What Are Hard Skills?
In today’s resume, there are more sections to complete than just education and work experience and the fact is that the more skillsets you can include within your resume, the higher your chance of becoming a prime candidate for whatever job you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a digital marketing position, someone with a well-rounded resume that includes social media marketing as well as traditional marketing, technical market research and having worked in a field that requires high communicative skills will definitely be a better fit than someone who has graduated university with a degree in Mass Communication and has a few retail or food and beverage job experiences.
With that said, it can sometimes be confusing to pinpoint which skills should go under which heading on a resume, so we’re here to help you sort that out. We have already thoroughly covered the definition of soft skills and provided examples of the most coveted abilities that fall under this category.
The Definition of Hard Skills
If you look at examples of skills in a resume and notice how they are listed, you’ll likely see that they are divided into two sections, hard skills and soft skills.
But what are hard skills? And how can they help you find a job in your desired field? Let's take a look.
Hard skills are job-specific skill sets or expertise that enable one to do a particular job.
They're also known as technical skills and they may involve the use of tools, software and systems that help you get your job done faster and more efficiently.
Soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify than hard skills. They may be hard to identify because they're subjective qualities that aren't always easily put into words (for example: "communication" or "leadership").
Hard skills are specific, teachable, and measurable abilities that can be defined and evaluated. Some examples include the ability to use computer programs such as Microsoft Word, proficiency in different languages, or do complex math calculations.
Hard skills are typically acquired either through education or experience in the workplace. If you’re looking for work, you’ll find that appropriate hard skills for each position are normally listed in the job description.
Top Hard Skills Useful for Most Job Seekers
While soft skills—like problem-solving and communication—are important for every career, hard skills are the foundation upon which success is built. Below we break down some of the most coveted abilities for most industries.
Analytical skills are the ability to think in a logical, clear and organized manner to find solutions to problems. They are associated with the left side of your brain—a place where analytical thinking is processed. This means that you're able to identify problems, find solutions and break down large tasks into smaller ones.
Analytical skills enable you to work with numbers and data as well as make informed decisions based on these numbers. The more solid your analytical skills are, the better prepared you'll be for any job where data is involved.
For example, an accountant needs analytical skills in order to solve complex financial problems for clients, or a teacher needs analytical skills when designing lesson plans for students.
While this may seem like a soft skill whereby some people are naturally more analytical than others, analytical skills can be learned via self-help books or courses. Furthermore, mathematics and critical thinking modules can also help boost one’s analytical skills.
Computer skills are an important part of most jobs today. Most employers expect you to have some basic level of computer literacy, but many will also require you to have a higher level of technical expertise.
Computer skills vary widely—some people simply have a general understanding of how computers work while others have advanced knowledge of specific software applications or programming languages like HTML or Python.
Being able to develop websites and applications is definitely a hard skill that is in high demand in today’s job market. As these skills can be applied to a wide range of industries, whether you’re in logistics or beauty, they will give applicants a leg up if they have some form of official training or prior experience with app or website development. And this is especially so since the workplace has evolved, and employees are applauded for being able to wear more than one hat at a time. Specializing in a certain niche may be great, but having diverse skill sets that complement each other is ideal.
Management skills are important for almost any job. Managers are responsible for the work of others, so they need to be good at planning and organizing. They also need to motivate people, manage time and budgets and hire or fire employees.
However, these skills can be useful even if you’re not interested in a managerial position, as they can help you plan effectively and efficiently in any role.
Marketing skills include the ability to create and implement marketing plans, the ability to create and execute marketing campaigns, the ability to analyse market research, the ability to write effective marketing copy, and the ability to sell products or services.
Marketing skills are a must for any job in sales, marketing, and advertising. The ability to create and manage campaigns that generate leads, measure results and analyse data for success or failure is crucial for these professions.
Many other industries rely on marketing skills as well. For example, public relations and communications professionals need to be able to communicate the needs of their clients to the public through marketing strategies such as press releases or events.
Writing skills are essential for many jobs. If you're in a position that requires writing—whether it's writing emails, reports, or other documents—the better your writing skills are, the more likely you'll be to get ahead at work.
Writing is also useful in many professions outside of the corporate world. Even if you don't need to write a lot at your job, it's always good to have an outlet for expressing yourself and connecting with others.
There are many hard skills that can help you in your job search. If you have any of these abilities, make sure to list them on your resume and mention them during interviews so that hiring managers know how much potential you have!
About the Author
Craig Lebrau is the CMO of Media Insider, a Wyoming-based PR company that aims to disrupt the way companies communicate their brand in the digital era.