What abilities make you a superstar at your job? In order to answer this question, you must be able to identify the set of hard and soft skills that define your skillset.
Hard skills are abilities you can gain through education, training programs, certifications, and on-the-job training. These are typically quantifiable expertise that can be easily defined and evaluated. For example, a hard skill for an IT professional might be computer programming, while a hard skill for a carpenter might be a knowledge of wood framing.
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Soft skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal (people) abilities. These are much harder to define and evaluate. Soft skills include communication skills, listening skills, and empathy, among others. They characterize how an individual interacts in relationships with others, as well as how they carry out the task at hand.
Like anything in life, experience plays a big part in the development of both hard and soft skills. However, it is the interaction between them that make you a superstar. Take your favorite dish, you as the chef can identify the ingredients (hard skills), but how you mix them and how long you cook them (soft skills) is the key. Also, the more you make the dish (experience), the easier the process becomes. -Joaquin
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