Hard skills are job-specific and typically relate to the technical skills that you acquire through education. Every classmate will have the same hard skills. So how do you differentiate yourself in a job application?
The answer lies in the way you present your whole self in your job application. It will do you no good at all to simply state that you have the hard skills that the employer is looking for. So will every other job applicant!
By presenting your full skills set including your hard and soft skills, personality type, core values, and job attributes you will be providing an employer with a complete snapshot of your suitability for the role. Understanding and describing your hard skills is not enough.
Of course it should go without saying that you must still list your hard skills in your resume and cover letter, preferably in the order that they appear in the job advertisement. And you should provide examples of how you can demonstrate using those hard skills on the job.
But the point is, that is not enough to demonstrate your suitability for the role.
Is Understanding Hard Skills Enough?
Understanding hard skills means defining the skills that you have acquired through formal education and training programs, including college, apprenticeships, short-term training classes, online courses, and certification programs, as well as on-the-job training.
Conversely, soft skills are attributes and personality traits that impact interpersonal interactions and productivity. While different, they are equally as important as hard skills in the workforce, and in your job application.
Both hard skills and soft skills are important in the workplace, and the top skills employers look for will depend on what the employer is seeking for a particular position.
The main difference between hard skills and soft skills is that hard skills can usually be taught in a series of concrete steps. From an instructor’s or a manager’s perspective, teaching someone how to code is a more easily defined process than teaching them to listen and communicate effectively with a client.
Soft skills are typically people-oriented skills and they can’t be learned by rote. They involve emotional intelligence and empathy, which often makes them more complicated to impart to a student.
The bottom line is that both technical skills and soft skills are important to career readiness. Once you have both, you’ll be able to do your job well in the real world, where it’s essential to know what you’re talking about—and be able to talk about it so that other people can understand.
To unpack your hard and soft skills, and learn how to apply them to a successful job application, enrol for the Successful Graduate Course today.