Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

When it comes to your CV, not all skills are created equal…

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, you’ll likely have a list of attributes which you can use to help you stand out from other candidates. The difficulty is knowing which ones employers really want to see – and learning how to include them effectively in your CV.

To help you add value to your applications, here’s a quick guide to hard skills and soft skills, and how using both of them together could help you land your ideal job:


What are hard skills?

Hard skills are specific abilities which help people carry out different jobs.

They’re teachable, meaning that you can develop them through dedicated training. And, for some careers, certain hard skills will be considered prerequisites.


Examples of hard skills

Hard skills are usually related to a particular field, and require specific knowledge in order for them to be gained.

Some of the most common examples of hard skills include:

  • A degree (or other academic qualification)
  • An industry specific certification
  • Coding ability
  • Foreign language skills
  • Typing speed
  • SEO marketing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Computer skills
  • Proofreading


How to show hard skills on your CV

The great thing about hard skills is that they’re easy to back up.

In many cases, these are exactly the attributes recruiters scan your CV for and, depending on the role you’re applying for, they can be considered absolute necessities.

To demonstrate them effectively, always place an emphasis on the ones that have been picked out in the job description, and structure your CV around your strongest skills.


What are soft skills?

Soft skills are self-developed attributes, that aren’t specific to a particular role.

They’re usually picked up through your life and work experiences, meaning no training is needed to build them. And because they can be applied to a number of roles, soft skills are in demand in a wide range of different industries.

What are soft skills?


Examples of soft skills

Soft skills are a combination of many different things, including social skills, character traits and employment qualities.

Some of the most common examples of soft skills include:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Problem solving
  • A good work ethic
  • Team working
  • Adaptability
  • Perseverance
  • Communication skills


How to show soft skills on your CV

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are difficult to prove – especially when it comes to your CV.

However, the most effective applications will always use practical examples to show times soft skills have actually been put into use.

In other words, saying you have good leadership skills is not enough to prove them to an employer. But saying you have good leadership skills, and demonstrated them when you completed a particular task, will be much more effective.

The job description will provide you with a good list of the skills your prospective is after. So always tailor your application to include some of the headline characteristics.

And if you struggle to think of good examples, the STAR technique is a great way to get started.


Hard skills vs. soft skills

Contrary to popular belief, hard skills alone won’t be enough to help you get the role.

Although they’re a great way to show your technical ability to recruiters, there are many other things it’s important for a jobseeker to have, in order for them to fit within the organisation.

The truth is, demonstrating a good combination of hard skills and soft skills is absolutely vital if your CV is going to be successful. That way, employers know you’re not only practically well-equipped to deal with a role, but also that you’ll be able to work well within their team and deal with other important elements of the job.

Remember: you could have all the technical qualifications in the world. But without the right mindset, you still might not be a recruiter’s perfect match.



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