What are Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

Thelisa LavergneSo really… what is all the fuss about? Why is it so important for applicants to have both skills set: Hard and Soft Skills? How much does it really matter in the work place? I am glad you asked! But, let’s start by differentiating between the two skills sets; Hard and Soft Skills.

What are Hard Skills? Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. Typically, you’ll learn hard skills in the classroom, through books or other training materials, or on the job.

Examples of Hard Skills:

  • Typing speed
  • Foreign Language (i.e. Ability to interpret and translate)
  • Computer Programming (i.e. Coding)
  • Machine Operator (i.e. Final product outcome)

While certain hard skills are necessary for any position, employers increasingly look for job applicants with particular soft skills. This is because, while it is easy for an employer to train a new employee in a particular hard skill (such as how to use a certain computer program), it is much more difficult to train an employee in a soft skill (such as patience).

So, how do you showcase your skills, particularly soft skills which are more difficult to quantify? Incorporate both your soft and hard skills into your resume, cover letter, and especially during a job interview. During the job application process, you should therefore be sure to emphasize both your hard and soft skills. For example, if the job involves working on a number of group projects, be sure to emphasize your experience, skill as a team player and your ability to communicate with others.

What are Soft Skills? Soft skills relate to a set of skills that an individual possess, which makes him or her a good employee, no matter where they work or what type of job they do. If we were to simplify the definition, we could say that soft skills define the type of person you are; qualities, attitudes, beliefs, personal habits, and non-verbal and verbal behaviors. It is these type of skills that determine whether a person is easy to work with, valuable contributing member of a team, someone who has a strong work ethic and will get the job done. It is someone who possess these skills that an employers are more likely to hire.

According to a recent research study from LinkedIn, revealed that hiring managers are having trouble finding employees with the right soft skills for 59 percent of their open jobs. “Hard skills vary based on the job, but soft skills are required for every job,” Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn, wrote on the company’s blog. “That makes soft skills extremely valuable.”

The 10 Most In-Demand Soft Skills are:

  1. Strong Work Ethic
  2. Positive Attitude
  3. Team Player
  4. Problem Solver
  5. Critical Thinking
  6. Time Management
  7. Flexibility
  8. Motivation
  9. Ability to Communicate
  10. Leadership

The LinkedIn study found that soft skills are more in-demand in some industries than others. The industries where soft skills are most valued are:

  • Restaurants
  • Professional training
  • Consumer services
  • Retail
  • Sports
  • Hospitality
  • Human resources
  • Facilities services
  • Civic and social organizations
  • Management consulting

Be sure to make every opportunity to display both your hard and soft skills during the entire job search process and it will pay off!

Reference:
The 10 Most In Demand Soft Skills by Chad Brooks, Business News Daily, Senior Writer, August 31, 2016

Thelisa Lavergne is a member of the Regional (Texas Gulf Coast) Navigator team for Workforce Solutions. She specializes in providing training and education to the Gulf Coast community, career staff offices, and employers in assisting individuals with disabilities. She brings with her over 10 years of experience and expertise working in the nonprofit industry serving Houston’s disadvantaged community; individuals and families experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, and individuals and families experiencing hunger. However, her greatest contribution to Workforce Solutions is her compassion, commitment, and dedication to serving others. She holds a M.A. in Organizational Management, a B.S. in Training and Development, B.S. in Counseling, and a Certification as a Personal Fitness Trainer.



%d bloggers like this: