Hard Skills

Technical abilities that can be taught and refined through practice and repetition

Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Start Free

What are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are technical or learned abilities that are developed and refined through practice and repetition. Hard skills are crucial for the job, as they increase productivity, efficiency, and ultimately can complete the job in a satisfactory manner. However, it is important to understand that hard skills do not ensure success, and one also needs to develop a combination of soft skills to excel in business.

Key Highlights

  • Hard skills refer to technical abilities that can be taught and refined through practice and repetition. Such skills are crucial when completing or succeeding in any job.
  • Soft skills differ from hard skills, as they are not only more difficult to teach, but it is also crucial in setting up and fostering a positive work environment.
  • During an interview, soft and hard skills can be expressed through the STAR method, which is a structure that can be used to explain scenarios and substantiate one’s skills clearly to the employer.

Understanding Hard Skills

In the finance world, hard skills can be defined as one’s ability to build financial models or financial statements. It can also be defined in other ways, such as fluency in a second language, understanding how to use different software to edit photos, or building PowerPoint slides. They are all skills that can be learned and improved upon through practice.

Many employers and recruiters tend to analyze hard skills through what is mentioned on a resume. The skills should be backed up by some sort of certificate, degree, or qualification. For example, there are many ways to learn how to build a financial model.

One way is to enroll in our Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® program. Through completion, not only will you get the opportunity to learn crucial skills to become a financial analyst, but you will also be rewarded with a certificate. The certificate can be mentioned on your resume to exemplify your qualifications.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

While hard skills tend to focus on technical abilities and skills, soft skills tend to focus on one’s personality, including social and communication abilities. Soft skills are intangible and are more difficult to teach. Being able to converse, act friendly, and develop relationships through engaging in small talk and listening to others are often several examples.

Essentially, one’s soft skills are intrinsic and are equally as important as hard skills. While hard skills help individuals perform successfully on the job, soft skills create a positive and functional work environment to conduct work. They are more difficult to teach than hard skills, and many employers tend to consider these as key elements when looking for the right candidate.

Examples of hard and soft skills for accountants

In accounting, the following are some of the hard skills that are generally required and must be familiarized with:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Grain Plains
  • QuickBooks
  • Peachtree
  • SAP Software

The programs above allow accountants to prepare and interpret financial statements, as well as other various accounting reports.

Some soft skills that accountants would need are:

  • Communicating effectively with regulators
  • Dealing with external auditors
  • Staying up-to-date with current issues and alterations in industry regulations

How to include hard and soft skills on a resume

When creating or updating a resume, hard and soft skills can be included by adding a “Skills” section, which highlights the abilities that one possesses that are also relevant to the position.

In order to understand which skills should be included within one’s resume, it is recommended to review the job posting that is being applied for. The hard and soft skills that employers are seeking might be found in the requirements, education, or desired skills section.

Showcasing hard and soft skills in an interview

The most effective method to showcase hard and soft skills during a job interview is to substantiate their statement by sharing stories of past experiences where one previously conducted a specific hard or soft skill during a certain situation. The structured formula is an acronym called STAR — situation, task, action, result.

Top Hard Skills Employers Look For

According to LinkedIn, has reported that some of the hard skills that are in greatest demand as of 2020 include:

  • Blockchain
  • Cloud computing
  • Analytical reasoning
  • UX design
  • Business analysis
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sales
  • Scientific computing
  • Video production
  • Artificial Intelligence

Fields That Require Hard Skills

Some career options that require hard skills include but are not exclusive to:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Medicine

Additional Resources

Communication Skills

Analysis of Financial Statements

Interpersonal Skills

See all management & strategy resources

0 search results for ‘