The Difference Between Hard and Soft Skills


by Jennifer Bennett, CPhT

One of the secrets of life is to help others. As pharmacy technicians, we fulfill that. Remember, you leave patients better than you found them daily and make a difference. You hear sad stories, happy stories, and Looney Toon crazy stories every day. It takes skills to juggle all that. Massive skills, skills bigger than Jason Momoa's muscles. You educate yourself from books, online, on the job, and what life has thrown your way. Some skills come naturally, and some are learned. Strive to do and be better each day. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and always smile. I bet your smile is great; you should wear it more often. Whichever is the best way for you to learn, hard and soft skills are imperative aspects of the pharmacy technician profession. 

Hard skills and soft skills are sometimes confused. It is easy to do. What is the difference? How do I remember? No, hard skills are not a rock-throwing competition. Investopedia defines hard skills as "learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education. "I will add another piece to the definition: "job-related skills needed to perform as an employee efficiently and effectively." The pharmacy field is one with a lot of responsibility. Structured training is essential in the pharmacy field. Your pharmacy should have a mandatory training program in place. Some of the hard skills you must have to succeed as a pharmacy technician are mathematical and science proficiency, operating a cash register and other equipment, impressive critical thinking skills, strong organizational skills, and superb computer skills. If you think about it, these are all job requirements you must learn and develop proficiency in. You must understand the best way to read medication information on the label and how to know you have selected the correct one for filling. After you learn a necessary hard skill, practice and strive to become better, be the technician that all the other employees learn from. 

Soft skills are an important aspect of both your business and personal life. Investopedia defines soft skills as" character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person's relationships with others." Just imagine the hard skill saying to the soft skill, "you complete me." Think about it: you can prove you have mad compounding skills, but can you explain and describe the process? Superior communication skills are necessary for any profession, especially in pharmacy. Learn how to communicate effectively. You will speak with co-workers, pharmacists, patients, nurses, and doctors daily. At the end of the conversation, leave them impressed. You have the credentials to back it up, so do it; do not be shy. Your ethical stance will help you with leadership skills, teamwork, and critical thinking ability. Show your supervisors and co-workers that you are adaptable and handle stress with finesse. 

Integrating your hard and soft skills seamlessly on the job is critical for success. You can do it. I know you can. Educate yourself by taking a class and reading valid information as often as possible. Impress everyone with your knowledge. You are a good person in this profession to make a difference and help people. Use that ethical belief to be the best pharmacy technician out there. The one who leads and does not let stress un-nerve them. Be a technician that everyone trusts and undeniably prove their skills.