The Ultimate Guide to Understand the Difference Between Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

When recruiting new hires, every organization first examines if the candidates possess the necessary practical expertise to do the job. After all, you wouldn't employ someone with a chemical engineering background to undertake electronics-related tasks, right? While hard skills are vital, wise employers recognize that excellent employees have another set of skills that are more difficult to develop: soft skills. So, today in this Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills tutorial, you are going to understand the meaning behind both the terms soft skills and hard skills, along with the differences between the two.

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What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are the technical aspects that you have honed through college education, online courses, or job training. Every job role necessitates some industry-specific skills required to do the job. For example, if you want to become a business manager, you must have a good command of managerial skills, international legislation, and business growth strategies. Similarly, if your interests align with the field of software or web development, then you must have command over skills such as back-end and front-end development, DBMS, data structures, and any programming language framework. 

Hard skills are quantifiable, and companies examine them with the help of technical assessments at the beginning of recruitment processes. These skills are viewed as bread and butter for the job roles. Hence, candidates must possess these skills in order to get hired. 

Examples of Hard Skills

  • Typing abilities
  • Google Drive Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Photoshop and Avid Pro software
  • QuickBooks
  • Budgeting
  • Heavy machinery operating permits
  • Bartending abilities
  • Refrigerator repair abilities
  • Camera operation abilities
  • Languages of coding (C, C++, Python, and Java)
  • Designing a user interface (UI)
  • Data examination
  • Learning by machine
  • Diagnostics
  • Social media administration

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills refer to various personality traits such as attitude, communication, critical thinking, time management, creative abilities, etc. Soft skills help in capitalizing on your potential and help you stand out. All those educational certifications don’t matter if you are poor in these soft skills. Without appropriate soft skills, you cannot put your hard skills to use in collaborative working environments. Soft skills are crucial for you to navigate in the working environment, to form peer-to-peer camaraderie. Maybe that is why companies spend loads of money training employees for work ethics and personality development.

According to LinkedIn's Global Talent Trends research, 92% of talent acquisition professionals believe soft skills are just as essential as hard skills when it comes to recruiting new candidates. This research also highlights that 89% of talent acquisition managers believe that when a new hire doesn’t work out, it’s because they lack critical soft skills. 

Moving forward, in this soft skills vs. hard skills tutorial, you will discover some significant differences between soft skills and hard skills.

Soft Skills Examples

  1. Networking
  2. Interpersonal abilities
  3. Empathy
  4. Curiosity
  5. Observation 
  6. Negotiation
  7. Making right decisions
  8. Good memory
  9. Persuasion
  10. Thinking critically
  11. Leadership
  12. Mind maps
  13. Dispute resolution
  14. Detail-orientedness 

Differences Between Soft Skills and Hard Skills

There are three parameters that significantly differentiate soft skills from hard skills. You will look into them one by one.


1. Developmental Distinction

The first key difference between soft skills vs hard skills is the way these skills are developed. As mentioned earlier, hard skills are considered as technical skills developed via training, such as understanding the functioning of a particular tool or machine through tutorial videos, lectures, etc. On the other hand, soft skills are inherent or can be developed by personal and professional experiences.

2. Difference in Measurement

Hard skills are quantifiable and can be pinned down using either a yes/no or a numerical value. For example, Tom has three years of hands-on experience in JavaScript. While on the other hand, soft skills are likely to be intangible or hard to measure. For example, you cannot measure someone's communication or creative abilities. 

3. Evaluation Methodology

The hard skills are majorly evaluated via technical assessment and job assignments at the beginning phase of the recruitment process. Resumes can also be used beforehand to determine if candidates possess the necessary technical abilities. In comparison, soft skills are tested via HR interview rounds with the help of behavioral and crisis interview questions.

Moving further in this soft skills vs hard skills tutorial, you will learn how to emphasize both hard and soft skills.

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How to Learn New Skills?

Learning is beneficial both personally and professionally, and it has never been simpler to improve your skills and knowledge. Professionally, it is a must-have tool for preserving our competitiveness in the workplace and the job market if we need to change careers. 

Choose Which Talents to Study

The talent you select is determined by your goals and interests. If you wish to grow in your career, talk to your boss about any further training courses they believe you should take. If you want to start a new profession, check job advertisements to determine what abilities are needed to get started with your skills training.

