As a candidate, when you apply for a job and later on, sit for an interview, you will notice that your potential employer is looking for two things in you. They want you to have soft skills and hard skills. But what are they exactly and what is the difference between them? Do you have them both? Here are some more details about hard skills vs soft skills.
Differences and Examples
The main difference between hard skills and soft skills is that the former are a lot easier to quantify. Traditionally, you can learn your hard skills at school, if you read books, take a training course, or if you read some training materials on your own. You can also learn them on the job, as many people do these days.
At the opposing end of the spectrum are soft skills. They are far more difficult to measure. We can refer to them as interpersonal skills or people skills. They talk about your personality, how you relate to other people, to your environment, to leadership, to a working atmosphere, to a team, and so on.
Here are some examples of both.
- Your proficiency in a foreign language
- Certificates or degrees from high school, college or training schools
- Computer skills, including software knowledge
- How fast you type
- Machines that you can operate
- The ability to drive a car
- Any type of manual labor in any given field that you can do
- Being a team player
- Time management
- Work ethic
- The ability to solve problems
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It’s important to remember that all employers look for a combination of both. The new world we now live in work-wise tends to emphasize soft skills. An employer can always train you as far as hard skills are concerned if he sees potential in you. However, ethics and empathy are not traits that can be taught in training programs.
Therefore, it’s hugely important that you mention both sets of skills on your resume and highlight them in such a way that the employer understands he can count on your soft skills right from the start. He needs to know that you can already use a certain piece of software, but he also needs to know you are a good team player, you know how to communicate, and that you have patience. This is where the balance of hard skills vs soft skills lies.
Make sure you mention both during the interview as well. Give clear examples of past situations of your professional life where you displayed both types of skills. Play your cards the smart way. If you lack a hard skill you know they require for the job, replace it with a soft skill you know you have.
There has definitely been a paradigm shift when it comes to the hard skills vs soft skills game. As we progress further and further away from the industrial type of working world where only hard skills were necessary, soft skills are required as a must by more and more employers. Where do you stand? Let us know in the comment section below.