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The difference between soft skills and hard skills

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soft skills hard skills

Soft skills versus hard skills. What is the difference, really?

What are hard skills?

Hard skills are mostly about what you know and are fundamental for any career growth, those are also called technical skills referring to a specific field of study such as math, computer science, accounting, marketing, or architecture skills. Hard skills are learnable, easy to quantify but applicable only on a defined context within companies or institutions embracing these activities. Hard skills will help you get the interview, but soft skills will enable you to get hired and keep the job. Hard skills will empower you to start a career, but soft skills will help you maintain it.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are about the traits of your personality or how do you act. Often referred to personal effectiveness, social interactions and leadership, soft skills encompass many subjects including listening skills, motivation, creativity, time management, problem-solving, flexibility, emotional intelligence, positive thinking, resilience and others. Those are your personal attributes and communication abilities required for success in any career independently of your status and degrees. It may be hard to quantify or measure them, but working hard to improve your soft skills will make them very visible to others.

4 differences between soft skills and hard skills

Soft skills: an ongoing process

Compared to hard skills, soft skills require an ongoing journey. Self-improvement is not a one-shot action but a continuous process that should be maintained all over the stages of your life. To keep investing in yourself, you will have to learn new skills, forget about others and adjust on a continuous basis.

Soft skills are adaptable

Soft skills are not right or wrong like an exact science, or black and white concepts to be memorized and strictly embraced. Those are skills that need adaptation and acquire flexibility depending on the context, people, and situations.

Soft skills are transferable

Soft skills, unlike many hard skills, are not dependent on one specific job; they are transferable as they can fit in all workplaces and circumstances. You may evolve over time into a position that has nothing to do with your specialty and your soft skills will allow an easy transition.

No exams necessary

Your soft skills may be difficult to quantify, but they can be measured through your level of independence, interdependence or how you empathize and cooperate with others. Another example, self-confidence cannot be measured but your attitude and your communication styles can be great indicators of your level of confidence.

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2020 Report: The Soft Skills Shortage

Learn what 75% of organisations are doing to close the soft skills gap, the top soft skills of 2020, and the skills you didn't realise your organisation was missing with a free download of our brand-new report.

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