7 Hard Skills That Make You an Ideal Job Candidate

The above picture is an artist's drawing of a Resume.

7 Hard Skills That Make You an Ideal Job Candidate

What is it that makes you a fantastic candidate for the jobs that you're applying to? If you're like many people who are on the search for a new career, you may not be sure. It may feel like you don't actually have the necessary work skills to succeed, but is this really true?

It's possible that you're just not marketing yourself correctly. Many people have fantastic hard skills that employers are looking for, or they're more than capable of picking those skills up with a bit of effort.

We're here to talk about a few hard skill examples so you can start building your resume and making yourself a more desirable candidate. Read on to learn more. 

1. Language Skills

Language skills can be so beneficial in the workplace! Never underestimate the value of being able to speak a second language. While fluency is preferred, if you're at least conversational in multiple languages, it will give you a huge boost when you're applying for jobs.

Ideally, the second language will be one that's useful in the field. For example, Spanish is often a desirable second language in cities with large populations of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. 

Learning a second language as an adult is tough. Try using helpful language learning apps, like Duolingo, to increase your skills. The best way to learn is through speaking and immersion, so if you can find a language partner, that's even better. 

Bilingualism can be the perfect thing to put one job candidate over the other even if they're otherwise equal. 

2. Writing Skills 

Writing skills are helpful for many jobs, even if the jobs don't seem particularly writing-related. If the job entails sending emails to customers, posting on social media, or even sales pitches, your writing skills will help you.

Writing skills include things like:

  • Creative writing
  • Technical writing
  • Note-taking
  • SEO
  • Copywriting
  • Editing
  • Grant writing
  • Social media

Some of these also fit into the "marketing skills" category.

You can learn writing skills at home, but taking a class can also be helpful, even if it's just a one-off class at a local community college. If you're aiming for a specific job, see if you can find classes that match it (for example, a technical writing class). 

3. Marketing Skills

Marketing skills are getting more and more important as time goes by. If you're a savvy marketer, you have a promising career ahead of you. Marketers can work specifically in marketing, but people with marketing skills can work in almost any field because they're able to market themselves

Marketing skills can be learned in school, but they can also come from experience. If you've had success with your personal social media accounts, you can use them as an example of your marketing skills. 

If you've had a job in the past where you've had to advertise the business on social media or create other forms of marketing materials (such as marketing emails), you can use that experience.

Common examples of useful and relevant marketing skills in 2023 include:

  • SEO and SEM
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Google Analytics
  • Adwords
  • WordPress
  • Content writing

Again, some of these skills also fit into other categories (like writing and computer skills). 

4. Art and Design Skills

Many people think that art and design skills aren't useful in the workforce, but this is a huge misconception. There's plenty of room for artists and designers in non-art fields. You don't have to be a professional studio artist to put your art skills to good use.

Art and design skills are beneficial to anyone in marketing, anyone who has to work on social media or website maintenance, and so much more. 

You'll want to focus on "marketable" skills if you're an artist looking for a job in a more "conventional" field. Often, hiring managers are looking for skills like:

  • Photoshop or Adobe Suite (or similar)
  • Procreate
  • Layout design
  • Graphic design
  • UX/UI design
  • Print design

You can learn all of these skills in school, but if you're self-taught, you may want to take some online courses. Online design courses are often free or low-cost.

You'll then want to create a mock portfolio that you can show to potential employers. If you can find real clients to do work for, that's best, but if not, there are plenty of online tools for you to create a "fake" portfolio.

5. Management Skills

Management skills are more attainable than you'd think. Many types of job experience (and even school experience) can give you management skills even if you were never in an official management position.

Management skills show hiring managers that you're able to lead a team and also be self-sufficient. Even if you're not applying for a management role, these skills are helpful to have.

Management skills include:

  • Budgeting
  • Negotiating
  • Hiring
  • Planning
  • Project management
  • Office management

These skills generally come with previous experience, but they're flexible. For example, if you have experience as a teacher's aide, you have experience with managing others (students) as well as planning even if that experience is unconventional.

6. Computer Skills

Basic computer skills are more helpful than you'd think. While many younger applicants believe that their skills are "the default," this isn't actually true. These skills can be beneficial in a wide variety of roles, so don't leave them out if you have them.

Good examples of computer skills that many employers look for include:

  • Excel
  • Microsoft Word (or similar)
  • Google Drive
  • Email
  • Typing
  • QuickBooks

Many of these skills are things that people can pick up on their own with a bit of online instruction. If you don't have official class experience, use YouTube to pick up these skills. 

7. Technical Skills

Technical skills are important for anyone trying to get into IT and engineering fields (among others). They're specialized skills for specific programs. 

Common examples of technical skills that are helpful on a resume include:

  • Various coding languages
  • STEM skills
  • Prototyping
  • CAD
  • Troubleshooting
  • Automated billing systems

These are skills that almost always come from either university classes or previous experience. 

Build Your Hard Skills for a Great Resume

Employers are always looking for these hard skills when they start accepting resumes and applications. If you have any of these desirable skills, always include them, even if you're not sure they're relevant. They may make you the most qualified applicant!

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