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Hard skills are the quantifiable abilities and skills that enable you to do your job. Unlike soft skills which are more centered on intangible abilities that impact how you approach work and interact with others, hard skills are technical skills for your resume that showcase your professional know-how. It is crucial to display that you have the right hard skills when applying for a job. If you do not, it is unlikely that hiring managers will take steps and contact you for an interview. Each job will have its own set of hard skills associated with it.
While both skill sets are beneficial to a resume, hard skills and soft skills represent different types of techniques that are required to function properly in a working environment. Hard skills show you’re great for a specific job or know how to complete a certain task. They are skills with a provable outcome or point of completion. Soft skills are part of your personality and display how you can interact with others to help achieve common goals. If you’re looking for more information on soft skills employers look for, such as time management, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, adaptability, leadership and a strong work ethic, visit our soft skills page.
Grounded in what people learn, usually through work experience. They are focused on a specific task and can be taught more easily. To develop hard skills you can take courses to learn new skills or develop the skills you already have. Each role you apply for will have different skill set requirements but they will be needed to perform a specific task.
refer to personality traits, social competencies, knowledge and abilities used to perform interpersonal activities. These skills revolve heavily around interacting with others and are harder to teach as they are heavily linked to an individual’s personality but represent in demand competences like leadership, communication, strategic thinking and problem solving.
The best way to get better at crafting your resume is to learn to analyze, describe and group your best skills. Below we have selected and grouped these 30 in-demand hard skills organized under 10 major categories you are likely to see in current job descriptions. For each category below you’ll also find links to our resume examples pages, which give you a good idea of how to feature these skills in a resume.
The types of skills for a resume that show you’re qualified and successful to do the job will depend on the industry you are applying for, while there are many transferable skills that can work across different fields you need to feature the hard skills that best fit the job in order to attract potential employers. If you are unsure which of your hard skills best suit your job search, there are a few things you can do:
One of the most important things you can do to figure out what hard skills you need to highlight or improve upon is to look at current job postings in your industry and make a list of the common key hard skills you come across. Featuring these skills in your completed resume is key, as your document will likely be scanned through a company’s specific applicant tracking software (ATS) system and scored against whether you fit the basic qualifications for application. If your hard skills address the job posting, you will be more likely to catch the eye of hiring managers which is why bulleted and custom skills sections are important along with having an easy-to-read document.
While your resume should be specifically designed to prove to employers that you have the qualifications they are looking for, just listing your skills isn’t going to accomplish that. Throughout your resume, provide evidence for key hard skills. For example in your work history section you can use metrics (like dollar amounts, percents and number of people managed) to show the impact of your skills, like so:
Your resume, just like your on the job skills will evolve as your career grows so it’s important to customize your document to fit your needs. Whether you’re using a chronological, combination or functional resume you should create a skills section to showcase your proficiencies. For example, in a functional resume, you can create several skills sections grouped around major skills, such as languages, software or specified equipment. For further assistance in finding the best way to format your resume look at our resume examples for specific jobs as a guide to help you come up with the best resume skills section for your job search.
Integrating relevant hard skills doesn’t have to only be done through your bulleted skills list. While an ATS may be the first entity to scan your resume, a recruiter or hiring manager will also consider your application and getting their attention quickly is a must. The best way to do this is to hook them with relevant skills right from the beginning in your summary or resume objective, like this: Driven and ambitious sales professional with a proven history of team leadership and achieving high client satisfaction. Seeking a sales manager position with a fast-growing technology company.
Creating unique sections on your resume for your specific awards, special skills, training or certifications, not only provide an easy way for hiring managers to verify your skills but also shows you are willing to invest time and effort in your professional development and that you are up-to-date with the latest trends in your field. For inspiration, consider listing trainings or relevant affiliations (in reverse chronological order) like so:
Whatever your skill set is, it’s likely that you’ve been practicing your specialty for a long time. Whether it’s knowing how to eloquently respond to work correspondence or being able to perform monthly inventory counts, skills take practice and coordination. The same applies to any new skills you want to learn. Being able to develop and back up your most important hard skills in your resume is a major advantage, as recruiters will often prioritize those who have official qualifications. If you are trying to develop more resume-worthy skills, here are a couple things you can do:
Hard skills are technical skills that concern your ability to do something, while soft skills are non-quantifiable skills that concern how you do things. For example, speaking a second language is a hard skill, while having good conflict resolution abilities would be classified as a soft skill.
Your best soft and hard skills are determined by the evidence you can provide (training, experiences) that confirms how strong those skills are, and how relevant they are to the specific job your want. Assess the job description and the relevant skills you have in order to figure out which are the best to feature, and give these skills priority in your resume or cover letter.
Don’t be surprised if you get this question (or a similar one) in a job interview. To answer, you should present a combination of soft and hard skills, following the same tips outlined above to determine the best skills to mention. Use the STAR method (situation, task, action, result) to show you’ve used these skills at work. For more tips, see our soft and hard skills page.
There is no hard and fast limit to the number of hard skills you can put on your resume as long as they are relevant to the job description you are applying for, although we usually recommend listing 8-10 skills at most and if you have a range of specific competencies like you can speak many languages, heaven array of software experience or are familiar with a lot of computer programs you can create a custom skills section for your resume that just lists those specific items.
Hard skills are specific competencies, skills, knowledge and abilities needed to perform a specific task or role. They can be learned through education and professional development and also can be taught to others. Usually, they are quantifiable and easily measurable as these types of skills are centered around knowing how to perform a task and not around interpersonal interactions. Hard skills can involve managing information, using numbers, solving problems, presenting data, and using a particular craft or program.
Discovering what your top skills are takes a bit of reflection and maybe a little help from friends or colleagues. As you think about your past working experiences, find the common attributes like if you keep being selected to lead projects or train new team members then leadership, organization and communication are the qualities that your management team and coworkers are seeing the most when working with you. If you are tasked with answering a lot of job based questions, system repairs or developing training materials then you may be more skilled at the particular hard skills relevant to your job like copywriting, troubleshooting, technical software and project management.
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