Soft Skills vs Hard Skills; What Freelancers Need the Most

Whether you are applying for a part time freelance job or a long term position, you often find the job ads stressing over certain soft skills and hard skills. If you are a fresher, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the questions about hard skills and soft skills. Even if you are working in a field for a while, you may want answers to these questions when switching jobs or aiming to get promoted at work.

If you are an aspiring freelancer, you may have the following questions regarding hard and soft skills in your mind:

  • What are the hard skills?
  • What are the soft skills?
  • What hard skills are employers looking for?
  • What soft skills are employers looking for?
  • What soft skills matter most?
  • Are soft or hard skills more important?
  • How can I improve my soft skills?
  • How do I know my soft skills?
  • Why are soft skills so important?
  • Can you quantify soft skills?

This article will answer the above questions about soft skills vs hard skills, so you can identify whether hard skills matter most for freelancers or soft skills. 

Difference Between Hard and Soft Skills

There can be pages written about soft skills vs hard skills, however, for freelancers, a quick difference can sort things out.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are transferable skills that are acquired through education or training and are essential to perform the job functions like analytical skills, operating machinery, a tool or software, etc. These skills can be measured and are job-specific.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are most often the personality traits that one develops over a longer period, i.e. ability to communicate effectively, work with other people, emotional intelligence, etc. These skills do though not job-specific they are crucial to growing your career to the next level.

What Hard Skills Employers Look for in a Freelancer?

When hiring a full time employee employers are concerned about an ideal balance of hard and soft skills, but when it comes to hiring a freelancer, there can be a different approach.

As hard skills are job-specific, the highly demanded freelancing jobs define the hard skills in demand. Digital marketing, software development, content development, web, and graphic design, photography & videography, etc. are the highly demanded freelance skills and so each of these categories requires job-specific hard skills.

Some of these hard skills require university education and proper professional training. But since the freelancing industry offers many highest paying jobs without a degree, a lot of hard skills can be acquired through self-learning using popular platforms like Coursera, EdEx, etc.

What Soft Skills Matter Most for Freelancers?

The most common misconception new freelancers have about the industry is that since you work in isolation most of the time, the soft skills may not really matter. Soft skills are equally important for freelancers as hard skills. In fact, soft skills matter most when it comes to growing your freelancing business to the next level.

Here are essential soft skills every freelancer must have.

  • Effective communications skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to handle stressful situations
  • Punctuality and time management
  • Organization skills and setting priorities 
  • Teamwork skills
  • Be able to show flexibility when needed
  • Ability to take the criticism positively
  • Business knowledge
  • Accountability

Soft Skills Vs Hard Skills for Freelancers

When hiring full-time employees, the employers often look for someone who can help them grow their company, and increase the overall success of the organization, however, when they are hiring freelancers their major focus is hard skills.

So, yes hard skills are most important when you are starting up your freelance career or when it comes to finding and getting jobs, but you cannot grow your freelancing career without developing effective soft skills.