Hard skills vs Soft skills

Lesson plan overview

This pre-intermediate Business English lesson plan is about work skills.Students will learn about hard and soft skills, expressions to talk about ability and expertise, will practise job interview questions related to skills, and will write a cover letter. You can combine this lesson with the following video-based Business English lesson plans: “Competition“, and “Teamwork“.

Listening: After an initial discussion, students watch a video “Hard skills vs soft skills” and complete a table with the missing information.

Vocabulary: Students look at different skills, and put them into the correct category (hard skills or soft skills). Then they discuss a few questions related to different skills.

Functional language: Students look at different expressions to talk about ability (can/be able to, show/demonstrate, develop/acquire, be proficient in, excel in/at). Each phrase is accompanied by 2-3 example sentences and a short explanation of how it is used grammatically. To practise, students complete the phrases so that they are true for them.

Speaking: Students are given different professions, and they discuss what skills are needed for each profession. Next, students take turns to ask each other 8 job interview questions where they need to use the target vocabulary from this lesson.

Reading: Students read a cover letter and complete a True/False activity. 

Writing: Students are given a cover letter template and are asked to complete it with their own ideas.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.


Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

Critical thinking, the ability to find trustworthy data and use it to make decisions.
Working in gigs, navigating the gig economy, the flexible work environment of the future.
Cultural intelligence and diversity consciousness, having an awareness of diversity and the fact that our workplaces and societies are becoming more diverse.
Leadership, excelling in leading groups at the top of the organisation as well as throughout the company.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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