Developing your skills or adding new ones will make you more valuable in your career. Whether you’re looking for a promotion, a new role in your current company, or a career change, continuing to learn and develop yourself is important.
The start of a new year is a great time to reassess your goals. You can start your 2022 on the right path by identifying hard and soft skills you may want to enhance or add to achieve those goals.
Hard skills for 2022
While there are many skills that you could consider enhancing or adding for yourself, some are more in-demand skills than others. Based on our research from job advertisements on Indeed and LinkedIn, here are some of the most sought-after hard or technical skills for 2022 across many companies and industries.
Writing is one of the most important skills for communication today and will continue to be a key skill for 2022. Clear writing can help readers understand your message, avoid confusion or mistakes, and even reach a larger audience.
Online, you might write Facebook posts, tweets, or LinkedIn articles. You likely write texts or other short messages to family and friends. At work, you may write emails to colleagues, create copywriting for a client, draft a proposal for your supervisor, or make sales materials for customers. At school or college, you might write homework assignments or reports, or a resume and cover letter to apply for a job.
Writing is an in-demand skill in a multitude of jobs and across many industries. Improving your writing will help you succeed in your goals.
Programs and apps have become a critical piece of our economy and culture. They are everywhere, from systems that help keep planes in the sky, to banking software, to classrooms, to the mobile devices we all carry every day. And what is the one thing these programs and apps all have in common? They are all created by coding.
Coding is not only one of the most in-demand skills today, it will be an even more key skill for 2022. Companies of all sizes and across many industries need coders. Many companies need people skilled in coding languages like HTML, especially in the booming field of digital marketing or web design and development. Other companies need coders who are proficient in more technical languages like Python.
Learn a coding skill or enhance your current skills and you will open new potential career paths for yourself.
3. Handling data
We may well have crossed the threshold from the Information Age into the Data Age. Data is being collected everywhere and is used to drive all manner of analyses, predictions, simulations decision-making, and other activities in business, science, and elsewhere.
A key skill for 2022 in this area is data handling. This can start on the more basic, less tech-heavy level, like using equations in Excel, and can progress to high-end data analytics like using Python or R language to analyze data sets.
Yet tech isn’t just for techies. While the tech sector has long been considered the domain of the tech-savvy and tech-trained, this is no longer the rule. The technology industry is booming and there are an ever-increasing number of roles required to support this industry, including countless roles that utilize less technical yet in-demand skills.
These skills include compiling reports, evaluating and interpreting data, providing data-driven recommendations, and other skills that, although they may be less technically demanding, still require solid math and analytical competency.
4. Project management
In companies small to large, projects are the way work gets done. Project managers are at the helm with a set of in-demand skills.
Project management skills are useful in many situations. They can be applied to manage not only the work being done within a project but also your own work. Project management skills are also scalable and are useful in projects and programs of all sizes.
Even if you are not a project manager yourself, taking an online project management course will help you understand how to work better with others, manage timelines, budgets, resources, and priorities, manage stakeholders and risks, and much more.
5. Management and leadership
Management is a constant in every industry. From writers to coders to middle school teachers, unless you are a solopreneur or business owner, it’s quite likely you have a manager. At all levels, organizations and teams need management and leadership.
Just as they are today, management and leadership will be key skills for 2022. Strategies, techniques, and methods in management and leadership include understanding how to motivate teams, effectively delegate tasks, develop employees, build a positive organizational culture, and other in-demand skills.
Whether you are an individual contributor, leader of a small team, or aspire to a senior manager role in a large organization, developing your management and leadership skills will help you reach career and even personal goals.
6. Graphic design
The digital age is highly visual, and graphic design is a key skill for 2022. It makes products and information visually pleasing and in many cases easier to use.
A good eye for design is valuable in many roles, and not just artistic ones. Marketers, web designers, app developers, and even software engineers often use graphic design skills. Even jobs outside these can benefit from understanding graphic design principles, such as in creating presentations, training manuals, and other internal and external documents.
Learning the in-demand skill of graphic design can help make you a more effective communicator and enhance your performance in many roles.
7. Sales and marketing
Sales and marketing are the complementary revenue generators for any business. While you may not be in or even aspire to a job in sales and marketing, these are valuable skills now and will become even more in-demand skills for 2022.
No matter what role you are in, learning sales and marketing skills will enhance your knowledge about your company. Understanding how your company fits within its industry, positions its products or services, reaches new audiences, engages with current and potential customers, and performs against competitors can make you a more valuable asset to your organization.
How to identify in-demand skills for your career
While the sections above describe examples of key skills for 2022, identifying the right skills to focus on depends on your own career. Adding some in-demand skills can help you get from where your career is now to where you’d like your career to be.
Below are some considerations that can help identify the right skills for you.
Ask your boss
A manager or supervisor will work with you to both identify areas you can work on and help you plan for your future development. Whether your goal is to continue to improve in your current role, earn a promotion, or move into a new role altogether, it’s often useful to ask your boss for their expertise and help in this process.
Some companies have internal Learning and Development staff and programs to support you in improving or adding new in-demand skills to further your professional development. Ask about this at your company.
Check the job market
A smart way to determine the most in-demand skills is by checking out the job market. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a new job, look at job postings and advertisements for the types of roles that interest you. This could be more senior positions in your current role or even jobs at a new company or in a new industry.
Pay attention to what skills are listed as requirements for these roles, as they will likely be in-demand skills that you may want to pursue. This can make you a more attractive candidate when you apply for a promotion, a new role within your company, or even a new company.
