While every job requires its own unique set of skills, there are a few overarching skills that will benefit you no matter what your career is. If you’re interested in improving yourself as a working professional, perhaps it’s time to work on the following five:


1. Technological skills

Knowing how to use basic computer software programs is a must in most careers today. This includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. If you really want to transform your career, you can expand your technological skills by learning other programs and skills that have become relevant today.

According to Forbes.com, these are a few technological skills that can transform your career today, regardless of what you do:

  • Image Editing: Learning how to crop and resize images is a handy skill and Photoshop is one of the best ways to learn this.
  • SEO: This skill can help you increase a website’s visibility and popularity.
  • HTML: Coding is becoming an important skill because every company has a website. With this skill, you can create your own web page.

If you are not yet computer literate, consider enrolling in a computer studies course.


2. Communication skills

Good communication skills can make a huge difference to your career. As much as this type of skill is about speaking and writing, it’s also about listening and really hearing another point of view. This is essential in order for any conversation to be meaningful. The only way to get better at this is to practise it often in your day-to-day life. Practise explaining concepts and ideas in your own words. If you really want to challenge yourself, consider learning a new language.


3. Research

Keeping abreast of current trends within your industry is a good skill in any profession. So read widely and find out more about your industry so that you can offer new and valuable insight. This shows that you’re self-motivated and can see the importance of continuous learning. You can do this through relevant websites and news articles about the kind of work you do. Research doesn’t even have to involve reading anymore, with informative podcasts and educational videos being available too.


4. Interpersonal skills

Learn to work with people of all personality types. In any career, you will have to deal with people. Some careers may require more face-to-face interaction, while others might require more telephonic or digital communication. Either way, you should be able to relate to your co-workers and clients and build strong professional working relationships within your company. Not only does this help when it comes time to resolve problems, but it can be great for networking and future opportunities.


5. Thinking outside the box

Analytical and critical thinking is a skill you can and should use for life. This means thinking of different ways to approach problems and looking at things from a fresh perspective. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions and share your ideas. Instead of getting stuck in a routine doing things the same way all the time, provide yourself with a challenge. It will keep you on your toes.


The best way to develop most of these skills is to practise them regularly. Be the Architect of Your Own Career and take charge of your professional journey this year. You can start by upskilling and continuing your education while you work through distance learning  – which you can do at your own pace, from your own home.