What are Hard Skills? 15 Great Examples

Hard skills are objective, quantifiable abilities acquired through education, training, or work experiences. As a result, hard skills are typically easily demonstrated, for example, you either know how to fix a car engine or you don't. You can show potential employers that you have these skills by obtaining certifications, degrees, or licenses.

Key Takeaways

Hard skills are objective, quantifiable abilities acquired through education, training, or work experiences. As a result, hard skills are typically easily demonstrated, for example, you either know how to fix a car engine or you don't. You can show potential employers that you have these skills by obtaining certifications, degrees, or licenses.

Hard skills are usually the primary requirement when applying for any job because they form the basic skills that are required to do that job. In this article, we will share 15 great examples of hard skills that can be acquired to boost your resume.

Many hard skills are technical in nature and in high demand. In fact, according to a 2022 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 64.9% of companies look for technical skills on students' resumes. 

What are some soft and hard skills examples? Quantifiable skills, such as coding, user interface design, experience in MS Office, or second language proficiency to name a few are examples of hard skills.

Employees also require other skills, such as soft skills, in addition to hard skills to be successful at a job. Soft skills are characteristics and personality traits that influence interpersonal interactions and productivity. Traits like the ability to work in a team, creative talent, and persuasion skills usually complement hard skills to make a well-rounded employee.

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Soft skills, however, are difficult to quantify or measure objectively. Thus, assessing them is a subjective endeavor. Here are 15 great examples of soft skills

This guide will focus specifically on Hard Skills and we will share 15 examples of great hard skills that have the potential to make you a well-rounded, highly attractive candidate for any job.

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15 great examples of hard skills

What are hard skills on a resume? These skills required for any position are typically listed in the "Requirements" section of the job description. A hard skill implies mastery and expertise within an individual to perform a specific task or series of tasks to complete a job. 

Hard skills are demonstrable and quantifiable; individuals with these skills can be tested to demonstrate their ability in each of the skills.

There are objective metrics, not just subjective judgment, that can be applied to hard skills. Furthermore, an individual's proficiency in any given hard skill can be compared to the proficiency of other people who have that same skill.

Coding, for example, is a difficult skill to master. Two people who can code can be tested for efficiency and stability of the code, with the results determining who is more proficient in the skill.

If you are thinking of changing careers here are some transferable skills that will help you overcome your lack of experience in your new industry.

Here are some great hard skills that will be in demand in 2023.

1. Microsoft Office Skills

The Microsoft Office Suite, also known as Microsoft Office or simply Office, is a collection of productivity tools used by businesses worldwide. It is, however, used for much more than simply writing text in Word and creating tables in Excel. 

Users can use this suite to perform hundreds of advanced tasks. True, some jobs only require the fundamentals. However, for the majority of mid and high-level positions, you must become familiar with a few tricky functions.

MS Office includes the following components:

  • Microsoft Word is a text-editing program that allows you to write and edit documents. It includes a number of useful language tools as well as various accessibility options.
  • Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that allows you to organize and manipulate data.
  • Microsoft Powerpoint creates presentations from your ideas and allows you to create designs, slide animations, and 3D models, to help sell your ideas.
  • Microsoft Outlook is your email client, calendar, and contact manager.
  • Microsoft OneNote is a digital notebook that allows you to collect information in the form of text, drawings, screenshots, and even audio files.

Still, when a job posting mentions "Microsoft Office skills," they most likely mean the following four: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are all included.

A specific example to show MS Office skills would be to write, “Wrote a whitepaper on self-harm that helped increase awareness on this important issue by 18% in the local community.”

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2. Writing Skills

Possibly the most universally required hard skill, writing skills are a pre-requisite for any job and an absolute essential in leadership roles. 

If your job requires any type of writing, having a solid understanding of writing techniques will help your career - think typing up quarterly reports, onboarding documents, presentations for clients, sales pitches, etc.

Here are some critical hard skills in this category:

  • Basic writing: grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary
  • Email writing
  • Note-taking
  • Proposal writing
  • Letter writing
  • Presentation writing
  • Business writing reports, press releases, content management
  • Creative writing: copywriting, script writing
  • Academic writing
  • Storytelling
  • SEO content writing
  • Journalism
  • Professional-level editing such as editing manuscripts for a publisher.
  • Social media content writing

An example on your resume would be, “wrote copy for all the marketing material for our brand which resulted in a 50% increase in orders.”

Ethnic young woman using laptop while having tasty beverage in modern street cafe
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

3. General Computer Skills

Computer skills refer to your ability to use software and hardware, which can range from basic and general to highly specialized. In today's job market, computer skills are required in almost every industry. 

