Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: There is a Distinct Difference
Life is about growth. If you want to be successful in life, you have to constantly improve yourself. By increasing your knowledge base, you can market yourself to others and increase your value. There are two different categories for skills you can learn and utilize in your life: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are talents and abilities learned and cultivated through formal education, training, and practice. Some examples of hard skills include: languages, typing skills, computer proficiency, machine operation, or something directly related to your job. Some examples of soft skills could include: communication, patience, leadership, and persuasion. Both of these skills can be learned and practiced, but in my opinion, soft skills are more marketable. You do need a solid mix of both skills. In the end, one type of skill will supplement the other. For example: the willingness to learn can yield hard skills like languages.
Hard skills are crucial to being able to perform your job at the highest possible efficiency. These can often be referred to as technical skills too. If you work with computers on a daily basis, then you should work on improving your hard skills associated with that. If you are in real estate, every agent must have a license. In order to obtain a license, you must take a course and pass a test. The skills like understanding the laws associated with real estate, the processes, and the ability to write offers and negotiate them, are hard skills. Most of the hard skills that are in the highest demand today, are tech related. This can include digital marketing, coding, and more.
Most businesses and careers today require a certain level of aptitude and experience in their fields. This happens for a variety of reasons. By requiring applicants to have some prior experience to be hired, companies can ensure that they do not have to train employees as much. Required experience can make it tough for those who want to start a career. How can you gain experience if the company won’t hire you with no experience? Tough question. Colleges and trade schools often times offer programs to help students get real life experience in their career paths. The education you gain from these programs yield the technical skills that you will be using daily.
Soft skills are the skills that help you navigate your every day life, both in personally and at work. Skills like communication and patience are important to cultivate and nurture. Both of these skills work in the personal life to assist in understanding other people in your life. At home, you may need to communicate to your significant other to remember to pick up the kids. At work, you use communication to coordinate plans with your coworkers or clients and customers. Patience is crucial at home, because you will not always see eye to eye with others, and sometimes being patient can help you avoid extra stress. At your career, patience is important for interacting with others, such as in the service industry.
Employers look for soft skills in their new hires for a variety of reasons. First, someone with a lot of well-cultivated soft skills is of great value. Having someone who can communicate effectively, work well with others, is patient, willing to learn, creative, and flexible brings versatility. Second, business owners plan for the future, and a well rounded employee can be used to build a solid company around. Soft skills such as the willingness to learn, will in turn produce hard skills that benefit not only you, but the company you work for.
Learning new skills can benefit you in many ways. Obviously, the fact that you are learning something new, is a benefit. As they say, “knowledge is power”. By growing your soft and hard skills, you become a well rounded individual with the abilities to adapt to new situations and grow in your own life. You could learn something technical, like coding, for a hard skill that could help you grow financially in your own life. You could learn how to speak to crowds, and grow personally by being able to help others and spread knowledge. In my opinion, soft skills are the way to successfully navigate your interactions with other people, and hard skills are what will make you your money.
No matter where you are in life right now, you can always grow and improve. The best place to start, is with yourself! Try to focus on your strengths and weaknesses in regards to your hard and soft skills. Once you know where your weaknesses are, focus on improving them. For example, I know sometimes I can be impatient, and that is a skill that I am working on. For a hard skill, learning a new language can open entire worlds of new experiences and adventures. No matter what you choose to focus on, the most important thing is to grow and improve both your life and those of others.