Top 9 Must-Have Skills To Boost Your Career Now

Top 9 Must-Have Skills To Boost Your Career Now
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 22 July, 2022

One of your first and best milestones in life is finally graduating with a degree from college. Congrats on that! After difficult days and sleepless nights studying, finishing papers, and passing tests, you’re now moving on to your career.

Here’s where you bring your most important assets on top of academic achievements – your skills. Along with your diploma, resume, recommendation letters, and technical know-how, there are must-have skills you need to learn and hone. These soft skills for young professionals are often learned through school activities and events. However, some of them you learn at home and in your personal life. Moreover, others can be learned through short courses or a life skills program for young adults. It would be difficult to move forward, get your dream job, and reach your career goals if you don’t have these must-have skills.

To help you out and serve as a guide, here below is our list of the top nine must-have skills for young professionals like yourself to succeed.

What must-have skills are most needed now?

1. Communication

Among the many must-have skills for young professionals, communication easily tops the list. It is one of the most basic and useful soft skills for young professionals in just about any industry or line of work. Every young professional needs to have strong communication skills such as listening, speaking, and writing.

First of all, you should know how to actively listen and give full attention to what people are saying. Whether it’s your boss, fellow employees, customers, or any other stakeholders and partners in the business – it’s important that you understand them before you respond. Furthermore, part of communication is asking clarificatory questions if anything said is unclear.

Active listening is just half of it. The other half is speaking and writing concisely and completely whatever information, ideas, or instructions you need to convey.

Whether you are making a report, responding to emails, taking a client call, or giving a multimedia presentation – you need to have excellent oral and written skills. You must communicate in a way that the people around you can understand. Strong communication skills are also indispensable if you want to persuade or convince people toward an objective. Lastly, good communication also helps to build healthy relationships among your peers.

2. Professionalism

Entering a profession means doing work well, getting the job done, and delivering on promises and expectations. It also means often providing more than satisfactory results and being dependable to deliver at all times. You may have learned some of it at home or in school, but it reflects on the things you do and how you do them, how you carry yourself and relate with others. For instance, you should always be punctual in showing up for work. Furthermore, you need to follow the company rules and code of conduct at all times. Depending on the company culture, you should dress properly and strictly avoid all prohibitions that would merit any kind of sanction.

Professionalism means you follow deadlines and submit work on or before the set date. Moreover, you respond to emails quickly, acknowledging receipt, and assuring that concerns will be addressed. This skill means focusing on tasks during work hours and being responsible and reliable.  It also means you deal with and relate to your boss, peers, and customers appropriately.

Company hirers and managers value professionalism. Learning and developing this skill will help you further your career and establish a good reputation for you in your chosen field.

Also read: 10 Ways to Promote Respect in the Workplace

3. Organization

As a professional, productivity and performance are part of your package. Typically, you need to get a lot of work done within a given time. As such, it is important to have a methodical and organized approach to work. Moreover, you need to know how to plan, set goals and objectives, lay out timelines and deadlines, and implement multiple tasks. This can start by simply having a daily to-do list of things according to priority.

You also need to foresee possible challenges and plan contingencies. Pay attention to every detail because neglecting to do so can lead to failure. If you are leading a team, organization skills include planning what things to be done, who will do them, how they will be accomplished, and when. Therefore, in managing office tasks and programs, you will need calendars and progress charts to make sure things are on track.

4. Leadership

Another must-have skill for every young professional is leadership. If you are a fresh graduate, you’ve probably had opportunities to initiate projects and programs in school, as well as lead others in group work and activities. Leadership means having a certain command responsibility towards achieving goals and getting work done effectively. If you have work experience already, you may have led a team in a project or even managed a small group of people.

Organizations and employers are always looking for candidates who are capable of initiating, inspiring, and motivating others . Leadership skills are needed to spearhead projects, strategize, and implement plans. Moreover, you should know how to maximize human resources and lead people towards a goal in any given work setting.

