Hard and soft skills – what’s the difference?

>>Hard and soft skills – what’s the difference?
Hard and soft skills – what’s the difference? 2019-07-11T11:45:11+01:00

Planday explains why hard and soft skills matter in the hospitality job market and how to show off your strengths in each area

Job seeking is all about making a great first impression. Your CV often provides the first impression a hiring manager will have of you and it’s important that you highlight the skills that will help you stand out from the competition. Importantly, the types of skills you focus on are often weighted as heavily as the skills themselves.

One of the keys to successful job searching is not only being able to define and utilize both hard and soft skills in your CV, but to know how to highlight both types of skills in the most effective way possible.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills are the concrete abilities that you bring to the table as a worker. Often, these are skills that you learned in school or a training course and that bring clearly defined value to businesses.

Examples of hard skills include:

  • Your college degree
  • IT systems proficiency
  • Language fluencies
  • Training/industry-specific certifications
  • Social media

Most of the time, there will be a certain set of hard skills that you’ll want to focus on by nature of what the job entails. For example, if you’re applying for a back office job, you’ll probably want to include hard skills such as your excellent computer and typing abilities.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the talents and abilities you’ve picked up more organically through past work experiences and interpersonal relationships. They speak about what you have to offer as an employee, and in many ways they touch on what you have to offer as an individual as well.

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Ability to work well in groups
  • Communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Time management
  • Team leadership

How to show hard and soft skills on your resume

Showing hard skills on a resume is relatively easy, since they’re often accompanied by a degree or certification. Generally, they’ll show up throughout your resume without having to be listed in a separate block. A hiring manager should be able to read through your CV and pick out a variety of hard skills based on your schooling and descriptions of your past job experience. Hard skills that don’t neatly fit into other sections (such as language fluencies or self-taught abilities), can be listed in the bottom.

But what about soft skills? By their very definition soft skills fall under the “show, don’t tell” category of job abilities, but including them on your CV tells hiring managers that you recognize and value these skills in yourself.

Just like with hard skills, you can list soft skill descriptors in bullet points about past job experience. Give a short example of the skills at hand, for example: “Organised team building activities such as X and Y.” Emphasise the skills that are most necessary for the job you’re applying for, using the job and application description as a blueprint for what the hiring manager is looking for.

Which is more important?

The answer is both! Hard skills aren’t usually going to be enough to get you a job on their own, nor are soft skills. The trick to a great resume is displaying a balance of both types of skills.

Ultimately, whether you get the job or not is based on a large variety of factors that include, but also may go beyond, your CV. Focus on making the strongest impression you can with your resume by highlighting the hard and soft skills that make you a great employee, and when you do get hired, be ready to put those skills into action to show the hiring manager they’ve made the right decision.

Planday supports HR and scheduling in hospitality. Visit: planday.com/uk