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Career Development Tips

Top Hard Skills Employers Look For

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated Jun 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Hard skills definedHard skills examplesWhat hard skills do employers look for?How to include hard skills on your resumeHow to improve your hard skills

Guide Overview

Hard skills in the workplace

There are several in-demand hard skills that employers look for, including technology skills and computer skills. Knowing how to highlight your hard skills during interviews and on your resume can help set you apart from other candidates. Here we explore what hard skills are, the top hard skills employers seek in candidates, how to include your hard skills on your resume, and how to improve your current hard skills to make you more attractive to hiring managers.

Hard skills defined

Hard skills are work-related skills that are quantifiable and specific. Also referred to as technical skills, hard skills allow you to perform a certain job. Whereas soft skills are more innate and not something you typically learn in school or training, hard skills are acquired through training, education, or certification. Many positions require candidates to have a certain set of hard skills to be considered for the job. For example, a position as an IT professional would require you to have several technology skills like systems administration, software development, and information security.

Hard skills examples

The following are hard skills examples that are currently in-demand in the workplace:

Data analysis

Data analysis refers to a person’s ability to research, observe, and understand various types of data in order to come to a viable solution. Analysis skills are needed in a variety of possessions, especially those that regularly deal with large amounts of data. People with strong data analysis skills can notice trends between pieces of data and use this information to help an organization develop solid marketing or other business-related strategies. Important data analysis skills in today’s workplace include:

  • Research
  • Data mining
  • Database management
  • Creative thinking
  • Resource management
  • Data presentation
  • Forecasting
  • Data visualization
  • Web analytics

Technical skills

Technical skills are hard skills that are specific to a particular field and are typically related to engineering, IT, science, or technology. This type of skill set allows individuals to work software or equipment that’s necessary for the job. Common technical skills include:

  • Linear regression
  • CAD
  • Troubleshooting
  • Prototyping
  • CAD
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills
  • CRM platforms
  • ERP systems
  • Network administration
  • Operating systems
  • Drafting
  • Systems administration

Design and marketing skills

Marking and design is a major component of many organizations and can include online and physical marketing as well as design for products, websites, and ads. Marketers and designers must possess several hard skills in order to efficiently perform their job. These marketing and design skills include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Digital marketing
  • Social media
  • UX design
  • MailChimp
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • UI design
  • Graphic design
  • Search engine optimization
  • Search engine marketing
  • Copywriting
  • A/B testing
  • Funnel management
  • Google Analytics
  • AdWords
  • Email marketing

Management skills

While part of a manager’s job involves utilizing soft skills to unite and motivate employees and effectively communicate with employees and upper-level management, they also need several hard skills to be effective in their positions. Hard management skills include:

  • Finance
  • Business knowledge
  • Project management
  • Negotiating
  • Logistics
  • Hiring skills
  • Business development skills
  • Team management
  • Public speaking
  • Resource allocation

Computer skills

Most jobs require at least basic computer skills, while many positions require employees to possess more advanced hard computer skills. This type of skill set refers to a person’s ability to utilize hardware and software to perform a duty. In-demand computer skills in today’s workplace include:

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Spreadsheets
  • Email
  • Social media
  • QuickBooks
  • Database management
  • Typing/WPM
  • JavaScript


What hard skills do employers look for?

The hard skills that employers want to see in candidates will vary greatly depending on the position. The following are the hard skills that are most often sought after by employers:

  • Computer technology (Microsoft Office Suite, social media, HTML)
  • Data analysis (resource management, data engineering, database management)
  • Marketing hard skills (SEO, SEM, Google Analytics, email marketing, content management systems)
  • Project management (scrum, Trello, Zoho)
  • Web and mobile development skills (app development, web architecture)
  • Security and network structure (risk assessment, cryptography, encryption algorithms)
  • Design skills (UX design, UI design, Adobe Creative Suite)
  • Hard communication skills (copywriting, editing, foreign languages)

How to include hard skills on your resume

Your resume is a great place to highlight your hard skills and make it easy for hiring managers to quickly see your qualifications for a position. Use the following steps to include hard skills on your resume:

  1. Decide which hard skills to include. While you may have several hard skills, they may not all be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Look at the job listing and note any hard skills specifically mentioned. Include these skills on your resume.
  2. Include hard skills in the skills section. A great place to list your hard skills is in the skills section on your resume. Clearly define each skill and use bullet points to separate them.
  3. Mention hard skills in your work history section. You can also include your hard skills in the work history section of your resume. In the job duty descriptions for past work experience, mention relevant hard skills and include a quantifiable example of how you used each.

How to improve your hard skills

There are several ways you can improve upon your hard skills. These include:

  1. Take an online course or a class. There are several online and in-person courses and classes you can take to master a hard skill. For example, you could take a computer class to become more proficient in various computer hard skills. Classes and courses provide you with ample opportunity to hone your skills as they require coursework and assignments that allow you to master each skill.
  2. Practice your hard skills. Regular practice is a great way to get better at a hard skill. If you don’t currently use the hard skill you want to improve upon in the workplace, set aside time each day or week to practice the skill you want to home.
  3. Consider pursuing higher education. Enrolling in an undergraduate or graduate program is another great way to improve on your current hard skills or even learn completely new hard skills. For example, if you want to learn network engineering, you could pursue a degree in network engineering or a similar concentration.

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