Recent college graduates understand how hard it is to break into the job market. The competition for the best jobs is fierce, and it can be hard to stand out from a crowd of applicants who always seem to have more experience and skills. While experience comes with time, there are plenty of online resources to help improve your skills and add new ones to your résumé.
Hard vs. Soft Skills
Before we go into resources, let’s talk about the difference between soft and hard skills.
Soft skills are personal traits and behaviors, typically learned through life experience. Soft skills include leadership and communication skills, creative problem solving, and teamwork. Soft skills are less easily taught but more transferable across jobs since they apply to a wide range of situations.
Hard skills are usually specific and technical and concern an employee’s ability to do a specific job. Hard skills can include skills like computer programming, proficiency in a specific software, or knowledge of certain rules and regulations. Hard skills tend to be easier to teach than soft skills because the skills are more concrete. However, hard skills are less transferable between jobs since they tend to be specific to a role, company, or niche.
How to Upgrade your Skills
1. Management and Leadership
A popular saying is that people leave bad bosses, not companies. A good boss, leader, or manager will be able to motivate and retain employees, increase productivity, and solve problems. Management skills can help in a variety of roles, both small and large scale.
No matter your role in a company (or in life), being an effective communicator is important. The popularity of remote work has only added to the need for improved communication. Whether you are communicating with a client to discuss their needs and deadlines on a project or with a small team about who is doing which tasks, communication is key!
LinkedIn: Communication Foundations
3. Customer Service
Customer service is an important part of any business that wants others to buy their products or services. And if you’ve ever been exasperated with being on hold forever or tried desperately to find the button to talk to a real person, then you understand how bad customer service can negatively impact a company. Taking care of customers can build good relationships with customers and businesses, thus increasing future business and word-of-mouth advertising.
Sales doesn’t just mean selling a product or service. Sales skills can be used to attract job candidates, receive a bigger budget, and close deals. We are trying to sell ourselves and our skills to companies when we send in a résumé or project proposal.
LinkedIn: Sales Foundations
5. Project Management
Whether you become an accountant or a software engineer, you are going to have work projects assigned to you. You may even become a manager of a team and become responsible for assigning tasks. Either way, project management skills are an asset.
LinkedIn: Project Management Foundations
Research skills are just as necessary in the workplace as they were in school! With all the information available today, it is necessary to be able to sort the good from the bad, make informed decisions, and create strategies that will help your team put out a good product.
LinkedIn: Market Research Foundations
7. Analytical Skills
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as the “activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Those skills come in handy when trying to differentiate yourself from other applicants or your product from your competitors’.
LinkedIn: Digital Marketing Foundations
Almost without exception, you are going to be a part of some sort of team in your career. Knowing how to work with (and even lead) all sorts of people results in better problem-solving and more creative solutions.
LinkedIn: Being an Effective Team Member
1. Software Development
Most companies have databases for customer or supplier information, human resources, and other important business functions. Most often, SQL is required to access and understand the data. Being proficient in SQL will make you a valuable asset.
LinkedIn: SQL Essential Training
All companies handle money—coming in, out, and in between departments. Understanding financial statements and how to use them to predict changes in market conditions can help companies prepare for the future.
LinkedIn: Reading Corporate Financial Statements
Python is one of the most popular coding languages today. It can be used with all major operating systems and is useful in many situations. Becoming familiar, and even proficient, in Python is a useful skill to have.
LinkedIn: Python Essential Training
6. Data Analysis
Every business needs data in order to make informed decisions. Gathering, sorting, and interpreting data is a major part of every business, so being able to analyze data will help you make valuable insights for your organization.
8. Cloud Computing
With all of the web hosting, software, and other data an organization needs to work on a daily basis, they need servers to host all of that information. Cloud computing has largely replaced on-site servers, but there still needs to be someone able to optimize and design these solutions.
LinkedIn: Learning Cloud Computing: Core Concepts
MyEducator: Cloud Computing with Amazon Web Services
10. Customer Relationship Management
In this time of rapidly changing technology, a lot of us are looking to improve our tech skills. MyEducator offers a variety of Technology Application Modules. These modules are condensed versions of existing resources, so if you need more, check out our resources on data analytics and information systems. However, if you are looking for a quick way to refresh old skills or pick up new ones check out the modules.
So, whether you are looking to reskill or upskill, there are plenty of resources available to help you. With the right skills, you can change roles, get a new job, or get that promotion.
Dewar, J. (2023, March 16). The Most In-Demand Skills for 2023 | LinkedIn. LinkedIn. Retrieved August 21, 2023, from https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/linkedin-most-in-demand-hard-and-soft-skills