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Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What Are They and How to Incorporate Them Into Resumes and Interviews

by | Feb 15, 2021 | Productivity

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A hiring manager is looking for a candidate with hard skills and soft skills. Before you can display these skills, you need to know how to tell the difference in the skills.

Hard Skills

A man working on a laptop, using his hard skills.
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Hard skills are teachable and learnable, technical skills. They have typically learned with education like a degree or with certifications. They can also be developed with training. 

Examples of Hard Skills

Hard skills do vary on what industry you are in and job-specific. When filling out a job application, carefully go through the job description. Then, include skills that you possess. This helps a recruiter see that you are highly qualified. But, it will also assist you with the Applicant Tracking System. 

These are a few categories of hard skills:

1. Analytical skills

  • Data analysis
  • QuickBooks
  • Google Analytics

2. Certifications

  • Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional

3. Design skills

  • Website development
  • Graphic design
  • Computer programming

4. Management skills

  • Business development
  • Finance
  • Human Resources

5. Marketing skills

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing
  • Marketing campaign management

6. Microsoft Office skills

For this, you will want to highlight specifics. Microsoft Office is a common skill that most employees should have. But, for example, having skills like doing accounting in Microsoft Excel is a great hard skill to highlight on a resume and in an interview.  

7. Project Management skills

  • Logistics
  • Cost control

8. Language skills

  • Basic foreign language skills
  • Fluent foreign language

9. Writing skills

  • Copywriting
  • Editing

How to Show Hard Skills on a Resume

Hard skill sets should be very apparent on a resume. Most of them should be included in a bullet point underneath the corresponding work experience. Others can be put into a  skills section if they don’t fit under a specific job. 

Again, it is important to know which hard skills are required for a job. Know If you are missing a hard skill, you might automatically become ineligible for the position.

A hard skill example bullet point on a resume:

  • Composed 3 blog posts a week, with a focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by utilizing Clearscope and Yoast SEO tools.

This bullet point shows that the applicant has the hard skill of writing, especially with SEO. Then, it also includes the tools that are used to do that hard skill. 

How to Show Hard Skills in an Interview

Hard skills can be harder to demonstrate within an interview. But, come prepared with knowing examples of your hard skills and quantitative examples to back them up. 

In interviews, a hiring manager will ask you questions that are situational interview questions. Those questions will give you an opportunity to share your relevant skills. 

Soft Skills

Two co-workers communicating, using their soft skills.
Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

Soft skills are interpersonal skills. They typically are personality traits that someone already has. For some potential employers, soft skills are viewed as more valuable because they can show how you will fit into the company culture, work environment, and with your future co-workers. No job can train you to have these skills, they are more like the skills that your parents raised you to have. 

Examples of Soft Skills 

For soft skills, you want to showcase a variety of different types of skills.

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership
  • Dependability
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Responsibility
  • Work ethic
  • Problem-solving
  • Communicator
  • ​Flexibility
  • Team player
  • Work under pressure
  • Decisiveness

How to Show Soft Skills on a Resume

Tack soft skills in those bullet points. It is easier to demonstrate these in a cover letter and interview. 

A soft skill example bullet point on a resume:

  • Initiated online conversations about the company.

This bullet point shows that the applicant has the soft skill of communication. 

For more resume tips, tune into The Internship Show:

How to Show Soft Skills in an Interview

Soft skills should shine in the interview process. This is because it is best to show those soft skills, instead of telling. 

During an interview, a job seeker should show their soft skills of being professional, polite, courteous, positive attitude, and time management.

Then during the interview, show communication skills by actively listening, and asking good questions.

Then, your hard skills and soft skills should be further shown on both LinkedIn and in the cover letter. 

For more information about what to put on a resume and cover letter, and what to say in an interview, read more on the Scholars blog and on The Internship Show.

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.