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Professional Skills: A List of Top 21 Professional Skills for 2021

In today’s fast-paced world, where job competition is increasing day by day, and now it takes more than a college degree to survive in the professional world. A smart entrepreneur should always be learning. Professional Skills is a must in today’s world to stand out from others. A well-known inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn says that the most successful people in the world are lifelong learners. As the business world is constantly evolving and adapting, good entrepreneur should know that they need to learn, adapt and develop their skills according to the job market. During company recruitment, being skilled makes sure that you are one of the top choices among recruits, which certainly makes your life easier. Your boss will appreciate your work, and you will be able to stand out from the crowds. The last year (2020) was an unusual work year for the employees and this year (2021) has already started the same way, which means now is the right time to invest in developing your professional skills to be ready to make your career more successful. Now, are you thinking and wondering about professional skills? What are these professional skills that can make you into a better professional in the workplace? To know the answer to all of it, keep reading the blog. At the end of this blog, you will learn exactly what you need to do next to become a good professional.

In this article

What is the professional skill?

Professional skills are those career skills that are not often taught (or you acquired) as part of coursework requirements when obtaining your Masters or professional degree. This type of skills are leadership, mentoring, project management and conflict resolution are valuable skills, which are common requirements for any career. Professional skill consists of two types of skills, which are hard skill and soft skill.

Soft skills – Soft skills on the other hand are usually self-taught and self-developed, are becoming increasingly valuable to all employers, regardless of the type of industry they operate in. Unlike hard skills, these are not specific to any industry or work. Soft skills can come naturally or be strengthened over time. Examples of soft skills are adaptability, creativity, leadership, and the ability to work under pressure.

Hard skills – Hard skills are those skills that you need to perform a particular job efficiently. These skills often vary depending on the type of role you will be performing or you will be working in the industry. These can usually be developed through study and training. Examples of hard skills include a diploma in accounting, multilingual or bilingual, computer skills or experience in a specific industry.

For instance, if you apply for a Chinese-English translation job, you must be fluent in both languages – otherwise, you simply are not eligible for the position.

Difference between hard and soft skills – 

Soft skills Hard skills
Useful across all industries
Industry Specific
Natural abilities
Learned through training
Related to emotional intelligence
Based on technical knowledge

Top 21 Professional Skills to Learn in 2021

Nowadays, the job market is extremely competing. You may require more than a few professional skills to land your dream job. The following 21 are the trending skills of 2021, you may need to learn and most of the skills below are important and required for any job. 

Soft Skills
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Work ethic
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Stress Management
  • Organisational skills
  • Analytical skills
Hard skills
  • Information technology Skills
  • Basic computer skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Team management
  • Project management
  • Foreign Language
  • Design Skill
  • Data Analysis skills

Soft skills

Soft-skills-for-professionals

1. Communication skills

Communication skills are the most common and frequently used professional skills in our life. You use communication skills to give and receive different kinds of information, and it helps you to understand and be understood by others while communicating. These skills may include sharing ideas with others, actively listening to conversations, responding, and public speaking, but keep in mind that communication skill is not limited to the aforementioned.

Types of communication

The four main types of communication medium are:

  • Verbal (Communicate through a spoken language)
  • Non-verbal (Communicate through body language, such as head movement, with eyes, facial expressions and vocalists)
  • Written (Communicate through written language, symbols and numbers)
  • Visual (Communicate through photography, art, drawings, sketches, charts and graphs).

How to improve your communication skills

You can learn and improve your communication skills, with experience and practice. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Then practice and develop in those areas where you are not good. You can –

  • Observe good communicators around you.
  • Ask a trusted or close, friend or colleague for constructive criticism.
  • Practice improving communication skills.
  • Attend communication skills workshops or classes.
  • Seek opportunities to communicate.

Or, you can take an online course to improve your communication skills from your home.

