Mastering hard skills for workplace success (with 200+ examples)

Mastering hard skills for workplace success (with 200+ examples)
SEEK content teamupdated on 20 November, 2023

Commonly referred to as technical skills, ‘hard’ skills are simply a type of skill set. Hard skills involve specialised knowledge and abilities, like how to use specific software or operate certain machinery. Unlike soft skills, they are typically job-specific and related to specialised tasks.

For example, if you’re a cashier, using point-of-sale software is a hard skill. If you’re a plumber, you’ll need to know pipefitting and soldering. Nurses need hard skills like drawing blood and monitoring vital signs. In this article you’ll find a hard skills list for a range of different roles. Browse our list of hard skills examples to see how many you already have and how many more you can learn to advance your career. 

Developing hard skills for a resumé

Developing hard skills for your resumé is a smart idea if you have big career goals. Employers will often be on the lookout for relevant hard skills, so showing that you have all the abilities needed to perform the job can help you stand out from the crowd. 

How to identify the hard skills you need

So, how do you know what you should list when it comes to hard skills for a resumé? Here are some ways to find out what hard skills are relevant to you career: 

  • Browse job ads for the specific job and the skills required and desired
  • Read your job description thoroughly to understand what’s expected of you
  • Ask your supervisor, peers or others in the industry which skills they believe you need to succeed
  • Seek out feedback about your current performance and skills you may need to grow

Once you know the hard skills you need, you’ll want to start looking at resources for learning and setting goals to grow your skills.

Top ways to grow your hard skills

The first step to expanding your abilities – and your career options down the track – is setting goals. You can determine your own goals by using others in the industry as a benchmark, by improving your current work and through gaining certifications. To help grow your skills, you’ll also need to find learning resources. Here are some top ways to grow your hard skills:

  • Courses
  • Mentoring, apprenticeships and coaching
  • Certifications
  • Online tutorials and information
  • Textbooks and educational documents
  • On-the-job training

Even when you get the job you want, you should always be looking at any hard skill gaps and how gaining any missing skills could help you become more efficient and even better at your job.

200 examples of hard skills for your resumé

As industries evolve with technology, so too do hard skills, and what’s in demand today might be outdated in a few years’ time. The list below covers some of the hard skills that are popular today. Find the ones that are relevant to your industry and role, and consider acquiring any you’re missing to list on your resumé

IT skills

IT hard skills typically refer to specialised knowledge related to computers and software. They include coding, programming, IT support and knowledge of computer hardware itself. If you work in IT, web development or another IT field, you’ll more than likely need some of the above skills. Some IT hard skills, like management and data analysis, are transferable into other roles, opening the door to opportunities in different industries.

These are some of the top technical skills you can learn:

  • Programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, PHP and SQL
  • Web development
  • Mobile-app development
  • Database management
  • Network administration
  • Cloud computing
  • Data analysis
  • Machine learning 
  • Artificial intelligence 
  • Robotics
  • Industrial automation 
  • CAD design 
  • 3D modelling
  • Computer hardware repair and maintenance
  • Software testing and quality assurance

Some technical skills in IT are learned on the job, while others require formal training outside your company. How you receive qualifications also depends on your role and business, and the access your company provides to courses and learning materials. You can always ask your employer what sort of training and courses they offer staff. 

Analytical skills

Some analytical skills are learned through life experience: soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. If you’re looking to build on your analytical hard skills, there are many more you can learn, especially if you are looking to step into management. These hard skills are essential for people who’ll be making decisions or leading projects as they help teach you what to look for to make the right choices.

Some of the top analytical hard skills you can learn to progress your career include:

  • Data cleaning
  • Statistics
  • Knowledge of research methodologies
  • Forecasting and trend analysis 
  • Risk analysis 
  • Business Intelligence (BI) tools 
  • Process modelling techniques
  • Database and dashboard software
  • Mathematics skills
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
  • Excel skills
  • Data visualisation

Analytical skills are useful for a wide variety of roles, from handling payments as a cashier to making company-wide decisions in a senior business analyst role. 

Communication skills

Communication is a broad term that encompasses both hard and soft skills. Soft communication skills include client liaison, conflict resolution and collaboration. Hard communication skills are usually taught in a formal setting, and include things like copywriting, translation and journalism. 

