with specific soft skills.

This is because it is often easier for an employer to train a new employee in a hard skill such as how to use a specific computer program than it is to train an employee in a soft skill such as patience.

Employers are increasingly searching for employees with hybrid abilities, which are a mix of soft and hard skills.

Candidates with this skill set are in high demand in a rapidly changing, technologically focused environment. 

Employers search for a variety of skills in prospective employees, including analytical capabilities, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and leadership abilities.

If you have the top skills that employers look for in job prospects, include them in your resume.

Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills

Assessments, such as standard grades and testing, are used to determine hard skills. They demonstrate your ability to acquire, comprehend, and apply information.

Soft skills, on the other hand, require emotional intelligence. Soft skills imply the ability to assess, identify, and control one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of people and groups.

Another distinction between the two is their stages of development. Hard skills are acquired through training or education.

Soft skills are typically acquired through experience, however, some are innate. A profession determines hard skills.

A teacher, for example, will require different hard skills than an engineer. Soft skills, on the other hand, are universal and apply to a wide range of industries.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Highlighting them on your Resume

Hard skills are simple to demonstrate and are regarded as an absolute necessity. A recruiter may first check your resume to see if you have demonstrated them conclusively.

Read the job description carefully and make a note of the skills that are mentioned more than once or that are mentioned first.

These are the ones that employers look for, and you must incorporate the exact keywords that the recruiter uses in the job description on your resume.

Build your resume around these skills.

Showcase soft skills through measurable outcomes and successes. Go over the job description again and take note of the ones the recruiter mentioned. 

Include those you believe might be relevant to the role as well. Use concrete examples to show how you applied a specific soft skill to execute a task.

For instance, “In my prior employment, I successfully worked with unhappy clients” This sentence demonstrates that you are an effective communicator.

To Optimize the Impact of both Hard and Soft Skills on your resume, do the following:

  • Check to see if your resume is up to date. To boost your resume, include recent courses, training, projects, professional conferences, and seminars you have attended.
  • Make your resume stand out. Anyone who studied engineering will list the same abilities you have, but you may differentiate yourself. Perhaps you honed that skill by interning in another field. It may provide you with a unique perspective and insight that other candidates do not have. Sometimes your past experiences will allow you to present your skill in a new light.
  • Can the recruiter quickly scan and grasp your skills? A poor resume presentation may cost you a job opportunity. Make it user-friendly by grouping comparable skills together or breaking them down into subsections. Assist the recruiter in rapidly locating the information they require on your resume.
  • Give examples to back up your hard and soft skills. Examples should be provided to demonstrate the abilities listed on the resume. Look at the ones that the recruiter has highlighted in the job description to choose which ones to quantify. If they did not highlight any in the job description, go to their website to learn about what they think is important or research trending skills in that field. Give specific instances of both hard and soft skills. Give clear examples to back up your hard and soft skills.

How to Highlight your Hard and Soft Skills in a Job Interview: Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

During a job interview, there are various ways to highlight your hard and soft skills. Try the following suggestions to highlight your hard skills:

  • Learn the precise hard skills required by the job description and write them down before the interview.
  • Choose three or four of your top hard skills that are directly related to the job role and come prepared to the interview with examples of how you’ve used them in the past.
  • When asked, present these examples to the recruiting manager during the interview. To successfully demonstrate your expertise in these areas, use quantifiable examples rather than imprecise statements.
  • When expressing your hard skills, consider employing the STAR Method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Keep the following guidelines in mind when highlighting your soft skills in an interview:

  • Arrive early for the interview to demonstrate punctuality and dependability.
  • Many soft skills can be demonstrated throughout the interview process without being explicitly mentioned. You can demonstrate solid communication skills, for example, by maintaining eye contact, practicing active listening, and asking relevant and meaningful questions throughout the interview.
  • If specific soft skills are stated on the job description, come to the interview prepared to discuss them with relevant examples.
  • Use the STAR technique to outline moments when you successfully applied soft skills on the job.

Evaluating hard skills vs. soft skills

Hard skills can be assessed using resumes, portfolios, job-related activities, and role-specific interview questions.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are better assessed by asking situational and behavioral interview questions, employing soft skills questions and tests, and taking into account a candidate’s overall personality traits as displayed during the hiring process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Hard skills are specific qualities or characteristics that a person can have an exhibit in a measured manner. A hard skill implies mastery and expertise within an individual to accomplish a certain activity or sequence of actions to finish a job.

Soft skills are abilities that pertain to how you work and interact with others. They are a group of useful personality traits that characterize one’s social relationships. Some examples include communication, teamwork, problem-solving abilities, time management abilities, e.t.c.

Hard skills include technical knowledge and training, whereas soft skills are personality attributes such as leadership, communication, and time management. Both types of skills are required to perform and succeed in most jobs.

Employers evaluate job candidates based on two skill sets: hard skills and soft skills. During the screening and interview processes, hard skills are easy to discover and quantify. Soft skills are subtle and difficult for employers to assess. Both skills are necessary for success in today’s industry.

A degree (or other academic qualification in engineering, science, e.t.c), an industry-specific certification, coding abilities, foreign language skills, typing speed, SEO marketing, and computer skills are some of the examples of hard skills.

After discussing the two skills (soft and hard), it is evident that hard skills are crucial for obtaining a certain position, but soft skills play a critical role in the proper usage of hard skills to reach career objectives.

So, these two complement each other; in essence, hard skills will help you apply for the interview, but soft skills will help you get and maintain the job.
Finding the correct balance between the two skills should be more important than determining which is superior. As demonstrated in the article above, both soft skills and hard skills are equally vital to possess in today’s environment.



Ajah Excel is a team growth and performance expert with over nine years of experience in blogging and personal development.
He leads a team of 36 crazy, restless innovators with an enviable work culture at Silicon Africa Technologies Limited – a fast-rising tech firm from the SouthEast.
Excel is the founder of and WriterGig.
He is also the co-organizer of TEDx Ikenegbu and convener of Social Media Fest.
He is a vibrant learner who yearns to share his knowledge to educate and inspire young Africans.
He has a B.Tech in Information Management Technology with certifications in growth hacking, effective communication, leadership, team, and personal development, to mention a few.
Ajah Anayochukwu Excel is a passionate public speaker, creative writer, and brand storyteller.

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