2. Teamwork skills

Teamwork skills are the qualities and abilities that allow you to work with a group of people during conversations, projects, meetings or other collaborations to achieve a common goal. Your teamwork skills are dependent on your ability to communicate well, actively listen and be responsible and honest. 

In a job, you will be required to work alongside others in every industry at every level in your career. It can help you build relationships with others. Building rapport in office often leads to deeper work relationships, new connections and possibly new opportunities for your career.

 

How to improve your teamwork skills

Teamwork can take time and work to improve, but building these qualities is certainly possible. 

Here are some steps you can take to improve your teamwork skills:

  • Get honest feedback. Ask a trusted friend, colleague or mentor about your teamwork strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve them.
  • Set personal goals to achieve skills where you lack, from the feedback.
  • Practice more and more
  • Mimic others with strong teamwork skills.

3. Time management

Time management is the process of organising, planning, and dividing your time between specific activities. Good time management skills enable you to work smarter, not harder. If you work smartly, you will get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time while performing a task will damage your effectiveness and cause stress. 

Some of the most important time management skills include:

  • Prioritisation
  • Goal-setting
  • Communication
  • Planning
  • Delegation
  • Stress management

Time management skills are extremely important in any job. Because, they help you structure your work in a way that allows you to achieve goals. If you have a specific time set aside to complete your tasks, you can also have extra time to think about the big picture for yourself and your company.

4. Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help you determine the source of the problem and find effective solutions and will advance your professional skills. Companies rely on people who can assess both types of situations and quietly identify solutions. Problem-solving skills are valued by employers in any job and are extremely useful in other areas of life such as relationship building and day-to-day decision-making.

Some key problem-solving skills include:

  • Active listening
  • Analysis
  • Research
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Dependability
  • Decision making
  • Team-building

Problem-solving skills are important in every career at every level to make your career successful.  

 How to improve your problem-solving skills

  • Acquire more technical knowledge related to your field.
  • Seek out opportunities to solve problems.
  • Do practice and role-play problems to develop your problem-solving skills.
  • Observe how others problem solve and learn from them.

5. Creativity

Creativity-skills

Creative thinking means your ability to use the imagination to generate new ideas or ability to think about a task or a problem in a new or different way. Creative thinkers look at things from a unique perspective which is invisible to others. They can find patterns and make connections to find opportunities in complex systems. If you are a creative thinker, it will assist you to solve complex problems or find interesting ways to approach tasks.

There are a variety of creative skills that you can practice to make yourself more creative in the workplace.

Creativity skills include:

  • Making connections
  • Asking questions
  • Making observations
  • Networking
  • Experimenting new ideas

If these aforementioned skills are used together, they can be effective in helping you think differently about a problem or a task. Take a creativity skill course with Training Express to learn more about it and be successful in your career.

6. Work Ethic

Work is a valuable quality that employers look for in that industry. Showing the qualities related to a good work ethic can boost your employment and help you position yourself for better job opportunities. The employer often gives opportunities only to the employees with excellent work ethics to work on special projects because of their reliability, dedication and disciplinary characteristics.

An employee with a strong work ethic exhibits a particular set of values and behaviours. These values and behaviours make him/her stand out as highly coveted team members and praise-worthy employees. 

These characteristics are-

  • Reliability
  • Dedication
  • Discipline
  • Productivity
  • Cooperation
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Professionalism

How to improve work ethic skills

You can exhibit noticeable work ethic skills, by being professional and dedicating yourself to the job. You can try these tips to demonstrate your work ethic skills:

  • Act as an ambassador of the company.
  • Prioritise your professional responsibilities
  • Seek professional development
  • Review your work
  • Show respect to others

7. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are the traits you rely on when you are interacting and communicating with others. These skills often indicate your ability to communicate and build relationships with others. Interpersonal skills are often called people skills. Because they combine both your innate personality characteristics and how you’ve learned to handle certain social situations. If you use interpersonal skills effectively, these skills can help you during the job interview process and can also have a positive impact on your career advancement.

