You might have come across this question quite often, particularly during interviews. ‘So, tell us about your skills.’ This question comes as a great puzzle to many candidates. The bewilderment of which skills should you mention and in what proportion is quite common. But after having known which skills you should possess and the right mix of it, all have to do is find out a way to portray it in a way that is drool-worthy for interviewers.
For example, Two candidates get shortlisted for a final round. They both have sheer knowledge about the job but only one person gets selected. Why? It is because the person has more additional skills than the other.
Acquiring both skills plays a crucial role in one’s life to become successful. However, these skills can be categorized into hard skills and soft skills. Employers look for hybrid skills which means the right combination of both when they hire the candidate.
So let’s start with the basics i.e. breaking down the difference between them both.
Section 1: Difference Between Hard Skills & Soft Skills
Hard skills are the concrete professional skills you learn in a classroom, during your job, online courses, books or other training materials. In simple terms, they are the skills that are learned and are not innate qualities. Examples include Writing, cooking, coding, playing piano, accounting, etc. Hard skills convey about how great you are at a particular job.
Now let’s come to soft skills. Unlike hard skills, they are a part of your personality. Examples include Good communication, resilience, perseverance, active listening, leadership, teamwork, time management, empathy, etc.
Where hard skills define how great you are at a given job, soft skills determine whether you are fit for the job or not.
2. How are they measured?
Hard skills are usually measurable and quantifiable. For example Accounting, driving, swimming, programming or cooking. Either you possess the hard skills, or you don’t.
On the other hand, soft skills are more personality and emotional based. Hence, they are highly subjective. While hard skills are incorporated with proper training, most of the soft skills you possess are your innate qualities and developed with time.
3. How to gauge them?
Since hard skills are easily measurable; they are usually the content that goes on your resume. Also, it is a plain-sailing task for an employer to recognize such skills.
Since soft skills pertain to how you interact with others and portray yourself, displaying them just on a resume won’t help. You have to demonstrate it.
Let me give you an example here: If you are a candidate who has applied for the post of a digital marketer, you can share your grades and previous work. Also, with the help of numbers such as how you got better conversions with low costs can also display how proficient you are at your job. But, how can you prove that you are a kickass collaborator and have supreme leadership skills? Just by saying it, won’t add much value. Instead, you may consider demonstrating it by sharing examples of where you used it and the positive results of it.
Section 2: Cracking An Interview With The Right Mix
To crack a job interview, a candidate has to display both hard skills and soft skills. As per the recent LinkedIn study, 57% of employers value soft skills more than hard skills. This is because it is comparatively easy to train an employee for hard skills than soft skills.
While there is no thumb rule on how to succeed, one can have a close look at the job description as it speaks volumes on what the recruiter expects. Based on the job description, one may add his skills accordingly in the CV. While for the remaining ones, one may have to demonstrate with time. It is important to note that not every job may be required to have an equal proportion of both the skills. Few posts may need to demand more of hard skills and vice versa. However, most of the jobs expect a nuanced balance between hard and soft skills. Demonstrating both the skills on the resume and in an interview is a function of creativity and observation.
Section 3: The Right Mix Of Hard And Soft Skills
Let’s take a look at how hard skills and soft skills can be used in the right proportion for one profession, i.e. content writer.
List of hard skills include:
- Proficiency with Google docs, ppt, excel
- Researching and writing for various marketing collateral, including brochures, presentations, blogs, social media, etc.
- Expert-level knowledge of grammar
List of soft skills include:
- Ability to think outside the box
- Maintaining a calm demeanor even when there are tight timelines
- Superior articulation and communication skills
These are the hard skills and soft skills that may be covered in the entire resume, by mixing them and demonstrating the required skills.
Section 4: Tips To Showcase Your Hard And Soft Skills Like A Pro
Lastly, let’s take a quick look at how exquisitely you can demonstrate your hard skills and soft skills.
- Read the job description carefully
Go through each line of the job description as you modify your resume for each position. Ensure that you list almost all skills that a recruiter is on the lookout. The closer your resume matches the job description, the more suited you shall appear for the role. Also, this doesn’t mean that you should keep adding all the skills to your resume. There are a few skills that are not relevant or not supposed to be mentioned. Beware of them!
2. Demonstrate, don’t say
Elaborate and give examples for each skill that you possess in a very objective way. For example, instead of saying ‘I have time management skills’, you can say you plan your daily calendar and priorities that help you complete your target 10% faster.
Another example: Instead of saying ‘I have leadership skills’, you can say how you steered the digital marketing team and streamlined process that increased the productivity of the overall team.
3. Add skills, but don’t restrict yourself
While it is obvious now why you should add relevant skills in your resume and cover letter, it is also important to add certifications, hobbies, and achievements to make your resume look complete. Now, this may look brainless to many, beware, as most of the candidates fail to highlight them in the right way.
So, after having said all this, here’s a recap:
- Soft skills are traits that show whether you’re fit for the job or not, whereas hard skills are concrete skills that show how great you are at the job.
- Hard skills can be taught and measured, while soft skills are subjective and they develop with time.
- Recruiters want a mix of these skills. However, the ratio may change as per the job ad.
- Go beyond mentioning the skills. Demonstrate and prove them with quantifiable achievements with apt examples.
Are you still facing difficulties while portraying your skills? Comment below and we would be more than happy to guide you in your journey.