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Before we introduce you to the hard skills, let’s start with the definition of skills themselves. Skills are nothing more than activities that we can do because we have learned them over time. We acquire skills throughout our whole life. It can be walking, riding a bike, playing guitar. When it comes to the labour market, CV skills are of great importance because they are indicative of what you can do and, therefore, what responsibilities you can handle at work. Due to their nature, skills are divided into technical and transferable, or hard and soft skills. The main difference between hard and soft skills is that the former are applicable in many situations. They are skills that are often, to some extent, influenced by character traits; they include, for example, communication skills or interpersonal skills. On the other hand, we have hard skills.
The basic hard skills definition says that they are specialised, industry-oriented skills. This includes both subject matter knowledge and practical experience. Hard skills are measurable and are often confirmed by a certificate or diploma.
Read on and you will find out:
What are hard skills in the labour market
Hard skills, also known as technical or specialised skills, include your knowledge and expertise of a particular industry. These specific skills are necessary to perform a particular job or task. Of course, many hard skills can be learned on the job, although others require years of courses and training. Hard skills are acquired and, on top of that, are quite measurable.
What hard skills you have determines your potential in the labour market. After all, you can’t be a bus driver if you don’t have a driving licence, or a teacher of Italian if you don’t speak the language.
Employers often look for people with specific CV skills and experience. Why? It is much easier to be able to quickly assign tasks to a new employee than to spend days or even weeks training them. And since these skill sets are so important to the job market, surely employers and recruiters pay attention to them when reviewing candidates’ CVs. For this reason, when you are writing your CV, we recommend that you use a reverse chronological format, with the experience section expanded to include specific skills and tasks, known as a combined CV. This CV format is the most commonly used among candidates in the UK so to make things easier for you, we made it the default format of our CV maker.
Hard skills examples by jobs
Examples of hard skills vary depending on the profession. If you are curious about what skills you need in order to become, for example, a nurse or a game tester, see examples of CVs from these and similar industries. This will give you a better idea of what recruiters are looking for.
In the meantime, we have put together some examples of hard skills for specific jobs below:
Business analyst hard skills
- Proficiency in using SQL language
- Knowledge of statistical languages such as R or Python
- Proficiency in statistical software e.g. SAS or Mathematica
- Advanced Excel knowledge
- Revenue development
Hard skills for product managers
- Risk assessment
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Sales and marketing expertise
- Research and analysis proficiency
- Product roadmap development
Teacher, hard skills examples
- Curriculum knowledge
- Examination: preparation and execution
- Lesson planning
- Student engagement and discipline skills
- Teaching techniques
Hard skills in hospitality
- Human resources management
- Bookings administration
- Impeccable customer service
- Forecasting and budgeting
- Event planning
Hard skills for interior designer
- Familiarity with design trends
- Proficiency in industry-specific software; Computer-assisted design (CAD)
- Project and budget management
- Understanding construction techniques and methods
- Expertise in colour and lighting schemes
Hard skills for accountants
- Clerical knowledge
- Bookkeeping and accounting
- Managing payroll
- Forecasting and budgeting
- Preparation of detailed reports
Hard skills for students
- Public speaking
- Project management
- Writing and editing
- Event planning and promotion
How to display hard skills on a CV
It all seems easy in theory. However, if you’re wondering how other professionals in your or a similar industry actually present their skills to potential employers, it’s a good idea to go through some CV examples to see this in practice. When choosing hard skills for CV writing, it is a good idea to use keywords included in the job posting you are responding to in order to ensure the best possible match. Sometimes this means you may have to be quite specific with your CV.
For example, if the posting requires knowledge of C++ and Java, instead of just writing that you know the programming languages, list them by name.
Example 1: CV for a Gas Engineer
Note that the skills section only includes hard skills At the same time other skills, including soft skills, such as mentoring or communication, are mentioned as an elaboration of work experience and listed under each position the person has presented on their CV.
- Technical consultancy
- Mining production plans
- Environmental legislative compliance
- Sample testing
- Extraction proposals
- Safety reporting
- Mine production reporting
Example 2: CV for a sales manager
This person combined in the skills section of their CV both hard skills, highlighted in colour, and transferable skills. In this case also, in addition to the standard skills section, more skills are listed next to individual jobs.
- Strategic account development
- Analytical problem solver
- Extensive personal network
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Trained in consumer marketing
- Positive and upbeat
- B2B sales
- Compelling sales proposal writer
- Review of contracts
Hard skills list - Top 50
Below you will find a list of 50 hard skills that are certainly highly demanded in their respective industries.
