Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What Employers Look for and How to Prove These Skills

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There are matters that employers consider when hiring freelancers in any capacity. What are the freelancers’ abilities? Are they available at the time the work should start? What are their experiences? Can they communicate well?

The ability of freelancers to complete a project comes down to a mix of soft and hard skills. Let’s be clear on the difference between the two sets of skills.

Skills developed through study and training (knowledge of a software language, accounting qualifications, maths, SEO, foreign language, etc.) are classified as hard skills.

Soft skills, on the other hand, come in the form of natural abilities and are not specific to any job (like leadership, politeness, ethics, communication, problem-solving).

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What Employers Look for and How to Prove These Skills - Image 1

What Employers Look for

Is one more important than the other? Also, how do you prove to employers that you have good sets of skills and abilities?

The joy of people is that everyone is different. Everyone thinks and acts in a unique way. Therefore, for employers, as much information as possible is required when deciding upon who to hire.

Using traditional methods of hiring someone has always been risky. Just because someone writes on their CV that they are a good problem solver, how do employers define if this is actually true? As a freelancer, how do you prove any skill or ability on your CV?

If a previous employer recommended you to new potential ones, these people would expect that they will have the same pleasant experience working with you. What if you’re not interested in their projects, or you’re too busy for the job? This is important for employers to note that there’s little point in hiring based purely on hard skills and abilities.

However, there has never really been any way past this dilemma apart from numerous and strenuous interviews, reference taking, and hoping for the best. This is not ideal in the world today, especially when it comes to freelancing and hiring independent workers.

In-Demand Skills

In-demand hard skills are easy to define. Do you want to know the top 10 most in-demand skills on Freelancer.com right now? These are the following:

1. PHP

2. Graphic design

3. Website Design

4. HTML

5. Logo Design

6. Wordpress

7. Photoshop

8. Mobile Development

9. Software Architect

10. Data Entry

If we look at soft skills, the most in-demand ones are quite difficult to define exactly. How can an employer tell if your abilities are strong in a certain area? Luckily, Freelancer.com has some powerful metrics behind all profile pages, which in turn allow you to define and prove your soft skills.

Metrics That Back Up Your Skills

The 5-star rating system is a quick and easy way to find the overall trust rating of a freelancer. Moreover, this number gets more and more relevant as the number of reviews this figure is based on gets higher.

Further metrics can be found below this 5-star rating on your profile page. Percentages are shown based on the number of jobs the freelancer has completed and jobs completed both on time and on-budget. Your repeat hire rate is also shown. These metrics are a fantastic way to help prove that you, as a freelancer, have both the hard and soft skills that impressed previous employers.

The second section on your profile page, your portfolio, is where you can show a selection of your work to potential employers. Below this is the recent reviews section. All employers who have completed their projects with you are able to leave reviews, which you can’t remove or edit.

Considering everything described above, the end result is a very powerful profile. It gives more information about you and backs up your skills through the metrics and reviews from your previous employers.

Therefore, employers now have an unrivaled tool to assess and make hiring decisions based on both soft and hard skills, far more so than ever before. On your end, you must complete all work to the very best of your ability. This will ensure strong metrics and reviews, which in turn prove your strengths and increase your chances of getting hired for future projects.

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Posted 17 October, 2016

Joe Griston

Director @Freelancer.com

Joe Griston is the Director of People & Talent at Freelancer.com. He has sourced, architected and scaled world-class teams for this tech company that is disrupting the planet. Joe has recently returned to London from Sydney to drive the growth of Freelancer.com across Europe.

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