Communication hard skills to list on your resumé include:

  • Copywriting 
  • Editing
  • Speech writing
  • Presentation skills 
  • Public speaking 
  • Negotiation skills 
  • Technical writing 
  • Translation
  • Journalism
  • Content/SEO writing 
  • Tender/bid writing 
  • Script writing/screenwriting

Adding formal communication skills to your resumé can open the door to a wide range of jobs and industries.

Leadership skills

While it may feel like becoming a leader is a natural progression in your work life, being effective in a leadership role may require certain technical skills. Aside from advanced soft skills, there are hard skills you will likely need to be sucessful as a leader. 

Top hard skills to have as a leader include:

  • Team/people management 
  • Reporting
  • Coaching or training 
  • Project management
  • Spreadsheet and presentation skills
  • Hiring
  • Budgeting
  • Logistics
  • Business administration skills

Developing your soft communication and project-management skills is also vitally important for becoming a successful leader.

Project management skills

Project managers are needed in practically every industry: banking, manufacturing, marketing and countless more. You may specialise in one particular industry or in project management in general, allowing you to accrue industry-specific skills with every role.

Some of the top project management hard skills include:

  • Knowledge of planning and organisational software
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Conferencing software
  • Budgeting and time-keeping software
  • Event planning
  • Project scheduling
  • Email writing
  • Resource allocation
  • Knowledge of different management methodologies
  • Billing

Many soft and hard skills relevant to project management are transferable, allowing you to work across different sectors. 

Sales and marketing skills

Whether you’re more data driven or more creative, there are sales and marketing skills you can accrue to help you advance in the workplace. There are hundreds of different sales and marketing roles, so the hard skills that will most benefit you depend on which path you take.

Some of the top hard skills you might need to start or advance your career in sales or marketing:

  • Market research
  • Brand strategy
  • Trend analysis
  • Knowledge of sales platforms
  • Performance measurement
  • Content creation
  • Graphic design
  • Video production
  • Content management systems
  • CRM knowledge
  • Data analytics
  • SEO/keyword research

Marketing, communications and business degrees are usually the starting point for pursuing a career in marketing, while on-the-job training is usually more important for entry-level sales positions. Considering the ever-changing digital environment, soft skills such as flexibility and adaptability are also highly prized.

Financial skills

Accountants, bookkeepers, financial planners, risk managers, actuaries, auditors, financial consultants, mortgage brokers; they all fall under the broad umbrella of finance. Each role has specific hard skills needed to ensure you are compliant with regulations and can perform your job well.

Top hard skills you may need to work in finance include:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Financial analysis
  • Investment management
  • Banking and finance
  • Insurance underwriting
  • Tax preparation
  • Audit and compliance
  • Financial forecasting
  • Risk analysis
  • Knowledge of finance software
  • Capital budgeting
  • Cost accounting

While most jobs in finance will require a degree, you can gain on-the-job training for many others, such as working for a bank or writing finance news. Speaking with people in your desired area of work can help you learn what you need to do to get to where you want to be.

Manufacturing and production skills

Manufacturing in Australia supplies more than 800,000 jobs. Needless to say, this sector offers many in-demand roles in which you can carve out a successful career. Hard skills in manufacturing can help you break into a career as a welder, engineer, CNC machinist, maintenance technician, 3D-printing technician and more.

If you want a career in manufacturing and production, here’s a list of some different hard skills that might be beneficial:

  • Quality control and quality assurance
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Process improvement
  • Supply-chain management
  • Logistics and distribution
  • Purchasing and procurement
  • Inventory management
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Robotics
  • Machine operation

Communication skills, including problem solving, teamwork and collaboration are also critical in manufacturing and production. Formal education is a good pathway to entering the industry and accumulating hard skills, followed by on-the-job training that will help you progress further in your career.   

Healthcare skills

Healthcare is another broad sector that includes registered nurses, doctors, medical receptionistsoccupational therapists and many more. It offers a wide array of fulfilling career paths that come with big responsibilities, where you’ll be learning for the rest of your working life to keep up with developments in medical research, technology, pharmacology and health legislation.

