The world has come to a stage where even going to one of the best institutes of the world doesn’t guarantee you a dazzling career. The age is of competition and one needs to perform every day to sustain in the market. A degree surely helps you but the employers look for tangible and real qualities and skills in the employees. It is not an unusual scenario anymore to know about a young person who went to a decent school and is still failing in the market. One of the biggest reasons behind this is that the corporate setup is drastically different from the college campus. Unfortunately, it is generally after joining a company or organization that a young person realizes that he needs different skills to survive. It is generally a setback for an individual but it is not something that one cannot recover from.

As one spends time in the corporate setup, he gains experience and figures out what skills are required to succeed. However, because of the pressure and expectations, the process can turn out to be quite stressful. If you are looking to improve your performance and make a fresh start in the year 2020, then all you need to do is learn some skills that can add to your professional abilities.

In this article, we list out 20 Professional Development Skills that you should definitely master as you head into 2020.

1. Critical reasoning and thinking

No matter what your profession is, it is necessary for you to have this quality. As already mentioned, the world is absolutely competitive. There is no place for mediocrity out there in the market. Most of the businesses run on data today. Whether you are a marketer, writer, salesperson, accountant, or even a customer executive, you will have to deal with data. Therefore, it is imperative that you have the ability to look at some data and analyze it in no time. In fact, critical reasoning is not just limited to data interpretation, it is involved in every aspect of your day-to-day tasks. Therefore, the sooner you develop this trait, the better.

2. Communication skills

This is perhaps one of the most important things or skills that one needs to advance in his professional career. Think of it like this: the first set of skills that an employer looks at, besides your appearance, is the set of communication skills. Right from the very first word, an employer begins scrutinizing you. In this competitive world, even if you have heaps of knowledge about a subject, if you cannot communicate effectively, it can often turn out to be an absolute waste. In simple words, it is not possible to thrive in a professional career with poor communication skills. But remember, it’s never too late to improve.

3. Multitasking

If you are a student, you probably believe that a professional has to undertake only the responsibilities that the job description entails. However, the reality is a bit different. These days, one has to wear multiple hats at the same time. The employers expect their staff to indulge in different areas of business if needed. Moreover, this is something that one can work on in his daily life. If you wish to improve your multitasking abilities, try and incorporate that in the smallest of tasks in daily life. As you work on it, you will surely succeed in your professional life as well.

4. Leadership skills

If you wish to be a leader, you have got to have the skills first. All of us wish to advance in our careers and acquire some leadership roles in the organization. Being able to manage people is a powerful skill. It is a skill that organizations in prospective leaders. Going into the year 2020, you should work on your leadership skills. Start small and try managing a few things or people first. Organizations are run by leaders and managers. Therefore, having good management skills is a huge advantage in today’s world. To get noticed in a room full of peers, you need to make sure that you stand out, and exhibiting good management skills is one of the best ways to do so.

5. Creativity

Creativity is a skill that can prove to be beneficial to a professional irrespective of what he does. One of the very important things to know about this skill or trait is that there is no end to it. Even if you think that you are quite creative, creativity is something that you should definitely work on going into the new year. Try and develop the skill or habit to look at things differently. Learn to find solutions to problems using creativity with the help of information and resources. Having innovative techniques or methods to improve the way a team works or business functions can help you advanced a lot in your career.

6. Time management

Work is a very important part of the life of a professional. In fact, this is where the term ‘work-life’ has sprung out from. If you don’t manage your time effectively in your work life, you will find yourself overwhelmed with work a lot more than often. Deadlines are an integral part of the way offices work these days. Therefore, time management is one of the biggest traits or skills that one needs to have to succeed. It is quite necessary for one to know how to manage his time well in order to survive in the market without dealing with stress.

7. Networking

One cannot say enough to describe how important it is to have good networking skills in the business world today. Being good at your job is not the only thing that will help you succeed in work life. Building strong relationships with the clients, colleagues, peers, bosses, and almost every other person in the workplace has also become an integral part of the job these days. A good network of professional connections is like a gold mine that yields brilliant results in the long run. It helps you to garner opportunities whenever you need them.

8. Learning

As strange as it might sound, only a few professionals realize that they stop learning after a certain time in the market. One needs to understand that the only way to keep succeeding is to keep learning. As a professional, you should begin to take some time so that you can learn new ideas and concepts every day. It might seem to be a long shot, but in the long run, habits like these are what make the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Even if you reach the highest position in your organization, make sure that you do not stop the process of learning.

9. Confidence

Being confident does not only help you in your business or work life; it helps you in every walk of life. Also, a confident professional adds immensely to the team and helps the colleagues as well to perform better. One needs to be extremely confident in order to succeed in this competitive world. At the same time, a smart professional should also understand that there is only a thin line between confidence and overconfidence. If you have faith in your abilities and skills, it should reflect in your work and your personality. If you think that you lack in this aspect, spending a few days to work on this would be a great idea.