Include a list of relevant computer skills on your resume, especially if you're applying for office jobs and the job ad asks for specifics.

Examples include:

  • Typing
  • Basic or advanced graphics
  • Use of graphic tablets
  • Enterprise systems
  • Bulk email management
  • Collaboration software to work in teams like Slack, ClickUp, or Trello

A specific example of showing your computer skills might be, “Used ClickUp to collaborate with a team of writers that produced the user guide for the Canon D6 DSLR Camera.”

4. Presentation Skills

We know what you are thinking, to deliver an effective presentation, you must have certain soft, transferable skills, such as confidence, adaptability, self-awareness, and stress management. 

But you'll need at least a few of the following hard skills to help with your presentation or report:

  • Creating slideshows
  • Persuasion skills and techniques
  • Body language
  • Visual communication
  • Graphic design
  • Research
  • Data analysis
  • Reporting

Presentation skills are part of your basic skill set as an employee. In the past, usually, sales and marketing people were required to have great presentation skills because it helped them sell their ideas, products, and services. 

These days, however, everyone needs presentation skills - A scientist applying for a research grant needs to present his case, a startup needs to present its big idea to a Venture Capitalist for funding, a finance head needs to present the company’s budget and every student needs to make presentations in his bachelors and masters program.

Highlight on your resume any instances where the presentations you made were able to achieve a major goal such as closing a big deal, securing a large grant, or winning a high grade in university.

A Woman in White Long Sleeves Giving a Microphone to the Participant
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

5. Language Skills

Sometimes a specific language skill is a deal breaker for a job. Knowing more than one language will set you apart from the competition if you apply for any job in a company that deals with international customers or stakeholders.

Clear examples of when having a language skill are important: a job where you have to work with a specific community that speaks their national or regional language, a job requiring you to be posted at an international location, or a local position that needs you to regularly deal with a regional or international market.

In your resume, first and foremost, make a language section. List all foreign languages you know and your level of proficiency in each of them. However, you can also highlight your multilingual abilities in other sections such as specific projects you did.

6. Marketing Skills

Marketing skills include general sales, advertising, and consumer research knowledge, as well as a slew of highly technical, digital skills required for success in modern-day online marketing.

Candidates with marketing hard skills are in high demand in media, advertising, social media, e-commerce, and product management.

  • SEO/SEM: Ahrefs, SEMRush, SEO Power Suite, Majestic
  • PPC
  • Social media marketing and paid social media advertising
  • CRO and A/B testing
  • Email marketing and automation
  • HubSpot, Aritic PinPoint, ONTRAPORT, Infusionsoft
  • Funnel management
  • UX Design
  • Data visualization
  • Google Analytics and Google Search Console
  • AdWords, Facebook Paid Ads

A specific example could be, “Ran a Facebook Paid Ads campaign which resulted in 120% increase in website conversion rate.”

7. Project Management Skills

Project management skills help you complete projects on time and within budget. Any job that requires you to coordinate processes or people's work will benefit from your project management skills.

General managerial expertise, as well as proficiency in specific frameworks and software, are required for project management. Here are some examples of hard skills in project management:

  • Forecasting
  • Budgeting
  • Performance tracking
  • Strategic planning
  • Project scheduling
  • Project lifecycle management
  • Scrum management
  • Agile software
  • Financial modeling
  • Kanban

A specific example of mentioning project management skills in your resume can be, “Saved $650,000 by reducing unnecessary overheads during the construction of the Southend Mall.”

8. General Management Skills

General management skills are highly valued when applying for any senior management-level position. To be a good manager, you must also have the following job-specific skills:

  • Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Finance
  • Business knowledge
  • Hiring
  • Project management
  • Negotiating
  • Office management skills
  • New business development
  • Logistics

A specific example of displaying you general management hard skills could be, “Implemented company-wide use of Slack to reduce campaign development time by 30% at my last ad agency.”

9. Analytical skills

Analytical skills are the ability to collect data, analyze it, decipher its meaning, and present it. No matter what job you're applying for, the recruiter will give you extra points if you can demonstrate your ability to analyze data.

  • Data mining
  • Research
  • Reporting
  • Data presentation
  • Forecasting
  • Resource management
  • Database management
  • Data engineering
  • Diagnostics
  • Data and metrics interpreting

Some analytical skills can be soft as well but in the end, you don’t have to be a data scientist to have analytical skills as a hard skill in your resume. 

An everyday simple example of showing your analytical skills could be, “Used MS Excel to identify and d-list non-performing products in our company portfolio which led to marketing efforts being re-focused on products that did well. This analytical exercise increased revenue by 65%.”