Learn at Work

Many organizations provide upskilling and training days for their employees to learn new skills on the job. Sign up for and attend any expert speeches or related training days. Working on new tasks or initiatives at work can also help you learn new skills and information. You will unknowingly learn something new by assisting in a new field.

Podcasts and Webinars

The internet has the answers to anything you want to know. There are YouTube videos, live videos, webinars, and podcasts on almost any subject, and they are all highly accessible even if you have no prior expertise. Webinars and live videos are frequently available on-demand or in real-time, while YouTube, podcasts, and other instructive media may be accessed at any time.

Work With a Mentor as well as Be a Mentor

Finding and working with a mentor is an excellent method to expand your knowledge and abilities. If you like your job and want to advance in the company, having a company mentor would be really advantageous. A competent mentor will assist you in navigating the many problems you confront and will advise you on your next steps. In many respects, having a mentor in the workplace is similar to having a teacher or parent; they will provide you with honest comments and assistance to help you progress in your career and push you to try new things.

Consume Lots of Content

You may learn more about the industry you work in, your employer, and their rivals. Look up the names of the specialists in your industry and read their books. You can propose solutions to difficulties your organization may encounter if you keep educated. If you want to change occupations or get experience outside of your present field, the internet offers a wealth of information, and professionals are happy to share their expertise.

Network Better

Traditional networking strategies, such as attending industry events or joining a professional group, can help you meet new people and create relationships. Internal networking with coworkers, on the other hand, might be beneficial if you want to learn about other occupations and industries inside your firm. Learn more about your coworkers in various teams, offices, and departments by getting to know them and learning about their abilities and professions. Inquire about the talents and knowledge they employ, and see if you can assist them with their initiatives to expand your skill set and expertise.

How to Develop Hard Skills?

Hard skills can be learned by enrolling in online or classroom courses at a university or other training program, putting them to use in a job before applying for them, and gaining experience by doing so. To learn new talents, follow the advice provided below: 

  • Investigate the Find a Job section of many job portals. You'll discover what makes job searchers successful.
  • Visit your local library and read literature on your chosen profession.
  • Volunteer in your chosen field.
  • Job shadow someone in a field that interests you.
  • Inquire at your local library for free or low-cost programs. They may be familiar with computers or other work skill classes. Look for lessons at a nearby adult basic education (ABE) facility as well.

How to Develop Soft Skills? 

Here are a few ways in which your soft skills can be improved - 

  • The first step to develop a soft skill is to know which one skill you want to learn. Analyze your areas of strength and areas where you would like to develop. 
  • Engaging in Feedback, asking experts and taking advice from a diverse group of people can help you understand the importance of soft skills you plan to learn. 
  • Keep learning. Stay with reliable sources like respected colleges and their extension or continuing education programs because the quality of these may vary greatly.

Blending Hard Skills and Soft Skills

In reality, developing both hard and soft abilities simultaneously is the ideal strategy to teach personnel. The good news is that many of the same training methods for hard skills can be simply changed to focus on developing soft skills. Both should be emphasized constantly during the employment process. List correlated soft skills after admitting job-specific hard skills. This demonstrates to employers that a candidate has both the knowledge and the confidence to perform above expectations. This could be as easy as changing training modules to emphasize teamwork and collaboration while having participants work in groups. Each training session could also include time for introspection and improvement.

Highlighting Skills on Your Resume

Adjust your resume's talents to the position you're vying for. If there is one lesson to be learned from this, it should be this: 

  • Tailor the skills list on every CV you send to the specifications of the job offer. You'll defeat resume-screening robots that look for pertinent keywords in resumes by demonstrating to recruiters that you were developed expressly for this position.
  • Avoid generalizations like "excellent communicator" and be clear and direct ("Written and verbal communication").
  • Put the talents into two categories: "Hard Skills" and "Soft Skills."
  • Use a total of no more than ten abilities.
  • Include your work-related talents in the section on experience. Yes, the descriptions of your previous positions in your work history section serve as proof of the list of abilities you've just created. You must demonstrate your ability to use your skill set in actual professional settings at that point.
  • Include the most pertinent abilities in the profile of your resume. Yes, you guessed it—you need to list a handful of your most important abilities in the profile as well for the ideal CV. You don't just tell recruiters about your talents, after all. You demonstrate to them.
  • Additionally, a strong cover letter that complements your CV will set you apart from other applicants. 

