The Difference Between Functional Skills and Job Responsibilities

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Functional skills and job responsibilities are distinct human resources topics, but aligning one with the other is important to strategic HR. Functional skills are transferable skills an employee can use in various work environments or situations. Job responsibilities are specific duties or tasks an employee is expected to perform.

Functional Skills Basics

Whiile technical skills relate to proficiency in tasks needed for a specific job, functional skills typically have broader application. Communication, listening, interpersonal, computer, basic math, integrity and written communication skills are common examples of functional job skills.

Job Responsibility Basics

Job responsibilities are what the company expects from an employee in a given position. They include roles, tasks and activities involved in fulfilling requirements of a certain position. Supervising, designing, creating, developing, writing, teaching, selling, servicing and decision making are all basic types of job responsibilities. Some jobs have a small number of primary duties. Teachers teach and salespeople sell, for instance. Other jobs may have a long list of responsibilities.

Résumé vs. Job Listing

Another significant difference between functional skills and job responsibilities is where they are located. Functional skills are typically outlined by job prospects in résumés and cover letters. In these documents, applicants explain how their work experience, education and personal strengths qualify them for a position. If well-done, these documents target the responsibilities required for a specific job as delineated in a job posting, which defines the responsibilities of an advertised job, along with the desired skills and qualifications.

Narrow vs. Broad

Functional skills are a specific type of skill area. Job responsibilities can require proficiency in functional skills or more technical skills. Functional skills have broad application across a variety of jobs. Job responsibilities typically require both functional and technical skills in collaboration. For instance, someone who works in sales would typically need functional communication skills, but she would also usually need technical proficiency in sales-specific skills like selling benefits, negotiating and closing sales.

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