This blog is the third chapter of our recent series that we in Whaii released and called the “Soft skill handbook” – Personality, Culture, and Skills. Previously, we mentioned that CEOs are rethinking their employees’ value, realizing that their company’s strength lies in the workforce. Consequently, in recruitment, the focus is shifting to hiring for both personality and culture.

 

During the application process, whether that is when submitting your resume or at the interview stage, employers will look at the candidate’s skill set. That includes both hard and soft skills and how those combined fit the company’s culture. Knowing the difference between hard and soft skills can help you in understanding how to effectively highlight your resume or application for both humans and recruitment software. Consequently, doing so, could set you apart from other applicants and could increase your chances of being ranked as a top applicant for the job.

In the next lines, you will be introduced to the characteristics of hard and soft skills, the most in-demand skills for 2021, and how to optimize your CV or application letter for applicant tracking systems.

 

What are hard skills?

All skills that you have acquired from your high school or higher education and are quantifiable count as “hard” skills. The keyword here is a teachable skillset that you got from your education, previous work experience, or training programs.

More illustrative examples include:

  • Knowing JavaScript and Python from your BA (degree in Computer programming)
  • Having a certificate in a foreign language
  • Having 2 years of work experience in sales in company X
  • Knowing how to use SPSS (statistical package for the social sciences)

 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are harder to prove because of their subjective nature. They are also known as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills” because they indicate how you interact with others and shape your work.

Examples of soft skills are:

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Communication

Leadership

Patience

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Time Management

Problem-solving abilities

Teamwork

Top in-demand skills for 2021

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, people and businesses needed to adapt to survive or even thrive. As we mentioned in a previous article, in times of change, being flexible and rethinking how to operate companies within is of crucial importance. According to HR leaders in top companies, new skills boomed as more needed since remote work became a new norm. The types of highly valued skills are distributed in 5 categories: self-management, problem-solving, working with people, and technology use & development.

Here is the list of the top 10 skills for 2021 – 2025:

 

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation and flexibility

Hard vs. Soft skills in your application

Neither hard nor soft skills should be excluded in your resume or application letter since they are both essential. When it gets to the selection stage in the recruitment process and hiring managers to choose between few candidates, soft skills can be in your favor. For instance, you could have less technical (hard) skills for a position than other candidates; however, you demonstrated on the interview active learning drive and excellent communication skills.

Potential employers could weigh more/appreciate those soft skills due to the specific job requirements you applied to (for instance, working on various projects with teams).

 

 

 

How to highlight your skills for recruitment software?

Lastly, you also need to pay attention to the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that more companies are widely using for their recruitment processes. Depending on the type of ATS, some have linguistic metrics that identify both hard and soft skills and rank you based on the combination of those related to the job posting.

This is why it is crucial to highlight your skills on your resume and application letter. If you do not have a section on the CV for skills, make one. Furthermore, carefully read the job requirements and scan your application if you missed including key skills. You can pick up a lot of cues of what an employer wants from a candidate by only looking at the job description. For instance, for a managerial position, it is intuitive that a recruiter seeks leadership and supervision skills as wells as empathy, diplomacy, patience in a candidate. An important intake for you is, however, not to see this application optimization as a backdoor to cheat the recruitment software by putting keywords or even overstaffing it. Linguistic readers are there to relieve the job of recruiters who will still read your resume if it is ranked higher.

When it comes to soft skills, rather than stating that you have them, it is better to demonstrate them. Showcasing creativity could be through the design of your application or the wording you use. Exemplifying that you are a problem-solver could be through giving concrete scenarios where you had to think on your fit and present solutions.

Are you an employer? Does the above sound complex?

 We got this covered for you!

 

Rather than fearing it, you could instead prepare and see what a linguistic-powered scanning tool can tell about your candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. You could use that knowledge to the advantage of the candidates and ensure they will actually thrive and feel more at home in the job and organization because there is a better alignment with their personality, values, and culture.