Demonstrating Your Skills in a Job Application

Choose one of the following patterns based on the demands of your profession.

  • On a chronological resume, mention your talents after the section on work experience.
  • Make space on a functional resume immediately beneath the professional aim to include your talents. Give a brief explanation of how you applied each ability in the workplace.
  • Combination resumes put your talents together directly beneath the headline and add a number of your accomplishments underneath to highlight your qualifications.

Summarized tips:

  • In a summary or objective for your resume, make sure to highlight your strongest abilities. It is the first and most crucial component of your resume. There, recruiters pay close attention to every detail, so be clear for your own benefit.
  • Make your accomplishment statements in your job experience section using the PAR formula. In doing so, you'll be able to showcase your expertise by mentioning how you contributed to the outcomes.
  • Create a list of abilities for your resume that is customized to the job description.

Ways to Highlight Hard Skills

Your resume is the most appropriate place to exhibit your technical expertise. Hence, it is suggested that you go through the job descriptions before formatting your resume. Compare your skillset to the skills needed for the job. And add the skills that are there in both lists.


For example, if you are aspiring to become a software developer, then highlighting your command over programming languages like Java, Python, or C++ along with proper certifications will give you instant credibility. 

You can also add details of your internship certifications and Projects to your resume. Recruiters prefer students who have internship experience as they seem more thorough with practical knowledge. Also, when asked about those projects in interviews, make sure to accentuate projects that you undertook. This will offer employers an idea of how well-versed you are in technical jargon. 

Ways to Highlight Soft Skills

Soft skills are personality traits that are evaluated in the interview rounds. The first move you can make to showcase them is to greet interviewers firmly and confidently. If it's a virtual interview, then there are limitations to communicating with your body language. In this case, keep the camera at eye level to maintain virtual eye contact as you converse. Doing this will help you build confidence and a good first impression.


Also, emphasize the soft skills required for the job description, like if the job requires you to work a night shift, put flexibility as a skill in the resume, or if the interview is for client support, then focus more on your communication skills. The best way to prepare for soft skills questions is to appear for mock interviews. You can do so with the help of tools such as Mock-AI by AMCAT.


Doing this will help you boost your confidence and help you prepare your strategy to ace interview rounds.


In this soft skills vs hard skills tutorial, you learned what both terms soft skills and hard skills mean. After that, you discovered a few significant differences between both of them. You also looked into the ways to highlight these skills in your job application and recruitment process. If your focus has been on upskilling and learning new technologies to stay relevant and employable, then Simplilearn is the right place for you.

If you have any questions or need clarification on any section of this soft skills vs hard skills tutorial, please leave them in the comments section at the bottom of this page; we will respond to them soon.


1. How to highlight your skills throughout the interview process?

Giving examples is the greatest method to demonstrate your talents. You may convince the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the position you are interviewing for by describing how your talents have been put to use. Instead of boasting or praising your abilities, describe how you utilized them. This will speak for you. Describe the precise talents you employed in your current or previous work to achieve success. Make the most impressive by following a proven method for storytelling. Explain the difficulty and how your abilities contributed to its resolution. Give the tale specifics that emphasize such abilities.

2. Why are soft skills important to train for?

Soft skill development programs let people "think beyond the box" both creatively and analytically. By using these abilities, you will be able to consider your alternatives, come to educated conclusions, and increase your likelihood of getting the desired outcomes. You'll be able to identify issues and potential roadblocks to projects, activities, and goals in advance. Additionally, you'll be able to locate and apply remedies or suggest substitute fixes.

3. Why are hard skills important to train for?

Hard skills are the technical abilities needed for a position. They have learned skills that may be developed via experience and education. Hard talents are crucial for your CV since hiring managers seek them. Both employees and employers value hard talents highly. Employees can perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently by learning the appropriate hard skills. Employers will gain from increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and increased employee satisfaction when they hire staff with hard skills.

About the Author

Kartik MenonKartik Menon

Kartik is an experienced content strategist and an accomplished technology marketing specialist passionate about designing engaging user experiences with integrated marketing and communication solutions.

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