Many, if not most, positions come with a highly specific skill set requirement, whether it’s mastery of programs like QuickBooks or public speaking and presentation skills. However, there are some job skills, both hard and soft, which are nearly universally in demand.
From developing the ability to work well with team members of all backgrounds to navigating the social media waters, here are six essential job skills regardless of the industry or role you work in:
1. Communication skills
Perhaps the most in-demand soft skill is the ability to communicate across the board: in person, over the phone, and via reports and emails. This requires understanding how to tailor your language depending on the audience. For example, you wouldn’t summarize a financial report to the IT department the same way you’d explain it to the board of directors.
2. Customer service skills
These skills include the ability both to bring in new customers and to keep current clients happy. Workers with strong customer service skills know how to use positive, customer-focused language, and have developed an instinct for sensing a client’s mood and needs. In addition to empathy and a deep knowledge of your product or service, working well with customers requires a good deal of patience.
3. Social media skills
Effective social media skills are twofold: personal and professional. The latter involves understanding how your organization’s social media accounts play a role in marketing and customer service, as well as how to use your own accounts to connect with professionals in your industry. The former simply requires cleaning up your personal social media accounts, or setting them to private. Remember, every photo you post or message you tweet could be seen by a client, coworker or manager.
4. Microsoft Office skills
While most technical job skills will depend on your position, a proficiency in Microsoft Office programs, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint is a near-universal demand across industries.
5. Teamwork skills
Increased productivity and efficiency are part of the inherent value of teamwork in the workplace. While some positions will require more independent work than others, all workers are ultimately contributing to a greater goal. A key element of developing teamwork skills is embracing team diversity, which means being able to work comfortably with others from different backgrounds with varying personalities, skills and work styles.
6. Analytical and problem-solving skills
It’s no longer enough to simply pull up data and write a report. Today’s employers are interested in workers who can analyze that data, draw conclusions from it and use that information to come up with new business strategies. Being able to handle unexpected problems is also among the most important job skills, as emergencies and surprise changes arise in any type of organization.
Which job skills have you found to be most valuable? Share your thoughts in the comments below.