Hard, Soft and Hybrid: The Skills That Pay the Bills

As you’re reworking your resume, it’s important to take stock of your library of both hard and soft skills. But do you know the difference between the two?

Hard skills are the easiest to place on a resume. Can you type? Are you certified to drive a forklift? Write those down. Speaking Spanish, coding in C++ or 6G welding are hard skills that can be taught, quantified and tested. Some recruits boast a list of hard skills on their resumes, but managers these days value soft skills, too.

Soft skills are more difficult to define, but essential to success at work and in life. Sometimes referred to as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills,” they allow you to relate and interact with the people around you. These skills include:

  • leadership
  • communication
  • teamwork
  • time management

The hard work of describing soft skills

Recruiters say, “Hard skills get you the interview, but soft skills get you the job.”

But you can’t simply refer to classes taken or certifications received as evidence of soft skills, so how do you communicate these strengths? Try pointing out concrete examples of when you put these skills to use, both as elements on your resume and as examples you can discuss during an interview. These situations could include:

  • leading your team to the successful completion of a project
  • training or mentoring co-workers
  • productive participation in achieving organizational goals

Hard skills can be essential requirements, but soft skills are valuable to employers because they foster an environment enabling productivity. They’re also harder to develop, so with a bit of additional hard-skill training, an applicant rich in soft skills might be ready to work faster than a well-certified candidate who doesn’t know how to work around or with others.

Mixing it up

As the workplace changes, employers increasingly need candidates possessing hybrid skills: the ability to combine hard-skill expertise with soft-skill know-how. If your work history includes instances where soft skills reinforced your hard skills (or vice versa), that’s a hybrid-skill moment and it’s definitely something you should mention. When a potential employer can see not only the kind of work you do, but also how you do it, it’s easier for them to understand why you’re the perfect hire.

Have you overseen or implemented any training programs? Did you serve in any leadership roles where your staff employed some of the hard skills mentioned above? If the answer is “yes,” then you, my friend, can consider yourself to be hybrid-skilled.

Going forward, show how your skills can function together, and how that performance succeeded for you and your employer. Then you’ll be the kind of employee any recruiter would be happy to find.

If you’d like to see how your unique skills can be put to work at Paycom, apply today!