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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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 July 21, 2021

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

If I told you that there was one activity that you could do frequently that would dramatically accelerate your rate of self-improvement, would you do it?

SWOT Analysis may very well be the solution to your problems of feeling lost, unproductive, worried about the future, and the general struggle that inevitably arises on the road to personal development. It is quick to carry out, reliable in terms of changing your perspective, and effective in getting you the results that you desire.

So what exactly is this SWOT Analysis? You will find everything you need to know about it below as well as how to do it and all of the amazing benefits that it will bring to your life.

What Is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis is a business term that has steadily made its way over into the world of personal development due to its effectiveness in getting things to improve — whether that be a company or, more recently, a person.

S.W.O.T. is an anagram that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When assessing these four key pillars in life, it gives a very good picture of which direction you should be heading in and even highlights some of the best ways to do it.

All in all, it is a great way to reflect on past actions and to decide on the best way to move forward.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Carrying out a SWOT Analysis is relatively simple. The best way is to take out a pen and paper and write down four columns: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. From there, you can begin to fill out each one and apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you are considering expanding your enterprise, you might want to write down the current strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities that you could possibly move into and the threats that you might need to minimize.

If you are an individual looking to improve yourself, you can carry out a SWOT Analysis either on the micro or macro level. A micro example would be focusing on one specific area of life. For example, you could write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to dating, productivity, or changing your job.


You can also take it to the macro level. You might simply write down your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats across all areas of life — or simply the areas that you want to focus on for now.

SWOT Analysis is very easy to do and is excellent for the bigger picture stuff. Here is a rough template with a few questions across various areas of life that you can use for your own personal development purposes:


What professional qualifications do I have that make me stand out from everybody else?

What do I exceed at where most people are either average or below average?

What achievements have I been awarded?

What struggles have I overcome in the past that give me hope for the future?


Where do I fall short where others seem to excel?

What bad habits do I have?

What thoughts tend to hold me back?



Is there any significant advancement happening or about to happen that I can take advantage of?

Is there a new position in a company that maximizes my skillset?

Is there a gap in the market that I could potentially fill?

Is there an opportunity that is low-risk (i.e. I can fail fast and decide if I want to keep pursuing it)?


What competition do I face in a certain area?

What is the most likely thing to throw me off course? Is it me?

If there was an economic downturn, would I be in a position to survive? Could I even turn it into an opportunity?

Benefits of SWOT Analysis for Self-Improvement

Now that you know what it is and how to do it, you may already start to see all of the benefits for your personal growth that can come from a SWOT Analysis. If you haven’t already started to think about how to use it in your own life, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. It Gives You an Actionable Plan

One of the most obvious benefits of doing a SWOT Analysis is the fact that it gives you an actionable plan. It is rare for someone to actually sit down and write out their strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats they are facing, so you will be getting well ahead.


More importantly, taking the information from all four of these areas allows you to create an effective plan for yourself going forward — whether that be doubling down on your strengths, a plan to overcome your weaknesses, or how to leap at one of the opportunities in your life.

SWOT Analysis is designed specifically to drive actions and decisions — it is not simply a discussion exercise that you put to one side once you are finished with it.[1]

2. It Allows You to Zoom Out

Far too many people are so trapped within their day-to-day activities that they forget to see the big picture. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is one of the things that hold many people back from reaching their full potential.

SWOT Analysis allows you to take a moment of reflection, see the big picture, and then to make an informed decision about what your everyday tasks and activities are going to be, rather than the other way around.

It is important to be able to zoom out from time to time to make sure that you are on track with whatever your objectives are in each area of life. SWOT Analysis is the best way to do just that.

3. It Helps You Recognize New Aspects and Patterns

One of the unique things about SWOT Analysis is that it manages to combine different areas of your life and lets you see patterns, opportunities, and much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

An example would be the combination of your strengths and your opportunities. When you look at both of these side-by-side, you get a good idea about where the crossovers are, and, as a result, you get a clear picture of what opportunities are worth pursuing based on your strengths.

Another example would be looking at your strengths and threats next to one another. When you have a decent idea about what your strengths are in a certain situation, you can start to see how those strengths might come in handy when it comes to mitigating certain threats that you might face.

The truth is, any combination across SWOT Analysis creates a unique perspective that will be extremely useful for your own self-improvement.


4. It Minimizes Risk

Branching out from the previous point, a SWOT Analysis is carried out to help minimize risk [2]. Although this is primarily a benefit from a company’s standpoint, it can also be helpful from an individual’s perspective as well.

On a personal level, risk can come in a variety of forms. It might be an imaginary risk that feels real, like asking your crush out or asking your boss for a raise. It might be an actual risk where you are thinking of expanding your business or entering a new market where you have little experience. Either way, seeing the threats you face as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities you have allows you to go down the path that minimizes risk and maximizes gain.

5. It Can Marks Stages of Your Path

An interesting way that companies use SWOT Analysis is that they carry it out every month or every quarter in order to reset and recalibrate their destination. It can be used in a similar way by you as well. Just like there are certain times when businesses use them, there are certain times when you should use them.[3]

Every month or every couple of months, take the time to do a SWOT Analysis to see how you are progressing. What strengths have been added? What weaknesses have been discovered? What opportunities have revealed themselves or been lost? What new threats are you facing and which have been removed from the picture?

Not only will carrying out a SWOT Analysis on a frequent basis accelerate your self-improvement by helping you see where you want to go with less distraction, but it is also nice to see how things change and, hopefully, get better.

It is also worth looking back at your SWOT Analysis from the start of the year when you reach the end of the year to see how far you have come.

To Wrap Up

So there you have it. SWOT Analysis might just be the tool and technique that you have been waiting for to truly take the next step in your self-improvement journey. It is practical, easy to carry out, and effective in terms of planning your next moves.

Whether you do it on a consistent basis to ensure that you are moving in the right direction or you only do it when you feel lost, SWOT Analysis will always be right there waiting to help.

Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via



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