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What Is The Difference Between Soft Skills And Hard Skills?

We might be familiar with the words soft skills and hard skills but do we really understand the difference between soft skills and hard skills?

When considering new hires, many companies look first to see if that employee has the practical knowledge to do the job. After all, you wouldn’t hire a chef to draw a building plan, would you? However, while the hard skills are important, savvy companies know that excellent employees have another skillset that may be harder to cultivate which is the soft skills. 

To get a decent job, with a high package an individual must possess hard skills and soft skills because that’s the most important thing to crack the interview in the first attempt itself.

But do you know that as much as hard skills are important to increase the value of your resume, soft skills are important to make a difference between you and the rest of the candidates applying for the job?

How an employee responds to various situations, mainly depends on these two skills. Below, the difference between soft skills and hard skills is vividly explained.

Hard skills are teachable and measurable abilities, such as writing, reading, math or ability to use computer programs.

Soft skills on the other hand are the traits that make you a good employee, such as etiquette, communication and listening, getting along with other people. 

The Difference Between Soft Skills And Hard Skills

Hard skills are job-related competencies and abilities that are necessary to complete work, while soft skills are personal qualities and traits that impact how you work. Hard skills are often applicable to a certain career; soft skills are transferable to any type of job.

Hard skills help you identify candidates who are good on paper, whereas soft skills indicate which of these candidates are good in person, too. This means that you need a good mix of hard and soft skills in every employee so that they can be successful in their role.

Hard skills, also called technical skills, are job-specific, relevant to each position and seniority level. In other words, each position in every company will require a unique hard skills list. For example, an accountant needs to know how to reconcile bank statements, while that knowledge is unnecessary for a developer.

At the same time, reconciliation is important for accountants no matter their level of experience, but preparing business budgets is a skill that’s not usually required of a junior accountant.

Soft skills are general characteristics, relevant to personality traits. Some soft skills you’d like to see in all employees regardless of their position or expertise, while other soft skills make sense in certain jobs and are less important in others.

For example, if you value collaboration in your company, you want to hire employees who are great team players and can communicate well with others.

On the other hand, networking and relationship-building skills might be essential for sales and marketing roles, but irrelevant for engineering roles. Likewise, leadership abilities make sense for people who’ll manage a team no matter their department.

Examples of hard skills include:
  • Classroom management
  • Video production
  • Carpentry 
  • Search engine optimization
  • Budgeting
  • Project management 
  • Engineering
  • Copywriting
  • Data mining
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Basically Hard skills are more professional in nature.

Examples of soft skills include:
  • Teamwork
  • Critical thinking
  • Integrity
  • Adaptability
  • Professionalism 
  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Dependability
  • Empathy
  • Organization  

Other examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Punctuality
  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to “read a room”
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Time management
  • Multitasking
  • Attention to detail
  • Responsibility
  • Strategic thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Good decision making
  • Conflict resolution
  • Innovation
  • Social skills
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity

HR would often times refer to these soft skills as peoples skills, this is because they help foster a productive relationship between and among people. These skills help us to relate well with customers and employees.