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Business

Understanding Hard Skills: How Hard Skills Can Help Your Job Search

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Feb 20, 2020 • 3 min read

When applying for a new position or job, it is important to possess the appropriate job-specific skillset. Recruiters often list a variety of types of skills and qualifications they are looking for when they write up a job description. Technical skills that are not innate and can only be developed by going through a formal training process are known as “hard skills.” Having marketable hard skills on your resume is one of the most important parts of preparing a viable job application.

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What Are Hard Skills?

Job recruiters look for two different types of skill sets in potential employees: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills and teachable abilities that require an educational process to learn, whereas soft skills are more often interpersonal skills and personality traits. Hard skills require specific knowledge and can be quantifiably measured and tested. The ideal applicant replying to job postings will have a blend of soft and hard skills. A good job interview process will generally be designed to look for both types of skill sets in potential applicants.

4 Reasons Hard Skills Are Important

Soft and hard skills both include abilities and traits that a hiring manager or human resources professional would look for in an employee. Hard skills are particularly important because they provide immediate tangible value to an employer and are more easily quantifiable than soft skills. Here are some additional reasons why hard skills are important:

  1. Hard skills show dedication and experience. Possessing hard skills only comes with specific training and experience. If an applicant can demonstrate that they have hard skills during job interviews or performance reviews, it shows they have dedicated training time under their belt and have years of experience on the job.
  2. Hard skills let employers know how much training you will need. Employers need team members who possess certain job-specific skills, some of which come through training provided by the employer. Job applicants who possess hard skills will need less on-the-job training than their less-skilled counterparts. This cuts down on the time and money an employer needs to spend to bring a new hire up to speed.
  3. Hard skills fill out your resume. In addition to work experience, a good resume will have a skills section to highlight specific qualities an applicant can bring to the table. Hard skills are a good resume builder to complement a work experience section because they clearly lay out your strengths to a potential employer.
  4. Hard skills make soft skills credible. Soft skills like effective communication, hard work ethic, good problem-solving skills, and interpersonal skills are great to list on a resume, but they are hard for an applicant to prove. Employers are essentially taking your word for these qualities, as there is no great way to test them before hiring. If you have a strong hard skills section that’s backed up by specific training, it can lend credence to the rest of your resume.
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11 Examples of Hard Skills

A full hard skills section on your resume is important to include before sending it to potential employers. Here are some examples of hard skills that you might list on a resume or cover letter that you send to a potential employer:

  1. Bookkeeping
  2. Basic computer skills (Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, etc.)
  3. Computer programming
  4. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  5. Data analysis
  6. Foreign language proficiency
  7. Campaign management
  8. Data mining
  9. Typing and transcribing
  10. Blockchain expertise
  11. Coding

This is just a handful of hard skills you might consider highlighting on a resume depending on what job you are applying for.

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