Your personality and experience matter a lot to prospective employers. But before they make a hiring decision on you, they want to make sure you have the right technical skills to do the job reliably.
Some skills are absolutely necessary to do the job. Others may be wishlist items employers would simply like you to have in order to minimize the need for on-the-job training.
The more relevant technical skills you have, the better chance you’ll have at landing the job you want — and the pay rate you’d hoped for. You’ll just need to identify your technical skills and present them in the right light during the interview process.
We’ll discuss some common technical skills, as well as how to find the right jobs that match your skill set using sites like ZipRecruiter.
What Are Technical Skills?
Sometimes referred to as “hard skills,” technical skills are specific abilities that help workers complete certain tasks or objectives at work. These abilities may be learned in a structured classroom environment, through e-learning or on-the-job training.
While “soft skills” are social or interpersonal skills that are measured subjectively, your proficiency in hard or technical skills can be quantified objectively. It’s not someone’s opinion that you’re good, great or bad at a particular technical skill — it’s a fact.
These days, it’s common for jobs to require technical skills. If a job requires the use of any sort of modern technology or specialized equipment, you’ll need specific technical skills to get it done.
Common Technical Skills
Need some examples of technical skills you could list on a resume? Here’s a look at some technical skills examples for some of the most popular industries:
- Retail: Point of sale systems, computer skills, product knowledge, sales, productivity software
- Food service: Food preparation, kitchen equipment, bartending, point of sale systems
- Information technology: Computer science, coding languages, computer networking, analytics, cloud computing, data security
- Construction: Power tools, carpentry, masonry, roofing, plumbing, HVAC, engineering,
- Marketing: Analytics, graphic design, content marketing, campaign management, targeted advertising, social media platforms
- Finance: Accounting, financial modeling, tax preparation software, financial reporting, data management,
- Transport: Logistics software, logging software, commercial driver’s license, hazmat certification
- Healthcare: Medical terminology, data entry, business administration, training, pharmacy, HIPAA compliance
- Real estate: Customer relationship management
- Education: Database management, website development, course construction, email management
- Science: Research, project management, data analysis, report writing, statistics, technical writing
- Engineering: Design, technical knowledge, robotics, data analysis, programming languages, software development, structural analysis, statistics
- Media: Video and photo editing, writing skills, web design, analytics, data visualization, content management systems
- Aerospace: Programming languages, computer aided design, operations analysis
Technical Skills vs. Soft Skills
Technical skills will be essential for just about any skilled job or advanced position you apply for. They’ll likely be critical to most entry-level jobs too. Employers like well-rounded employees, so in most cases, you’ll need more than just technical skills.
Soft skills are the other side of the coin. Unlike technical or hard skills, these are interpersonal skills that can’t be precisely or objectively measured.
In almost any job, you’ll have to interact with someone else at least part of the time. Soft skills are what facilitate the collaboration, leadership and problem-solving needed to get the job done.
Like technical skills, soft skills can be cultivated and enhanced with effort. But unlike technical skills, soft skills are transferable to just about any job out there.
When applying for a job, it’s important to list both types of skills on a resume and to tout them in your interviews. But remember to underscore the skills that match the job description.
How to Present Your Skills in an Interview
Prospective employers may not directly ask you about your technical skills or your soft skills. Questions about your experience offer you the opportunity to promote both types of skills.
Before you list technical skills on your resume, be sure to review the essential technical skills listed in the job description. The job description tells you exactly what the employer values in a specific role, and this information can be critical in helping you ace a job interview.
Opportunities to promote your technical skills:
What are your biggest accomplishments at work?
Here’s an opportunity to promote your best technical skills. Show your interviewer how these skills resulted in a big win for your company.
What were your day-to-day responsibilities like?
This is an opportunity to talk about more technical skills, beyond the key technical skills listed on your resume. If you’ve been developing new technical skills at your current job, this is also your chance to validate them.
Why do you want to work here?
Promote your most relevant technical skills, including industry-specific technical skills, to show your interviewer you’re equipped to do the job and that you’d thrive in doing it.
How do you manage conflicting deadlines?
This is another opportunity to highlight certain technical skills.
Why are you a good fit for this company?
This question gives you a chance to promote all of your valuable skills, whether technical or soft.
Opportunities to promote your soft skills:
What’s a time when you overcame a difficult situation at work?
Sure, you could work in some of your top technical skills here, but the recruiter or hiring manager wants to learn about your resourcefulness and ability to network to get the job done.
What happened when you had to work with someone you didn’t like?
This is not a trick question. The interviewer wants to know if you’re equipped with the interpersonal skills to be a team player, even when you don’t particularly like a teammate.
How would your coworkers describe you at work?
Most of us have a somewhat inflated opinion of ourselves and our abilities. This question asks you to look objectively at your soft skills and make an assessment of them.
Do you like working alone or in a team?
This one isn’t a trick question, either. Your interviewer is looking to put your interpersonal skills into perspective. Just because you’re capable of doing something well, it doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy doing it.
Finding the Right Job for Your Skills
You’ve got the soft and technical skills employers are after, but you just have to find the right employer. That’s where a site like ZipRecruiter can help you bring your skills to bear and land a job that helps you make the most of your abilities.
With ZipRecruiter, you can get the power of artificial intelligence to aid you in your job search. Their AI will match you to jobs based on your experience, the technical skills on your resume and your preferences for what type of work you want to do.
While other job boards only show you jobs in their database, ZipRecruiter partners with over 100 other job boards. And you can search them all from a single site.
Their AI can help you sort through millions of active jobs across their network of job boards and help you find the most relevant jobs. The AI will even recommend you to employers when you’re a strong match for a job.
Getting started is simple. Once you sign up and set up your profile, you can start applying to relevant jobs with just one click, in many cases.