The COVID-19 pandemic changed all the rules, including in the world of work. While many employers were already starting to prioritize soft skills, the pandemic escalated this trend. As companies shuttered or shifted their operations online, employers and employees alike learned just how important it is for workers to be flexible, adaptable, and able to think on their feet.
So what exactly are soft skills vs. hard skills, and what do you need to know to land a new job?
Hard skills are the actual technical abilities required to do the job. Depending on the specific position, these could include anything from welding to filing to web design. Hard skills are specific and measurable. They are often specific to one field, and you can learn them in school or on the job.
Soft skills, sometimes known as “people skills,” are all the things that make someone a good employee across many different fields. They are difficult to quantify, as well as to teach, but they are vital for success in today’s world of work. Soft skills include, but are not limited to:
Putting It All Together
So which is more important? Hard skills or soft skills? In most cases, the answer is “both.” Unless you’re going for an entry level position, potential employers will expect you to have the necessary hard skills. In addition, many HR departments now use automated screening software to check resumes before a human ever looks at them. You’ll need keywords that match the technical skills in the job description to get through the filters.
However, hard skills are no longer enough at most companies. Today’s employers want employees who have what it takes for long term success. They’re looking for human beings, not cogs in a machine. And they want to be able to trust their workers to perform independently, problem solve, and make smart decisions. So if you want to land the job, you’ll need to highlight your soft skills both on your resume and during your interview.