What is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Skills on Your Resume

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When you want to get a new job, sprucing up your resume is the first step to the job application process. Your resume is a convenient resource for potential employers, providing them with a tidy summary of your experience and skills.

So what skills should you include on your resume? And what are the “hard” and “soft” skills mentioned on the career websites you visit?


What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are teachable abilities, things that you might learn in school or through on-the-job training. Hard skills are quantifiable—you either have the skill at some level of proficiency, or you don’t, like technical skills or speaking a foreign language.

The beautiful thing about hard skills is that you can learn new ones at any time. Plus, once you learn a hard skill, it’s transferable, meaning that you can take those hard skill abilities along wherever your career takes you.

If you are applying for a job that requires a particular skill you don’t have, you may be able to convince your prospective employer to hire you anyways and agree to train in that skill by showing that you’re a fast learner.

Examples of Hard Skills

  • A degree or certificate in a particular field or industry
  • Applied science
  • Computer programming
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Editing
  • Engineering
  • Foreign language skills (speaking, reading, writing)
  • Machine operation (computers, phone systems, forklifts, hydraulic presses, etc.)
  • Math
  • Medical procedures
  • Research
  • Software usage
  • Typing (and typing speed)
  • Writing

What Are Soft Skills?

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are subjective. Soft skills include your interpersonal abilities—your communication skills and how you relate to others. Your critical thinking ability is also part of your soft skill set; how you solve problems and form judgments can be a crucial component of your career success.

Showing that you’re good at particular soft skills can be a little trickier than demonstrating your proficiency in hard skills. Although you will likely include a simple list on your resume, during job interviews you should be prepared to share examples from past work experiences that showcase your effective use of soft skills.

Examples of Soft Skills


Written by Jessica L. Mendes.