Skills and competencies are two terms you’ll often come across while looking for a job. It might appear as if these two words are substitutable, but it’s actually not correct to describe competency as just a synonym of skill. Skills tend to be more distinct and more easily described and defined. While, on the other hand, competencies are more extensive as they not only constitute sets of skills, but also knowledge and abilities.
In fact there is a very real difference between these two terms. If you’re looking for a new job or want to progress in your career, it’s important that you recognize the differences between the two. up
How Do Skills and Competencies Differ?
Skills are the distinct learned abilities that you require to do a given job well. However, hard skills and soft skills do vary. A hard skill is a technical and calculable skill that a professional may illustrate through their distinct qualifications and professional experiences, whereas a soft skill is a non-technical skill that is less firm in specific professions.
On the other hand, competencies are the person’s attitude and observation that helps them to be successful in a job. Competencies explain in an effective way, how an individual’s attitude bring about the required results in their behavior. As with skills, there are various types of competencies, including basic competencies, which are those that any successful employee needs to rise through an organization.
The Difference Explained
A major difference between skills and competencies is that of scope. Competencies are more extensive than skills. Skills are particular to a task, while competencies consist of a set of skills with capabilities and knowledge. Skills are just one of three features that make up a competency; the other two being knowledge and insight.
Learning a new skill is much quicker than learning a competency. A person develops competencies over time through practice and experience, while a skill can be learned in a relatively short training class. In business, competencies are the effective operation of a blend of skills. Organizations create competencies by translating specific skills into selected behaviors that show the ability to perform the job demands successfully. Competencies are also used to define the requirements for success on the job in a wider sense than skills do.
A competency is a wide collection of talent and skills that helps a person to perform effectively in any situation. In organizations, competencies are used to define individual abilities, skills, and knowledge required to perform job functions successfully.
Examples of competencies:
- Staff development
- Managing risk
- Customer service
- Problem solving
- Decision making
Skills are precise learned activities or tasks requiring proficiency or artistry that are acquired or developed through training or experience. They can range widely in terms of elaborateness. In the business world, a skill is a physical task learned to be able to carry out one or more job functions.
Examples of Skills:
- Using a computer
- Typing a letter
- Installing an electrical outlet
- Creating a PowerPoint presentation
- Changing a car’s oil
- Writing technical reference material
Skills and competencies are not mere catchy expressions scattered throughout job descriptions. They give us the means to be successful. So, if we can’t figure out the difference between skills and competencies , we can’t possibly move forward in our career, both now and in the future.