Welcome to the first of our mini-series on key startup skills for jobseekers.
Hard skills. What are they? Why are they important? How do you demonstrate them in your next startup application?
We’ve collated some of the best resources and tips for building up your portfolio of hard skills so you can perfect your startup CV.
What are the differences between hard and soft skills?
In short, hard skills are quantifiable, technical abilities that can generally be trained or accredited e.g. attaining a GCSE in French tangibly proves one’s ability to parlez francais (at least at one point in time!) A soft skill on the other hand, is much harder to quantify; the ability to manage a team or be creative. They tend to be more vague, and though no less important they are a little more tricky to prove on a CV!
Building Hard Skills made easy
The good news is there is lots you can do to gain experience in a variety of key hard skills on a shoestring budget. It’s an easy way to proactively build your employability, so if you’re not getting the response you want in your job hunt give some of these a go:
- Languages – as we know startups are no longer isolated to San Francisco and London, and any growth-minded startup will be looking to expand internationally – multilingual candidates are worth their weight in crypto in this industry. Don’t be put off by the grind, there are some really cool apps that make linguistics fun. We love Memrise (the observant amongst you will notice they are currently advertising vacancies with us) as its specifically developed for learning on the go.
- Word-smithing – some startups are straight-up with this and ask that their candidates have attained a degree or equivalent to evidence their ability to string a sentence together (in their native tongue). Another way to show your control of the written word is to start a blog and write about anything that interests you (it doesn’t have to be startup related). There are plenty of blogging services that will allow you to do this – Blogger and WordPress are the leading free providers. Extra points if you build it yourself…
- Programming – a basic comprehension of coding is becoming increasingly important, though obviously higher qualifications and experience will be needed if you have your sights set on becoming a developer. However, companies like Skills Matter, Grasshopper and Codecademy offer free courses to give you a beginner to intermediate understanding of coding.
- SEO & Digital strategy – there are so many online and print resources to educate yourself on basic SEO. We particularly like The Moz Blog – who regularly post interesting and educational content on this topic. One of the best ways you can provide your ability to market digitally is to build a social media and blog following for yourself. If you get hands on with social and Google Analytics you’ll be a master in no time!
- Software and Platform familiarity – word processing is a basic hard skill expected of almost any candidate, so what we recommend to all our candidates is making sure you are familiar with the nuances of the Microsoft, Google and Apple suites. Software like Photoshop and InDesign, though highly sought after proficiencies, are traditionally more difficult to access due to the expense of acquiring the software. Have a look for quick online courses that might prove your knowledge in any areas your CV could otherwise be lacking!
Now you’re a hard skills master it’s time to get applying – jump on Work in Startups and start showing them off! If you want to learn more about the other skills startup employers are looking for in their candidates, do check out our soft skills post too!