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Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

If you're interviewing for a job, the skills you put on your resume play a paramount role in representing your professional abilities. Your resume's skill section entirely showcases your potential to work as a professional. Interviewers most often pay exquisite attention to the skills you possess. That said, knowing what hard skills and soft skills are and which skills you should add to your resume, is crucial. In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about soft skills and hard skills. 

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. Top Skills employers look for
  2. How to distinguish hard skills from soft skills
  3. What are hard skills?
  4. Hard Skills List
  5. What are soft skills?
  6. Soft skills List
  7. How can you incorporate hard and soft skills on your resume
  8. How to highlight your skills throughout the interview process?
  9. How to find the right hard skills to include
  10. Hard skills examples in a Job description
  11. Examples of Soft and Hard Skills on a resume
  12. Bottom Line

Top Skills employers look for

Every interviewer looks for specific skills while recruiting individuals and often select candidates with impressive qualifications and top-notch skills. If you can show your interviewer how you're unique from the rest of the job applicants, you're most likely to land the job. To do that, including the right skills on your resume is crucial.  

How to distinguish hard skills from soft skills 

Hard skills are those that you acquire through experience, most often through professional certifications or on-the-job training. Soft skills, on the other hand, are developed as you grow as a professional. To define soft skills better, they are specific personality traits that you acquire after years and years of learning and growing. 

What are hard skills? 

Hard Skills are chiefly technical skills that you develop through education and training programs. When you work in a particular field, take up courses, or even study a different language, you'd have developed a specific set of hard skills. 

Every job that you wish to apply for will require you to have specific skills. Only if you possess these skills are you indeed eligible to get your dream job. Thus, making sure that you are familiar with your role's hard skills can come in handy. 

Hard Skills List 

Here are some essential hard skills that you must acquire.

  • User Interface design 
  • Data mining 
  • Adobe software suite 
  • Multilingualism 
  • Statistical Analysis 
  • Mobile development 
  • Marketing campaign management 
  • SEO/SEM marketing 
  • Programming languages
  • Network security 

What are soft skills? 

Soft skills are your personality traits and habits that go on to define your professional life. Common soft skills that you might have heard of are leadership skills, communication skills, and effective listening skills. 

Soft skills are integral pillars in shaping your career. They sum up your ability to perform tasks with complete focus and maximal efficiency. Most employers are keen to understand how you work and what your approach towards effective working is. 

Soft skills List 

Here are potential soft skills that you might want to add to your resume. 

  • Critical-thinking 
  • Organisation 
  • Empathy 
  • Innovation 
  • Adaptability 
  • Optimism 
  • Teamwork 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Social skills 
  • Potency 

How can you incorporate hard and soft skills on your resume

Now that you know the difference between soft skills and hard skills, you should also learn to include them in your resume. While preparing for technical interview questions can help you ace FAANG interviews, creating an impressive resume can heighten your overall chances of getting the job. Make sure to add a small yet sufficient column called 'skills.' Add all your soft and hard skills in this section so that your interviewer can determine why you may be the perfect fit for this job. 

How to highlight your skills throughout the interview process

If you're successful in making it to the interview, your interviewer will give you a chance to showcase your core skills and talents. Here is how you can highlight your acquired skills

Give equal vitality to both hard and soft skills 

Make sure that you prioritize both hard as well as soft skills. Showcase a plethora of skills to impress your employer. 

Highlighting your soft skills

Some essential ways by which you can subtly showcase your soft skills include: 

  • Ask follow-up questions during the interview. 
  • Maintain eye contact. 
  • Come to the interview a few minutes prior to the scheduled time. 
  • Answer all questions truthfully. 
Highlighting your hard skills

Some essential ways by which you can enhance your hard skills include- 

  • Ask follow-up questions concerning the job. 
  • Answer all google phone interview questions with 100% honesty. 
  • Offer a portfolio to your interviewer. 

How to find the right hard skills to include

While identifying hard skills and soft skills, most of us are confused about which skills to add to our resume. A few ways to identify the right hard skills is by doing a little more research. Ask yourself questions like- what are you passionate about? Where did you accomplish success? and so on. 

Here are some of the most reliable ways by which you can identify the right hard skills to add to your resume. 

Make use of your qualifications and accomplishments 

Well, the first place to look for your hard skills is your qualifications and accomplishments. Go through your awards and achievements to understand more about yourself. Did you ever receive an award for being good at something? If yes, here is your perfect chance at adding a hard skill. Make use of your achievements as a means of showcasing your potential. These personal attributes and talents may have helped you build your career. Thus, add these hard skills to your resume

Get in touch with your colleagues 

If you're still unable to identify your hard skills, the next best approach towards this is to reach out to your colleagues. Your colleagues and former classmates know you best when it comes to your professional abilities. There's no better way of identifying your skills than by engaging with your colleagues and asking them about you. Recognize your strengths through your co-workers, and you never know, it might benefit you in the best way possible. 

Engage with influential people 

Another tip to identify your skills is to engage with professionals in your field of work. You might already have contacts in your area of work. If determining your hard skills is challenging, a piece of advice that may benefit you is to engage with some professionals who know you well. Even if you aren't familiar with any professional, reach out to them and ask them a few of the qualities and skills they consider admirable. Simultaneously, identify your strengths and skills that are similar to those mentioned by these professionals. 

Remember to solely include those skills that you consider as your greatest strengths to your resume. If you're still learning a skill, do not add it to your resume yet. You could instead mention in the interview that you're in the process of acquiring the skill. 

