Job seekers: hard skills vs soft skills, what’s the difference?


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The Job Seeker Series is a series of articles the Daily Vox team has written to help potential job seekers. Job hunting is an expensive and difficult process. This series seeks to make things a little easier with tips and advice. This piece will focus on skills.

During the application and interview process, employers look for candidates with both technical and non-technical skills. To be a successful candidate, it helps to understand the difference between these two types of skills.

What are the difficult skills?

Technical skills are practical skills that are necessary for you to actually be able to do your job. If you are a chef, cooking would be a difficult skill. If you are a web developer, coding would be a difficult skill.

Technical skills are acquired through school, training or previous work experience. They are job specific and are listed in job postings and job descriptions. Technical skills include:

  • Technical skills
  • Computer skills
  • Microsoft Office skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Management skills
  • Project management skills
  • Writing skills
  • Language skills
  • Design skills
  • Certifications
What are soft skills?

Soft skills are called relationship skills or interpersonal skills. These are personal habits and traits that shape the way you work alone and with others. General skills include:

  • Communication
  • Critical mind
  • Direction
  • Positive attitude
  • Team work
  • Work ethic
How to include technical and soft skills on a CV and cover letter

The type of skills to highlight during the hiring process will vary depending on the type of job you are applying for.

When creating or updating your CV, include a “Skills” section that highlights your technical and soft skills. For clues on what to include and prioritize in your skills section, review the position you’re applying for. The technical and soft skills that employers want to see can be found in the “requirements”, “training” or “desired skills” sections of the position.

The best way to showcase your skills is to provide examples. Highlight your technical and soft skills in your cover letter and give specific examples of when you have demonstrated these characteristics at work.

How to showcase your skills throughout the interview process

You can highlight key soft skills by:

  • Punctuality: show up on time or early for the interview
  • Active listening: maintaining eye contact and asking follow-up questions
  • Effective Communication: Speak Clearly When Prompted
  • Integrity: honestly answer questions about your CV and your experience

You can showcase your technical skills by:

  • Develop your experience and training
  • Provide a digital or physical portfolio
  • Respond effectively to technical work-related questions
  • Work effectively through skill tests (if required during the interview)

The job seekers series:

Help for job seekers: here’s how to write a CV – le Quotidien Vox

Job seekers: how to apply for a job in person – the daily vox

Job seekers: how to write a cover letter – the daily vox

The List: Popular Job Search Sites in South Africa

Job Seekers: 7 Common Interview Questions – The Daily Vox

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