8 important skills for your career development

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

Updated on:

skills for your career development

What factors truly differentiate one candidate from another during the application process? Whether we are talking about the selection of resumes process or the interview stage, specific qualities are progressively taking center stage in the mind of recruiters. They are looking for such qualities in candidates. For job hunters who want to stay a step ahead, knowing the most wanted skills for your career development is essential.

Research on what HR experts believe are the most vital skills shows that we are moving away from a mindset that potential candidates should have the technical knowledge & the right academic qualifications. Even though the latter is a usual requirement, the main emphasis has shifted.

Skills For Your Career Development

skills for your career development

1. Communication Skills (Listening, Speaking & Writing)

Communication skills may be the first set of skills that potential employers will notice. From the moment you get in touch with them, the employer observes the way you behave.

Be it the way you talk over the phone, provide them information via email, your resume & cover letter, or present yourself during the interview, they will evaluate whether you have polished communication skills.

Make sure you review any written communication you send them & take your time to listen to what they tell you or read the instructions carefully, & answer in well-placed, grammatically correct sentences.

How you communicate your thoughts should be perfect, as this is how they would like you to communicate with colleagues & clients throughout your term in their organization.

2. Analytical & Research Skills

You may think a question/problem presented to you is a piece of cake but be very cautious when giving a rushed answer.

Take the time to analyze the situation carefully, think of all potential scenarios, and if possible, ask for some more time to go & do some research to find out more. However, it can’t be done during the interview process. You must give some well-thought & logical answers.

Being analytical and having strong research skills sets one employee apart from the other. It shows your determination, capability to evaluate different scenarios, & your devotion to being 100% sure before offering an answer to your employer. It could mean the difference between a bad, rushed idea & something that may get the company a huge profit.

3. Innovative Thinking & Critical Analysis

One of the vital skills for your career development & personal growth is linked with learning & development. Of course, ‘overnight’ pure genius ideas can happen. Though, innovation often comes from ‘data crunching’ & a significant amount of observation and research.

How can you develop your capability to be more innovative & innate in the workplace beyond learning the basics of data analysis?

Some of the best ideas come from asking the right questions & inviting good communication in your organization. Be ready to spend time developing viable ways to expand & endorse those preliminary concepts. Confidently presenting rational ideas will absolutely impress your existing & future employers.

4. Flexibility/Adaptability

An ability to handle numerous assignments simultaneously, & being flexible enough to work under changing situations, management, times & rules are highly appreciated throughout all industries.

In today’s world, a job description is much unsolidified, & can change form at any time. Adapting from one working environment to the other, or even from one kind of assignment to another, is a significant benefit. It shows the individual’s capability to adapt & will affect their career development.

5. Professional Suppleness

It is hard to be skilled at managing change if you personally are fixated on your ways & singular in your focus. Being rigid can also lessen your ability to see upcoming problems.

Having the ability to be more responsive & compliant is something you should invest in over time. It can include, for instance, staying carefully tuned into the happening across your organization & continually researching the marketplace & the activities of your commercial rivals.

Invest in project management & communications courses to develop your responsive leadership abilities. All of these result in a highly valued capability to ‘roll your sleeves up’ attitude, lend a hand in varied situations & fit easily into any project team. Your collaborative skill will improve too.

6. Problem Solving & Conflict Resolution

These have been congregated together as they can be summed up with the expression of being able to ‘think as a leader.’ Having an intuitive personality certainly helps. You can also develop this skill to boost your career development, as being the creator of practical & effective solutions can make you even more vital in any role.

You can develop this skill by gathering as much knowledge & insight as possible so you can use that learning promptly. It is also useful, if you have excellent interpersonal & communications skills, to enable you to associate both emotional intelligence & active listening.

This combination makes you more aware of issues, & able to frame solutions before a ‘problem’ converts to a ‘crisis.’ Including dousing conflict or disagreements in the workplace. Spotting the early warning signs and intervening constructively is one of the essential skills you need to develop your career.

7. Leadership/Management Skills

The capability to manage people is a very vital skill. Not only can you inspire individuals to do the right, but you can also guide them accordingly, & you can monitor their development at every step. Leading a group and managing those individuals in a way that does not obstruct their development & insult their judgment is highly desirable in today’s workplace.

8. Self-Confidence

Being self-confident radiates an aura that can convince those you work for (or with) that you are confident about your actions. If you do not have confidence in yourself, your skills & capabilities, then you don’t expect anyone else to believe in you. You must be confident with yourself & ensure everyone sees you as someone who can pull through whatever condition.

How To Develop Skills Which Are Essential For Career Development

Apart from the skills mentioned in this article, there are many skills for your career development that are pretty sought after. Some are born with those skills; some are not. But that doesn’t mean those devoid of those skills can’t develop themselves or their careers. Like any other skills, these skills also can be honed & developed.

If you think you may need to sharpen your skills further, you may try doing the following things:

  • Be open to learning.
  • Apply your learning to practical life.
  • Communicate more.
  • Participate in various events.
  • Observe closely who possesses those gifts.
  • Try to get a mentor.
  • Invite feedback.


Q: My career seems stuck; what should I do?

A: Your career may seem stuck for several reasons, not necessarily for the lack of skills for your career development. Talk to yourself and take guidance from your mentor.

Q: Can I have all of those skills to develop my career?

A: Let’s admit that nobody can have all the gifts the skills. But one can undoubtedly possess some & try to acquire some more.

Q: Can an excellent academic record be considered a skill?

A: A good academic record is, of course, an impressive feat, but at the end of the day, an organization will see how you are serving them, not your mark sheet.

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