What everyone had hoped would be over quickly unfortunately continues to run rampant throughout the world. The effects of COVID-19 are widespread, and many analysts believe that we will be experiencing ripples from this disease for years to come.
One of the most significant problems is the economy, and it seems to be compounding more as the days go by. Businesses are going bankrupt, and people are getting laid off at alarming rates.
With all of the current uncertainty, you’re probably trying to find ways to stay ahead of the curve and either maintain your current employment or find something even better.
Honing your transferable and technical job skills can increase your value as an employee, making it easier to maintain employment or even move up the ranks. With so many more employers offering the remote working option, having both types of job skills is even more crucial than ever.
- What Are Job Skills?
- What Are Transferable Skills?
- What Are Technical Skills?
- 13 Important Job Skills to Know
- Transferable Skills
- Technical Skills
- Wrapping Up
- Want to Learn More?
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What Are Job Skills?
Job or work skills are the competencies that allow you to excel in a specific job.
For instance, software developers require many types of job skills to perform tasks efficiently, like the ability to manage projects, anticipate and resolve issues, and analyze performance data.
There are many different ways to acquire job skills or improve the ones you already have – including lessons at school, online certifications, or experiential learning in a holiday or part-time job.
Some work skills may not be listed in a job description, but they are essential skills needed to do most jobs. Several companies look for individuals with “transferable skills” because they enable you to submit quality work and navigate complex work environments.
Additionally, employers can require you to have at least some technical skills to accomplish complex tasks requiring math, science, or IT expertise.
What Are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills are a core set of abilities and strengths that you can apply in a wide range of different professions. You acquire these skills from past positions, college, voluntary or charity work, and even your hobbies.
For instance, let’s say you’ve been working as a remote chat agent for the past few years. Because of this, you’ve developed excellent writing and communication skills. You can highlight these transferable skills when you apply for a different role.
Although they’re often soft skills that may not directly relate to a position, employers place a lot of value on transferable skills. Assessing these skills helps them see the larger picture of what you can bring to their company. So make sure to mention your transferable skills on your LinkedIn profile, resume, cover letter, and website (if you have one).
What Are Technical Skills?
Technical skills are the hard skills required to perform specific tasks, often involving calculations or technology tools.
Unlike transferable skills, which are traits that demonstrate your ability to adapt to various roles, technical skills may require certain certifications or experience.
Some employers also consider technical skills as a prerequisite to be considered for the job. Also, they may list additional skills that they would like their hires to master on the job.
How do you acquire technical skills? For most people, this requires self-learning via tutorials and courses. Sites like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning offer a variety of lessons covering technical skills. You can also turn to YouTube for step-by-step walkthroughs that can help you gain specific technical knowledge.
13 Important Job Skills to Know
With everything going on, it can feel overwhelming to try and learn new job related skills, but chances are pretty good that you’re a pro at several already. To give you some direction for how to improve, we’ve put together a technical and transferable job skills list that will increase your employability across various industries.
The number one skill for both transferable and technical job skills is to have some technological ability. Some of the absolute must-have tech skills include:
- Using a numeric keypad
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office programs
- Using a phone (both a landline and a cell phone)
- Using scanners/fax machines/copiers
- Understanding social media (if that’s part of your job description)
- Video Conferencing
The world runs on technology these days, so it is imperative to have at least some technological know-how if you want to be successful.
Additionally, no one knows how much longer companies will need work from home, so having a reliable computer, internet connection, printer/scanner, and knowing how to use/troubleshoot them is essential.
Effective communication is one of the career skills that can make or break your interactions with others. You need to be proficient at talking with people in-person and over the phone and email.
Emails and text messages can be especially difficult since they don’t have body language for context, but written communication is one of the most crucial work skills to perfect. The important thing is to be straightforward yet tactful, encouraging, and conversational.
Of course, being fluent in another language for reading, speaking, and writing is another one of those great skills to have for a job because it gives you an edge against your competitors.
It doesn’t matter if you work in the field or the office, writing skills are key job skills. Not only does your handwriting need to be legible (yes, even if you type most of the time), but your content needs to be clear and understandable.
You also need to be able to write in multiple styles depending on your audience and keep things PC and professional. You should have a basic grasp of grammar and spelling, but if that’s one of your weak areas, there are helpful apps like Grammarly to make up the difference.
