Top 11 Useful Skills To Learn For Career Development

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 June 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.

Career progression is a continuous journey that requires working professionals to commit to learning and upskilling. Both technical and soft skills are essential for holistic career development and growth. Knowing which valuable skills to develop can help you advance in your career and become eligible for leadership roles. In this article, we discuss 11 useful skills to learn for working professionals that can help in career development and share a few tips on how to develop them.

11 Useful Skills To Learn For Career Development

There are several useful skills to learn that can help professionals develop their careers. These skills include both technical and soft skills, such as:

1. Basics of coding

Having basic coding and programming skills can help you utilise computer systems and applications more effectively. You can troubleshoot problems, customise blogs and web pages, launch an application, manage content management systems and suggest relevant solutions. Once you understand the basic framework of different coding languages and learn how data gets transferred or used, you can also collaborate with team members and ideate innovative solutions or products. Even without gaining expertise, coding can add significant value to your career and help you find more jobs with a higher salary.

2. Digital marketing

Much like coding, marketing skills are essential for having digital literacy skills. Even if you are not a marketer or a salesperson, knowing how modern marketing works can help you effectively fulfil your role, collaborate with team members and think of creative campaigns. There are several aspects of digital marketing that you can consider learning, such as search engine marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, video marketing and data analytics. These skills can also be helpful if you consider becoming a freelancer or entrepreneur in the future.

3. A new language

Besides improving your cognition and observation skills, learning a new language can add value to your career. In an increasingly globalised world, there is usually a high demand for professionals who can speak multiple languages. If you choose to learn an international language, you might even become eligible to work on different projects or apply for lucrative jobs. Some options to consider are Mandarin, Spanish, French or Korean.

4. Written communication

Emails, reports, texts, updates, memos, resumes, cover letters and meeting minutes; there are so many instances and documents that require you to write clearly and effectively. Even if you do not think of yourself as a writer, it is essential to have strong written communication skills that can help you express your ideas, thoughts and emotions confidently. These skills are particularly important for professionals and freelancers who work remotely. Writing well can help improve productivity, enhance communication and increase collaboration and, most essentially, increase the chances of getting the desired response.

Related: Written Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

5. Speed reading

Speed reading is the ability to review large blocks of text quickly to understand its meaning rather than going through every word. This is an essential skill for professionals who deal with large volumes of text or data in their role. Speed reading can help you become more productive, save time and retain information for longer. Speed reading lets you leverage your visual learning system to remove inefficiencies and reduce errors. Becoming a speed reader can also make you a quick learner, which is a desirable trait for most employers.

6. Problem-solving

The ability to understand and solve unanticipated challenges is a coveted trait. Many organisations look for problem-solvers that can help the company grow by removing the obstacles related to rapid scaling. Being able to analyse complex information and find the most suitable solution in high-pressure situations can make you a valuable asset in the workplace. Besides, becoming a problem-solver can help you make informed decisions in your personal life, improve the quality of your relationships and assist you in navigating challenges outside of work.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples

7. Leadership

Leadership skills are crucial for career progression. When hiring managers or promoting employees internally, employers typically expect professionals to demonstrate their ability to manage team members, possess strong soft and interpersonal skills, delegate tasks effectively, take ownership and find creative solutions. Leadership includes making different team members function as a single unit, motivating them, providing feedback, mentoring and influencing them to improve their skills. These skills can be helpful regardless of the position or industry and make you eligible for more advanced or senior leadership positions.

8. Analytical skills

Knowing how to analyse data, numbers and statistics can help you make informed decisions, identify patterns, interpret complex information and derive reliable conclusions. Learning how to use mathematical analysis and digital analytical tools to identify broader trends in data and gather insights can help you examine, create and forecast data models. Improving data collection, research, theorising and investigative skills can help improve your analytical skills.

Related: Analytical Skills: Definition, Tips And Examples

9. Networking

Networking and building professional relationships can be essential for career development. By interacting with like-minded professionals and industry leaders, you can access lucrative career opportunities, learn about the latest trends in the industry and find mentors who can help you grow professionally. When you invest time and effort in maintaining warm and professional relationships with your peers, it can enrich your life and even lead to lasting friendships that often transcend one workplace or company. Networking can be helpful in building your personal brand and demonstrating your expertise and specialisation effectively.

Related: Top 7 Networking Skills (How To Develop And Highlight Them)

10. Accounting and taxation

Knowing the fundamentals of how finances, accounting and taxation work can help you develop professionally and personally. While these subjects can be rather complex, having basic knowledge of reading balance sheets, preparing annual tax statements, investing capital, applying for credit and analysing the stock market can help make your professional contributions more valuable. Understanding how to manage your personal finances, track receipts and expenses and create a budget can be an excellent starting point to learn about finances and accounting.

11. Mindfulness

Being fully present in the moment and aware of your surroundings can improve information retention, communication and productivity. Mindfulness can help you reduce distractions and focus on your current task or activity, which improves accuracy and attention to detail. You can practice mindfulness by performing mediation, deep breathing exercises and learning how to stay calm during challenging situations. Doing this can help you perform better at the workplace and enhance the quality of your relationships and experiences, helping you lead a more fulfilling life.

How To Improve Essential Workplace Skills

Follow these steps to learn how to learn essential professional skills:

1. Set realistic goals

Setting realistic and achievable goals is essential to stay engaged in the learning process. If you are a working professional, you may not be able to allocate a lot of time to learn new skills quickly. This makes it essential to set a realistic learning timeline and break the larger goal into smaller, more achievable steps.

2. Find a mentor

A mentor can help you improve your professional skills and guide you to progress in your career. They offer personalised feedback and learning styles to help you grow holistically. You can look for a mentor within your current organisation or approach industry leaders and seek feedback on your skills or projects. Effective mentor-mentee relationships continue despite the changes in the workplace or position, and you can gain a lifelong guide in the form of a mentor.

Related: What Is A Mentor And How To Find The Right One For You

3. Practise daily

Although it can be tough to create a disciplined routine that involves training a little bit every day, doing this is crucial for learning a new skill. Repeated and frequent learning can help improve retention and make it easier to apply theoretical concepts. If possible, set aside a fixed time every day for learning so that you become habituated to the routine.

4. Complete a short-term course

If you want to expedite the learning process and can commit to the time requirements, enrolling for a short-term certification course can be an excellent option. This can help you learn new skills quickly and gain practical experience. You can develop both soft and technical skills through short-term courses.

5. Take ownership

It is critical to realise that the responsibility to learn a new skill or ability is upon you. Taking ownership of your successes and failures is essential to staying committed to learning. By measuring progress regularly, you can identify where you are improving and which areas require further effort. This can also help you increase the complexity of your learning as you become more experienced.

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