Here are few examples of interpersonal skills include:

  • Active listening
  • Teamwork
  • Responsibility
  • Dependability
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Empathy

In every work environment, strong interpersonal skills are a resource that can help you navigate complexities, changes and everyday tasks.

Jobs that require interpersonal skills –

1. Teachers
2. Administrative assistants
3. Nurses
4. Marketing managers
5. Customer service agents
 
How to improve interpersonal skills –
  • Attend online classes or workshops.
  • Always look out for opportunities to build relationships.
  • Think about the ways you can improve interaction skills.
  • Ask trusted friends or colleagues for constructive criticism.
  • Observe other positive interpersonal interactions and learn from them.
  • Seek out mentor-ship.

8. Leadership skills

Leadership skills are those skills you often use when organizing other people to reach a shared goal or complete a task. It doesn’t matter if you are in a management position or leading a project, leadership skills require you to motivate others to complete a series of tasks before the deadline. Leadership is a combination of several skills working together.

Some examples of leadership skills that make you a strong leader are-

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Reliability
  • Dependability
  • Creativity
  • Positivity
  • Effective feedback
  • Timely communication
  • Team building
  • Flexibility
  • Risk-taking
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9. Stress Management

We have experienced work-related stress at some point in our careers. There could be stressful elements in any job, even if you love what you do. You may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfil a challenging task. But when work stress becomes chronic, and it can be overwhelming and harmful, both to your physical and emotional health.

Stress-management-skills

Some common workplace stressors are:

  • Low salaries
  • Excessive workloads
  • Few opportunities for growth or advancement
  • Work that isn’t engaging or challenging
  • Lack of social support
  • Not having enough control over job-related decisions
  • Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations

The stress associated with work does not simply disappear when you head home for the day. A stressful work environment can cause many problems. For instance, headache, stomach ache, sleep disturbances, short temper, and difficulty concentrating.

  • Find out what causes the stress
  • Develop healthy responses such as exercise, yoga, playing games etc. to reduce stress
  • Establish boundaries (when to work and relax)
  • Take time to recharge your mind and body
  • Learn how to relax.
  • Talk to your supervisor and make an effective plan.
  • Get some support from friends and family.
  • Attend online workshops and online courses.

10. Organisational skills

Organisational skills are the abilities that allow you to use your resources efficiently and effectively on different tasks. Being organised means that you can manage your own time, energy and workspace well and also be able to accomplish all your assigned tasks successfully. Organisational skills can take different forms depending on specific workplace and job title. However, organisational skills typically involve maintaining an orderly workspace, meeting deadlines and communicating well with your team.

Being organised in the workplace involves using a variety of important skills, including:

  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Setting goals
  • Delegation
  • Working under pressure
  • Self-motivation
  • Analytical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Decision-making
  • Strategic planning

How to improve your organizational skills –

  • Make lists to keep records of the task you have to complete.
  • Keep to a schedule (be a physical calendar or a digital time log) to budget your time and ensure that you meet your deadlines.
  • Communicate with your team (face-to-face meetings, creating records of important conversations and writing efficient emails).
  • Take an organizational skills course online to learn and improve your skills.

Learn more about organisational skills from here.

11. Analytical skills

Analytical skills are the abilities which allow you to collect, organize, visualize, and assemble information and to thoroughly analyse that information. Analytical skill allows you to see the patterns, draw conclusions, and find solutions. As a result, it can boost your employee productivity and company’s performance.

The five types of skills that are crucial to success in many jobs and industries are:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Data Analysis
  • Research

How to improve your analytical thinking skills – 

  • Be observant.
  • Read books related to your industry work skills
  • Learn how things work
  • Ask questions
  • Play brain games to sharp your brain
  • Practice your Problem-Solving skills
  • Think about your decisions

Hard skills

Hard skills

12. Information technology Skills

IT skills are also known as information technology skills. IT skills are technical skills necessary to work within technical support, maintenance, and development IT is a comprehensive skill set that ranges from hardware installation and software development to problem-solving and data analysis.

