Soft Skill vs Hard Skill: What are They and Their Difference?

Soft skill vs hard skill are qualities employees require in order to effectively perform their duties. In this article, we shall discuss soft and hard skills, differences, evaluation, measurement, and how to present them in a job interview.

soft skill vs hard skill

Distinguishing Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Employers frequently request a blend of hard and soft skills in job descriptions. Before we differentiate soft skills vs hard skills, we need to understand what soft skills and hard skills are.

Hard Skills

Hard skills, also referred to as technical skills, are specialized skills or training gained through learning, work experience, or education. For instance:

  • You will be familiar with a point-of-sale system if you’ve worked in food service or retail.
  • Working with Microsoft Excel if you’ve taken an accounting class will make you skilled in it. 
  • You should be able to speak a foreign language fluently if you have studied it.

Almost every job will require the acquisition of industry-specific technical skills. If you want to be an architect, for example, you must be able to use draft software. Architects are also required to be licensed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. 

Many industries have similar tests in place, requiring previous knowledge and skills that are necessary for career success. Other employers may be willing to teach specific technical skills on the job.

List of Some Hard Skills

The following are some of the most in-demand hard skills:

  • User interface design
  • Network security
  • Programming languages like Ruby, Javascript, Python
  • Statistical analysis
  • Storage systems and management
  • Bilingual or multilingual
  • Adobe software suite
  • Data mining
  • Marketing campaign management
  • Mobile development
  • SEO/SEM marketing
  • Database management

Soft Skills

Soft skills are behavioral patterns and characteristics that shape how you work, both independently and collaboratively. Many employers value effective communication as a key soft skill. Other qualities to consider include dependability, effective teamwork, and active listening.

Soft skills are crucial for your career and job hunting. While hard skills are required to perform technical tasks in the workplace, soft skills are required to create a healthy and productive work environment.

As a result, employers frequently seek candidates with showed soft and hard skills. Some employers might even favor candidates with a stronger set of soft skills over candidates with a strong set of hard skills, as soft skills can be more difficult to develop.

For example, you could be looking for a job in human resources but have no prior experience with data analysis tools. If you have references that can attest to the success of your soft skills, such as empathy, communication, and open-mindedness.

Some companies may choose you over another candidate whose hard skills are stronger but who lacks the same level of soft skills.

List of Some Soft Skill

The following are some of the most in-demand soft skills:

  • Dependability
  • Problem-solving
  • Willingness to learn
  • Organization
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Effective communication
  • Integrity
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Open-mindedness

Hard Skills and Soft Skills Developmentsoft skill vs hard skill

Employees gain hard skills through learning and on-the-job training, while soft skills are gained through a variety of lifelong personal and professional experiences.

Marketers, for example, can learn marketing tools and strategies by taking a marketing course, whereas athletes can improve their collaboration skills by joining a sports team.

Hard Skills and Soft Skills Measurement

Hard skills can be quantified and described using numerical or yes/no criteria soft skills, on the other hand, are frequently intangible or difficult to quantify and are typically described using qualitative scales. One salesperson, for example, could be:

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills Evaluation

Hard skills can be assessed using resumes, portfolios, job-related tasks, and role-specific interview questions.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are better evaluated by asking situational and behavioral interview questions, using soft skills questions and tests, and considering a candidate’s general personal traits as presented throughout the hiring process.

How to Highlight Your Skills During the Interview

When you reach the interview stage, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your soft skills and elaborate on your hard skills. A test or portfolio may be required to demonstrate your hard skills.

You can emphasize key soft skills by:

  • Attending the interview on time or early (punctuality or dependability)
  • Keeping visual contact (active listening)
  • When prompted, speak clearly (effective communication)
  • Responding truthfully to questions about your work history and experience (integrity)
  • Following-up questions (active listening)

You can emphasize your hard skills by:

  • Providing details about your training and experience
  • Offering a profile (digital or physical)
  • Answering technical work-related questions effectively
  • Asking follow-up questions about the job
  • Working efficiently through skill tests (if needed at the interview)

How to Add Hard and Soft Skills to Your Resume

When trying to update or create your resume, consider adding a “Skills” section that showcases your most relevant abilities to the position. This is particularly important for positions requiring specific technical skills.

Examine the job posting you’re applying for ideas on what to include and optimize in your skills section. Employers may look for hard and soft skills in the post’s “requirements,” “education,” or “desired skills” sections.

Both hard and soft skills are required for career success. Although people gain and develop these skills in a variety of ways, you can learn and improve both hard and soft skills before applying for jobs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hard skills are abilities that can be taught and measured, such as writing, reading, math, or the ability to use computer programs.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are the characteristics that make you a successful employee, such as etiquette, listening and communication and getting along with others.

Soft skills, also known as people skills, are the combination of social and interpersonal skills, personal qualities, and professional attitudes required by all jobs.

  • Empathy
  • Team Player Attitude
  • Work Ethic
  • Openness to Feedback
  • Growth Mindset
  • Active Listening
  • Adaptability
  • Marketing skills
  • Management skills
  • Computer skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Project management skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Microsoft Office skills
  • Technical skills

Multitasking is considered a soft skill. It is not something you learn or are trained to do in school. That makes them a little more difficult to highlight on a resume or cover letter.

What Exactly Is Public Speaking? Public speaking is a soft skill that necessitates strong communication skills, enthusiasm, and the capacity to engage an audience.

Hard skills are technical knowledge and training, whereas soft skills are personality traits like leadership, time management, and communication

Communication, teamwork, and other people skills are popular soft skills.

Soft skills are personality traits and interpersonal skills that define a person’s interactions with others.

The most effective way to demonstrate your soft and hard skills is to share stories from your previous experiences that directly relate to the job requirements.

When telling a story, begin by presenting the situation, then explain the task at hand, describe the actions you took, and conclude with the outcome.

This is known as the STAR technique and is a suitable way to present examples with structure that your interviewers will understand.

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