Outside of school and work, go attend leadership seminars or learn more about it in a life skills program for young adults. Taking the initiative to add to what you know is already a step towards leadership.

Need help with putting your credentials to paper? Click here for a sample one-page fresh grad resume ?

5. Problem-solving

As businesses offer products and services, they encounter various challenges and problems in their different departments. Therefore, companies need people who can solve problems using analytical and creative or innovative thinking. In all probability, you have started acquiring and developing this skill in school, as well as in your personal life. It may entail identifying the nature of the problem, recognizing patterns, observing behaviors, or interpreting data. On top of knowledge and experience, you need to have insight and imagination as well. Be creative and innovative to find solutions where there seem to be none.

Problem solvers, analytical and innovative thinkers, are sought after and valued by company hirers and managers. You can be such an asset if you learn and hone your problem-solving skills. It can separate you from the rest and give you a competitive edge in your field.

Also read: Are problem solving skills coming between you and your dream job?

6. Teamwork

In life, at school, or in the office, you need to be flexible and adaptive. Part of that means being able to work alone or with others. As such, another must-have skill is being a good team player. This means building a strong rapport with other team members and being open and willing to collaborate. It also means you have a sincere interest in everyone’s well-being and appreciate their strengths.

If you are one of many introverts, there is no need to fret. You do not have to be an extrovert, or loud and outgoing, to be a good team player. Just be present, listen emphatically and attentively, and think things through.

If you’ve ever played a team game such as basketball or volleyball, you know that everyone has a place and a role to play that is vital to the team’s success. With that, you just need to work together and have the team’s goals in mind to motivate you.

7. Research

Closely related to an earlier must-have skill in problem-solving, research is a vital skill for a young professional. To come up with creative solutions to challenges and dilemmas, it is important to know how to do research. This means systematically and methodically gathering information and data, gaining new knowledge, and keeping abreast of the latest studies in your industry.

Hirers and managers want employees who know how to do important and relevant research. This includes learning through the documented experience of others in or out of the company, as well as doing practical trial and error to find out what works and develop new systems.

Online and offline, there are publications, books, newsletters, articles, and videos that can provide you with valuable knowledge and information. Knowing how to choose and use the information is part of research skills.

8. Time Management

As a young professional, you should accomplish tasks on time. To do so, you need to develop the capability of planning how you will manage the time you have to do everything that needs to be done. Time management is a must-have skill that is closely linked to professionalism and organizational skills. Time is an element that is limited while there will be times when your workload seems limitless. The more the tasks and the less the time to do them, the more essential it is to know how to manage time.

So, how do you make it all fit into your schedule? How do you make sure that the most important things get done first? A key skill in all this is time management. For instance, one practical tip is to work backward starting with your end goal and deadline.  Then go one step back at a time, determining how much time and effort each step would take until you end with the first step you need to do.

Another common strategy is to identify which things are urgently needed or need to be done first. This means prioritizing as well as planning. It also means knowing how to maximize time and resources to execute a task and achieve your goals.

With practice, time management becomes second nature and will help you become efficient and effective in your work. This is something that hirers and managers also look for in jobseekers.

9. Networking

The last must-have skill for young professionals is knowing how to network. It is related and similar to communication and interpersonal skills but is more focused and purposeful. If you have good networking skills, you know when to talk and whom to talk to. You know how not just to build rapport but strong relationships. For information, business, influence, and opportunities to flow within and outside a company and across industries, you need to have strong networking skills.

In both your personal and professional life, formal and informal contacts are vital. Whether you plan to stay in the same line of work or shift along the way, you need people – to mentor, refer, or help you in some way. But networking is a two-way street. You are part of their network as well. Make sure to help others along the way as much if not more than they help you.

Ready to find your first job ? #LetsGetToWork !

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Download JobStreet’s app available on the App Store and Google Play for more tips that can guide you in navigating your career. It also offers expert insights and advice that could help you develop must-have skills. Good luck!

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