What Are the Hard Skills Employers Seek?

Employers seek both hard and soft skills in applicants for employment. Fancy Yan / Getty Images

What are hard skills? Hard skills are part of the skill set that is required for a job. Employers typically require both soft skills and hard skills when considering applicants for a position. 

What Are Hard Skills?

The hard skills you will need include the expertise required for an individual to successfully do the job. They are job-specific and are typically listed in job postings and job descriptions.

 They are acquired through formal education and training programs, including college, apprenticeships, short-term training classes, online courses, certification programs, as well as by on-the-job training. 

Employers also seek applicants with good soft skills. These are the interpersonal - people - skills that enable you to succeed in the workplace.

Both hard skills and soft skills are important in the workplace and for career success. Here's information on both, with examples of each type of skill.

Types of Hard Skills

Hard skills include the specific knowledge and abilities required for success in a job. Examples of hard skills include computer programming, web design, typing, nursing, finance, electrical, accounting, finance, writing, mathematics, legal and other quantifiable skills that are included in the requirements for a job.

These types of skills are learned and can be defined, evaluated and measured.

They are most commonly used during the hiring and interview process to compare candidates for employment.  An employee's hard skills are also evaluated when considering someone for a promotion or transfer.

Types of Soft Skills

Conversely, soft skills are attributes and personality traits that affect interpersonal interactions and while different, are also as important as hard skills in the workforce.

These include characteristics such as leadership, empathy, communication, etiquette and more skills that aren’t as quantifiable as hard skills.

Focus on Your Most Relevant Skills

When job searching, it’s important to include the skills the employer is seeking in your resume and job applications. The skills (both hard and soft) will be listed in the requirements section of job postings, and help wanted ads.

Highlight the skills that are the closest match to the job requirements in your job application materials. Here's how to match your qualifications to a job.

Lists of Skills

When you're not sure what skills on include on your resume or job application, there are skills lists you can use to generate ideas. Here's more information on the difference between hard skills and soft skills, employment skills listed by job, and lists of skills for job applications, resumes and cover letters.

Examples of Hard Skills

The following are examples of some of the hard skills required for different occupations.

  • Accounting
  • Administrative
  • Analysis
  • Analytics
  • Automotive
  • Banking
  • Bookkeeping
  • Carpentry
  • Computer
  • Construction
  • Data 
  • Design
  • Editing
  • Electrical
  • Engineering
  • Financial
  • Hardware
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Languages
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Math
  • Mechanical
  • Medical
  • Nursing
  • Optimization
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Pipefitter
  • Plumbing
  • Project Management
  • Programming
  • Research
  • Reporting
  • Science
  • Software
  • Spreadsheets
  • Teaching
  • Technology
  • Testing
  • Translation
  • Transcription
  • Word Processing
  • Writing

Read More: Skill SetList of Soft Skills | Top Skills Employers Seek in Job ApplicantsJob Specific Skills

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