Identifying the difference between skills and qualifications can be a challenge, particularly when trying to list them for a job application. As a general rule, it is helpful to remember that a skill is typically related to a specific ability, while a qualification might be a more general accomplishment. For instance, typing 70 words per minute is a skill, while possessing a bachelor's degree in English is a qualification. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, For instance, a qualification for a job might be possessing a certain skill, so it is best not to get too bogged down in worrying about whether things should be defined by which term.
Another way to identify the difference between skills and qualifications is that in some cases, qualifications are requirements to be eligible for a certain job, while skills are simply a bonus. An individual who wants to become a nurse, for instance, might have to possess certain qualifications such as a certain level of education or certifications. Skills that might make him or her a better nurse, though, might include great communication skills or the ability to take initiative. Sometimes a job will require both skills and qualifications, though; moreover, attaining a qualification often involves learning specific skills.
There are a number of ways to increase skills and qualifications for certain jobs. Getting additional education in a certain area, for example, might increase an individual's qualifications. Completing a training or certification program is another way to increase qualifications in a very specific area. Increasing skills, however, might require more dedicated independent work. For instance, if a person wants to increase his or her typing ability, or skill at playing a musical instrument, this will require dedicated practice; simply taking a class, while possibly making him or her seem more qualified, will not always increase skill.
When an individual is submitting an application for a job or discussing the job with a potential employer in an interview, he or she will frequently be asked about his or her skills and qualifications. For this reason, it is important to spend some time in advance considering the answer to this question. Some people find it helpful to make a list, broken down into two categories, listing the skills and qualifications that are most relevant for the particular job. This can also highlight where more skill development or education might be needed in order to qualify for jobs in a chosen career.