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10. Technical skills

Technical skills include specialized knowledge and expertise in areas such as information technology, engineering, and science. The ability to use specialized software or equipment is an example of a typical technical skill.

  • Web: HTML, CSS, Javascript
  • Automated Billing Systems
  • Payment processing 
  • CRM Platforms
  • CAD
  • Prototyping
  • Lean manufacturing
  • STEM skills
  • Linear regression
  • Workflow development

If you were an architect, you would use the following example to illustrate your technical skills, “Used AutoCad to design over 35 architectural designs of residential buildings. Won a community award for the design of the most environment-friendly residential project.”

11. Design Skills

If you're a talented illustrator, modern employers will compete to see who gets to hire you. The ability to create polished visual materials is a valuable skill in any workplace and not just for industries that specialize in graphics design, like advertising for example.

Here are some hard skills examples that are design related:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Typography
  • InDesign
  • UX/UI design
  • UX research
  • Data visualization
  • Color theory
  • Acrobat
  • Sketching
  • Print design
  • Layout

An example of how to display your design skills in your resume could be, “Designed over 180 logos for companies and brands operating across many industries using Adobe Illustrator. I used Photoshop to finish the logos. 7 of my logos have won national level awards.”

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12. Financial Skills

Finance manager skills are competencies that enable professionals to perform tasks such as budget analysis, financial transaction monitoring, calculating key metrics such as return on investment (ROI), performing predictive analytics, and making purchasing and staffing decisions. 

These abilities enable managers to provide accurate analysis and make thoughtful recommendations that can assist businesses in increasing profits and minimizing losses.

Finance skills may include:

  • Recognizing and monitoring cash flows
  • Financial data analysis
  • Reporting to higher-level management
  • Estimating future expenses and earnings
  • Spreadsheets and statistical modeling software are used.
  • Using contractual provisions
  • Putting policies in place to ensure contract compliance
  • Using sophisticated mathematics
  • Maintaining financial management system security
  • Contract management for the government and vendors
  • Following third-party reporting procedures
  • Managing Corporate Debt

A typical example of displaying financial skills could be, “Reduced risk on investments in financial instruments resulting in a less erratic and stable investment portfolio.”

13. Machinery skills

While all the examples above are very office and desk-based, we wanted to share some of the field hard skills as well. There are hundreds and thousands of jobs that require people to operate machinery and in many instances, you need to be trained and licensed to operate these machines.

Machinery skills may include:

  • Using building construction tools
  • Driving heavy vehicles
  • Operating cranes and forklifts
  • Operating lathe machines

An example of mentioning a machinery skill could be, “15 years of certified experience operating tools for all kinds of electrical installations in commercial projects. Licensed electrician for the state of California.”

14. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is increasingly being used by businesses as a convenient data storage and management solution. People who can build and manage cloud networks are in high demand.

Here are some examples of hard skills that employers look for when hiring cloud computing professionals:

  • Cloud Architecture
  • Storage and Data Management
  • Networking Communication
  • Cloud Middleware Technologies
  • Cloud Applications, such as JSON, Rest, and RPC

An example of mentioning your cloud computing skills could be, “Lead the team that was responsible for our e-commerce platform’s complete database from a local server to a cloud-based solution giving instant global access to all our branches. All this was done with minimal disruption to service.”

15. Network Structure & Security

The value of a company's data is immeasurable. If sensitive data is leaked or stolen as a result of poor network security, it could cost the company thousands, if not millions, of dollars. IT professionals with data security skills are in higher demand than ever before.

Being a company's data shield, on the other hand, is no easy task and necessitates a strong set of hard skills such as:

  • Incident response
  • Encryption Algorithms
  • Risk Assessment
  • Authentication Systems
  • Cryptography
  • Virus protection software like Ping Identity, Portswigger BurP Suite, and Symantec
  • Virtual and Host-based Firewalls
  • Network monitoring software like Wireshark and Nagios

Here is an example of mentioning your network security credentials on your resume, “Built strong firewalls to reduce the annual instance of cyber attacks from an average of 7 to zero in 2021 at AttacksAreUs.com”

Summing it up

Job-specific abilities or knowledge acquired through education, hands-on experience, or training are referred to as hard skills. In practice, hard skills are either the technical skills required to do a specific job or a broad set of knowledge, such as project management.

Hard skills are particularly important because they help you clear the first hurdle in the job interview process. If you do not have the required hard skills for a job you simply are disqualified at the first stage.

In this guide, we showed you 15 examples of hard skills that could add great value to your resume making you an attractive candidate. We hope this guide has been helpful in building the perfect cv for your next job hunt.

From all of us here at Unmudl, happy job hunting.

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