Some of the different hard skills you can learn to pursue a career in healthcare include:

  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Patient care 
  • Administration 
  • Electronic medical records (EMR) 
  • Medical billing and clinical coding 
  • Radiography
  • Urgent care
  • Health informatics 
  • Research skills
  • Nutrition

With so many different areas of healthcare, the specific hard skills you need really depend on which direction you plan to go in. If there is a certain area you want to work in, look at job ad descriptions and qualification requirements, and speak to people in the industry to find out the specific hard skills they needed to launch their careers.

Legal skills

If you want to become a lawyer, judge, legal secretary, paralegal or similar, you’ll need very specific technical skills. The higher up you go, the more qualifications you’ll need. If you don’t have a university degree, there are diplomas and certificates that can get you on your way.

Some legal hard skills include:

  • Legal research and writing 
  • Knowledge of substantive law
  • Litigation and negotiation 
  • Contract drafting
  • Intellectual property 
  • Regulatory compliance 
  • Mediation and arbitration 
  • Dispute resolution 
  • Evidence collection and preservation
  • Knowledge of legal terminology
  • Organisational software tools

Lawyers and mediators need formal qualifications to practise in Australia, and many of these hard skills pertain to specialised areas of law. If you are interested in a specific area of law, speak to someone who works in that niche and ask them about their career path. A mentor can be a valuable asset if you are pursuing a career with heavy academic requirements. 

Engineering and construction skills

Engineering and construction roles are essential in shaping our cities and communities. A career path in engineering and construction could see you in a job as a civil engineer, project manager, architect, structural engineer, health and safety manager, land development project manager and more. 

Some different hard skills you can learn for a career in engineering and construction include:

  • Design and drafting 
  • Project management 
  • Safety and compliance 
  • Civil engineering 
  • Architecture
  • Masonry
  • Electrical wiring
  • Concrete laying
  • Welding
  • Machinery operation
  • Carpentry

Again, the skills you need will depend on the specific industry area you’re looking to work in. You should research exactly what you’ll need by looking at job ad descriptions, consulting with a careers advisor and by speaking to people in the industry.

Overcoming challenges in developing hard skills

There will likely be challenges to gaining new hard skills, like coving the costs of certain courses out of pocket, having limited access to resources, or struggling to balance work and learning commitments. It can help to set goals before you start out. Write a list of the challenges you’re facing, then come up with strategies for overcoming each one. For support, speak to people who already have that skill and can guide you and provide motivation.

It’s always good to have a variety of hard skills on your resumé. They can help you stand out to a hiring manager, because you’re able to bring tangible knowledge and abilities to their workplace. Relevant hard skills are often the keys to unlocking the career you want, so they’re always worth investing in .

You can never have enough hard skills and there are endless ways to learn, whether it’s watching YouTube videos, getting on-the-job training, or signing up for a class after work hours. Inspired to learn? There’s no time like the present.


What are some examples of hard skills?

Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be measured or assessed. Examples of hard skills include:

  • Data analysis, such as proficiency with tools like Microsoft Excel, SQL and more
  • Coding or programming, including the use of Python, Java, etc.
  • Graphic design, using software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator
  • Digital marketing through SEO, SEM, social media and more
  • Medical procedures or processes
  • Accounting, such as knowledge in bookkeeping

How do I identify the hard skills needed for my job?

To identify hard skills needed for your job, carefully read your job description and the official documentation for your role, looking for any skills and qualifications mentioned. You can also speak to your manager and colleagues, consult industry resources, analyse your job tasks, and look at feedback in your performance reviews.

What are some resources for learning hard skills?

There are a number of resources available for learning hard skills, including formal courses and education, like uni and TAFE, free online videos, subscription platforms like Udemy and Skillshare, textbooks, trade schools and private training.

How long does it take to develop hard skills?

The time it takes to develop hard skills varies on the complexity of the skill, your existing knowledge, how you’re learning, the quality of the teaching and more. Being consistent and switched on while learning can help you reduce the time it takes for you to master your new skills. 

How can I measure my progress in developing hard skills?

Measuring your progress in developing hard skills is essential for gauging your growth and identifying opportunities for further growth. Some ways to measure your progress include: taking assessments, benchmarking your skills against industry averages, earning certificates and seeking feedback from mentors.

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