One thing you should realize is that employers are looking for candidates with hard and soft skills so it’s vital that your resume has a good balance of both. Let’s face it, when it comes to job searching today, it’s a hirer’s market! Companies are often inundated with applicants for open positions and regularly receive resumes even when there are no vacancies, making it harder than ever for job seekers to stand out from the crowd. Fear not, though, because if your skills are up to par and you know how to spotlight them, you can grab a recruiter’s interest.
What are hard and soft skills?
Hard skills are specific abilities that are teachable and measurable. Some examples of hard skills would be a proficiency with a particular software, an accounting degree or the ability to speak a foreign language.
The professional networking site LinkedIn put together a list of the 25 Hottest Skills That Got People Hired in 2014 based on its analysis of over 330 million user profiles. Here’s what they came up with as their Top 5:
Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
Middleware and Integration Software
Storage Systems and Management
Network and Information Systems
Contrarily, soft skills are subjective qualities often referred to as people skills. Some examples of soft skills would be good communication, adaptability, patience and time management.
A recent Forbes article reported on a study of 260 employers done by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The results showed the following 5 soft skills to be the most valued:
Ability to work in a team structure / Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)
Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside the organization
Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
Ability to obtain and process information
Ability to analyze quantitative data
Why play up both hard and soft skills?
It wasn’t all that long ago, the corporate world placed all its faith in hard skills. Companies fought over the academic best and brightest, believing that the road to success lay in hiring those with the highest grade point average. An abundance of new data is showing recruiters that soft skills like persuasion, motivation and likeability will help determine the right employee.
Showcasing both hard and soft skills demonstrates to employers that you are well-rounded. Also, one set of skills may compensate if you happen to be lacking a particular requirement in the other set of skills.
Hard and soft skills in your resume – practical tips
Because of their very nature – being quantifiable – hard skills are much easier to include in a resume. There are no gray areas; you either did or didn’t get a degree in Computer Programming, you can either type 60 or 80 words a minute.
Soft skills, however, can prove a little trickier. Job ads will usually provide clues as to the soft skills the employer is looking for. The important thing to remember is that when you incorporate those skills into your resume, you back up your claims with some solid, quantitative examples that demonstrate your competence.
Don’t just state that you are an excellent communicator – include the details of a time when your communication skills resulted in a positive outcome for a past employer. Supporting your skill sets with concrete examples is key to standing out from the crowd, impressing recruiters and hiring managers and increasing your chances of landing an interview.
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