Here are 15 in-demand new sills that you should add to your repertoire.
In-Demand “Hard Skills”
Hard skills are specific skills needed to perform your job, and you can learn and master them through training and education.
1. Technical Expertise
When in-person meetings aren’t an option, you need a thorough command of Zoom and other online meeting platforms. Staying up to speed with technology is a necessity with the working world operating out of people’s living rooms for the foreseeable future.
Jobs demand fluent computer skills. You need to either know a variety of software programs or master them, fast. In many cases, you can learn technical skills through on-the-job training. If not, research online tutorials or enroll in a certificate program to pick up these new skills.
Adopt an attitude that you will figure it all out somehow and keep plugging away. Mastering technology is like exercising—it gets easier the more you do it.
No one knows everything they need to know to do the job. Learning to be resourceful means finding out the information that you need to do your job well. This skill will serve you throughout your career.
First, understand where your knowledge gaps lie, and then, figure out how to educate yourself. The internet is an invaluable tool. Look for classes offered by LinkedIn. Also, look for schools and certificate programs. It’s also worthwhile and time-saving to ask people with the expertise you’re trying to acquire for their advice. They can point you where you need to go.
3. Time Management
You have twenty projects to juggle, and even thinking about how much work you have is distracting you. Get organized. In the fast-paced business world, attention to time management will save you from the burnout that comes from always rushing to meet each encroaching deadline.
Time management actually includes many skills. Figure out deadlines and work backward to decide what you need to do today. Push up priority projects and save projects that have no urgency for later. If you have to, wake up an hour earlier (or go to bed later) so you can work uninterrupted from your home desk.
If you are working with a team, clarify the end goal and what each team member needs to contribute so that you minimize duplication and cover all necessary tasks.
4. Basic Accounting
When you learn new skills in basic accounting, you become better able to converse in the language of budgeting—a necessity in business today. Knowing how to track and record expenses and income is an essential business skill.
Another added benefit: once you master basic principles of accounting, you can apply them to help you track things like the time you spend on a project or whether an action you take is worth the cost in money, time, and effort.
Making your case, whether it’s for a raise or to push back on a questionable idea, means you must learn the skill of negotiation. Start by gathering the facts so you come off as credible. Put yourself in the other person’s metaphorical Cole Hans to understand the arguments that you may need to defend against. Also, choose your time for negotiating wisely.
For example, approach your boss for a raise when the company has had an influx of new business or just reached a milestone—particularly if it was tied to your performance. Prepare to offer some options that could allow a compromise if your proposal is turned down. Hardball doesn’t work most of the time. Instead, think of strategies where both you and your adversary can win.
If you hated math in school, the word “analytics” may sound frightening. But most of the time, analytics involve programs such as Google Analytics and CRM software that can help you analyze the performance of a particular ad or marketing campaign.
In any business setting, you will need to track goals and measure the performance of a particular strategy. Learning the new skill of analytics to capture and analyze data in relation to your goals will put you ahead of your competitors.
Ordinarily, collaboration is considered a soft skill. But collaboration in today’s remote work environment means sharing documents across platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. You need to be able to let go of any ownership of the project and work together on one document if you want your team to succeed.
8. Proficient Writing
The need for writing skills has not disappeared with spelling and grammar check tools in word processing programs. Even if you never have to write reports, regular business communication demands written communication.
Learn to use proper punctuation, grammar, and appropriate word choice, even when emails are the only business communications required. Always re-read what you’ve written before hitting “send” to catch any mistakes. Clear, concise writing will show that you’re an astute thinker.
9. Mastery of Industry Language
Expressing yourself verbally in the world of business is different from the language you use with family and friends. First, acquaint yourself with the insider terms and phrases that are tossed around—every industry has them. Also, you will sound more professional once you do away with verbal pauses, such as “umm” and “like.” Command of language is an in-demand skill that will give you a competitive edge.
Learn “Soft Skills” to Win Over Others
Many of the in-demand skills for success fall into the category of emotional intelligence—or soft skills.
Don’t be misled by the term “soft” skills. Soft skills are hard to master. But you can learn these skills by emulating a person of character and via honest self-examination, along with continual practice.
10. Seeking feedback
Instead of wondering whether you are meeting the expectations of your boss, be proactive. Ask for feedback. Practicing this skill shows a desire to learn something new and continuous improvement. You may want to do this through email or in a scheduled meeting to give your boss time to gather her thoughts.
If your boss makes suggestions for ways to improve, share any strategies you formulate, showing that you take their feedback seriously. If the critique is general in nature, ask for an example to pinpoint the exact behavior.
11. Citing Your Accomplishments
Stating how you can add value is not about being a braggart but about making a convincing case that compels prospective employers to hire you, supervisors to give you plum assignments, and managers to give you promotions.
12. Respecting Diversity
People are people, regardless of their race, religion, gender preference, or political persuasion. Strive to accept others’ acts of self-expression whether or not they adhere to “the norm” because the days of asserting the dominant culture on other cultures are hopefully over.
13. Presentation Skills
Fear of public speaking is so commonplace that there’s even a word for it: “glossophobia.” Speaking in front of people can make you feel anxious, especially if you don’t do it very often. But being prepared helps, as do tons of practice.
Ask someone you work with to rehearse with you in advance. Record yourself with your phone to see where you need to up your tempo or smooth out any rough spots. Then, be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before your presentation so that you’ll feel fresh and energized.
14. Active Listening
People want to know that their ideas matter. When you invite others into the conversation, you learn from what they have to say. To learn the much-in-demand skill of active listening, stop multi-tasking. Turn off your cell phone. Stop checking your email, and give the person your full attention.
15. Conducting Yourself With Decorum
Set your professional bar high. When you must deal with difficult people, resolve to keep the conversation civil and constructive. Keep your voice relaxed and controlled as a contrast to the other’s shrill outburst to de-escalate the tension.
Even in an interaction with someone who is horribly rude, don’t devolve to the person’s tone and manner. Stay professional—that’s what others will remember.
Learn these 15 in-demand skills so that you exude confidence and purpose. Strive to learn the hard and soft skills that will boost your ability to leave a positive and enduring impression on those with whom you come into contact. These in-demand hard and soft skills will serve you well. People will respect you and champion your goals for success.