Search on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is another resource to help identify the right skills for your career. You can search by job title, looking for people in roles to which you aspire. Review their profile to see what skills and experience they have. You could even message them and ask for advice on what they see as the most in-demand skills or those that have best served them in their own careers. Adding these skills can help you work toward obtaining your career goals.
Just as with developing the more ‘hard skills’ described above, developing your ‘soft skills’ is important for your career growth. Complete your self-assessment and 2022 planning by identifying key soft skills that you’d like to add or enhance to achieve your goals.
Soft skills for your resume
Soft skills are timeless and used in all aspects of life. Yet improving them can be especially valuable in improving your career performance.
In this sudden new era of remote, flexible work, this list of soft skills has become more important than ever and will be even more valuable in 2022 and beyond as the business world continues to rapidly adapt to changing work situations.
1. Digital literacy
In the not distant past, digital literacy simply means the ability to use email. In the past several years, it has meant competency in using the handful of Microsoft Office Suite programs. Those days are long gone.
Today, digital literacy means proficiency in not only a host of software packages but types of software. Some examples of soft skills in digital literacy include using tools like Trello or Asana, which are valuable for project management roles.
Even a basic knowledge of workplace cybersecurity is essential to help protect your company’s data. Instant messaging apps like Slack or WhatsApp give teams instant collaboration. And perhaps the most important today are video conferencing programs like Zoom and its alternatives, such as Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, which keep an organization connected across vast distances.
2. Communication skills
Communication skills are valuable in all areas of life. Enhancing your soft skills in communication can be one of the best ways to help you reach your career goals.
One example of soft skills involves public communication. The ability to create a presentation, understand the content, and deliver the presentation’s message and information effectively are invaluable soft skills in many jobs.
Other communication soft skills include active listening in conversations, storytelling to deliver messages in a compelling way, interacting with colleagues or customers in meetings, and being able to receive feedback.
While problem-solving is an essential soft skill in life, problem-solving is essentially the reason that every one of us works. We are all problem solvers in our jobs and roles.
Problem-solving is an example of a soft skill that everyone can and should improve. Training in analytical thinking and critical thinking can be applied in a vast array of situations, from how to perform a manufacturing process step more efficiently to finding the best program code for completing a task. Improved problem solving will give you the ability to understand a problem, come up with possible solutions, and take the initiative to implement them.
The soft skill of adaptability has always been important in life and business. But in the past few years, it has without question become more critical than ever before.
One example of this soft skill is working remotely. From the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers around the world were expected to adapt to new situations and working conditions, in some cases literally overnight.
Improving your soft skill of adaptability is useful in any situation that arises quickly and unexpectedly. This could range from anything to your vice president telling you to throw a big holiday marketing event on short notice to your company experiencing a public relations crisis that must be dealt with carefully.
5. Learning and development
The soft skill of learning and development can help in enhancing all your other soft and hard skills. Taking the initiative to plan and manage your learning and development will help you keep your skills at their peak to allow you to perform your best in your current role and work toward your next career goal.
Identifying the right skills to focus on depends on your career. Adding some in-demand skills can help you get from where your career is now to where you’d like your career to be. Learning and development is an example of a soft skill that will be key in helping you do this for yourself.
6. Stakeholder management
Stakeholders are anyone who has a stake in your work. They include your colleagues, your fellow team members, your manager, suppliers, internal and external customers or clients, and others. The soft skill of stakeholder management is critical in helping you interact with each of these stakeholders, understanding their needs, and delivering to their expectations.
An example of this soft skill is communicating with an external customer to understand their desires for a new product, then working with your team to translate this into product specs, and working with your manager to confirm the specs are correct. Coordinating between these interactions requires the soft skill of stakeholder management to make it all successful.
7. Time management
Time waits for no one. It has been argued that “time is money,” and in many situations in business, this is quite true. Time management is an example of a soft skill that will reap benefits not only for your work projects but also for your individual performance in managing your workload.
The soft skill of time management involves several aspects, many of which center around the prioritization of tasks and activities. On a project, you might apply the soft skill of time management to estimate a project delivery date. For example, you would start by understanding how long various project tasks will take, linking interdependent tasks, and establishing the “critical path” of activities that define how long the project will take to deliver.
8. Emotional intelligence
An example of a soft skill that is often overlooked in business yet is still very important is emotional intelligence. In the business world, emotional intelligence (also called EQ, for emotional quotient) is a soft skill defined as the ability to comprehend, control, and even develop your own feelings while at the same time being able to understand and manage other’s feelings.
EQ is an important soft skill in modern leadership. It involves these five principles that help leaders develop good working relationships with their workers:
- Self-awareness to understand your strengths and weakness
- Self-regulation to maintain control of yourself and your authority
- Motivation to have high energy and positivity
- Social skills to effectively communicate with others
- Empathy to put yourself in others’ situations and have compassion for them
While many people may overlook the soft skill of self-care as being selfish, it is anything but this. In the often high-stress world of business, self-care is vital to help you in being able to continue to perform your best in your job. Becoming overwhelmed is counter-productive to success.
Examples of the soft skill of self-care include learning to manage your stress and the ability to balance studying and working. This could be taking well-placed breaks while working to allow your body and mind some recharge time. Self-care also involves maintaining relationships and connections to your family and friends or those in your support network. Hobbies are important as well, as they give us a creative outlet and rejuvenation.
How to learn these skills
While there are many in-demand hard skills in the business world, there are also many soft skills that are essential as well.
Reviewing the examples of hard skills and soft skills above and developing a plan for how you can improve yours will help you perform in your current job and help position you to reach your next career goal.
Once you’ve identified the skills you need to develop, there are countless online courses available to help you develop them!