Hard Skills and Soft Skills


When looking for a job, many candidates emphasize their hard skills. This means technical knowledge usually obtained in a classroom or training program. It might require a degree or certificate of completion. Hard skills include subjects like science, technology, language, mechanics, engineering, math, law, or computer programming.

Candidates put hard skills on their resume and in a cover letter to show subject matter expertise. Hard skills stand out to employers as they review applications for appropriate qualifications, but it’s not the only thing that gets you noticed for a job.

In addition to hard skills, it’s important to highlight your soft skills. This means people skills and other transferrable traits. Think of it as the skills you can take with you to any job. Are you organized or a good communicator or a creative thinker? You can count those as soft skills.

In many ways, soft skills are the exact opposite of hard skills. They don’t come with a certificate of achievement and are consequently more abstract. You’ll find that many soft skills must be defined on your own terms in accordance with your personality. Hard skills can be professionally taught, while soft skills often require self-learning.

So, why are soft skills important? They show employers your work ethic and that you can interact well with other people. Imagine you are great with computers, but you aren’t a good listener. Or you can fix a car, but you aren’t organized. Candidates who demonstrate competency in both hard skills and soft skills stand out as ideal. You’re seen as someone who knows the trade and knows how to succeed on a team.

Need more examples of soft skills? Click here for additional definitions and ways to incorporate them into your job search. Stop by a no-cost Goodwill Career Center and ask a career advisor for help. Call 602-535-4444 to find a center near you and get started. Good luck with your job search!

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