But what are hard skills? Simply put, they are a specific skill set that you can measure, such as someone’s writing or mathematic skills. Hence, they are different to soft skills which are interpersonal and harder to demonstrate. Below we explain the top six hard skills that you should include on your CV.
1. Numeracy skills
Even the most creative jobs may have you using numbers at some point – whether its adding up figures or working out how to spread the budget. You may have to report on the revenue you made or even work out if something is cost effective. For example, if your company is paying a service to help your performance you may have to weigh up how much it costs and if it’s worth the investment.
What’s more, you might have to use numbers more generally, even if it’s just a basic calculation. This will apply to most industries, therefore numeracy skills look good on your CV.
2. Data analysis
Data analysis is anything from making graphs to spotting data trends, but this can also involve tools such as Google Analytics (GA) and Microsoft Excel. The extent of knowledge you need in this area will depend on the industry that you’re working in.
As an example, many marketers will need data analysing skills to spot trends in customer engagement, find leads and attract new customers. Having good data analysis skills can show that you have strong attention to detail and are good at problem solving, which are characteristics that many employers look for on a CV.
3. Research skills
Research is important in many roles, whether this is to check that your facts are correct or to find out more about a topic. No matter what role you work in it’s important to base your actions on reliable, accurate information – so great research skills will help you out with this.
Part of researching also involves critical thinking skills to analyse information. Being able to do this will look favourably in the eyes of a recruiter as it suggests that you’re able to think creatively. These skills will come in handy if you’re required to write reports as part of your role and can be a keyword that employers search for through an ATS (applicant tracker system).
4. Computer skills
We’re in the 21st Century and computer technology is rapidly changing, this means that basic computer skills are essential to employers. This includes being able to save and manage files and understanding how to use a computer alongside being able to type at a reasonable speed.
While basic skills in programmes such as Microsoft office, PowerPoint and email applications are a must, you need to think about the needs of your industry too. For example, an employer would expect a graphic designer to have knowledge of programmes such as Photoshop. So make sure you shout about any computer skills you have, listing the names of any relevant software that you’re proficient in.
5. Hard communication skills
Hard communication skills are different from general people skills such as listening, working in a team, writing and talking to others. These type of communication skills are more tangible such as being able to speak a foreign language or your level of proofreading accuracy.
Employers see hard skills such as these as very valuable. Candidates who can speak another language will be beneficial for client facing roles and will be appealing to global companies. Therefore, you can use this as a way to set you apart from the competition.
However, you can’t learn a new language overnight, so if you have other communication skills such as being a brilliant proof-reader it’s great to shout about. After all, writing is part of most roles and being able to spot mistakes and write professionally will be an advantage.
6. Marketing skills
Even if you don’t work in marketing, many of these skills can be used in a range of jobs (especially creative roles). Marketing skills can help you stand out from the crowd and as an added bonus, many can be learned easily. What’s more, marketing skills can give you a wider understanding of the company and how to attract customers.
Some examples of the skills that could make you stand out include, SEO (search engine optimisation), email and digital marketing, CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress and finally Google Analytics. If you want to learn these skills consider setting up a blog or running a website to gain some helpful insights.
Work these hard skills into your CV
If you want to stand out from the competition, make sure to pepper these skills throughout your CV. You should also be careful to tailor every CV you write to include skills that are relevant to the role your applying for.
For more advice on writing a brilliant job application, check out our complete guide to writing a CV.