Most employers look for the right combination of hard and soft skills in the candidates they’re interviewing. They need both to ensure the right mix of technical and personal skills to fulfill the job requirements and fit the culture. This blog will help you understand the difference between these two skillsets and how to play up both to your advantage.
Hard vs. Soft Skills and How to Highlight Them
Hard skills are the technical skills related to the job. Hard skills can be taught and learned. Soft skills are more personality trait-related. Leadership, time management, and communication are soft skills. Both are necessary to do a job well.
Here are some examples of hard skills:
- Experience or training around a specific technology.
- Bilingual or multilingual.
- SEO marketing.
- Mobile development.
- Point of sale registers.
- How to drive a forklift.
Here are some examples of soft skills:
- Willingness to learn.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Effective communicator.
- Team player.
Compared to hard skills, you’re probably less likely to learn soft skills in a classroom. But the ability to listen is just as important as the technology you learned in that classroom experience. Both will be important in your career.
To highlight your hard skills, use strong action words in your chronological resume. Share what tools you used to do the job. Use bullet points to allow the resume reviewer to quickly scan to see what you’ve learned. One important point—make sure your hard skills match up with the job description. Since recruiters usually do a keyword search for the right resumes based on the job description, you must add the exact words and phrases listed in the ad. Otherwise, you might end up on the reject pile. Use a certification or education section on your resume to show employers what skills you’ve picked up. Some examples of how to highlight your hard skills include:
- Used Excel spreadsheets to track inventory.
- Used a point-of-sale register to close out each evening shift.
- Trained new employees in warehouse protocols.
Since soft skills are just as important as hard skills, make sure you use descriptive phrases to describe each hard skill. For example:
- Organized internal storage units and used Excel spreadsheets to track inventory.
- Multitasked between waiting tables, salad prep, and used a point-of-sale register to close out each evening shift.
- Using my initiative, I led teams to develop new workflows and trained new employees in warehouse protocols.
In these sentences, there is a mix of hard and soft skills. For example:
- Bullet one uses the word “organized” (soft skill) but also “used Excel spreadsheets,” which is a hard skill.
- Bullet two uses the word “multitasked” (soft skill) but also “used a point-of-sale register,” which is a hard skill.
- Bullet three states, “Using my initiative,” (soft skill) and “led teams” (soft skill) but also “trained new employees in warehouse protocols,” is a hard skill.
Your resume’s goal is to play directly into the hands of the employer by listing the right mix of hard and soft skills to get their attention. Contact the IES Custom Staffing team to find out how we can help you find your next job.