We live in the modern world, where we can’t live a day without the help of modern technology. Technology related skills are always in demand among employers. More and more companies are going online from offline based and making their operation cloud-based. That is why tech skills are more in demand nowadays more than ever.

Some of the most demandable skills to learn in the Information Technology field are –

  • IT automation (The process of creating software and systems to replace repeatable processes and reduce manual intervention).
  • AI and machine learning (A technology which enables machine learn human behaviour and solve complex problem)
  • Software development methodologies (DevOps)
  • Cloud computing (On-demand availability of computer system resources)
  • Proactive security (Assessing the future major incident using raw data)
  • Connected technologies (Connecting one device to another)
  • Quantum computing (based on the principles of quantum theory to explain the behaviour of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels).

How to improve IT skills –

No one is born with IT skills in their head – they need to learn and like everything else, you can learn them in different ways.

  • Watch Videos tutorials. (To learn various IT skills from the beginning to more advanced concepts).
  • Read More. (Read blog and magazines to keep up to date with new developments and products).
  • Take a Course (Offline or Online). You can take a course at Training Express.
  • Interact with other techies
  • Share your projects
  • Do a little DIY (Building or upgrading on devices near you).
  • Create a Program or App
  • Enter a Contest to pushing your limits

13. Basic computer skills

Nowadays, being familiar with everyday technology is no longer enough. In today’s technology-centric world, it’s vital for everyone to have basic computing skills. It helps people to perform well in the workplace and keep up with the fast-paced changes facing modern businesses.

Basic computer skills mean your ability to perform basic tasks on a computer. This may include understanding specific software, applications, programs, tools, and more.  There are two types of computer skills which are software skills and hardware skills. Hardware refers to the computer’s operation, on the other hand software refers to the programs and applications.

The computer skills you need to know depends on your industry. Most jobs require fundamental computer skills to perform well in your industry. Well, basic computer skills include:

  • Productivity software (Word processing software, Spreadsheet software, Presentation software, Email management, Data entry etc.).
  • Operating systems (Windows, Linux, IOS)
  • Presentation software
  • Digital marketing
  • Computer programming (HTML, Java, C+, Python)
  • Graphic design
  • Communication tools
  • Database management
  • Accounting software

14. Customer service skills

Customer service skills refers to these sets of behaviours you rely on when interacting with a customer (online or in person). These skills can also be useful when following up after an initial conversation. For instance, if you work as a virtual assistant for a tech company, you may need to help customers troubleshoot problems with their devices. To help customers, you need to use several skills:

  • Communication - Your response will need to be fast and quick. To solve the problem, you need to communicate with them in a clear, easy and understandable way.
  • Empathy - Your interactions with the customer may begin with someone who is frustrated or unhappy about the service or product. It is important that you understand and identify the feelings of others and communicate accordingly.
  • Patience - Clients and customers may ask a number of questions, be dissatisfied or ask you to repeat instructions several times. To keep the conversation on track, it is important to be patient and provide a positive experience.
  • Technical knowledge - In order to solve problems effectively, you may need to know some technical or industry knowledge to help them solve the problem at hand.

15. Presentation skills

If you want to deliver effective and engaging presentations to a variety of audiences, you need to have a good presentation skill. 

This skill gives an individual to –

  • Interact with the audience
  • Transmit the messages with clarity
  • Engage the audience in the presentation
  • And interpret and understand the mindsets of the listeners.

These skills help you find the best way you want to put forward your messages and enhance your persuasive powers. The current era emphasises good presentation skills. This is because presentation skills play an important role in understanding clients and customers.


How to Improve Presentation Skills –
Developing good presentation skills requires a lot of effort and hard work. To improve your presentation skills, you need to:

  • Research the audience before presenting
  • Structure your presentation effectively
  • Do a lot of practice

16. Marketing skills

Professional-Marketing-skills

Marketing skills are qualities and skills that apply directly to marketing. According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), ‘Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’. These skills are the tools that enable a professional to excel in the field of marketing.

