Hard skills: definition, resume tips, and examples

There are many aspects that every employer considers when hiring new workers. And among these aspects, hard abilities take a special place. If you want to get a job, you need to show and prove that you have these abilities. And now you wonder how to do it. That's why we're here – to help you demonstrate your hard skills in your summary in the best possible way and make the potential employer consider your candidacy.

At first, let's consider whether there is a difference between hard and soft skills. As you might have already guessed, these two abilities are not the same. So what exactly distinguishes them from each other? While hard abilities represent generic knowledge, tools, or techniques that can be applied in a variety of different situations, soft skills are specific to the individual, interpersonal or business relationships.

For example, if you are an office clerk, your hard skill would be to operate MS Excel and Word for all sorts of tasks related to your job duties. However, if you are applying for a managerial position, it is better to highlight your soft skills such as leadership, conflict management, or strong communication.

The good news is that both abilities can be developed, so you always have a chance to show your best features.

Having made this distinction let's turn to the specifics of each type of skill.

Definition of soft skills

Communication skills: this type of ability is one of the most common in job descriptions. If you want to be a leader and shine among your colleagues, you need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills that can help you communicate with people clearly, not letting anyone misunderstand or get offended.

And then there are negotiation skills. It's another useful tool that every employee has to master to finish his/her tasks successfully.

Teamwork is also important for any company. If you are able to work as part of a team, it means that you are willing to cooperate with others for creating something bigger or achieving a certain goal. A person who works alone usually gets less done than a group of employees at once because it is simply impossible for them to know everything and do everything. And finally, people skills. You need it to get along with everyone at the workplace. It is a crucial skill that will help you avoid conflicts and misunderstandings and even make new friends!

Definition of hard skills

Hard skills are usually taught in colleges and universities. However, they may also appear out of an individual's personal life experience. For example, having lived abroad or having experience working in several countries would mean that you have better communication skills. This is because you learn how to interact with people from different cultures. If there is one thing employers love looking for when hiring new employees it's experiences like these. The more value candidates offer apart from their technical knowledge, the greater their chances are to get hired by the given company.

It is advisable to list your hard abilities in the summary of your resume as well as highlight them throughout your CV. There are many ways to do it, but we recommend you follow these two basic principles:

  • Try to write down what you can do and what you already did (if there is a need for this). Do not make empty promises, though! Be honest and objective.
  • Identify what specific skills or techniques will be useful for this particular position. Do not mention things that may only sound good, but won't meet the requirements written in the job announcement.

So, if you are applying for the position of an office clerk or a junior manager, it is better to focus on your word processing skills and MS Office programs expertise. If you want to make a good impression on the recruiter, spend some time thinking of what kind of tasks these programs can be used for in this specific company. And mention every case when you have successfully applied these abilities on your resume. You may also add that you know how to use other popular programs such as Google Docs, Adobe InDesign, or Photoshop. This way you will demonstrate that your computer knowledge goes beyond basic applications.

Let's figure out what hard abilities signify. They refer to abilities that help us complete specific job tasks and obligations. There're many ways to acquire hard abilities – training, various courses, formal studies, certifications, etc. Generally, they're oriented on specific objectives and processes and comprise the use of particular instruments and software.

Besides, in some cases, hard competencies can point to the comprehensive experience on a particular subject (like finance, for example). To know the required hard abilities, you need to read the qualifications or demands sections in the job description.

Compared to soft abilities, hard ones have one advantage – they show your objective experience on a specific topic. Soft competencies, generally, have a more subjective nature, and you can prove them only during a personal interview and the job process. To the soft abilities, such skills as communication, creativity, and time management refer. The hard competencies include knowing languages skills, working with various programs or software, specific job abilities, etc.

One exciting thing about the hard competencies is that people underestimate them and don't mention them in their summaries. And it's a big mistake. So, when making a resume, you should definitely think about your hard abilities and include them. Yes, it's necessary to tell about your professional career, your past workplaces, and the obligations you've performed. But it's more important to say what experience and hard competencies you've acquired on your past job or during the studies, and how they've helped you reach the goal.

So, like the soft abilities, hard ones are also categorized into some types. Let's look at them:

  • Dealing with computers – Today, it's a must-have ability but what's more important is a level of this ability. What matters here is your computer programming skill, completing technical work, or certification in some programs necessary for the company. This competence includes such abilities as dealing with MS Office, banking, graphic design, bookkeeping, working with social media, etc.
  • Technical abilities – With these competencies, you can make friends with computers better and become a great specialist in the information technology sphere. These abilities also refer to sciences and engineering. Generally, jobs with technical capabilities require specialized knowledge. For this purpose, the workers need to be trained in such spheres as Cloud Computing, STEM, coding languages (like HTML or JavaScript), Prototyping, etc.
  • Administrating competencies – To be a great administrator, you need to have dealing-with-people abilities. But hard skills also play a significant role here. If you want to be a great manager, you need to acquire the following hard abilities – business analysis, scheduling, office and project administration, logistics, sales, etc.
  • Marketing abilities – For a long time, marketing has been a fast-growing business, and the Internet brought some changes there – it gave a lot of marketing vacancies and jobs. And every employer looks for different marketing abilities in their future worker. When making a summary, you should carefully read the job requirements and include only those hard abilities the employer requires. To marketing competencies, such capabilities as marketing research, Google analytics, social media marketing and promotion, content administration, and others relate.
  • Analytical competencies – Nowadays, correct and proper data analysis skills are more precious than ever. The job market is full of vacancies with required analytical competencies. If you have such abilities as analytics, data administration, engineering or mining, or diagnostic, the employer needs to know about them, and you should definitely include them in your resume.
  • Writing abilities – It does not matter in what sphere you work; you need to know how to express your thought in written form. You need to know how to write an e-mail, share your ideas, and prepare reports or summaries. The group of writing competencies includes the following abilities – written translation, reporting, technical and proposal writing, content administration, press announces and releases, SEO, etc.
  • Design capabilities – If you have some primary design abilities, you'll be an interesting candidate for almost any position (yes, we're not joking). They comprise knowing of various design programs, like Adobe Photoshop, Canva, Corel Draw, InDesign, Video Making, etc.
  • Accounting abilities – Whether you're in the office calculating money or selling some products to your clients, you need to have these abilities, even on the primary level. These abilities are the following – banking operations, Excel knowledge, data modeling and analysis, accounting, and others.
  • Job-specific competencies – Not all jobs have the same hard abilities that we've described above. For example, if you're a doctor, you don't need to have design or marketing competencies. So, if you choose the concrete profession, you need to dedicate all your time and develop those hard abilities necessary for this job.

 Now we've got closer to the part of including hard abilities in summary. How to do it? Read, and you'll know:

  • Carefully read the job description and pay attention to the required hard abilities. If you have half of the required competencies, bravely apply and find the courses to develop those abilities that you don't have.
  • List all hard competencies you have, even if they're not relevant to the required ones
  • Coincide your abilities with those mentioned in the vacancy description. You're a perfect worker if you can coincide all your hard abilities with those from the job description. In case you find only two or three competencies that match together, look at your list and try to find similar ones.
  • Take all certifications you have and include them in your summary.
  • Make an ability section in your summary. You can do it in various forms, like listing several essential abilities or naming some competencies and describing them in detail.
  • Give good examples that demonstrate your hard abilities.
  • Use the keywords. For example, if you're applying for a content manager position, don't simply name the job. We recommend using the keywords to describe your experience and ability in this sphere. If you know how to work with Facebook or Tik Tok, you should definitely include it in your summary.

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