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Hard Skills Vs Soft Skills: Similarities & Differences Explained In 2023

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Wondering why you should include hard and soft skills on your resume in 2023? If so, you’re not alone.

With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, understanding these skills and how to use them is essential for success.

However, more often than not, job applicants will list irrelevant skills and cry wolf when they get rejected. The correct displayed skill set of an applicant is vital.

If that sounds like you, don’t fret!

In this post, we’ll define hard and soft skills and explain their similarities and differences to help you understand how to leverage them properly.

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: What Are They?

Here is a look at hard skills and soft skills.

What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills describe technical abilities or specific knowledge needed to perform certain tasks or functions.

You can learn them through education, training, or hands-on job experience, and they’re often demonstrated through certification or proficiency testing.

Examples of hard skills include:

  • Data analysis and management
  • Programming languages
  • Project management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Cybersecurity

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are personal attributes and behaviors that allow individuals to interact effectively and harmoniously with others in and out of the workplace.

Also known as people skills, they’re crucial for building and maintaining positive relationships with colleagues and customers.

The following are a few common examples:

  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Communication

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?

Here is a look at the differences between hard skills and soft skills.


Hard skills are quantified, meaning you can objectively assess them through standardized tests or certifications.

For instance, in the absence of relevant documents, you can test someone’s programming ability by asking them to solve a coding problem.

On the other hand, soft skills are intangible and usually evaluated through personal interactions, such as interviews and peer feedback.


You learn and develop hard skills through formal education and training. And once certified, you can hone them through practice and on-the-job experience.

Conversely, soft skills are acquired primarily via personal and professional experiences.

For example, you can gain data analysis skills by taking a course in that particular field, but you’ll grow time management skills through self-discipline and organization.


Hard skills are job or industry-specific, particularly in technical roles.

Meanwhile, soft skills are universal and applicable across various careers and industries as they relate to how people interact with others and their general approach to work.


You’ll notice specific rules and processes that govern hard skills. They’re rooted in facts and will remain unchanged irrespective of the industry or culture in which they’re applied.

On the contrary, soft skills are more dynamic and contextual. Their rules can vary according to the environment or situation.

For instance, company culture may require employees to be more direct and assertive, whereas a government department may prefer politeness and diplomacy.


Hard skills may become obsolete as technology advances and require periodic upgrades. On the other hand, soft skills remain relevant throughout an individual’s career.

They’re transferable to different settings and can help you adjust quickly in case of a job switch.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Which Is More Important?

Hard and soft skills are essential for your success in the workplace. Each offers unique advantages, and balancing the two can help you stand out from your peers.

Here’s why you should prioritize developing both types of skills.

Why Are Hard Skills Important?

Here are the benefits of having hard skills.

Show Your Ability to Do the Job

By highlighting hard skills on your resume, you demonstrate to employers that you can perform specific tasks.

It’s instrumental when applying for jobs in technical or specialized fields such as engineering and technology.

Help You Fit Job Requirements

Companies or employers seeking to fill positions in technical fields or industries will list hard skills as part of job requirements.

Having them in your toolbox provides tangible evidence of your qualifications and makes you a more attractive job candidate.

Increase Your Job Performance

Hard skills are about making you more efficient and effective on the job. They allow you to complete tasks faster, save time, and provide better results.

For example, if you know how to use spreadsheets or databases, you can quickly organize and analyze data.

Increase Your Marketability

In today’s competitive job market, hard skills can help you stand out and boost your chances of being hired.

They also make you more valuable to potential employers and can lead to higher salary offers, among other perks.

Provide a Path for Career Advancement

The right hard skills can open up more opportunities for career advancement and help you stay relevant and competitive in your field.

They provide the tools and knowledge you need to advance in your job, switch fields, or even start a new business.

Why Are Soft Skills Important?

Here are the benefits of having soft skills.

Help You Cope and React

Soft skills such as emotional intelligence, stress management, and adaptability help you to handle challenging situations, maintain composure and respond appropriately.

With the current unpredictable job layoffs and changing workforce trends, the ability to adapt quickly and think outside the box is essential.

Boost Your Ability To Do the Job Well

As an employee, having soft skills allows you to better empathize with clients, collaborate with colleagues, and build relationships.

