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Seven Core Skills Most Professionals Need

By DeVry University

June 21, 2021
4 min read

Whether you’re in an entry-level position or a management role, there are specific core skills that are typically considered important by many employers. They are related to how well you work, convey your ideas and interact with others.

According to LinkedIn, the key professional characteristics expected to be in demand in the future are soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, leadership and collaboration. However, some employers may also seek out candidates who exhibit hard skills, such as computer proficiency, as well as soft skills.

Here are seven examples of core professional skills that can help you as you move forward in your career.

1. Budgeting

Budgeting is an important core skill to have even if you’re not pursuing a career in finance or accounting. If you’re seeking a management role, it is helpful to have knowledge of finances. Generally, budgets enable businesses to set sales goals, plan for the future and make informed staffing and salary decisions. Managing organizational or departmental budgets is one of many core business skills that are often necessary in managerial positions.

If you don’t have experience in accounting, you can work on improving your skillset by incorporating different budgeting techniques in your daily life. Practicing methods such as tracking monthly spending and figuring out fixed versus variable expenses can help you familiarize yourself with finances and budgeting.

2. Leadership

Leadership is an essential business skill that applies to individuals in most positions. If you are a manager or would like to become one, effective leadership skills are crucial to creating a harmonious and productive team. However, this trait can also be valuable at any level as it can provide you with the skills needed to motivate co-workers, effectively convey ideas and visualize a pathway to your goals.

3. Project Management

Project management is a core professional skill that is increasingly important in many industries. Since many companies are forecasted to have more work that’s project-based, the demand for project management skills among professionals may likely increase.

Project management skills can help you effectively manage time and money and ensure tasks are completed before deadlines—all of which can help a business run smoothly. Several project management concepts such as creating a strategic goal, conducting risk analysis and debriefing projects can be implemented within an organization and transferred to other industries. Earning a bachelor’s degree in project management is one way you can hone this core skill.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

At some point, professionals in nearly every field may be required to share responsibilities and communicate effectively to reach goals and deadlines. Teamwork is often considered a core skill in the workplace, regardless of position, because it can boost morale, build stronger professional relationships and foster creativity within the organization.

Before entering the workforce, undergraduate and graduate students can take advantage of group projects and use them as an opportunity to help build teamwork and collaboration skills.

5. Communication

Whether verbal or written, communication remains a core skill in many professions. Employers can consider communication skills to be essential when giving presentations, sending professional emails and speaking to colleagues or managers. Communication skills are also important when working in groups as they can help you better convey your ideas and insights.

In specific industries such as sales or marketing, excellent communication skills can be valuable when attempting to persuade or sell others on ideas, services and products. Communication is also crucial in helping to build relationships. If you’re unable to speak eloquently and accurately to get your point across, it can potentially lead to misunderstandings.

Communicating on a personal level can have its benefits, too. Managers who consistently communicate with their employees, from talking about work performance to sharing personal stories, may have higher engagement among their staff.

6. Technology

Almost all jobs require the use of technology in some form, whether it’s for communication purposes or the use of a program directly related to the job. As more companies embrace remote work, many professionals need to operate digital tools and utilize online communication apps such as Zoom or Teams.

Since technology has become an essential part of the workplace, having a basic understanding is necessary in many work environments and can be applied across numerous industries. These skills can include using Microsoft Office, managing emails or handling social media.

7. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 99.2% of employers surveyed consider critical thinking and problem solving essential traits new hires should possess.

Companies are bound to experience issues from time to time. The ability to quickly analyze situations and make the best decisions—especially under pressure—can be advantageous in the workplace. Having this business skill can help you explore evidence, find patterns and draw conclusions from data.

Are You Ready to Learn a New Core Skill?

With these core skills in your toolbox, you can be more prepared to pursue your goals in and out of the workplace. At DeVry, our online courses can help you build on the skills you have and teach you new ones.

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