Written by: Daniel Goodson // Jan 5, 2021
Last updated: Jan 17, 2023
With the current economic downturn, the job market has never been more competitive. According to a Pew Research article, 25 percent of adults in the U.S. say they or someone in their household lost their job. In these difficult times, companies are being more cautious with their hiring than ever. Give yourself the edge you need to stand out among competing applicants by showing that you possess all the right skills for career growth.
Not sure which are the essential skills and training needed to grow your career? In some cases, you may be surprised at what you find. Keep reading to see how you can demonstrate the skill set that many employers look for in team members today.
Exhibit Learnability (the Ability to Learn)
One thing that nobody disputes is that the pace of change across business is continually accelerating. If you’re unable or unwilling to adapt to the fluctuations taking place around you, you’re essentially a dinosaur waiting for the next business upheaval to bounce you into extinction.
A recent Forbes article even cites learnability as the top soft skill necessary in a 21st-century world. The article reminds us of the prescient quote from the late Alvin Toffler: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
If you still haven’t grasped the concept that the only constant in business today is continual change, you’re one marketplace shift away from becoming obsolete. Do your career a favor and accept the fact that the skills and knowledge you hold today will need to be updated before long. Workplace success today does not depend on your current knowledge base. It depends on your ability and willingness to learn new skills, pivot, grow, and adapt to the changes going on around you. Whoever can do that the quickest has the advantage.
Sharpen Your Problem-Solving Skills and Critical Thinking
Particularly in the post-COVID-19 world we live in, companies now place a big emphasis on employees who can look past the obvious solutions to their problems. The global pandemic has created never-before-seen challenges, and businesses are scrambling to react.
Don’t consider yourself particularly creative with your solutions or a good critical thinker? Don’t worry. These are skills that can be learned and sharpened. In fact, professional development courses focused on process improvement are some of the most in-demand today because of their focus on finding novel ways to increase profits, cut costs, and improve efficiency.
In fact, companies like Toyota, Ford, Siemens, Amazon, and Nike have all embraced this emerging discipline. These world-renowned companies see the value in professionals who possess the creativity to bring fresh ideas to their existing ways of doing business.
Deepen Your Teamwork, Communication, and Interpersonal Skills
Among the most important soft skills demanded in the workplace today is your ability to work well with your colleagues. More and more companies are recognizing the importance of culture to a workplace, so they’re looking for employees who share their values and exhibit strong interpersonal skills.
Of course, all workplaces and companies are different, but there are some skills that are universally welcomed by employers:
- The ability to collaborate
- The ability to communication clearly
- The ability to build strong relationships
- The ability to empathize and hear what others are saying
Do you feel like you’re lacking with some of these soft skills? Don’t worry. Although it may be uncomfortable, there are several ways you can build a stronger set of soft skills that will support your career growth:
- Accept constructive criticism and feedback.
- Place a greater emphasis on teamwork.
- Observe how others successfully communicate and work together.
- Invest more time and effort in building workplace relationships.
- Strengthen your resilience, and learn from mistakes.
Find out how the Birkman Method can help you better understand your personality to strengthen your interpersonal and communication skills.
Dial Up Your Business Analysis Skills
With the rise of big data, many companies often find themselves with endless amounts of customer insights on their hands, but few know what to do with them. If you can show an ability to interpret, analyze, and present this data to better support a company’s mission, you’re going to be in high demand.
Think these business analysis skills are essential to only managers and analysts? Think again. Virtually any employee with business analysis skills can learn to apply that knowledge to do their job better. From marketing to sales to logistics, big data can reveal valuable insights such as:
- Customer pain points
- Business inefficiencies
- Undiscovered marketplace opportunities
Invest in Your Technology Skills
Find yourself struggling to rise in your field? Your technology skills may be holding you back. Although coding and in-depth analytics software familiarity will always be high on a company’s wish list, you may be surprised at some of the more common software skills demanded for six-figure jobs.
Business Insider points out that these skills include project management and email programs. In addition, Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint all make the list. The key takeaway here? You may not need to become a coding wizard to reach the next rung of the career ladder. Many high-salary positions require tried-and-true technology skills that you probably already have in your toolkit.
If you’re preparing for the next step in your career, research the responsibilities and talk to people in a similar role to determine the programs, skills, and tools you’ll be expected to know. You may find that there’s only one certification course between you and the new position you want.
Ready to Take the Next Step in Your Career?
If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, you’ve never had more convenient options to upskill with professional development training than you do now. At USF, we offer live online certification courses that give you a credential to use on your resume that is backed by a respected university.
Ready to get started? Browse our Corporate Training and Professional Education business courses to discover the career support available.