Job Skills You Majorly Need
These skills apply universally to all positions in all industries to all people.
If you’re planning to excel or at least survive in the working world, you’ll need to transfer the skills you’ve been building through real-life experience in school, on internships and at past jobs. These are essential job skills, so they apply universally to all positions in all industries to all people. If someone were hiring a critical skills manager, the job posting would demand these requirements clearly and decisively.
Top job skills
The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill. Of course, it’s easier to communicate when you feel confident you know what you’re talking about. That’s the beautiful thing about the experience; it’s cumulative. If you aren’t born a naturally confident person, it will probably creep up on you with experience.
2. Listening skills
An easy way to flex your communication skills is to be a good listener. The benefit of speaking less is you learn faster and reduce the risk of saying something stupid. A perfect forum to practise this skill is during a job interview. Try giving less-is-more interview answers, and you’ll be amazed at how people interpret your silence as a sign of intelligence.
You’ll also need to be able to communicate through a bunch of different types of written media. It takes time to master the subtleties of chatting over messenger applications, as anyone who felt insulted or accidentally offended someone knows.
So much of work happens through email, a durable paper trail capable of coming back to bite you on the backside. Be careful what you write and commit to a recording. The faster you can bang out the right communications, the more productively you can move onto your next task, the more effective you will be at negotiating, and the more comfortable your input will be absorbed in meetings.
If you’re starting your job search, communication skills will help you in your resume writing. Read at least one industry-specific resume sample to give you some confidence you’re on the right track. Cover letters are even harder to craft from scratch because of all the personalities you need to capture and convey. Read a few cover letter samples to help and inspire you.
How you value hard work and diligence is a good measure of your work ethics. Having a strong work ethic will ease the adjustment to life as a grown-up with adult responsibilities: the brutal transition from sleeping into early mornings, the commute, the work-life balance.
I remember how bitter that pill was to swallow as a newly employed person. All that time to do nothing was gone forever. University couldn’t prepare me for this reality. The discipline to perform will occur naturally if you make your work what you love to do.
5. Social skills
While it might not seem like friendliness is a job skill, trust me, it is. Cultivating productive peer relationships at works takes the right dose of friendliness. It helps to keep a positive attitude toward your colleagues and work environment. An easy way to preserve a good mood is to abstain from negative activities like gossiping or office politicking.
Friendships increase your access to outside knowledge, opinion and contacts. You can grow faster if you tap into the wisdom of the crowd. Show up to social functions and networks. Eventually, you will make a connection that will lead to a new job offer.
6. Research skills
Anyone born after 1990 mastered the Internet in preschool. My son is 9 years old and already runs his forum. I could barely use a calculator at his age. Today Internet search is mature and full of tools to help you mine information. It takes a whole subset of research skills (you might have flexed them during school projects), things like speed, recognition and curiosity to provide business intelligence that will support your team’s ability to make sound critical decisions.
7. Critical thinking
Logic is an important skill and a key strength in both planning and problem-solving. The by-product of logic is organization. Unless your name is Seth Egyptian God of Chaos, you need to be organized, at work and in life, or no one will trust you enough to hand you more responsibility.
A logical and orderly mind has the rationale and objectivity to exercise sound judgment, figure things out independently, deal well with conflict and visualize the resolutions needed to settle arguments.
8. Data analysis
Number crunching and analytics is the nicest of the need-to-have job skills, which makes it a considerable asset rather than an absolute requirement. The ability to read and create reports and apply statistical measures can be precious, especially if your employer expects you to prove your work recoups the cost of your salary, a growing trend for bootstrapping companies to run tighter ships. It’s a Google Analytics world.
Differentiate yourself accordingly, even if it’s uncomfortable to adapt. Mathematics was never my strong suit, but that didn’t stop analytics from becoming an essential part of my skillset if I wanted to advance in my career. You don’t have to be a human-computer or even know basic trig, but you should be able to read a graph. Learn how to use Excel. It’s incredible what job skills you can pick up for free online these days.