- A/B testing
- Accounting and Finance
- Analytical skills
- Automotive Services, Parts, and Design
- Business and Data Analysis
- Cashier skills
- Civil Engineering
- Cloud and Distributed Computing
- Computer Troubleshooting
- Customer service
- Database Management and Software
- Design skills
- Electronic and Electrical Engineering
- Fast typing
- Graphic Design
- Interior design
- Language skills
- Macro/Micro Economics
- Management skills
- Marketing skills
- Microsoft Office skills
- Patient Care
- Photo Editing
- Preparation of reports
- Presentation skills
- Project Management
- Quality assurance
- Risk assessment
- Sales funnel management
- Server Maintenance
- Smart Contract Development
- Social Media
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
- Talent acquisition
- Technical skills
- User Experience (UX) design
- User Interface Design
- Video Editing
- Writing skills
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What specific hard skills are hiding behind broad terms
Hard skills are an endless list of specific abilities needed to perform specific professions. Try counting ALL the professions in the world – you won’t get anywhere close to the end of the list. Add to that the fact that you need at least one hard skill for each of these professions. Do you see where we’re going with this? The list of hard skills is extremely long and very specialised. A lawyer will have a very different set of hard skills to a pilot, chef, teacher or hairstylist.
There are however, some hard skills that seem more transferable. We are talking here about such skills as computer skills, time management or analytical skills, that are broad terms that cover more specific skills. See if you know them all:
Hard skills: Examples of computer skills
This alone could be a separate topic. You know that these days the basics of using a computer are part of everyday life and are hardly a bargaining chip in the recruitment process anymore. So instead of writing that you have computer skills, go into more detail. Here are the most popular skills covered by the computer skills category:
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office, e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint
- Spreadsheets, using formulas and filters, creating pivot tables, performing comparative analyses, link to database, macros, sensitivity tables, vertical lookups
- Database management
- Social media: social media management, social media marketing, trend analysis
- Web development
- Hardware skills: technical support, troubleshooting, desktop management interface, network configuration, WAN/LAN.
Hard skills: Examples of analytical skills
Analytical skills are used to observe trends, manipulate data and draw conclusions based on results and research. Such skills will be useful in many professions or fields and include, but are not limited to:
- Research, i.e. taking the time to find the sources, data and facts necessary to draw conclusions or carry out a task.
- Forecasting from available data and trends
- Data and metrics interpreting
- Organising data and reporting
- Data mining.
Hard skills: Examples of project management skills
Project management is a big task involving skills from different disciplines. It is worth remembering that while project management itself will fall under the hard skills category, working with people also requires the right blend of soft skills. See what makes up for effective project management skills:
- Technical expertise and subject matter
- Risk management
- Project supervision
- Agile software
- Scrum management
- Prioritising and delegating
- Effective communication
Why are hard skills important?
Hard skills are important because they demonstrate an employee’s technical knowledge. This, in turn, is particularly important in the performance of job duties. Nevertheless, this does not mean that hard skills are more important than soft skills.
Admittedly, recruiters and employers pay particular attention to hard skills because they define a candidate’s specialised job profile and indicate whether he or she has sufficient experience and knowledge to meet the duties. After all, you can’t fill a nursing position with someone who has no idea about patient care, or an accounting position with someone who can’t organise accounts or manage payroll. That being said, it is worth adding that the real key to professional success is a balance between hard and soft skills. The former, preferably confirmed by an appropriate document, such as a university degree or a certificate of relevant training.
Learning hard skills is usually a rather long and demanding process, which is why specialists in a given industry are sometimes limited in number. This exclusivity of certain hard skills makes skilled workers sought after in the labour market.
How to improve hard skills
As you can see, hard skills are not only important when it comes to the job market, they are essential. Indeed, the job market is an extremely competitive place, so it’s worth constantly developing and nurturing your CV skills, both soft and hard.
Hard skills are specific and measurable, which means they can be learned and developed and improved. By improving hard skills, you improve your performance, efficiency and productivity.
- Practice what you’ve already learned. There’s a truth behind the saying that practice makes perfect. One of the primary ways to develop skills is through practice. Expand your knowledge, and exercise your skills under the guidance of a professional to maintain or improve the quality of your work. Remember that it is important to practice regularly.
- Learn from your peers. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of more seasoned colleagues. Ask questions, practise under their guidance, and observe their work and you will soon notice progress in yourself too.
- Take classes or training. Studying in a well-established facility is one of the best ways to learn and develop new skills.
- Sign up for an online course. You can find a whole host of valuable resources online, even free ones. Sign up for an extra online course to develop your hard skills. For instance, online courses in the IT industry are hugely popular.
- Earn diplomas and certificates. Validating your skills with the right document is an asset to your CV.
Hard skills: Takeaway
Skills determine what duties you are able to handle, which means, they sum up your professional profile.
Hard skills are specific, measurable skills necessary to perform specific tasks correctly and efficiently. They are often validated with a certification. Such skills are of great importance in the labour market.
Now that you have reviewed the CV examples and looked at the examples of hard skills for different professions, you will surely know the crucial importance they have for your professional profile. Combine these hard skills with your soft skills set to create a CV of a perfect candidate.
SEO Content Writer, Translator
Jagoda Obszarska is a certified copywriter, Polish language translator and career advice expert. She never stops improving her skills and learning new things. Over the years, she has worked as a copywriter and translator with people from over 50 countries worldwide and completed nearly a thousand projects.