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Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: All Key Differences & 5 Examples

Understanding key differences between hard and soft skills when comparing them can be difficult.

With such a large number of skills to master, you may be wondering which types are the most useful to your career and how a soft skill is different from a hard skill.

Both of these abilities are useful, but choosing the right skills to pursue can save you both time and frustration.

Once you find the skills you need to succeed, you will see a boost in performance which can make you an appealing candidate during a job search and a better employee in the long term.

The following article will help you differentiate technical skills from soft skills as well as assist you in selecting the best skills that match your career.

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills Definitions and Lists of Examples

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What’s the Key Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

Hard skills are more tangible and easier to teach, hard skills are far more tangible, and it is easier to access whether someone has a hard skill.

They include job training, education, life experience, certificates, and skills gained through prior employment.

Popular hard skills that employers value include knowing a trade, being bilingual, knowledge of cloud networks, social media management, and undertaking a variety of current software and programming languages, such as Python or JavaScript.

On the other hand, soft skills are far less measurable and more difficult to teach.

They are character traits and job habits which contribute to an employee’s long-term success in an industry, including how they work and communicate with others and how one leads.

In a LinkedIn study, 69% of HR directors and potential employers also agree that behavioral skills are hard to access, but that a resume composing of experience and hard skills is not enough.

These valued skills include traits like open-mindedness, people skills, effective communication, critical thinking, empathy, love of learning, teamwork, integrity, among other behavioral skills.

Hard skills vs soft skills - comparison

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5 Examples of Hard Skills

LIST OF 27 EXAMPLES OF HARD SKILLS

 

There is a vast amount of different hard skills which can truly be beneficial to almost any employee. Examples of hard skills are:

  • Technical skills
  • Certificates, degrees, or formal education
  • Writing skills
  • Marketing skills like social media marketing
  • Project management skills

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What are Soft Skills

List of 5 Examples of Soft Skills

These skills are beneficial to nearly all industries and can benefit most employees.

The following is a list of just a few soft skill examples:

  • Problem solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Listening skills and active listening
  • Communication skills

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10 Examples of Soft Skills for Students

These skills are becoming more important and students must learn to adapt to a soft-skilled centered work environment.

Below is a guide to soft skills and how they can contribute to your career success even as a student.

1.) Oral and written communication– can help you stand out as a leader and keeps you and those around you on the same page, creating a functional work environment.

2.) Customer service– simply providing customers with information is not enough in today’s world. People choose to shop at businesses simply because the customer service is high quality.

3.) Collaboration– if you are working with others, you must learn how to adapt your work style to work with them. This will help your team accomplish more goals and you will become a team player.

10 Examples of Soft Skills Students

4.) Persistence– inevitably, you will be faced with challenges as a student. Throughout your career, you must learn to battle these challenges and not give up.

5.) Inventive– being creative and inventive can help you find new ways to solve problems and create products that beat the competition.

6.) Handling conflict– if conflicts arise, you should be ready to gain control over the situation. This will prevent you from getting sidetracked and keep you focused.

7.) Leadership– especially valuable to entrepreneurs, leadership skills help you manage teams and delegate tasks.

8.) Problem-solving skills– if problems arise, you should be able to adjust to the environment and resume your plans.

9.) Responsible– many companies and higher-level education settings have a culture of respect, integrity, and truthfulness.

10.) Punctual– no matter the type of person you are outside of work, being in time and punctual sends a clear message to employers: you care about your work.

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How to Use Hard and Soft Skills to be a More Effective Teammate

Now that you know how to display your skills on a resume, you may be wondering how to do the same in a real work environment.

These are two completely different tasks, but you can achieve both in a variety of ways.

One soft skill you can start incorporating into your daily work is strategic thinking.

Create strategies that help you succeed and think clearly.

This skill can guide you when making important decisions, delegating tasks, and leading for the long term.

If you plan to work with computers and become and/or become an engineer, data science is a great skill to use.

How to Use Hard and Soft Skills to be a More Effective Teammate

Collecting data on your team can give you immense insights into productivity, work/life balance, and will ultimately help you make any necessary changes in employment and delegation.

Two soft skills that go hand in hand are collaboration and communication.

No matter what your position is, speaking clearly and honestly to your colleagues is key.

If you are a manager, ensure you describe tasks clearly so no one is confused. If you are in need of assistance, communicate this to others instead of hiding your struggles.

And if someone needs assistance from you, collaborate to move the team forward.

Another hard skill that could be beneficial toward becoming a better team member is UX design.

Using this skill, you can get a clearer understanding of your customer base.

With this, you can give your team more information on how to improve a user’s experience.

Also, once you begin to understand the customer, apply those same strategies you use to understand and collaborate with your team.

Presenting data clearly and communicating are just two strategies that can contribute to your relationship with your colleagues.

Frequently Asked Questions About Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

Are Hard and Soft Skills Rewarded Equally?

This depends on the specific industry you are going to join, but generally, they are not rewarded equally.

Jobs that require certain hard skills, such as C++ and Python coding, have seen annual pay increases as high as 12% and pay 2x the salary as jobs requiring soft skills like collaboration and communication.

Overall Conclusion For Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

Building quality skills takes time, but you will surely be rewarded in the long run.

You may already possess some of these skills, while others come from experience and education.

At times, you may even be reminded of skills you never noticed you used! Remember that maintains all of the listed skills is not a prerequisite for getting any job.

Instead, let the listserve as inspiration for you to acquire new skills.

Make sure to take action as soon as possible, since learning skills while still being young or a student gives you a lifelong advantage in your career.

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