Professional Skills (With Examples And Tips To Improve)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Professionals require a combination of hard and soft skills that can help them perform their job well and succeed in their careers. Employers look for these skills while hiring professionals to determine if they can match the company culture and work requirements. If you want to grow as a professional, learning about the various skills required can help you take steps to develop them. In this article, we discuss the meaning of professional skills, explore a list of these skills and discover ways of improving them.

What Are Professional Skills?

Professional skills are soft skills that can help professionals become better leaders, solve problems at work, resolve conflicts and enable the team and personal growth. While technical skills help professionals perform their responsibilities and duties, these skills help them build interpersonal relationships, appear confident, adapt to situations and represent their organisation well. Hiring managers look for these skills in candidates as they help professionals work in team settings and help the company grow.

Examples Of Professional Skills

Here are some skills that can help professionals improve their performance at work:

Communication

The ability to communicate well is one of the most important skills required by professionals across industries. This skill helps them exchange information effectively with their colleagues, juniors, senior management and also their customers. Being able to communicate well can help build strong interpersonal relationships at work and can also help convey messages easily.

Along with being able to communicate verbally, non-verbal communication is also equally important for professionals to succeed. This can help them write emails, create reports, make memos and exchange ideas through messages. To improve communication skills, professionals can enrol in a business communication course that teaches verbal and non-verbal communication in the workplace.

Related: Conversation Skills: Importance And Tips To Improve

Leadership

As professionals progress in their careers, they may eventually start leading teams. It then becomes the responsibility of the team leader to ensure that their team is productive and efficient. For this, it is important for them to motivate their team members, inspire them to do better, help them identify areas of improvement, create actionable plans and recognise their efforts. This requires professionals to develop their leadership skills by following other successful leaders. You can also develop this skill by joining leadership training courses designed for professionals.

Teamwork

Even though professionals may lead teams, it is also important for them to work in teams with different people. They may work with their coworkers or seniors on certain projects or get involved in team activities to ensure their team delivers the work on time. This requires professionals to have a team spirit in them and to be receptive to diverse opinions. The first step while developing this skill is to work on your communication and interpersonal skills. You can also participate in clubs, organise team outings and volunteer for team-oriented activities.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence can help you understand your emotions and that of others well. It can help you perceive what a person may feel in a given situation and treat them accordingly. This is one of the most important leadership qualities that can also affect the way your team feels about your leadership and the organisation.

This skill can help professionals in social settings by helping them identify appropriate behaviours. If you want to develop this skill, you can focus on developing some relevant skills like active listening, empathy, sympathy and self-awareness. You can also read good books on emotional intelligence written by renowned authors to understand the concept and identify different techniques for developing this skill.

Organisation

Organisational skills can help professionals improve their productivity and efficiency by streamlining their workflow. They can use these skills to organise their work area so that they can find things easily. They can also apply their organisational skills to manage their schedules, prioritise tasks, allocate resources, plan for unforeseen events and create a workflow. There are several tools available on the Internet that can help professionals improve their organisational skills. You can use these tools to organise your work or create a system that works according to your needs.

Time management

Along with organising your workspace and task schedule, it is also important for professionals to manage their time so that they can improve their efficiency. You may have multiple tasks to complete and some of these tasks may have deadlines. You may also be required to allocate time to your personal responsibilities.

This requires professionals to have strong time management skills that can help them prioritise tasks, allocate time to each task and create a timetable. You can improve this skill by setting a time limit for yourself. You can also use the time tracking tools available on the Internet to help you keep track of the time you spend on each task.

Adaptability

Professionals may face different types of situations and problems throughout their careers. It is important for professionals to be flexible so that they can adapt to every situation and find a solution. Some ways of improving this skill are by exercising your problem-solving skills and practising mindfulness.

Problem-solving

Employers look for candidates who can take ownership of problems and quickly resolve them without waiting for the management to interfere. This skill also requires professionals to be proactive and have good decision-making skills. You can develop this skill by solving hard puzzles that require you to think critically. While solving problems, it may also be a good idea to set time limits for yourself so that you can practise your ability to solve problems at work swiftly when they arise.

Self-motivation

It is important for professionals to stay motivated and dedicated even in difficult situations so that they can succeed in spite of hardships and failures. Employers look for candidates who can stay determined and face challenging situations at work without feeling disheartened or demotivated. Such employees can motivate teams, lead them and help team members increase their performance gradually. You can develop this skill by thinking about the larger objectives of your efforts and the final goal.

Related: What Is Self Motivation? And How To Use It To Meet Your Goals

Confidence

Being confident helps professionals appear calm and create healthy work environments by appearing happier. Such confident individuals can become good leaders and role models and can also accept the feedback positively. You can develop this skill by learning from your mistakes, seeking feedback, asking questions and monitoring your progress. Dressing well can also have an influence on your self-confidence. You can identify your strengths and focus on developing them through professional training and practice. A great way of building your self-confidence is by participating in public speaking workshops and group activities.

How To Improve These Skills

Here are some steps that you can follow to develop your skills:

1. Practise your skills

Practising your skills as often as possible is of the best ways of developing your skills. Try to practise your skills by including them in your daily interactions and activities. You can practise your communication skills by engaging in conversations with those around you. Try solving puzzles in your free time to develop your problem-solving abilities and decision-making skills. When you attend leadership training or any other skill-based training programmes, make sure you practise the teachings by applying them at your workplace.

2. Observe other professionals

You can also improve your skills by observing other professionals at work. These professionals can be your seniors or coworkers. Observe how they handle their daily interactions, resolve conflicts, organise their tasks and manage their time. If you like some of their actions or ways, try to emulate their behaviours in similar situations.

3. Attend workshops and conferences

Workshops and conferences can be a great opportunity to learn new skills and meet experts on any subject. If there is a particular skill that you want to learn, look for workshops that can help you develop the skill. Such gatherings are also a great networking opportunity and can help you meet other professionals with similar interests.

Related: List Of Online Professional Courses And Certifications

4. Find a mentor

A mentor can help you improve your skills by offering valuable feedback and opinions. If you know a senior professional from any industry, you can ask them to become your mentor and help you improve your skills. Focus on asking questions that can help you gain insights about different skills and develop new perspectives. You can present different hypothetical situations to your mentor and understand how they handle them. You can then try to apply their advice when similar situations occur.

5. Ask for feedback

An effective way of developing your skills is by asking for feedback. You can ask your managers, seniors at work, colleagues or family members and friends for feedback on your skills. This can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Even if you may not agree with some feedback, this exercise can also help you learn how to accept feedback positively.

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