Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: Differences, Definitions, and Examples

While recruiting new employees a lot of companies mostly prioritise technical or hard skills which are aligned with the kind of role for which they are hiring. However, it is important to note that along with hard skills, being good at soft skills is equally important. Hard skills may help you get a job, but soft skills will help you survive and get recognitions.

Compared to hard skills, soft skills are more challenging to develop. Lets have a look at the differences between these two and why they are so important. 

What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are also known as technical skills. They are specific to a particular type of job and may differ according to the requirement of a position. So for instance, if you are applying for the same job position but in different companies you can expect the hard skills requirements to be different in all. 

Examples of Hard Skills

Hard skills are tangible in nature and each job position in the world has its own set of requirements. One way these can be measured is through test scores, your degrees and any certifications or diplomas you might have done. Some examples of hard skills include: 
  • Foreign Language Proficiency Course
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Inventory control
  • Business analysis
  • Cloud computing
  • Blockchain
  • Computer programming 
  • Coding
  • Bookkeeping
  • Cash flow management etc.

What Are Soft Skills?

Also known as social skills or people skills. Soft skills are intangible and fall under the umbrella of personality traits that an individual might have. These are personal attributes that help employers gauge how effectively and harmoniously you’d be able to work with others in a work setting. 

Examples of Sоft Skills

Soft skills include a broad range of abilities, some other examples of which are:
  • Effective communication
  • Active listening
  • Creativity
  • Timeliness
  • Organisational skills
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Positive attitude
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Patience
  • Time management
  • Multitasking
  • Attention to detail
  • Accountability and responsibility
  • Strategic thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Sound decision-making
  • Conflict resolution
  • Innovation
  • Social skills
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity

Difference Between Hard Skills And Soft Skills

Here are some key distinctions between hard skills and soft skills:
  1. Hard skills are technical skills specific to a particular job. They can be acquired through training and can be evaluated via tests. While, Soft skills are interpersonal qualities and abilities that help you build professional relationships within the organization. 
  2. Hard skills can be acquired via education and training. In fact, our traditional education system mostly emphasize on building these skills. While, Soft skills are innate qualities that are part of a person's personality.
  3. Hard skills can be gauged through various ways including your level of experience, certificates, portfolios, and skill set tests. On the other hand, the presence of soft skills can be determined by your habits, your patience level, your communication skills and problem-solving skills. 

Why Are Hard Skills and Soft Skills Important?

Hard skills that an employee possesses have a great impact on the organisation’s functioning. It is what helps employees perform their duties well. For instance, a sales executive who lacks the ability to convince people to buy something or a surgeon who cannot perform surgeries is going to negatively impact operations. 

Although hard skills a very important not just for the employee but also for the organisation soft skills also play a crucial part. Soft skills dictate how an employee handles situations and people. They also help employees to improvise and find clever solutions for certain issues that technical training cannot equip them with. The importance of hard skills and soft skills is not binary because both of these are complementary to one another. While one allows you to perform your duties well the other sets you apart and gives you that edge over others. 

How Can You Include Hard Skills And Soft Skills In Your CV?

Now that we know the basics about hard and soft skills along with why they are so important the next step is to identify which of these to include in your CV. Given the huge number of options to choose from it can get somewhat overwhelming. To simplify the process, here’s a list of some of the most importantly soft and hard skills you should consider including in your CV.

1. Problem-Solving Skills

Being an employee whether in a big or small company is not a cakewalk. And there is no guide to survival that you can pull out every time you face a crisis. What really saves you in such times depends on how well you can handle problems and find possible solutions to them. Problem-solving is one of the most important soft skills that you should consider including in your CV. This is because it shows your potential employer that you are able to come up with effective solutions for problems as and when they occur.

2. Critical Thinking Skills

Apart from problem-solving skills, you should also consider highlighting critical thinking skills on your CV. Critical thinking comes in handy in situations where quick decision-making and effective damage control are necessary. An employee who has this skill has the upper hand as it allows them to think critically when faced with challenging situations and propose effective solutions for them. 

3. Communication Skills

When it comes to soft skills we cannot reiterate enough the importance of communication skills. Having good communication skills both verbal and non-verbal is a skill that is highly valued in any workplace. This is because it allows you to articulate your thoughts and ideas to your co-workers and higher-ups in a more concise manner.

4. Data Analysis

Data analysis refers to collecting and sifting through huge piles of data to draw valuable insights from it. Being able to comb through endless raw data and then extracting useful information from them to deduce conclusions is not an easy task which is why this hard skill is preferred in so many industries. 

5. Project Management

Project management is a hard skill that is highly versatile meaning it can be applied to various types of job roles. Being adept at project management means you are able to complete your tasks in a timely and effective manner. 

How Can Working Professionals Build Soft Skills With Education

Working Professionals can enhance their Soft Skills through online courses, webinars, and virtual workshops. Distance education colleges offer a wide range of opportunities for working professionals to improve their soft skills, such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and time management. For instance, they may provide interactive modules that allow learners to practice effective communication techniques, engage in group discussions, and receive feedback from instructors and peers. 

Additionally, distance education colleges may also offer personalized coaching and mentoring services, where learners can receive one-on-one guidance and support from experienced professionals in their field. 


Both hard and soft skills are equally important as these help you be a useful and valuable part of an organisation. The main difference between hard and soft skills is that while the former is learned through training and is job specific soft skills are innate qualities that are part of your personality and nature. When working on refining your resume and making it stand out it is important to add both these types of skills. Some of these include job-specific hard skills and soft skills like communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


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