Hard skills examples in a Job description

Here are some examples of hard skills for different job descriptions 

Data Analytics 
  • Research 
  • Data Visualisation 
  • Web Analytics 
  • Data mining 
  • Database management 
  • Data engineering 

Digital Marketing 
  • CRO
  • Email marketing 
  • Project management 
  • Google Analytics 
  • Search engine optimization 
  • Web scraping 

Web Design 
  • HTML 
  • Photo editing 
  • Typography 
  • User experience 
  • Photo Editing 
  • Adobe Creative Suite 

Software Engineer 
  • HTML 
  • Java Script 
  • Adobe Suite 
  • WordPress 
  • Microsoft Office 
  • Content Management Systems 

  • Hyperion 
  • Big data analysis 
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 
  • IBM Cognos Analytics 
  • ERP knowledge 
  • Microsoft Excel

Examples of Soft and Hard Skills on a resume 

Your resume plays an imperative role in summing up your talents, skill sets, and accomplishments. You should ensure adding relevant skills to your resume depending on the type of job you are interviewing for. Given below are some of the fundamental skills you should add to your soft skills vs. hard skills worksheet. 

Effective Listening Skills 

Effective listening skills essentially help you understand what the other person is trying to say with greater clarity. They also help you coordinate your response more effectively. 

Effective listeners make use of nonverbal as well as verbal skills to stay attentive while engaging with the speaker. Here are some ways to improve your listening skills.  

  • Taking notes 
  • Staying organized 
  • Staying punctual 
  • Asking questions 

Social Skills 

Social skills or communication skills are also vital skills that most interviewers look into while reviewing your job application. Social skills are the mere abilities to engage with your peers and colleagues to effectively work and communicate different ideas professionally. Social skills are all about empathizing, talking, listening, and comprehending. A few popular social skills include-

  • Interpersonal engagement 
  • Written engagement 
  • Non-verbal and verbal engagement 
  • Public speaking 

Management Skills 

Management skills are the abilities to regulate the employees as well as the tasks. An ideal manager is efficient, supportive, engages with their workmates, and offers their complete empathy to others. Managers should make sure to acquire sufficient soft skills as well as hard skills. Some of the prime management skills include- 

  • Leadership skills 
  • Delegation of tasks 
  • Decision-making 
  • Communication skills 

Effective planning skills 

Time management skills, also known as effective planning skills, are the capabilities to stay organized and complete tasks prior to the deadlines. Time management skills are often looked into by interviewers while assessing your application. If you're capable of managing your time well and creating a distinguishing balance between your personal and professional life, you can excel at time management. Given below are fundamental skills of time management

  • Setting Goals 
  • Prioritizing your work 
  • Staying attentive 
  • Delegation of tasks 

Critical-thinking Skills 

Critical-thinking skills are the qualities that briefly help you determine a solution to a problem. They give you the ability of deep thinking by which you can improve your work efficiency while simultaneously bringing maximal success to the company you are working for. Critical thinking skills essentially work to build your ability to problem-solving. Top critical-thinking skills include-

  • Research 
  • Attentiveness
  • Engagement 
  • Patience 

Leadership Skills 

The ability to stay organized, support yourself, along with supporting others, contributes to leadership skills. Leadership skills aim to help you improve your potential to manage your team and set a strong foundation for all your work projects. Leadership skills are also qualities to motivate your team to work more efficiently. Some popular leadership skills include-

  • Risk-taking 
  • Building your team 
  • Staying organized 
  • Acting as an inspiration for your team 

Software Skills 

With the increased growth of technology, most work fields require you to have the ability to operate computers. Computer skills or software skills thus make you more eligible for a job position. These skills help you acquire the ability to make use of technology effectively. Some software skills include-

  • Knowledge of coding languages 
  • Spreadsheets 
  • Email management 
  • Word processing 

Customer Service Skills 

Customer service skills are the qualities and traits to address different concerns of your customers. It is the prime ability to serve your customers and create long-term customer-developer relationships with them. A few of the top customer service skills include-

  • Critical-thinking 
  • Empathy 
  • Effective listening 
  • Social skills 

Soft Skills 

Soft skills are the core abilities for improving your work performance through thorough communication with your workmates. These are similar to communication skills and are crucial in creating strong relationships in your professional life. Improving your soft skills can help you create an engaging work environment, along with helping you convey your message to your workmates. 

  • Leadership skills 
  • Social skills 
  • flexible approach 
  • Punctuality and patience 

Transferable skills 

Transferable skills are the traits that make an individual efficient for changing your career or job. These skills play an active role in helping you build your career. These skills can moreover benefit you while applying to your dream job. Some transferable skills that you might want to acquire include-

  • Teambuilding 
  • Innovation 
  • Optimism 
  • Empathy 

Bottom Line 

Showcasing your best skills in your resume can help the interviewer to understand your professional abilities better. Ensuring to add the right skills is crucial to get the best chance at being hired. Now that you are familiar with the difference between hard and soft skills. Also, make sure to add a good number of soft and hard skills to make a noticeable first impression on your interviewer.

Last updated on: 
October 27, 2023

Vartika Rai

Product Manager at Interview Kickstart | Ex-Microsoft | IIIT Hyderabad | ML/Data Science Enthusiast. Working with industry experts to help working professionals successfully prepare and ace interviews at FAANG+ and top tech companies

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