A hard look at the soft side of career development

There’s no doubt that employers review potential candidates’ hard skills. Whether it be displayed on a resume, cover letter or through an interview, it’s essential to convey abilities that are specific to on-the-job success. But that’s not to say that soft skills aren’t just as important to employers.

While hard skills are usually more technical abilities that are learned, like computer programming, language acquisition, or machine operation, soft skills are subjective interpersonal skills that are much harder to quantify. Some examples of common, valuable soft skills include communication, motivation, patience, flexibility, persuasion, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, time management and work ethic.

It’s essential to highlight both your skill sets during the application process. Even if you lack a particular hard skill required by the company, you can emphasize some soft skills that would be valuable in the position.  It’s easy to teach someone a hard skill, but much more difficult to train someone an undefined skill like communicating effectively.