4. Project management
Project management is one of the best job skills you can have in almost any industry. You need to be able to coordinate among your employees, investors, and customers, and document along the way.
Project management includes researching, scheduling, follow-through, and follow-up. It’s holding yourself and those you work with accountable so that the job gets done well and on time.
5. Time management
Time management is one of those basic job skills that you have to have to be successful. Planning, prioritizing, meeting deadlines, and organizing your day, week, month, and year are all key job skills for any line of work.
There are plenty of time tracker apps and tools out there to help you meet your time management goals. From websites that allow you to keep track and bill every second of your time to apps that block distracting websites that are notorious time-wasters – time management skills are within everyone’s reach.
6. Problem solving
Problem solving is another one of those important job skills that comes with practice. Anticipating problems, solving them creatively through collaboration, and streamlining existing processes are all necessary job skills whatever profession you choose.
The tricky part about improving your problem solving skills is practicing before you have a big problem on your hands. Simple things like exercising, sleeping well, and doing daily logic puzzles can keep your mind sharp, so it’s ready when you come across problems at work.
It doesn’t matter if you are shy or outgoing, introverted or extroverted, you have to have leadership skills. They include leading meetings, negotiating prices and contracts, evaluating products and performance, taking the initiative, and cultivating an environment of teamwork and inclusivity.
The best way to grow your leadership skills is to practice, practice, practice. If you’re currently working for someone else, ask to lead meetings and take on additional responsibilities. If there’s someone available, ask for mentorship opportunities to learn these skills from a seasoned professional.
The need for programming skills is no longer limited to jobs in technology. Having programming as one of your job skills can give you a competitive edge against other candidates and companies.
Not only do programming skills show that you take the initiative and are motivated to go above and beyond, but it also means that you don’t necessarily have to outsource program and website development.
You should probably leave the heavy and obscure coding languages to the professionals, but being well-versed in some of the standard coding languages and website design are good job skills to have.
9. Information technology
IT used to be its own department, but employers and entrepreneurs nowadays rely on their employees to have at least some IT skills. These job skills include knowing how to install software and some hardware, troubleshoot technical problems, maintain and clean equipment, and follow basic security measures.
Even if you can’t do everything yourself, knowing what to look up and who to call when you need help can save you a lot of time and money.
10. Industry certifications
Most industries have additional certifications that can help you be the best (and most qualified) worker you can be, so it helps to get them whenever you can. Some employers will even pay for you to get the training in exchange for your help down the road.
Even though project management is one of the top transferable skills, acquiring certifications such as Project Management Professional (PMP) or Six Sigma is helpful and extremely sought-after.
Having these certifications not only looks impressive on your resume, but it can earn you significantly more money in the long run. Just be sure to keep on top of your recertifications.
11. Math and accounting
Working in the financial field means that you need a thorough understanding of how to keep track of finances. You don’t necessarily need a degree in accounting, but instead of hiring (and paying) someone else to do your books, you might see if a local college offers basic bookkeeping courses.
At the very least, you should learn how to use Quickbooks and get certified if possible. You should also know how to use and program Excel to keep track of expenditures and other figures. Knowing how to analyze your input and output is just one of many good skills to have for a job.
12. Continuing education
No matter what field you go into, there is always some continuing education that you can learn. Things are always changing, and people are constantly finding new and better ways to do things.
By keeping on top of your continuing education, you ensure that you know the most current information, which can give you a leg up on your competitors.
13. Data analysis
Last but not least, data analysis is another one of the crucial job skills that will set you apart from the pack. You need to be able to look for areas that need improvement throughout your company by analyzing large sets of data.
Analyzing large chunks of data on company performance, job processes, and online presence is a highly sought after skill by many employers. You don’t need a degree in Statistics (though any education in that area is helpful), but you need to be able to look for patterns and consistencies and then relay them to your co-workers.
These are just some examples of job skills that will help you as you navigate employment-related decisions now or in the future. By acquiring and perfecting as many job skills as possible, you make yourself a valuable employee and co-worker.
Having industry skills and specific job skills training makes you well-rounded and specialized, but having broader transferable job skills can also make you more adept at finding the perfect job for you.
Whatever you decide to do, take some time now and make a plan for learning and honing some of these valuable job skills. Your future self will thank you.