Don't forget to focus on your hard skills.

Employers look for a combination of both hard skills and soft skills when considering job applicants for open positions; both types of skills are required for on-the-job success.

Soft skills — also referred to as interpersonal skills or people skills — are personality traits that are challenging to quantify. Effective communication, leadership, and work ethic are all examples of soft skills. 

Hard skills are the practical and technical skills that show you have the know-how to get a job done. Unlike soft skills, hard skills are quantifiable and are often acquired through classroom education, on-the-job experience, training courses, and books.  

Examples of hard skills

Management skills

Besides having the required soft skills to be an effective manager, one also requires hard skills to succeed. Management hard skills include:

  • Business development

  • Logistics

  • Hiring

  • Budgeting

  • Human resources knowledge

  • Finance

  • Accounting

  • Office management

Computer skills

Computer skills highlight your ability to use computer hardware and software programs, and they are valuable across numerous industries. These skills include:

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, etc.)

  • Email

  • Quickbooks

  • Database Management

  • Social media

  • Typing

  • Google Drive

  • Enterprise Systems

Project management skills

Project management skills highlight your ability to oversee and lead projects, and include:

  • Strategic planning

  • Scrum management

  • Forecasting

  • Budgeting

  • Project scheduling

  • Agile software

  • Project collaboration platforms (Asana, BaseCamp, etc.)

Human resource skills

Every organization requires human resource (HR) skills. While many organizations have a dedicated HR department, smaller organizations might have an individual that wears more than one hat — including HR-related responsibilities.

  • Compensation

  • Salary administration

  • Benefits administration

  • Performance reviews

  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) certification

  • Employment law and legal compliance

  • Payroll

Design skills

Design skills are in high demand in this modern age of online content marketing. These skills include:

  • Illustrator

  • Print design

  • Acrobat

  • Color theory

  • InDesign

  • Photoshop

  • Typography

Marketing skills

Marketing skills represent a wide range of general knowledge, including consumer research, sales, advertising, and online marketing. Virtually every organization requires at least one individual with marketing expertise that includes:  

  • Writing

  • Copywriting

  • AdWords

  • Funnel management

  • Google Analytics

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Pay per click (PPC)

  • Social media marketing

Analytical skills

Analytical skills highlight your ability to research, analyze, and present data. Many positions and levels within an organization require analytical hard skills, which include:

  • Forecasting

  • Reporting

  • Data mining

  • Research

  • Database management

  • Metrics

  • Data engineering

Technical skills

Technical skills highlight expertise in fields, such as engineering and IT. Examples of technical hard skills are:

  • Linear regression

  • CAD

  • Troubleshooting

  • CRM platforms

  • Web development: HTML, Javascript, CSS

Why are hard skills important?

Hard skills show employers that you have the knowledge to perform the requirements of a position. 

Every job requires hard skills specific to the position and industry. If you want to land an accountant job, for example, you will need to know how to use accounting software and formulas. To work as a licensed public accountant, you must pass a CPA exam that represents you have the minimum necessary knowledge to perform the job. 

Valuable hard skills

As mentioned, there are specific hard skills required for positions based on the industry, but there are also hard skills that are valuable and transferable across industries and functions. These include the following: 

Cloud platform utilization

Organizations conduct much of their business online, which includes cloud sharing software. Employees having a general understanding of cloud platforms is essential for many companies. 

Language skills

Being affluent in writing and speaking your native language is an essential hard skill; it is also valuable to be fluent in more than one language. 

Certifications 

Certifications are an excellent way to highlight hard skills since they require you to take coursework and pass an exam that verifies your hard skills. 

Writing skills

Virtually every position requires some level of writing. This means organizations want to know you know proper grammar and can effectively communicate via writing when they hire you.

How can I acquire hard skills?

Interested in acquiring hard skills to up your resume game? Fortunately, there are numerous (and low-cost) ways to develop hard skills.

On-the-job training and volunteering

On-the-job training is one way to acquire hard skills. If you don't have the opportunity to acquire new hard skills at a current job, consider volunteering at a local organization

Online courses

There are numerous free and low-cost online courses available to develop in-demand hard skills. Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseWare, and Google Digital Garage are all examples of online platforms that offer various online courses — with many even providing accredited certification programs. 

Degreed programs

While going back to college isn't the least expensive or time-sensitive option to acquire hard skills, sometimes it's necessary. If you are looking to change career paths, for example, getting a second degree or your master's is viable for learning new hard skills. 

How do I include hard skills on my resume?

It is vital to highlight hard skills on your resume. To do so, you should:

  • Match your hard skills to those in the job posting when including them.

  • Create a detailed skills section to highlight your hard and soft skills.

  • Include relevant certifications in your “Education & Certifications” section.

  • Mention two to three in-demand hard skills in your resume summary.

  • Include skills-related keywords throughout your work experience section.

Hard skills speak to your proficiency in completing job duties and tasks. Highlighting them throughout your resume based on the guidance above will help your resume get past the bots and into the hiring manager's hands. 

Not sure how to make your hard skills pop on your resume? Our resume writers are prepared to help. 

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