20 Essential New Skills To Learn to Advance Your Career

Updated June 9, 2023

When looking for a job or trying to advance in your career, you can develop new skills that are especially impressive to employers. In this article, we’ll review 20 skills to learn and how you can improve upon them.

20 new skills to boost your career

Developing new skills will help you gain the opportunities to advance your career. Here are 20 skills to consider:

Please note that no company or entity mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

1. Basic coding

Workplaces are now more dependent on computers, and so they need employees with coding and programming skills. Coding involves assigning a computer a task to do based on the guidelines you’ve outlined. Those with coding skills can, therefore, have a greater potential to find more jobs and earn more money.

Related: Learning How To Code

2. Data analysis and statistics

This set of skills is the ability to collect key details from a set of information and interpret those details to form a conclusion. Employers use data analysis and statistics to direct their products and services to specific markets or prove production changes have desired results. Data analysis and statistics allow you to draw a logical conclusion and communicate it to other people. Possessing and using these skills will help you solve complex problems and enhance your reputation for being a reliable expert in your field.

Related: Data Analysis: Definition, Types and Benefits

3. Digital literacy

Most occupations rely heavily on the latest technology, and staying up to date on the newest iterations of your company’s core programs helps ensure that you remain marketable. Obtaining certifications in the latest tech will add to your value as an employee.

Related: Information Literacy Skills: Definition and Examples

4. Foreign language

The business world is becoming increasingly globalized, creating a demand for those who are fluent in multiple languages. Employers tend to seek out professionals who can fluently communicate with clients in both international and domestic markets. Possessing these language skills is likely to increase your earning potential and overall career advancement. Employees with skills in Chinese, Spanish and French are in the highest demand among U.S. companies.

Related: Understanding Your Levels of Fluency and How To Include Them on a Resume

5. Project management

Project management skills are highly desirable tools that provide a set of processes and guidelines to streamline all of your projects. They allow you to understand the full scope of a project and manage it from start to finish. By combining your project management, organizational and problem-solving skills, you’ll be able to quickly strategize and prioritize the steps your team needs to deliver a project within the given parameters, which gives you a large competitive advantage in career advancement.

Related: Types of Project Management Certifications

6. Public speaking

Great public speaking means communicating your ideas to a group in a clear, compelling way. As you advance in the professional world, you may be asked or even required to speak publicly about your work. You must present yourself in the best way possible. Learning how to be better at public speaking is a great way to improve your performance skills in almost any career.

Related: 30 Strategies for Better Public Speaking

7. Social media and digital marketing

If you want to compete in the job market, you need to know how social media and digital marketing work and their value to businesses. Being able to use and navigate social media is a valuable skill, especially when it comes to digital marketing.

Related: Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: Key Differences

8. Speed reading

When people speed read, they can understand large paragraphs and chunks of information instead of going word-by-word to slowly process each phrase. This skill lets you read faster with greater retention. Being able to speed read also allows you to manage your schedule better and be more productive.

Related: How To Speed Read: Benefits and Strategies

9. Video and audio production

Many businesses rely on video or audio production to tell their story or promote their business without commercial constraints. Video and audio professionals can now be found in nearly every industry. Video editing skills enable you to arrange and alter video shots to create a cohesive structure. Audio production refers to audio recording and editing that ensures clear audio that meets the creative needs of various projects. Adding these skills to your resume could increase your employment value.

Related: Video editing skills: Definition and Examples

10. Web development

The main component of web development is the ability to read and write in programming languages. These languages, or codes, are what create programs, applications and websites, and command them to run properly. This is important because the skills needed to succeed in web development, such as the ability to visualize, connect and communicate information, are the same skills you will use daily.

Related: Web Designer vs. Web Developer: What’s the Difference

11. Adaptability

The ability to adapt to new technology, people and ideas is essential for advancing your career. Employers look for the flexibility it takes to adapt to new technology, collaborations and philosophies. Meeting the goals you’re striving for requires a willingness to make changes when necessary.

