Soft and Hard Skills in Your Resume
Your resume is your personal showcase and your skills should be emphasized in it for a potential employer. The skills you add and how you include them can make the difference between going to the next stage and being rejected. We always hear hard and soft skills, but what are these and how should you present them in your CV? Let's have a look.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are personal characteristics that can be transferred to any position, such as teamwork, communication and problem solving. They can be applied to different jobs in any sector and are not specific to a particular role. You need to add some soft skills to your resume so that employers can get tips on how you fit into the role and corporate culture.
What are hard skills?
Hard skills relate to knowledge or ability and are specific to a particular job. Skills such as threat analysis, account reconciliation, or computer programming are hard skills. Usually it cannot be fully transferred from one role or sector to another. They are indications if a candidate can fulfill a role in the job.
Which skill is more important, hard or soft?
It is unlikely that you will only be hired according to your soft skills. Hard skills are solid aspects and reflect your experience. It is vital that your CV has exactly the right balance. You will need to add both skill types, but you can change their proportions based on the role you are applying for.
For example, a software engineer working from home should pay more attention to hard skills. It is important that s/he proves that s/he has the technical skills and knowledge to accomplish the given tasks. Soft skills such as face-to-face communication and teamwork are less important in this case. On the contrary, a call center employee should focus more on communication skills. S/he can be trained in product/service knowledge, so his/her curriculum vitae should place more emphasis on soft skills.
How should I include soft skills in my resume?
Specify the list of soft skills you need to add. Just listing features such as 'team worker' or 'problem solver' doesn't make much sense. If you want your CV to be impressive, you just need to show how you use these skills instead of just listing them. Choose a tangible example of when you successfully use each soft skill and try to present it as a success. For example, instead of 'teamworker', say 'I've increased customer satisfaction levels by sharing information about new products with the team' or 'I've improved team morale and communication by organizing informal team lunches'. Custom examples make your resume much more reliable than simply writing a list of skills.
Make sure your soft skills match the level of the work you are applying for. Although it is sufficient to demonstrate the ability of “communication” for an entry level, a senior manager will need to demonstrate more skills. For example, you will need a skill list that includes “stakeholder engagement”, “negotiation” and “influence”.
How should I include hard skills in my resume?
Hard skills are easier to include it in your resume because they relate to specific tasks you do. You can list your hard skills with the help of job descriptions in job vacancies similar to your position. Explain how you perform your skills in practice, so that employers can understand, rather than just writing a list.
For example, instead of simply referring to 'training' as a hard skill, you might say “I trained about 20 people in crisis management”. Instead of saying “monitoring and evaluation”, you can say “I have monitored and evaluated a portfolio of 4 simultaneous projects and gave reports to supervisor to decide financial steps”.
How do I use my skills to build a powerful application?
In addition to emphasizing your hard and soft skills in your CV, strengthen your application with a cover letter or a personal statement that highlights role-appropriate skills. Cover letters and personal statements are usually more flexible than a CV. With a CV and such supporting documents highlighting both your hard and soft skills, you'll give yourself the chance to secure your next job.