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What Are Hard Skills?

If you can develop complex software programs or write award-winning academic publications, then you are using a hard skill. Essentially, a hard skill is any required competency or expertise that allows you to complete a specific task. Unlike soft skills, which are often innate to an individual’s personality, you can learn hard skills with proper training and practice.

These skills are necessary in virtually every industry, such as construction, healthcare, business, marketing, and technology. Many of the most common hard skills usually fall under these basic categories:

  • Technical skills like troubleshooting, web design, and software development.
  • Computer skills​ like typing, Microsoft Office, and computer programming.
  • Writing skills, such as basic writing, creative writing, and copywriting.
  • Language skills​ include English competency, multilingualism, and sign language.
  • Project management skills​ include project lifecycle management, budgeting, and performance tracking.
  • Analytical skills, such as research, diagnostics, and forecasting.

In truth, you only need some hard skills in your repertoire to make it in the professional world. It is normal to carve out a niche skill set based on your personal and career interests. But most importantly, you should have the hard skills to perform your job successfully. Keep reading to learn more about hard skills, why they are important, and how you can enhance your own capabilities.

Why Are Hard Skills Important?

Hard skills are critical because they are vital in every career field and industry. Your profession will determine the complex knowledge, skills, and abilities you need to do your job like a pro.

For example, a truck driver​ needs to have the hard-driving skill, specifically driving a large truck. This is a skill they had to learn before they could drive safely. A chef​ requires the cooking hard skill to prepare tasty, safe, and healthy meals consistently. They might have learned this technical skill set​ from another chef or culinary school. As you can see, the job market​ functions because everyone possesses unique hard skills, keeping businesses operating.

What Hard Skills Should You Include on a Resume?

When listing hard skills on your resume, include those relevant to the new position you are applying for. Only include skills you possess or are learning, as you may be asked to prove the capabilities you claim to have. Review the job posting​ thoroughly to see which hard skills the employer values most. If you have them, update your resume if they still need to be included.

How to Gain New Hard Skills

Acquiring new hard skills hinges on your perseverance​ and commitment to learning​ as some hard skills are more challenging to learn than others. Still, there are many resources and opportunities you can leverage, such as university, in-person or virtual classes, training programs, vocational schools, and workshops. There truly is no limit when it comes to picking up a new hard skill. Decide what you want to learn and then take the necessary steps to achieve it. Consistency​ is key.

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