Top 10 Skills for Landing a Better Job

Top 10 Skills to Land a Better Job

Marie Kondo wants to know: does your job spark joy? If not, it might be time to change something, start fresh, and get better. 

Did you make a resolution this year to enjoy your work more? Or maybe it was "New Year, New Job." If it was, you're not alone.

According to Inc., some of the most common resolutions for 2019 include:

  • Dieting or eating healthier
  • Exercising more
  • Losing weight
  • Saving more and spending less
  • Learning a new skill or hobby
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reading more
  • Finding another job
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Spending more time with family

If you’re like most people, you probably have a New Year’s resolution that’s work-related. Finding another job made the top 10 list this year, so that tells us that even though unemployment is at historically low levels, there are a lot of people that are disengaged at work and ready to make a change.

But here’s the bad news: only 8% of Americans achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Sad, right? That could be because many of our resolutions are too vague to achieve. If your goal is to “be nicer,” how quantifiable is that? On the other hand, if finding a new job is your goal for this year, you can work to develop skills that will help you land a better job. What are those skills? Glad you asked.

The Most Marketable Skills to Land a Better Job 

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What could make you a better catch for an HR Manager is a bit nebulous. Should you take a class or volunteer? How about joining a coding bootcamp? If you’re interested in changing career fields, what do you need to know? Should your focus be on soft skills like learning to be a better manager or should you do something concrete like become project management certified? Should you teach yourself or hire someone to train you?

So many improvement choices, so little time.

Fortunately, there’s some research out there to help point you in the right direction.

The Future of Jobs

The World Economic Forum (WEF) completed their study on the future of jobs, and as you might imagine, it is very technology-centric. The survey quantified the opinions of more than 350 executives across 15 of the world’s biggest economies to determine the impact of technology on the labor market. They came up with 10 job skills that will be in demand by 2020.

They include:

  • Complex problem-solving skills that enable you to cull data from a variety of sources and create a course of action
  • Critical thinking skills that help you make better long- and short-term decisions
  • Creativity will still be in demand, even if artificial intelligence and machine automation takes over the work world
  • People management skills like being able to motivate a team will continue to be in high demand. Employee engagement is a persistent challenge in the U.S. so having the right kind of manager to run teams is increasingly important.
  • Collaboration skills that allow you to play well with others is an old skill dressed up to fit within the framework of technology innovation
  • Emotional intelligence means that you, unlike a computer, are very aware of your impact on those around you
  • Good judgment and decision-making is imperative because someone needs to decide a course of action based on the data
  • A service mentality to help coworkers and your company succeed
  • Negotiation skills are important whether the worker is a freelancer or a full-time employee
  • Cognitive flexibility to change pace at the speed of digital devices

One thing that these predictions have in common is that they are all soft job skills. Soft skills are the less-than-concrete, “plays well with others” traits. Just fewer than 60% of employers prefer these skills over hard workplace skills because soft skills are not tied to routine tasks.

The National Bureau of Economic Research has data to back up the idea that the worker of the future will need more flexibility to adapt to change. The study suggests that increasing technology automation will require employees to develop stronger soft skills, traits they characterize as “social skills.” They point out that, “Social skills are important in the modern labor market because computers are still very poor at simulating human interaction.”

That’s an interesting point. It is the very human nature of soft skills that employers covet — that is until our Alexa device learns to hug the end user. The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed employers and found that the majority wants these same types of soft skills in the college graduates they recruit. The top three skills were problem solving, the ability to work on a team, and written communication skills.

But Gregory Lewis on the LinkedIn Talent Blog also offered a laundry list of hard skills that employers want.

Highly sought-after hard skills include:

  • Cloud computing: Developers and data engineers skilled in cloud migration will be in high demand this year.
  • Artificial intelligence: Tech Republic says, “AI has infiltrated almost every industry in some form, and will continue to do so even more in 2019.”
  • Data science: Our data is piling up and we need more analysts to slice, dice, understand, and report on it.
  • UX designUX stands for “user experience” and UX designers know how to keep customers interested in your digital brand.
  • Mobile application developmentWith cell phone usage increasing, having a good mobile developer can give you a competitive advantage.
  • Video production: Video is hotter than a jalapeño right now, and we’re using it for everything from brand promotion to recruiting interviews. With 70% of internet traffic using video, having video production expertise on your team simply makes sense.
  • Sales leadership: If you think finding good sales reps is a chore in a 4% unemployment market, try finding sales leadership these days.
  • Audio production: Attention marketing geeks! Understanding podcasts and other audio formats will be an important skill in 2019 and beyond.
  • Social media marketing: Social media and digital marketing managers will play an important role this year.
  • Journalism/writing: Good writers are hard to find but in demand for everything from corporate communications to departmental technical documentation.
  • Digital marketing: Having the skills to take charge of a company’s online promotion will get you hired in 2019.
  • Software testing: Testing software to see if it breaks is an important part of product launches.
  • Computer graphics: Learning computer graphic design will virtually guarantee you a job next year.

Interestingly, pretty much every one of these hard skills uses computers in some way. Today, we’ve never been more connected to the digital world, and whether that’s a cool thing or possibly the end of the world as we know it depends on whom you ask.

What Do Jobs in 2025 Look Like?

The Future of Work Jobs

One thing everyone can agree on is that the work world is changing as fast as the digital technologies that consume us. But what that means for the average employee is that the skills you know now may not be what you need in 2025 or 2030. While it’s safe to say that staying current with the latest in smart machines and systems is important, the technology is almost certainly going to change.

Think about it for a second: A decade ago...

  • The internet was just taking off
  • Blockchain hadn’t been invented yet
  • Cyberterrorism and hacking weren’t on anyone’s radar
  • People weren’t running into doors because they had their eyes glued to their smartphones
  • Social media wasn’t so prevalent that the morning news felt compelled to report on the President’s Twitter account

The point here is how much technology has disrupted every industry, every job, human social interactions, and our daily lives. It’s a strong argument for developing serious skills with computers and software this year.

The Muse has an interesting article predicting how computers will affect the job skills needed in the next five years. They suggest that humans develop “cognitive load management,” which is the ability to filter information by importance in order to adapt to the amount of information flowing in our direction. They also suggest that our skills in virtual collaboration must improve to adapt to tomorrow’s remote teams.

Finally, what’s interesting about the job skills for 2019 is that some of the skills that have traditionally been siloed into IT-related positions are now required across all departments.

Forbes says all employees will need data skills this year. The author points out that data scientists will continue to be in high demand, but new user-friendly cloud software analytics tools have made it so that the average user can create and run data reports. Reporting used to be a back-office IT function. Not anymore. As a result, organizations are now seeking employees with keen data literacy across every department.

Artisan and Jobs of the Future

Staffing Agency Jobs of the Future

This year, there is one big thing you can do immediately to boost the chances of finding your dream job: contact Artisan Talent!

Want more tips for career development? Check out out tips for growing your Career Network.

There are so many opportunities in the marketplace, and our team knows the ropes when it comes to finding you the perfect fit. Whether you’re ready to land a better job (or hire a better team), start the conversation today.

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