10. Interpersonal skills

In the workplace, you do not just meet people that you like. You meet all kinds of people and you will have to deal with them on a daily basis. Organizations and companies around the world are quite particular about maintaining a healthy work environment in their offices. Therefore, having employees without good interpersonal skills has become quite important in recent times. Getting along with other people is a skill that has become imperative for one to acquire in order to advance in his career. Therefore, utilize this new year to work as much as you can on your interpersonal skills.

11. Problem-solving

Every day at a job is filled with problems. You deal with one and the next one is already springing up to ruin your day. Even if you are an employee who has just started working, the problems will surely be there. The higher you rise in the food chain of an organization, the more frequently you have to deal with problems. Therefore, having good problem-solving skills is quite necessary for one to advance in the professional career. Having the ability to deal with a problem and come up with effective solutions is more important than ever today.

12. Good planning skills

Managing big tasks and responsibilities is another skill that one needs to advance in his work life. Every now and then, you will be presented with tasks and responsibilities that would seem like a mountain to climb. The ability to divide these tasks into smaller ones and look at them individually to complete the task in a timely manner is a rare skill. As a working professional, you need to have this skill to make sure that you never miss a deadline or never make a fool out of yourself. Come this year; make sure that you work on your planning skills the succeed rapidly.

13. Analytical and research skills

Irrespective of how easy you might find a problem or issue to be, it is important to look at things with an analytical lens and find out if there are layers. There are times when one needs to take toll of the situation and analyze it. In work life, these situations are quite common. When you face a difficult situation in your work life, think of all the possible scenarios and then find the solution. Being analytical or good at research is what makes one unique. It makes an employee different from others. Moreover, it also becomes a huge factor in how an employee is treated by the employer.

14. Attention to detail

Work is not a school. This is probably the very first thing that you need to learn if you have just begun working. While working, you won’t find people to correct you or point your flaws every time. Therefore, it is very important for professionals around the world to pay attention to the smallest of detail in order to minimize the chances of failing at something. Attention to detail also something that makes you stand out in the workplace. It’s a rare quality to have. Therefore, one should try and improve it or learn it.

15. Tactfulness

Being tactful is extremely important to have a healthy work-life. One needs to be tactful in a lot of situations. Whether you are dealing with clients or with your colleagues, you need to be tactful. As a professional, you cannot be loose at all. No matter how right you are about something, you will always find people who would not agree with you. Understanding that people at a workplace react differently to different situations is one of the most important things that you should learn as a tactful person.

16. Being open to criticism

This is not a skill but it is surely something that you need to learn or develop to succeed in your work life. As a working professional, it is important to display an attitude or behavior that is appreciative and receptive to feedback from peers and of course your seniors. Having such an attitude opens up different opportunities for learning.  In fact, listening to criticism and learning from it is one of the best methods or ways to succeed in your life. Come this year, you should try and develop this habit to make sure that you grab every opportunity to learn.

17. Basic technological skills

Almost all the jobs around the world today require one to work on computers. Therefore, having basic technological skills can never hurt a working professional. Almost every task ranging from communicating, calculating, preparing to present, writing, and much more are performed using some of the other sorts of technology. And moreover, even if you think that you are good with technology, working to improve will only prove to be beneficial.

18. Handling pressure

Being cool under pressure is surely a skill and it is one that is quite rare among the working professionals. Unlike most of the skills that one requires, this is something that surely helps the employers differentiate between their employees. Stress is an integral part of every job today. It is quite synonymous with work-life today. Therefore, it is vital that you learn to keep calm under pressure and perform your tasks effectively. Going into the new year, every working professional should try and acquire this skill and improve their everyday experience at the workplace.

19. Adaptability

Working in an office is not based on a script. You never know what kind of a challenge might come your way. Being able to work around and deal with all these challenges is definitely a vital skill to have. A working professional today needs to be able to adapt and adjust to changes that happen constantly in the environment and the situations around the workplace. It is important that one does not let this change affect the work. If you find it difficult to deal with change, make sure you don’t forget working on it going into 2020.

20. Negotiation

Right from salary discussion to dealing with clients, the skill to negotiate is surely the bread and butter of a working professional these days. If you are someone who needs to talk to people as part of the work, you should have the ability to influence people, convince them, and persuade them. You will always meet people who do not agree with you on something or other. It is important that you learn the skill of negotiation to deal with such people easily in your work life.

One of the most important things that a working professional should understand is that being good at your job is not the only part of the job anymore. Therefore, if you wish to succeed and make rapid advancements in your career, the abovementioned skills are really important for you to acquire.

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