Soft Skills vs Hard Skills – What’s The Difference?
In contemporary world employers, and HR people in particular, often have high expectations of employers. They not only want them to be experts in their field or in what they will have to do at work but also have strong skills. And these can be divided into soft skills and hard skills. So what’s the main difference between the two that makes it possible to assign particular aspects of our experience to the two categories? Follow this article to find out.
Skills which are related to Emotional Intelligence. Our right side of the brain is responsible for them – the emotional center. Soft skills are hard to measure.
Skills which are related to IQ – Intelligence Quotient. Our left side of the brain is responsible for them – the logical center. Hard skills can be defined and measured.
Which Are More Important?
To say that hard skills prevail over the soft skills or the other way round, wouldn’t be right. However, it is important to analyze those strong and weak ones in order to improve our skill set as some of them may be more important than others at work. Let’s take a look at the basics in order to assess which will be more relevant when taking into consideration work environment.
Soft skills, as the name suggests, are those requiring less attention as we’re not able to learn them at school or take a course in how to gain them. They are concerned with our emotional intelligence and how we perceive the world and other people. Soft skills include the following:
- empathy – it is important in interacting with co-workers and in understanding other people’s emotions and motivations;
- time and project management – this skill is crucial in proper work management and sticking to deadlines;
- people management – the ability to work with a team and managing people in different situations;
- leadership – if you manage a team or are the boss, you need to know how to lead others in order to achieve success;
- communication – well-developed communication skills improve work since everybody understands your intentions; it also helps to enact relationships and creates a friendly atmosphere at the workplace;
- creativity – helps in making work more productive and enjoyable; it also brings freshness and optimism to the workplace.
Of course, gaining soft skills often comes with time as we gain experience and learn how things work in life. However, it is also recommended to pay attention to our emotional intelligence and develop it by, for example, reading books, inspiring guidebooks. Let’s not forget that the best way to develop soft skills is to surround ourselves with positive people.
While soft skills refer to our emotional intelligence and how well we function in the society, hard skills are quite the opposite. They are teachable and measurable, easy to define. They may cover such aspect of our life as:
- academic degrees;
- courses and trainings we managed to finish and the knowledge we gained from them;
- work experience and, what follows, the expertise we have in the particular field, for example, project management;
- all other practical skills verified by tests and certificates.
Hard skills are more practical than soft skills and the main difference between them is that they require certain cleverness and self-denial in achieving successes.
Know Your Soft and Hard Skills
You may say that:
And you are right. We all develop certain skills, both soft and hard, through the entire life. We learn them at school, from our teachers, parents, and friends. But it’s important not to forget to approach them equally since they are all essential in our life and career. They not only reflect our personality and make it easier to cooperate with co-workers but also help us in work.