If you have learned the basics about job applications, you already know how important hard skills are. But, just in case you didn’t or need some clearing up, let’s define the hard skills as a key piece of the getting a job puzzle.
What are Hard Skills?
Hard skills are one piece, an essential piece of the skill set employers request from their candidates in return for a job position. Such skills include expertise that can be proved and measured, are job-specific and therefore listed in the job descriptions.
Hard skills are what you acquire through training and education, such as educational programs in college, training classes, apprenticeships, certification programs, and even on-the-job training.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
In addition to the hard skills, employers also seek soft skills. Soft skills are the skills that let employees succeed in the workplace, while the hard skills are what prepares them to do the job and shows they are qualified for it. And while both are an absolute necessity for success in a workplace, the soft skills are much harder to master or quantify, and almost never taught in schools or educational programs.
Basically, the key difference between the two is that the hard skills can be learned in steps. Teaching hard skills is possible with a planned and defined process, and it is much simpler than teaching soft skills such as, let’s say, communicating with clients.
Soft skills are learned by practice and rote, but they also demand empathy and emotional intelligence. Once an employee masters both types, they can get a job and actually keep it, while succeeding on a professional level.
Types of Hard Skills
As we previously mentioned, hard skills include abilities and knowledge requested to succeed in a job. Soft skills are the tool that lets employees use those skills to a better effect. Both are important, but when it comes to applications and interviews, the hard skills are most commonly used to compare and select the better candidate.
The hard skills you have to use to land a job will depend on the job position and your experience. For example, if you plan to apply to work as a software developer, high skills would include knowledge of languages like C++, Java, PHP, etc. The soft skills will include teamwork and communication skills.
If you are applying to be a project manager, your hard skills will be certifications like PRINCE and PMP, knowledge of business analysis, as well as knowledge of different types of software. The soft skills will be leadership, communication, decision-making, problem-solving, etc.
And although the hard skills depend on the position and the requirements of the potential employer, there are common hard skills that apply to different fields. So, even if basic computer skills aren’t requested in a job posting for a high-tech industry position, it is definitely something you should include in your application.
How to Choose?
When you start considering which hard skills to include in a resume, the first thing you need to do is check the job description. Here you will find the required qualifications in the form of technical skills, certificates and degrees. These are a must-include in your application, but that doesn’t limit you to it.
Of course, you don’t have to go overboard and include everything you have done so far, every hard skill you possess. This is very wrong and can ruin your chances at landing a job. Employers are interested in job-specific skills, not just any hard or soft skills.
So, your focus should be placed on the most relevant skills. If you don’t have a clear idea as to what these skills might include in addition to the requested skill set in the job posting, you might want to look into similar postings and see what is listed there.
Here are some steps that will help you in the process of choosing and using your hard skills to get a job:
- Look at the skills listed in the job requirements and look for them in your skill set. Include everything you have with a description of how you obtained it, as well as proof that you have it.
- Highlight the skills that aren’t specifically listed in the job requirement, but are a close match and you have them in your skill set. Don’t be afraid to go beyond one job posting and look for information in others.
- Research the employer and their company to see what they are looking for. Not every employer includes all the information you need regarding the hard skills. Look into what they might want and include that in your resume, too.
Once you go through these steps, you can finalize the resume with the highest possible chance at impressing your employer. Don’t forget – the way you handle your application can make the difference between whether you land an interview and a job or not.