I have often been asked: What is the hardest part of your job? The majority of the time the answer is discovering what skills my clients have to offer to an employer. As an employment specialist I recognize that prospective employers are talking about hard skills.

Employees with special skills wanted - job interview candidates

So, what are hard skills?

Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that can be quantified.

For example: being able to type so many words per minutes, lifting a certain amount of weight, speaking more than one language, and being able to program computers. Hard skills work in conjunction with the soft skills we briefly addressed in previous posts, and will continue to address through this series.

Throughout my experience, something I have become aware of is: For individuals applying for jobs without a lot of past experience, these hard skills are learned through study, training and practice.

Hard skills can be taught and built upon.

So, where do you go when you have minimal experience, but want to work on your hard skills?

A few suggestions that I have are to possibly start volunteering. This is a great opportunity to start gaining experience and transferable skills. This could be with a church, school group, or neighborhood.

You could also work with temporary agencies or seasonal jobs if you felt comfortable. This would also provide great experience and help with different skills. For some it may be doing different things for family and friends until they feel comfortable enough to work with others.

Pursuing any of these different suggestions can provide invaluable information about yourself and your abilities, as well as raise your confidence.

by Maggie Cromeens

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