Hard Skills v Soft Skills

If you want to make a good first impression on employers and score that first interview, your resume is the first step. It’s easy to come up with a generic resume, but to make it a strong one, you will want to use the job posting to help you personalize it to that specific employer. A great way to do this is to think about the hard skills and soft skills you have to offer.

Hard skills, or technical skills, are the skills someone in your field needs to know or learn to be able to do a specific job. For example, someone applying for a job in healthcare might need to know how to read and use an electronic medical record (EMR) or know how to take a patient’s vital signs. These are two examples of hard/technical skills that employers in the healthcare field might look for in a job candidate. Someone who would like to get a job in cybersecurity would need to have the technical skills to use computer systems, networks, and to do specific things like installing a firewall. Hard skills can be learned and demonstrated, through certification programs for example.

On the other hand, soft skills are the “traits” that make you a good worker and are not specific to a certain job. You may technically know how to do a job, but without knowing how to work within a team or knowing how to communicate well with others, employers may think you are not a good fit. Some of the top soft skills employers look for are communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. You can probably tell by now that soft skills have to do with how you “behave” in the workplace. If you’ve been in an interview before, you may have been asked how you react to conflict or how you respond when things don’t go to plan. With those questions, employers are trying to determine how you might interact with others as an employee.

When listing hard skills and soft skills on your resume for a specific job, it’s good practice to look at the job posting first. Employers often tell you exactly what skills they’re looking for in the job posting—both technical and soft skills. If it’s a posting for a job in healthcare, for example, it may say something like “Candidate should have a strong work ethic, be a team player, and have experience with EMRs.” In your resume then, to describe that you have experience being a team player, you might use an action word like “coordinated” or “managed”. For a strong work ethic, you might use action words like “initiated” or “improved”. With the help of our employment coaches, you can be on your way to scoring that interview and getting the job you want.  To get started, connect with our employment team by clicking here or by calling 317-639-6106.