Hard Skills Versus Soft Skills on Your Resume

Hard Skills Versus Soft Skills on Your Resume

A resume presents combination examples of what you will be like as an employee and who you are as a person. Detailed examples of your skills sets are written throughout your resume under two categories of titles. Hard skills & soft skills are these two categories, but what is the difference between the two?

Hard skills illustrate the ways in which you are particularly suited for the job. Soft skills illustrate the way your personality, and who you are as a person help you fit into a work environment profile. Soft skills also show prospective employers how hiring you will benefit the company, including how you are capable of adding to its growth and success potentials. 

What are the three main types of soft skills an employer values in prospective candidates? How do you develop hard skills specifically suited for your job of choice? Read ahead for an informative guide on hard versus soft skills and how they are important to your resume today.

Understanding Hard Skills

Hard skills are specific and particular skill sets pursuant to the job for which you are applying. Hard skills are also necessary to obtain the job for which you are applying unless the position involves unique on-job training. For example, when applying for a job as an accountant it is required you are capable of operating specific types of accounting software and also have a comprehensive knowledge of tax laws. 

Acquiring the hard skill of tax law comprehension does not lend itself to on-job-training. Tax law studies require advanced education but learning the latest accounting software program might be part of your on-job (and paid) training. Hard skills are most often acquired through college, university and/or certificate programs. 

Vocational technical schools (Vo-Tech) also teach hard skills, as do free online training sites such as Coursera. A list of several job positions and relevant hard skills required (with links to the best places/schools to obtain them) includes:

  • Human Resources Manager – labor laws, leadership & ethics at Cornell University.
  • Cyber Security Agent – emergency management, computer skills/coding & threat assessment at George Washington University.
  • Electrician – mathematics, electrical theory & schematics at Delta Technical School. 
  • Music Therapist – music theory, human development & psychology at Berklee College of Music.
  • Registered Nurse – infection control, catheterization, patient Care/assessment at Johns Hopkins University.

Understanding Soft Skills

Soft skills, also referred to as interpersonal (people) skills, pertain to your personality and qualities as an individual. Soft skills also refer to who you are as a person and how you interact with other people. Leadership and communication skills also qualify as important soft skills highly sought after by employers in 2021. 

Are you punctual and reliable? Both of those traits are valuable soft skills. Are you creative with a strong will to learn/be taught? Creativity and willingness to learn are also valued soft skills in today’s job market. Organizational and problem-solving abilities are important soft skills for almost every job as well. 

Integrity, open-mindedness, dependability, adaptability, empathy, a sense of ethics and a proclivity for teamwork are all integral soft skills to possess when competing for jobs in 2021.

Why Hard and Soft Skills Matter

You might be the most qualified person for a job based on your specific and hard skill sets. What if you prefer to work alone/unsupervised but the job for which you are applying has constant oversight and collaboration requirements? What if your personality completely suits the working environment but your hard skills do not meet necessary qualifications? 

Certain employers will overlook some hard skill deficits if your soft skills are extremely strong, especially if on-the-job training is provided. Other employment situations might overlook soft skill set deficits if your hard skills are highest among candidates. For example, perhaps the working environment is not reliant on leadership qualities or an ability to work collaboratively with other employees every day.

Knowing how to balance the presentation of hard versus soft skills on your resume is integral to getting the job you are pursuing. The importance of doing this properly cannot be overstated. Effectively listing hard versus soft skills might be relative to each different job for which you apply, however. This means potentially altering your resume to fit each job/company profile. What if you are new to creating resumes? High-quality resume writing services are available to help today.

New to Resumes? – Find Resume Writing Help Today

If you are new to drafting resumes it might be beneficial to hire a third-party professional resume writing service. Costs for these services range from approximate $100 to $1,000+ depending on the type of resume and career field applicable. Top resume writing services in 2021 include:

  • Monster.
  • Great Resumes Fast. 
  • Let’s Eat, Grandma. 
  • Top Resume. 
  • ZipJob Executive Resume Service. 

Hard vs. Soft Skills – How-To Resume Tips

Employers seek the right balance between hard and soft skills in all new candidates. What is the right balance? The answer to this question varies with each employer and job position. Some helpful tips on how to use and include hard & soft skills on your resume to your advantage include:

  • Add a specific skills section to your resume.
  • Research the job/company thoroughly to understand if hard or soft skills are most important to the employer/position.
  • Mention your most applicable relevant skills in your cover letter.
  • Only include skills relevant to the job position/company.
  • Hybrid skills are increasingly important to 2021 employers – find out which ones you possess and emphasize them in your resume.
  • Also discuss your hard/soft skills during your interview.

Interesting Note on Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

 A point-counterpoint mindset exists regarding hard skills. One-point states no person is born with hard skills and they are all acquired via training/experience. The counterpoint is some people are born with natural inclinations for certain hard skills just as they are soft skills. 

Some people are born with natural aptitudes for hard skills such as music, math and more. Others are born with natural empathy and leadership ability (soft skills). Soft skills have been in increasing demand since the early 1980s to the point where fifty-seven percent of employers now value them over hard skills. 

Regardless of mindset, balancing soft vs. hard skills carefully on your resume helps you get the job you desire.

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