10 job skills that can put you in demand
From knowing your way around data analytics to problem-solving smarts, this is what you need to get an edge in this year’s job market.
Now that we can all put 2020 behind us (finally!), it’s time to shift our focus to the future. And in order for your career to thrive in 2021, you’ll have to develop the job skills that are most in demand in today’s workplace.
According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, the top concern (40%) of employers in the new year is finding candidates that have the right skill set. Recruiters chose soft skills—topped by dependability, teamwork/ collaboration, and problem solving/critical thinking—as the most important.
So what do you need to stand out from the crowd? A great road map is the job skills list developed from the World Economic Forum's 2020 Future of Jobs Report. This comprehensive survey identified the top skills that employers report will grow in prominence in the next five years.
Based on the survey’s results, here are the 10 good job skills to master in 2021.
1. Analytical thinking and innovation
We’re living in a data-driven world, but numbers alone are useless unless there’s a human who can interpret them. As a result, analytical thinking is at the top of this list of work skills. More employers are searching for job candidates who can break down complex information.
According to Chicago State University, analytical thinking is the ability “to identify and define problems, extract key information from data, and develop workable solutions for the problems identified in order to test and verify the cause of the problem and develop solutions to resolve the problems identified.” Analytical thinking is aligned with innovation—the ability to come up with novel ideas that solve problems.
2. Complex problem-solving
Some soft skills, like problem-solving abilities, will always be in fashion when it comes to most important job skills, says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster. “Challenges inevitably arise,” she says, and “employers want to see that you can troubleshoot and solve them independently.”
To prove to a hiring manager during a job interview that you’re a problem solver, “cite an example from a past job where you identified a problem, developed a solution, and successfully resolved the issue,” Salemi advises.
3. Critical thinking and analysis
Like problem solvers, critical thinkers evaluate information and decide how to interpret it in order to reach a conclusion. These employees bring a fresh perspective and offer intuitive solutions and ideas to help their company get a leg up on the competition or improve internal processes.
4. Active learning and learning strategies
This may not seem like a skill per say, but willingness to learn new skills is one of the most compelling characteristics job seekers can possess today. Employers look to hire workers who take initiative when it comes to acquiring new skills through active learning.
“Employers want to know: Do you have an appetite to learn new things? Do you stay on top of industry trends? Do you push yourself and take on tasks that are outside your comfort zone?” says Salemi. Those traits all reflect your desire to enhance your skill set—making you a more valuable worker to any employer.
5. Leadership and social influence
In life there are followers and there are leaders. In the workplace, leaders are the individuals who motivate and coach other employees, regardless of whether or not they’re in a management position.
Social influence—the ability to change other people’s behavior through your own actions and ideas—is also a coveted quality. Social media is the most obvious avenue to demonstrate your influence. Between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the like, it’s important to not only understand how these tools work but also be able to use them effectively for business purposes.
6. Technology use, monitoring, and control
Tech literacy is a job skill that can’t be overstated. We’re living in a tech-driven world. Therefore, you must be able to adapt to new technologies and learn how to use these new tools quickly and effectively.
7. Creativity, originality, and initiative
“Employers are always looking for people who can come up with fresh ways to approach their jobs,” Salemi says. Being able to think outside the box and bring new ideas to the table is key not only for creative jobs, but every other profession as well.
The best way to show you have a creative mindset is to talk about an innovative way you tackled a task in the past. Maybe you streamlined the production process for your department, or found a way to shrink the company’s operating costs—those sorts of creative achievements are music to a hiring manager’s ears.
8. Service orientation
Service-oriented professionals are able to anticipate and meet other people’s needs, such as the needs of customers, clients, or co-workers, all while delivering the highest quality customer service.
9. Resilience, stress tolerance, and flex
Trial and error is a recurring process in every industry—innovation depends on experimentation. But we all miss the mark at one point or another. Resiliency is the ability to take a hit just as well as you take a win. Being able to perform well under pressure (“stress tolerance”) and make the best of a bad situation (“flex”) are also crucial.
“Employers want to see that you can thrive in tough situations,” Salemi explains. Instead of crumbling under pressure, you need to learn from failure and find ways to make the best of a bad situation.
10. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence—otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ—is the ability to manage and control your emotions, while also being able to recognize what other people are feeling and show them to see things from your perspective.
Prove your worth from the get-go
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