Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills…Which is More Important?

Let’s begin by defining what soft and hard skills are. Soft skills are more subjective, personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with others. Some examples include strong communication skills, team player, detail oriented, and organizational skills. Hard skills are objective, specific, teachable, technical or administrative attributes that are based on fact. Some examples include typing a certain speed, operating machinery, financial procedures and speaking a foreign language. Companies value both of these skills because research suggests and experience shows that they are very important indicators of job performance.

A recent Career Builder survey conducted online by Harris Poll from February 10, 2014 through March 4, 2014 revealed that a majority of employers (77%) believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. The top 5 soft skills that companies look for, based on survey results, are: 1) strong work ethic (73%), 2) dependability (73%), 3) positive attitude (72%), and 4) self-motivation (66%).

It is a good rule of thumb to have soft and hard skills on your resume. Hard skills show the employer you are capable of doing the job, while soft skills show the employer your personal attributes that can add to the job knowledge. While it is easy for an employer to train a new employee in a particular hard skill, it is much more difficult to train an employee in a soft skill. When interviewing, it is good to explain a soft skill that you possess and provide a real life example of how that soft skill has impacted your work. For example, you work well under pressure. Give the interviewer an example of a time that you worked well under pressure, how you dealt with it and the outcome.

Every employer is different and may weigh one of these skills greater than the other. If you have both skills highlighted on your resume and discuss them during the interview, it will help you land a great job!



Poll information retrieved from Careerbuilder.com.