“Hard” skills refer to a person’s knowledge and occupational skills. They can be defined as technical, teachable abilities or quantifiable skill sets, that workers need to have in order to successfully perform a specific job.
They are usually obtained through formal education and training programs and it is relatively easy to be evaluated and quantified by tests, official qualifications or specific certificates.
Some hard skills are more in-demand than others and employers might hire recruitment agencies to fill jobs that require high-level skills.
Typical examples of hard skills include computer programming, data analysis, web development, cloud computing, graphic design, writing, marketing, project management or accounting, finance, or even legal skills.
“Soft” skills are more general and have more to do with “who we are”, rather than “what we know”, and that is why it is difficult to measure them.
As Kenton (2020) mentions, they include personality traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people. Sociologists may use the term to describe a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ).
In the workplace, soft skills are a complement to hard skills and its role is crucial in helping employees interact with others and succeed in their tasks.
Examples of soft skills include the ability to communicate with prospective clients, to have a good understanding of the company’s products and services, mentor your co-workers, lead a team, negotiate a contract, follow instructions, and get a job done on time. The ability to learn new methods and technologies is also a desired soft skill for all workers.