When an organization is committed to finding an applicant, who is able to handle job responsibilities and can meet or exceed expectations. The best way to show a potential employer that you are the right candidate for the job is to highlight the right skills on your resume.

A marketing professional needs a combination of both hard and soft skills to be successful in succeeding and thriving in their field. 

The following skills are the most important skills for marketing that you should try to incorporate into your resume –

  • Creative thinking
  • Communication
  • Social media
  • Analytics
  • Mobile advertising
  • Layout and design
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Content management systems

17. Team management

Team management is your ability to lead a group of people or workers in achieving a task or common goal. Effective team management means you are able to give support, communicate with and uplift team members, so they would perform to the best of their abilities and continue to grow as professionals. 

The formation of effective team management can certainly vary depending on the work environment and people. Some managers prefer to work and do well with an authoritative approach, while other managers like to manage their teams in their own way. Sometimes the productivity of team members may also respond differently to certain management styles. The important part of team management is to understand your own leadership style and what works best with your team.

The best way to develop your team management skills is to know your ability, set goals, take feedback from the team, practice and continue learning. 

18. Project management

Managing a project requires a variety of skills, such as initiation, planning, collecting and executing a task or project, ensures that everything is on track and everyone involved is working to their full potential. The project manager is the person to work with the client or company to review and fix issues, if there are any issues, delays, or problems in the project. They do not directly work on the projects, instead they make sure progress is being made and keep everyone on task.

Project managers play a crucial role, when a company launches new products, the construction of new sites, and the development of new programs. 

Skills required for managing a project are the following-

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Negotiation
  • Organisation
  • Problem-solving
  • Budgeting

19. Foreign Language skill

The world becomes increasingly interconnected and interdependent with the emergence of globalization.  Proficiency in other languages is an essential skill which allows you to engage with the world in a more immediate and meaningful way. However, communication becomes a barrier in international business dealing because not everyone speaks English.

A translator helps to remove that communication barrier and make business transactions smooth between two international companies. With the expansion of international business, the demand for translators has also increased. The following are some areas that you can work in as a translator.

  • Commercial
  • Educational
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Technical documents
  • Legal

Mastering a foreign language can open many doors for your career. The most useful and profitable languages to learn are – Chinese, Italian, French, German, Spanish. You can learn as many languages as you want. The more you learn, the more capable you will become. As a result, the chances of getting the job you want are increased.

20. Design Skill

Design skill

Design industry is always evolving. As a designer, you can bring out your creative side with interesting visuals and graphics. There is no limit to what a designer can illustrate with their unique skill. If you want to be self-employed and work as a freelancer, you should learn how to design, and it is an excellent skill to have. 

Here are the few design skills good to have –

  • Motion Design/ Animation
  • Graphics Design
  • UX/UI Design
  • Organisation
  • Problem-solving
  • Budgeting

21. Data Analysis Skills

Data analysis is the process of  retrieving, organising and analysing information to help a company to improve production, efficiency or another valuable aspect of the business’s operations. Data analysts generally work in all industries, from retail to academia. They have to collect their own data. From the collected data they create reports that summarise patterns and offer solutions to their customers in the form of updated systems, procedures or protocols.

Work details of data analyst:

 – Gathering data

 – Finding patterns

 – Writing reports

 – Collaborating with stakeholders

 – Presenting their findings

 – Creating systems

 
Skills need to be a data analysis:
  • Motion Design/ Animation
  • Graphics Design
  • UX/UI Design
  • Organisation
  • Problem-solving
  • Budgeting

Take an online course to improve your data analysis skills at Training Express.

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Closing Note

We are not certain about the job market after the COVID-19 pandemic. What will our life be like and do we get our dream job? You can diversify your income source, with the help of our list ‘Top 21 Professional Skills’. You can also start or change up your career by mastering these skills.  So, don’t waste your time and acquire professional skills to land your dream job.

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