Education Career Services

January 4, 2010

Graduate from the School of Hard Skills

By Kimberly Sarmiento
Recognized author, Career Services International/Education Career Services

While it may seem unfair, not all skills were created equal and employers do find some skills more desirable than others.  Therefore when writing your resume and cover letter, remember hard skills win out over soft skills every time.

Hard skills are quantifiable and easily demonstrate the benefit you offer an employer.  They include account growth, budget management, inventory control, and customer turnaround, to name a few.

By contrast, soft skills are hard to prove and difficult to relate to the bottom-line.  They include great communicator, team player, dedicated professional.  These things leave employers saying “Wonderful, but what can you do with that?”

The purpose of a resume is to entice a hiring authority to call you in for an interview.  To do so, you want to get them thinking about what you can do for their company.  Showing them you fill their needs and demonstrating your past contributions is the best way.  Think about it, what do you think an employer needs more: a great communicator or a customer care specialist? 

* A great communicator may talk to the clients well, but not be particularly adept at customer care.

* A customer care specialist is likely a great communicator, but more importantly, they add value to a company.

One of the best ways to differentiate between hard and soft skills is that hard skills are quantifiable.  This is important because your resume should be accomplishment driven rather than filled with a list of duties.  Numbers make for strong accomplishments.  Consider:

                Team member on budget, marketing, and sales committees.
                Cut concept to actualization time 50% by coalescing committee input for cross-department collaboration.

Which description would an employer find more valuable?

Even when hard skills are not quantifiable (if for example, you don’t know the numbers), they should always be provable.  How do you prove you are a dedicated professional before your next employer sees you on the job?  And even if you are dedicated, what are the results of your dedication?  You could be dedicated to mediocrity.  Or dedicated to getting a paycheck.

Provable skills look more like this:

                Decreased overstock by introducing inventory check-lists and just-in-time ordering.

While that statement would be significantly stronger with numbers included.  It still proves inventory management as a skill.

Another way of looking at the difference between soft and hard skills is soft skills tell an employer who you are.  Hard skills show them what you can do.

Thank you Kimberly for your work and sharing with our members!

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110


1 Comment »

  1. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

    Comment by pharmacy tech — January 7, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

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