One of the best ways to differentiate yourself in a job interview setting is to paint a picture of your skills. The way you demonstrate these skills may be different depending upon the type of skill. Let’s take a few moments to talk about two different kinds of skills, hard skills and soft skills, and how you may demonstrate these skills in a job interview.
Hard skills are often defined as concrete skills you use in job-specific situations. Hard skills are often learned formally through education, on-the-job training, or experience in using them regularly. Some examples of hard skills are things like using specific computer programs, using job-specific technical skills, speaking different languages, or sales or marketing skills.
As we have already alluded to, hard skills are job-specific, so tailoring these skills to the type of job you are applying for is important. For example, if you are applying to a marketing position, your hard skills will be much different than if you were applying to a computer programming position. The demonstration of hard skills are often fairly straightforward. Some hard skills, like competency with specific computer programs, maybe demonstrated by having a specific training certification. Another way to demonstrate your hard skills is to provide examples of previous projects that you’ve worked on in a portfolio.
Soft skills are a little less quantifiable. When people talk about soft skills, they often refer to qualities, habits, and attitudes that are conducive to success on the job. When you hear about these skills, they are often around communication skills, leadership, teamwork, or interpersonal skills. While these skills can be learned, they are often less cut and dry than hard skills and are often learned over time.
Soft skills are also usually more universal than hard skills. While many hard skills are very job-specific, soft skills are easily transferred to other positions as well. So it is often valuable to lead with more soft skills when making a career change or moving into a new position where you may need a little more job-specific training.
The best way to demonstrate your soft skills to employers is to provide them with specific examples of how you previously used the skill. For example, suppose you want to demonstrate your communication skills. In that case, you may talk to them about a time where you used active listening to help a client or, perhaps you share a story about how you thought of a unique solution to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. The more you can paint a picture of your skill to the employer, the better.
During your next interview, take time to think through the skills you would like to demonstrate in your job. Then, come up with a way that you plan to demonstrate these skills to your potential employer.
Looking for more advice, read out blog on does your resume represent you.