4 Essential Soft Skills You Need in the New Year

To attract future job opportunities or excel in your career, you want to make sure you’ve got what employers are looking for.

LinkedIn analyzed its data from 2014 to 2018 to develop its 2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report, which highlights jobs and skills on the rise. While hiring people with technical abilities is a current trend, data science, coding and artificial intelligence skills aren’t the only ones employers seek. LinkedIn found that soft skills were also hard to come by. Of the 10 skills the company identified as being most in demand, four fit this category.

LinkedIn reports that people with these soft skills are hired at faster rates than people without. To stay competitive, make 2019 the year you develop them.

Important soft skills for work include:

— oral communication.

— people management.

— time management.

— leadership.

[See: Browsing Your Boss’s Bookshelf.]

Oral Communication

Nearly every job requires some oral communication. However, solid public speaking and presentation skills are more difficult for employers to find. With so many people fearful of public speaking, that’s no surprise.

Even if your job doesn’t require you to deliver presentations, you can still benefit from developing these skills. Think about reporting during team meetings or giving your boss a summary of your research. Both events require presentation skills.

To rise to the top of your occupation, enhance these skills by practicing. One option is Toastmasters International, an organization dedicated to developing oral communication skills through meetings that incorporate delivering presentations.

LinkedIn reports administrative assistants, attorneys and teachers are examples of professionals who benefit from enhancing oral communication skills.

People Management

If you aspire to rise to the next level, then an obvious next step is to develop your teamwork, supervisory and personnel-management skills. Though not everyone wants to take on a supervisory role, these skills will help those who do want to manage people.

From understanding how the hiring process works to mentoring and developing employees to perform their best, retaining employees through strong people-management skills has become important in today’s marketplace. The cost of turnover, or employees leaving, is high and finding new employees is challenging due to low unemployment rates. Great managers develop skills that enable them to keep their teams happy and productive.

Workers who need these skills include salespeople, project managers and marketing specialists, according to LinkedIn.

[See: How to Change Careers Successfully.]

Time Management

It seems we’re always being asked to do more with less, so developing skills in organization, time management and multitasking yields a good return on your investment. Everything at work seems like it’s urgent, so learning how to prioritize your work will help eliminate stress and also help meet the demands of your job.

Ask your boss or co-workers for tips on how to accomplish tasks more efficiently, or find a mentor who is respected for her ability to get things done. There are numerous methods and strategies being taught, but you want to find the one that works best for your style and work situation.

LinkedIn names recruiters, finance analysts and store managers as workers who need time-management skills.


You don’t need a title to develop leadership skills. Leadership, team leadership and team-building skills apply to everyone at every level. As an independent contributor, your ability to support your team and collaborate with your teammates will greatly benefit from enhancing your leadership skills.

According to LinkedIn, roles likely to benefit from leadership skills include salesperson, general manager and sales manager.

[See: What You Need to Know About Getting a Security Clearance.]

Get training on soft skills.

You don’t have to enroll in college to acquire soft skills. By asking around, you can find ways to develop any or all these soft skills. There are many online training providers that offer courses in all of the subjects above. Some online courses are free and others are not. You may even be able to get a certificate of completion. Conduct due diligence as you research any training provider by reading reviews and asking your friends.

MOOC providers such as Coursera and edX are affiliated with colleges, so if you’ve always wanted to take a class at one of the top business schools, this might be your chance. LinkedIn’s learning platform, Lynda.com, offers classes, as does Udemy.com.

As you can see, there are many options to enhance your soft skills. The only trick is finding time in your schedule.

More from U.S. News

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8 Skills That Set Millennials Apart at Work

The 25 Best Jobs of 2018

4 Essential Soft Skills You Need in the New Year originally appeared on usnews.com

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