You can also communicate your ideas clearly, stay organized, and manage your time more effectively. As a result, you’re more likely to complete projects and exceed expectations.

Indicate Your Desire to Work Long-Term  

The last thing any employer wants is frequent turnover, which means more money and resources invested in recruiting and training.

Your enthusiasm and commitment to the organization’s goals show that you’re trustworthy and plan on sticking around.

Evaluate Your Teamwork Capabilities

Collaboration between all departments is critical to the success of any business.

By blending with others, encouraging open dialogue, and resolving conflicts without involving upper management, you signal that you understand a successful team’s dynamics.

Help Build Your Professional Reputation

Good soft skills are contagious. They make people want to be around you and work with you, allowing you to build a reputation that will help you in your career.

So, how you interact with your colleagues, bosses, and clients influences how they view your work ethic and capabilities.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: Which Do You Put On Your Resume?

While there are innumerable hard and soft skills you can list on your resume, it’s critical to understand which ones are relevant and how to present them effectively.

Which Hard Skills Should You Put On Your Resume?

Let’s look at the hard skills you should include in your resume.

Technical Skills

Technical skills refer to the specific knowledge or expertise required in fields such as information technology (IT), science, engineering, or finance.

They usually demonstrate your proficiency in specific tools, software, and processes. Some of the after-sought technical skills include programming, data analysis, and project management.

Computer Skills

In today’s technology-driven world, computer skills have become a basic requirement for nearly every job.

They describe your ability to work with computer software and programs to perform tasks such as data entry, word processing, and analyzing data.

Proficiency in programs such as Microsoft Office Suite, Google Drive and Docs, and Excel can help you stand out.

Skills Specific to the Job

Every job has its set of specialized skills and knowledge. For example, a digital marketing manager requires content creation, marketing, and analytics knowledge, while a financial analyst should have a mastery of investment analysis, risk assessment, and Excel.

Make sure to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for.

Which Soft Skills Should You Put On Your Resume?

Here are the most important soft skills in your resume.


Very few, if any, jobs don’t require some level of communication. It’s one of the essential soft skills, whether you’re a customer service representative who must resolve customer issues or a manager who needs to lead a team.

It’s multi-faceted and includes the following:

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Written and oral communication
  • Presentation
  • Active listening
  • Negotiation and mediation
  • Discussion

Time Management

Failure to meet deadlines can cost employers significantly. They can lose money, customers, and respect in the industry.

Strong time management skills ensure you prioritize tasks and manage your time efficiently. As a result, it portrays you as organized, dependable, and productive.

Customer Service

Customers are the backbone of any business and account for about 80% of its success. Employees must therefore provide them with the support they need before, during, and after their purchase.

The skill relies heavily on verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening, patience, and problem-solving.

How To Include Hard and Soft Skills on a Resume

How do you put your skills on a resume?

List Skills Only Relevant to the Job

Start by scanning the job description for keywords and phrases, and include those on your resume.

For instance, imagine you’re applying for a data analyst position. The company may consist of the following information in its roles and responsibilities section:

  • Analyze and interpret large datasets with statistical software
  • Works independently with less supervision
  • Exercises critical thinking and problem-solving skills

The above determines how many skills to list on your resume are data analysis, software proficiency, independence, and problem-solving.

Include a Skill Section on Your Resume

Once you’ve determined your skills, create a ” Skill” part, and list them.

There are three standard resume formats, but regardless of your choice, the section should be easy for the recruiter to find at a glance.

  • Functional resume
  • Chronological resume
  • Combined resume

Additionally, ensure the skills are relevant and specific and don’t lie or embellish. Match each with proficiency levels like expert, advanced, Intermediate, or beginner.

Supplement Your Skills

Include accomplishments or projects that demonstrate how you used your hard and soft skills.

For example, if you used data analysis to increase efficiency, support that with specific facts.

Wrapping Up

Strong hard and soft skills can make you stand out, especially in today’s job market. And while they may differ significantly, they’re equally important when pursuing a successful career.

If you have any questions about this topic, please comment below, and our team will be happy to assist you.

We hope this guide helped you understand the distinction between the two skills, and good luck on your career path!

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