Employers often look for special hard skills when reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for an open position. Knowing how to successfully display these skills on your resume and interview can increase your chances of getting the job. Here we discuss the top resume hard skills, how to highlight them and how to improve your resume.
From teaching to marketing, every job requires candidates to have specific hard skills. Find out which skills to highlight and how to properly list your hard skills on your resume in our in-depth guide.
What are Hard Skills?
Hard skills are skills that are acquired through education or training and that are required to carry out a job. These skills can be technical knowledge or skills that can be easily defined and measured. Hard skills can also be viewed as job-specific skills and can vary from job to job.
These types of skills can be acquired and enhanced through certifications, training, education, courses, and on-the-job training.
Hard skills are skills with which you can cope with job-specific tasks and responsibilities. Hard skills can be learned in courses, in vocational training, and in the workplace.
These skills usually focus on specific tasks and processes such as working with tools, devices, or software.
In contrast, soft skills are your traits and abilities that aren’t unique to every job – think collaboration, time management, empathy, or leadership.
Which skills are more important? A LinkedIn study suggests that a slim majority (57% versus 43%) of employers value soft skills over hard skills.
What are hard skills in the workplace?
Below are some examples of how you can use different hard skills in the workplace:
Master the computer basics
Computer literacy is a difficult skill that can be easily demonstrated in the workplace. Most positions require a basic understanding of computer skills, including the use of email, Microsoft Office, and other applications.
Make it your business to become as familiar as possible with the computer applications that you need to do your job.
Contribute to the organization’s social media strategy
Many companies rely on social media to market their business. By contributing to your company’s social media endeavors, you can showcase your social media expertise and improve your marketing hard skills.
Edit your digital messages before sending them
Editing is often seen as a difficult communication skill. You can get in the habit of working through all digital and written correspondence before filing or filing it to demonstrate your editorial skills at work.
How to highlight hard skills
Here are tips on how to make your hard skills stand out on your resume, cover letter, and during an interview:
Hard skills for resume and cover letter
You should include your relevant hard skills on both your cover letter and resume to ensure they get noticed by potential employers.
On your resume, put your hard skills in a skills section that clearly defines each skill. You can also mention the most important hard skills in your area of experience in your previous job descriptions.
In your cover letter, select two or three hard skills that you want to mention and add an example of how you have used each one in your previous jobs.
Hard skills for the interview
When attending an interview there are a few ways you can show off your tough skills. One way is to show the interviewer your ability to perform a hard skill.
For example, if the job requires you to type a certain number of words per minute, you may be asked to take a typing test. Be ready to demonstrate all of the hard skills that you have listed on your resume during the interview.
You may also be asked to indicate when you have used your hard skills in the past. Before the interview, get at least one example of each relevant hard skill related to the position you applied for.
You can also bring any documentation you have with you to the interview that proves you have completed a course or certification that supports a hard skill. If you are as prepared as possible, you can
How to improve hard skills
Here are some ways you can improve your hard skills:
Practice hard skills regularly
Most hard skills require regular practice in order to master them. The more you practice, the better at performing the hard skills required for your career. Create an exercise program to follow and track your progress.
Ask for feedback and constructive criticism
If you are currently working with others who have already mastered the hard skills you would like to improve, ask them for feedback and constructive criticism on your current performance and suggestions for improvement.
You can also ask them for recommendations on how to most effectively improve a particular skill and what steps they have taken to master their hard skills.
Take a course or course. Many Hard skills require training in order to master them
Taking a class or online class is a great way to learn about hard skills and complete tasks that will improve your skills in the field.
Continuation of higher education
Another way to improve your hard skills is to study in the field that interests you. For example, if you want to become a computer scientist, you can get a degree in computer science or a related subject.
Most degree programs offer you several topics related to the hard skills you need and offer you the opportunity to master them.
Get a mentor
Mentors are like cheat codes for learning the specifics of hard skills. Online courses are great, but sometimes it feels like only a fraction of what you are learning is actually applicable to your job.
With a mentor, you can ask questions directly about your tasks and acquire the essential hard skills more quickly.
Ask for feedback often and accept constructive criticism with grace. A good mentor will put you on the right track and keep you going.
Top Hard skills for your résumé
Hard skills are usually technical in nature and each industry or type of job usually has its own requirements.
Finding out which range of hard skills to bring with you in your area may require some research. Here are some hard skills that are in demand across many industries.
Computer skills and application knowledge
Most jobs require at least basic computer skills, while many employee positions require advanced computer skills. This type of skill refers to a person’s ability to use hardware and software to accomplish a task.
The list of professions that do not require a computer and certain types of software is very short. You could very likely break “computer literacy” into two or three specific technical skills for your area of expertise.
Computer skills required in today’s work environment include:
- Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Social media
- Database management
- Jogging / WPM
- CSS / HTML
Understanding data is very much in vogue right now, and there are many jobs that require you to analyze metrics and extrapolate a practical use out of them, which makes analytical skills extremely valuable on your resume.
Important data analysis skills in today’s work environment are:
- Data mining
- Database management
- Creative thinking
- Resource management
- Data presentation
- Data visualization
- Network analysis
Technical skills are hard skills that are specific to a particular area and typically relate to engineering, IT, science, or technology.
These types of skills enable the individual to work with software or equipment that is required for the job. Common technical skills include:
- Linear regression
Develop a prototype
- MINT skills (natural sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics)
- CRM platforms
- ERP systems
- Network administration
- Operating systems
- System administration
There are many jobs that involve selling a product or service, buying inventory or goods, arranging manufacturing or shipping deals, working with advertising or investing, etc.
