One of the best paths forward in your career is to develop your career skills.
While the skills you need might vary from job to job, there are certain skills that will serve you well no matter where you go.
Career skills are the ones that help you perform well in a particular field, while transferable skills are those that can be used in other fields.
When you are looking to maximize your worth as an employee, it is important to focus on building a few transferable career skills.
This way, even if you change careers in the future, none of your effort will have gone to waste.
In my journey to become an entrepreneur, I’ve acquired a variety of skills that have helped me find success.
In this blog, I will discuss the career skills that I think will help you the most on your journey and explain how you can start developing them today.
What Career Skills Do Companies Appreciate Most?
Different jobs require different sets of skills. As a barber, you’ll need to understand the best way to cut hair and how to deal with customers.
As an accountant, you’ll need to know how to read financial statements. It may seem like there's no overlap between these two jobs, but there is!
The ability to work well with others and good problem-solving skills are two skills that will help you in almost any career and make you a more valuable employee.
Here are some elements you should work on to advance your career skills:
Most jobs require you to work with others. The company wants to know that when they bring you on board, you will be able to work as part of a team.
Not everyone works well together, so companies usually try to seek out candidates that align with their company values and vibe well with the rest of the team.
When you have strong interpersonal skills and value teamwork and collaboration, you’ll be able to fit into a new team with ease.
Interpersonal skills include:
- Being accountable for your share of the work
- Being willing to brainstorm ideas with other people
- Sharing credit with a team instead of receiving sole praise
- Letting go of your own ideas in favor of the group’s decision
- Strong and effective communication with others
- Being willing to give and receive constructive feedback from peers
- Being able to practice active listening and refraining from interrupting
- Showing Respect to cultural differences and opposing ideas or values
- Acting professionally and responsibly
- Making ethical choices
Many jobs entail working with leaders who direct other people.
Some people take naturally to this, while others balk at the idea of telling someone what to do.
Leadership styles vary greatly, and it takes a solid set of leadership skills to bring out the best in your employees without alienating or controlling them.
These leadership skills include:
- Being able to delegate tasks
- Managing multiple people at the same time
- Assessing other people’s strengths and dividing responsibilities accordingly
- Creative problem solving
- Resolving disputes and mediating conflict
- Creating schedules
- Training new employees
- Motivating and instructing employees
- Providing positive and negative feedback on a regular basis
- Hosting meetings and fielding questions and complaints
Some of the most important skills to improve at work are communication skills.
You will be better able to communicate with your colleagues, superiors, employees, and clients when you pay attention to this career development skill.
This is one of the hardest career development skills to fully master but you’ll improve the more you practice.
Communication skills include:
- Being mindful of your body language
- Learning to interpret nonverbal communication
- Practicing active listening
- Practicing civil discourse
- Speaking clearly and concisely
- Asking follow up questions to clarify
- Speaking honestly yet respectfully
- Providing constructive feedback
- Being receptive to negative feedback
- Proofreading written communication
- Being willing to speak up and offer ideas
- Networking with others
- Negotiating with clients
- Public speaking and leading presentations
- Having collaboration skills
The ability to regulate yourself when it comes to your career is an important skill.
Many people are good at managing others, but they struggle with their own productivity and self-discipline.
Having the discipline to show up for your job and create your own schedule will help you get ahead in a competitive work environment.
Self-discipline skills include:
- Creating and sticking to a routine
- Holding yourself accountable
- Setting goals for yourself
- Meeting work deadlines
- Holding up under pressure
- Concealing stress while working with customers
- Showing initiative and going above and beyond
- Prioritizing tasks in order of importance
- Outsourcing or delegating if necessary
- Being self-motivating and bouncing back from failures
- Practicing self-care and avoiding burnout
- Multi-tasking effectively
Conflict management skills
Conflict is one of life's unavoidable elements, but the ability to navigate and value conflict will set you apart from other employees.
Companies look for employees who can manage conflict and resolve disputes between themselves and other people.
Not only is this a sign of a good leader, but it's also the sign of a good team player. Conflict management skills include:
- Maintaining an even temper and a civil demeanor
- Mindful listening and refraining from interrupting
- Having an open mind
- Being willing to compromise
- Keeping a positive mindset focused on the solution
- Mediating conflict between other people
- Finding creative ways to compromise
- Promptly admitting and taking ownership of where you were wrong
- Practicing civil discourse to discuss sensitive topics
Personal improvement skills
Companies want employees who are interested in growing their careers and taking on new responsibilities.
One of the best ways to do this is by having the ability to take initiative.
If you’re constantly focused on personal improvement and self-development, then you will be a more attractive candidate and position yourself for promotions or raises.
Good personal improvement skills to improve at work are:
- Being open to feedback
- Seeking out mentors
- Taking direction from others
- Personal initiative
- Going above and beyond instead of doing the bare minimum
- Seeking additional training and outside education
- Setting short and long-term goals for yourself
- Reflecting on past experiences
- Treating obstacles as learning opportunities
- Exploring innovative ways to enhance productivity and efficiency
It's in your best interest to be able to roll with the punches. Being adaptable can help you survive in a constantly changing work environment, where you have to deal with new and stressful situations regularly.
If you can adapt to new and stressful situations, then you prove your ability to do your job under pressure and problem-solve.
Some adaptability skills include:
- Coping with stress
- Avoiding indecisions
- Being willing to change your routine to match the current circumstances
- Supporting and informing your team of any updates
- Being willing to take on new training
- Dealing with last-minute problems
- Maintaining grace under pressure
- Shifting priorities as needed
- Accepting and incorporating new feedback
- Asking for additional help when needed
How To Develop Career Skills
Now that you know which skills you’ll need to be successful in your career, how do you acquire them? Are they innate?
The answer differs based on the skill. While some skills are innate and don’t need to be learned, others must be practiced regularly.
You may find that you have certain skills and traits that you will never possess, no matter how hard you work at them.
For example, you might find that networking will never be your strong suit, although you do well at one-on-one interactions.
Even if you don’t become as skilled as some of your fellow colleagues, a bit of growth can take you a long way.
One of the best ways to improve your interpersonal skills is through practice.
The more time you spend working with other people, the easier it will be to work as a team and adjust to different personalities.
Leadership skills can be tough to cultivate without a leadership position, but you can improve by taking courses or reading books on leadership.
Communication skills are another set of skills best improved through practice, both in and out of a work setting.
Developing self-discipline and personal growth skills will take some effort outside of work.
Practicing mindfulness, choosing an accountability buddy, and seeking out mentors can help you develop these skills.
Adaptability is one of the most difficult skills to improve. A lot of people find it hard to become flexible.
They’re too attached to their routines. The best way to improve in this area is to try something new every once in a while.
Try doing things differently, and allow yourself to fail as you venture into unknown territory.
Learning these career development skills isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort.
Some skills will take years to learn while others will be easier to pick up; it all depends on how well you apply yourself.
Self-improvement will help you focus on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses, you will grow faster in your career.
If you’re looking for help to get started, try taking an online course or joining a group. You’ll learn new skills and meet others who can support your learning.