Today’s job market is highly competitive, and having the corporate edge is difficult to achieve. What are employers really looking for?
Depending on the career you’ve chosen there will be specific ‘hard’ skills you need to succeed. However, there are universal ‘soft’ skills out with technical qualifications that are essential to career success.
Combining a mix of hard and soft skills will equip you with the perfect elixir for achievement. Hard skills may land you the interview, but soft skills will land you the job.
Land the interview
A hard skill is something which can be easily defined and measured. These often appear on a job candidates CV and cover letter as examples of their proficiency in their chosen industry. It’s vital future employers are aware of hard skills in the first instant as these are the key qualifications which highlight your suitability to the job.
- Foreign language capability
- A degree or certificate
- Typing speed
- Machine operation
- Computer programming
Typically these are learned at school or university. However, hard skills can be achieved at any time in your career, through supplementary courses which result in professional qualifications that enhance your employability.
Nail the close
Soft skills relate to interpersonal skills which are vital in career progression. Often it’s easy to gain hard skills, and many employees teach hard skills as part of job training. Now, more than ever employers are looking for evidence of soft skills when hiring staff as these are more intrinsic to individuals and not as easy to teach.
- Time management
Though soft skills can be innate to an individual, these can also be taught at schools, universities or colleges via leadership courses, this blurs the lines between hard and soft skills and enhances your employability. A great way to boost your soft skills without a certification is through public speaking opportunities which will improve your communication skills. Volunteering with local charities is a great way to develop your teamwork skills.
Understand the differences
- Hard skills require the logical, left side of the brain.
- Rule led
- Typically learned from books and classrooms
- Soft skills are formed in the emotional, right side of the brain.
- Rules are changeable depending on circumstance
- Often learned by trial and error
The right combination for career success
With the rise of technology, we’re more connected than ever. Finding job postings is as easy as it’s ever been, with scores of opportunities available at the touch of a button. However, standing out in the crowd is becoming increasingly difficult. Having a combination of coveted skills offers you the edge amongst those who are perhaps focused on just one skill set.
Hard skills are valuable as they let employers know you can manage the task at hand. Soft skills let the employer see the personal side of you, and show your future employer that you will work well with the existing team. A combination of the two skill sets, and highlighting them on your CV is the best way to achieving career success.
About the author
Suzanne Vallance works for Datatrix Training, which provides business courses for career development.