Finance, economics, engineering, construction, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and operations require some math skills. If you have a more math profession, you should break it down into a few more specific skill areas.
Many jobs require project management skills. The ability to manage your task flow and complete tasks on time is part of project management.
Perhaps you have used project management software in the past or completed a project prematurely – all of these show good project management.
Design and marketing skills
Labeling and design are an important part of many organizations and can include online and physical marketing, as well as design for products, websites, and advertisements.
Marketing involves selling and promoting products and services. Even if you’re not a marketer per se, many companies may wish for this tough skill.
Knowing and being able to talk or write about the highlights and benefits of your company’s products and services can be valuable for many different jobs. If you have specific marketing or social media experience, even better.
Marketers and designers need multiple hard skills to do their job efficiently. These marketing and design skills include:
- Pay per click advertising (PPC)
- Digital Marketing
- Social media
- UX design
- Adobe Creative Suite
- UI design
- Graphic design
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- A/B tests
- Hopper management
- Google Analytics
- Email Marketing
Management and administration
While the job of a manager is to use soft skills to unite and motivate employees and communicate effectively with employees and upper management, they also require a degree of hard skills to be effective in their position.
Even if your job isn’t administrative, it probably belongs to your role. Administrative skills include the things you do to manage your role: organizing, scheduling, scheduling, emailing and managing files, etc.
Employers want to know that you are in control of the details.
Hard management skills include:
- Business knowledge
- Project management
- Hiring skills
- Business development skills
- Team management
- Public speaking
- Resource Allocation
Many jobs involve writing. Whether they are clients or colleagues, basic writing ability is required and an absolute ability to write your resume. Emails with typos and grammatical errors won’t pay you well, and bad audio can send the wrong message.
Demonstrate this skill through your cover letter and emails with the recruiter, listing any specific write-intensive projects that you have completed.
You don’t have to be or be a writer to need excellent grammar and writing skills. Writing is necessary in so many different areas of business that if you are good at it you need to brag a bit.
Even in the most technical and scientific jobs, you still need to know how to write an email, come up with a smart suggestion, and write down your results.
Let them know you are that person when you have these skills:
- Technical writing
- Write an offer
- Other languages
- Press releases
- Content management systems
- Academic writing
- Social media
Not all professions fit into the examples above and some have very different skills. For example, if you are an electrician, you will need different certifications, which can vary by state.
And that’s just one possible career path. The following jobs are just a few that have their very own hard skills that don’t fit into the types listed above:
- Radiology Technician
- Tool and Mold Making
- Pharmacy technician
- Physiotherapy helpers
- Vehicle technology
Being bilingual can be challenging and set you apart from your competition. Even if a position or a company does not initially need bilingual staff, your skills can be rated positively.
It is common to need someone fluent in another language to help clients or clients, so act out this skill on your resume.
How to add hard skills to your resume
Your resume is a great place to highlight your tough skills and make it easy for hiring managers to quickly identify your qualifications for a position. If you have more than half of the required hard skills, apply.
And in the meantime, you start looking for hard skills in courses that you are missing, which keep coming up in job descriptions for your dream job.
Use the following steps to include hard skills on your resume:
1. Read the job description carefully.
Pay close attention to the “Requirements” or “Qualifications” section in the job description. This part is usually loaded with all of the tough skills that the hiring manager found essential for a candidate.
2. Make a master list of hard skills.
Next, write down any hard skills you have, even if you are unsure whether they are relevant to the position you are applying for. Brainstorm a lot so you have a big list to choose your best hard skills from.
3. Decide which hard skills you want to include.
Even if you have several hard skills, they may not all be relevant to the position you are applying for. Take a look at the job posting and write down any hard skills that are specifically mentioned. Include these skills on your resume.
4. Add hard skills to the Skills section.
A good place to list your hard skills is in the Skills section on your resume. Clearly define each skill and use bullet points to separate them.
5. Mention hard skills in your professional history.
You can also include your hard skills in the “Work History” section of your resume. In the task descriptions for previous work experience, mention relevant hard skills and include a quantifiable example of how you’ve used them.
6. Match your skills with those in the job description.
If you can assign all of your hard skills to those in the job description, you’ve come to the right place. But even if you only find 2-3 perfectly matched hard skills, you can still turn to your master hard skills list. From there, try to find skills that are at least similar to the skills required.
7. Earn certifications.
Gather up any certificates you have and make digital copies to include on a resume or application. This comes in handy when a hiring manager or recruiter wants to test your skills.
8. Add a section on skills.
The competency area of your resume can take different forms. For a chronological resume that most job seekers should use, you can simply add a list of 4-10 skills (most of the hard skills) according to your level of education.
9. Complete your list of skills with solid examples.
It is not enough just to list skills in the Skills section of your resume. Bring them to life in your internship area with some of your greatest accomplishments in any skill.
10. Understand keywords.
Sure, that sounds a bit outlandish to some applicants, but here’s the deal – most companies now use applicant tracking software that will check your resume before a human does.
That said, if you apply for the position of social media manager but never list social media managers on your resume, your resume may never get to anyone.
Likewise, you know that a job as a social media manager is likely to be closely related to keywords like Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, YouTube, etc.
Regardless of the area or industry, you work in, hard skills are the key to your next appearance. They show employers that you can actually do the job they’re hiring for. Hence, it is a must to include the right people on your resume.