Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: Which Will Get You Promoted?

December 19, 2022

Pictured: Woman stnding in front of a presentation with data, speaking to a group of people who are listening.Employers use the terms “hard skills” and “soft skills” to describe what their employees need to do to succeed at their job.

It’s not unusual for people to focus on hard skills and consider them more important than soft skills. They couldn’t be more wrong!

I’d like to explain why. But first, let’s clarify what we mean.

Hard skills (or as I like to call them: head skills) are what you gained from work experience and training. These are the professional qualifications you need to do your job. Some hard skill examples include technical, computer, analytical, marketing, and finance.

Your soft skills (or heart skills) are personal attributes. They are your human qualities that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Soft skill examples include creative problem solving and innovation, communication skills, time management, adaptability, presentation, and active listening. While these heart skills can also be learned through work experience and training, they are often learned through life experience and may be rooted in our belief systems and our values.

When we think of the term “hard skills”, it makes them sound solid, firm, and confident. On the flip side, “soft skills” sound mushy, easy to mold, and gentle. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that hard skills are what matter most.

Without having effective soft skills, you will not be able to perform your job well.

Let’s say, one of your hard skills of expertise is analyzing data, but you are not comfortable with giving presentations. The ability to present information effectively is a soft skill that you need to be successful. You need to understand how to organize the information, how to present it in a way that your audience understands, and to be able to read the room and respond to questions effectively.

Your soft skills aren’t literally soft; they are powerful!

Companies are starting to realize the importance soft skills play in building effective teams, collaborating with colleagues, managing conflict, and solid relationship buildings skills. The term “power skills” is beginning to gain traction as the new vernacular for “soft skills.” I love that because your soft skills are powerful!

If your hard skills are the engine, your soft skills are the fuel that drives the engine!

If you want to be promoted, your powerful soft skills are key to your success.

It’s important that you know what your powerful soft skills are so that you can strengthen them and lean on them as you move up in the company.

What is one of your power skills?

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