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Published on December 9, 2020

15 In-Demand New Skills To Learn Now For Personal Success

15 In-Demand New Skills To Learn Now For Personal Success

The world has gone remote. Most people are now playing catch-up. How are you going to learn the in-demand skills that employers need today? Well, you need to learn new skills—pick up “hard skills” and “soft skills,” and you need to do it fast.

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.

2. Resourcefulness

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.

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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.

5. Negotiation

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.

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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.

6. Analytics

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.

7. Collaboration

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.

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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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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.

More Tips if You Want to Learn a New Skill

Featured photo credit: Chris Benson via unsplash.com

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Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

Learning is an essential part of life. The more you learn, the more you need to learn. As Harry Truman put it,[1]

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Your attitude toward personal growth and self-development through continuous learning is an important factor in how you succeed in life. In this article, I have highlighted some learning goals to help you become a better version of yourself and be more successful.

How Independent Learning Leads to Growth and Development

When you are dedicated to lifelong learning, you will experience development in key areas of growth. This includes intellectual, professional, social, and physical growth.[2] You can pick these areas of growth one by one and learn something to improve yourself. When you have achieved your goal in one area, you can then consider another area that also needs improvement.

There are different ways to learn, and these include reading, listening, webinars, online courses, mentoring and any other means by which knowledge can be passed and absorbed. You can also learn by observing people: friends, colleagues, bosses, or any other person whose lifestyle you admire.

Examples of Personal Learning Goals

We learn not just for the sake of learning but to gain knowledge and improve certain areas of our lives. Highlighted below are areas where you can set personal learning goals. There is a sample learning goal statement for each of the items on the list. You can adopt these goals or adjust them as they apply to you.

1. Develop Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate effectively plays a crucial role in your pursuit of success. This applies to both verbal and non-verbal communication to colleagues, clients, customers, friends, and families. While everyone cannot be an orator or great writer, we can all be great communicators by learning.

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In whichever industry you are in, having a goal towards improving your communication skills would be of great advantage.

Enroll in online courses to learn topics in communications, such as speaking to an audience, communication strategies for sales and marketing, effective corporate communication, virtual communication, etc.

2. Negotiation Skills

Whether it is about contract terms, business deals, salary, or prices of commodities, negotiation skills are essential to have at hand. They can save you tremendous time and money and can also give you leverage in your dealings with people. You might not be able to always get everything you want, but negotiation skills can help you get more of it.

Take an online course or read three bestsellers on strategies and skills for negotiating effectively.

3. Ethics and Social Responsibility

Sometimes we know what is expected of us, but at other times, we are not so sure. We often come across situations where we get confused about what we are supposed to do.

Knowing what to do and being able to meet up with expectations can boost your positive image and earn you a favorable reputation at work or in the community. It can also open a door to leadership or make you more effective in your leadership capacity.

Continue to learn about ethics and social responsibility by reading wide on the subject. In addition, read all available information within an organization regarding its ethics and core values. Read also the ethics of the particular industry.

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4. Teamwork and Flexibility

Some people find it easy to blend into a team, while others are more of the solo type. If you belong to the second category, you need to be intentional about being flexible and working in a team to achieve a common goal.

Learn to be open-minded, volunteer to help out, and ask for help from colleagues. Also, offer suggestions on solutions to fix a common problem.

5. Reasoning and Making Good Judgment

The ability to make sound decisions depends on how you can deploy your reasoning skills. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can pull off easily, especially when it comes to making tough decisions.

A Harvard Business Review article outlined the following useful tips for making good judgments[3]:

  • Listening attentively or reading critically to turn knowledge into understanding.
  • Picking up what is not said and interpreting body language.
  • Cultivating sources of trusted advice: people who are bold enough to tell what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
  • Understanding, clarifying, and accepting different viewpoints.

Improve the capacity to listen and read information and intentions carefully to gain proper understanding and assess different viewpoints before making a decision.

6. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are described as the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problem.[4] It is being able to think about a problem and proffer an immediate solution or come up with ideas that can lead to a solution. The competitive world of work requires a great deal of critical thinking, and being able to fix problems is a great advantage.

Learn how to analyze and synthesize information and predict the future outcome of a decision. Use puzzles and games to develop logic and create mind maps to practice visualizing a problem and its solutions.

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7. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is also a component of problem-solving skills. It is described as visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly using a methodical step-by-step approach.[5] Analytical thinking helps to break a complex problem down into smaller, manageable components.

Improve analytical thinking capacity by practicing brain games, reading books, and using the analytical approach in solving problems.

8. Creative Thinking

Thinking about new ideas and ways of doing things rather than the old way is creative thinking. It can also be referred to as disruptive thinking — bringing new, fresh perspective into current realities. In this era of innovation, creative and disruptive thinking are essential to achieve success at work.

Improve creative abilities by tapping into inspiration from books, videos, documentaries, and other sources. Create time daily or weekly to brainstorm and create something new.

9. Improved Memory

A good memory prevents us from forgetting important dates, facts, and deadlines.[6] Memory also helps us to avoid committing the error of omission due to forgetfulness. Such an error can have serious consequences on our work and business.

Boost memory by learning to memorize and recall. Learn a foreign language or learn to play a musical instrument.

10. Staying Organized

Take control of your schedules, activities, and routines by getting organized. Getting organized will give you focus, increase your productivity, reduce stress, and help you manage your time better. Some have assumed that being organized has to do with personality types, but being organized is really not an issue of personality. Anyone can learn and develop this habit.

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Learn more about how to be organized. Create a daily to-do list. Learn to keep things in their proper place and declutter regularly.

11. Build Self Esteem and Confidence

One of the ways to build your self-esteem and confidence is through reading. Reading equips you with valuable information that makes you knowledgeable and vast. It also makes you more intelligent as you will gain a broader perspective on issues, and this makes you more articulate and confident when communicating with people.

You can also build your self-esteem by learning to make positive affirmations about yourself. Read self-help books and make daily positive affirmations.

12. Toughness and Resilience

Your ability to stand strong in the midst of storms depends on how tough and resilient you are. Whether you anticipate them or not, there will always be some tough times on your success journey.

Learning to be tough and resilient will ensure that you don’t buckle when under pressure. It also helps you to keep your mind sane when working through difficult situations. Read biographies or watch movies and documentaries featuring heroic acts. Participate in mental drills.

Final Thoughts

As much as it feels good to learn new things, consider perfecting an area of learning before moving on to something else. You might have a number of things to improve on (and you should), but you can’t take on everything at once. When you have chosen your learning goals, put a timeframe on each of them. You can also create a yearly calendar for your learning goals and pick them one after the other.

More Tips on Learning

Featured photo credit: Seven Shooter via unsplash.com

Reference

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