Related: 6 Important Workplace Adaptability Skills

12. Communication

Communication is a set of skills that, when applied properly, can help propel your career in any direction you want. Effective communication encompasses the following:

  • Speaking clearly

  • Actively listening

  • Observation

  • Writing

Using this set of skills is important to present and receive information effectively and efficiently—critical for success in any occupation.

Related: How To Be a Good Communicator

13. Creative thinking

Creativity is vital in today’s global marketplace. Creative thinking can lead to innovations to help your company stand out among competitors and grab consumers’ attention. Many employers see creativity as one of the most important skills when considering job candidates. Learning how to apply creative thinking to your job responsibilities can help you develop new and effective solutions for common challenges you might encounter in your role.

Related: 18 Creativity Exercises To Improve Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving at Work

14. Reading

When you read, even if it is fiction, you learn and expand your worldview. You visit places, meet people and learn about skills you might otherwise never experience. Get in the habit of reading through things. The more you know, the more you are open to new experiences whether in the workplace or your life.

Related: How To Improve Your Reading Skills

15. Innovation

Innovation, by definition, is the ability to improve processes, deliver efficient products and services to market and overall improve the profitability of your company. Innovative thinking requires creativity and a willingness to take the risk of employing unconventional methods in the interest of improving upon existing processes and creating new ones. Innovative thinkers tend to be problem solvers, and innovative problem solving is a quality that employers value highly.

Related: What Are Innovative Thinking Skills?

16. Leadership

Possessing leadership skills is critical to the advancement of your career. These skills enable you to inspire others to strive for success and allow the team to function fluidly as a unit rather than as a disjointed group of people. A good leader inspires, motivates and empowers. The leader catalyzes teamwork, reaching goals and the overall success of the team, and leading a winning team is a great way to move ahead in the workplace.

Related: 10 Motivational Skills for Effective Leadership

17. Photoshop

Learning at least the basics in Photoshop is an important tool if you want to work in graphic or web design or even just use it at home for your own pictures. It is also important to learn Photoshop if you work in a hands-on marketing role. Because it is such a valued skill, it is great to be able to add to a resume as well.

Related: 11 Photoshop Skills for Creative Professionals

18. Problem-solving

Employers highly value an individual with the ability to analyze difficult or unforeseen circumstances or challenges, recognize the problem and implement the best solutions. Problem-solving is a practical skill that lets you work in demanding settings where instant solutions can mean profit or loss. It can also help build and nurture relationships as well as identify you as the person trusted to make day-to-day decisions.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

19. Productivity

Although being productive can be somewhat of an abstract concept, the defining factor is universal: Spend your time doing what’s important to you. Increasing your productivity to advance your career can be broken down into three steps:

Identify what’s important to you

This step comes down to self-awareness. Knowing what you’re working toward is the ultimate motivating factor. Periodically evaluate your productivity to make sure your actions are taking your career in a direction you’re happy with. Know your goals and align your actions to support reaching these goals.

Focus on what’s important to you

This step is about setting goals. Once you’ve identified what you want, whether it’s being promoted or opening your own business, keeping your end goal in the forefront of your mind will subconsciously propel you toward actions that support reaching that goal.

Make time for what’s important to you

After you’ve identified and set your goals, you’ve got to follow through. It’s easy to make excuses to procrastinate. Many people put off reaching their goals because they are too busy and don’t have time to pursue advancements when they’re scrambling to keep up with deadlines day after day. Time management is a matter of prioritization—in other words, productivity is attained when you make time to attain it.

Related: How To Be More Productive

20. Self-management

As more companies turn to remote work environments, they will rely on employees to be productive without physical oversight. You may be expected to be more responsible, self-disciplined and accountable. Self-management skills will take on greater importance as businesses move forward. Such skills include:

  • Active listening

  • Stress tolerance

  • Motivation

  • Time management

  • Flexibility

Related: Self-Management Skills: Definition and Examples

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