Skip to Main Content

The Difference Between Hard and Soft Skills on Your Resume

By Jessica L. Mendes

Your resume should highlight your experience and detail all the relevant skills you can offer to your new employer. But what is the difference between "hard" and "soft" skills? We've outlined the differences below to help you put your best foot forward on your resume.

What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are teachable abilities, things that you might learn in school or through on-the-job training. Hard skills are quantifiable—you either have the skill at some level of proficiency, or you don’t, like technical skills or speaking a foreign language.

The beautiful thing about hard skills is that you can learn new ones at any time. Plus, once you learn a hard skill, it’s transferable, meaning that you can take those abilities wherever your career takes you.

If you are applying for a job that requires a particular skill you don’t have, you may be able to convince your prospective employer to hire you anyway by showing you are a fast learning and can train in that skill.

Examples of Hard Skills

  • A degree or certificate in a particular field or industry

  • Applied science

  • Computer programming

  • Driving a vehicle or heavy machinery

  • Editing

  • Engineering

  • Foreign language skills (speaking, reading, writing)

  • Machine operation (computers, phone systems, forklifts, hydraulic presses, etc.)

  • Math

  • Medical procedures

  • Research

  • Software usage

  • Typing (and typing speed)

  • Writing

What Are Soft Skills?

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are subjective. Soft skills include your interpersonal abilities—your communication skills and how you relate to others. Your critical thinking ability is also part of your soft skill set; how you solve problems and form judgments can be a crucial component of your career success.

Showing that you’re good at particular soft skills can be a little trickier than demonstrating your proficiency in hard skills. Although you will likely include a simple list on your resume, during job interviews you should be prepared to share examples from past work experiences that showcase your effective use of soft skills.

Examples of Soft Skills

Jessica L. Mendes

Jessica L. Mendes, a former contributor to ZipRecruiter, is a writer and professional reader providing author support, content creation, and curriculum design services. She writes for a range of industries, including education, employment, law, technology, medicine, sales, and corporate interior design. Connect with Jessica via LinkedIn or

The information in our press releases, blogs, articles, testimonials, videos and presentations should be considered accurate only as of the date thereof. We disclaim any obligation to supplement or update the information in this type of content, and any links or references therein to third party articles or other third party content does not constitute our endorsement of that third party.

Read Related Articles