12 Job Skills to Learn at Work and How to Develop Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

While education and experience are key factors when applying for a job, employers also consider the skills that candidates possess. These include hard and soft skills that enable an individual to perform effectively in a particular role, and which they may learn while studying or working. Learning more about these skills and how to develop them can help you advance your career. In this article, we list 12 job skills to learn at work and how to develop them to help you achieve your professional goals.

12 essential job skills to learn at work

There are many job skills to learn at work that are useful for a variety of professions. While the technical skills you develop on the job may vary depending on your role, there are soft abilities you can develop while working that may be beneficial. For instance, interpersonal skills allow you to establish positive relationships with other people, which can help you become more effective in almost any job. Other important skills you may learn in the workplace include:

1. Self-reliance and self-management

Being able to respond to unexpected situations and manage your time effectively can help you succeed in many roles. You can develop these soft skills at work by practising them regularly. For instance, you can practise by setting goals and making decisions without the help of others. You may also find that taking on new responsibilities and working independently helps you to build your sense of independence, which is an important aspect of self-reliance.

2. Problem solving

Being able to find solutions to work-related issues is a skill that's crucial to success in any profession. Companies usually value employees who are effective problem solvers because they can be more capable of completing tasks in times of urgent circumstances or without management's leadership. Employers may also be more likely to promote employees to management or higher positions if they're able to solve problems and work independently.

You can practise this ability by discussing and addressing issues with your manager or colleagues. Learning about different problem-solving techniques and theories can help you improve your approach. You may also find that working with a mentor or more experienced colleagues can teach you more about problem-solving, which may build your confidence when handling unexpected situations.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

3. Business awareness

Business or commercial awareness refers to an understanding of the business environment in which you work. It's also a way of thinking about how the economy impacts your job and the decisions you make, which may help you make better choices for your career in the long term. To develop this, you can learn more about your industry by reading news articles and industry reports. Speaking with colleagues about economic and industry-specific issues can also increase your business awareness.

4. Communication

The ability to communicate fluently and diplomatically with customers is a basic requirement for employment in many companies. While you can learn and develop your communication skills outside the work environment, you can also enhance these through constant interaction with customers and colleagues. This skill requires not only listening and responding but knowing when to lead a discussion or follow a colleague's lead.

Related: 15 Communication Skills for Professionals to Develop

5. Teamwork

When members of a team or organization work together, they can typically accomplish more than individually. This can improve productivity for the employees and the entire company, so teamwork is a desirable skill for many careers. You can learn and improve this further in the workplace by participating in team-building activities and group discussions, or by working with other employees on projects. You may also find that taking on a leadership role in the workplace can help you develop strong teamwork skills.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Industry-specific practical skills

While hard skills are primarily based on the knowledge you acquire through schooling, you can also learn many of these abilities in the workplace. For instance, if you work in the health care industry, you may learn about specific medical procedures and terminology. You can also develop other skills, such as how to perform physical examinations on patients or conduct medical procedures. Working with more experienced colleagues and taking on new responsibilities can help you acquire new practical skills or develop those you already possess.

7. Organization and time management

Good organizational skills can help you find and maintain organized documents and e-mails critical to your job. Effective time management can help you meet deadlines and prioritize your tasks. You can develop these skills by keeping a calendar and to-do list. For instance, you can identify your most important tasks and assign them the most time and resources. You can also stay organized by creating a filing system for your documents, using productivity software to manage your time, and creating a schedule for yourself.

Related: Organizing at Work: 12 Effective Ways to Stay Productive

8. Networking

Networking refers to the ability to build and maintain relationships with people in a professional setting. This skill is beneficial because it can allow you to discover new opportunities, such as job openings and career advancement opportunities. You can develop your networking skills by participating in company events and joining professional organizations. You can also develop these at work by interacting with others, which may include making new connections through social media and online communities and introducing yourself to new colleagues.

9. Negotiation

Regardless of your profession, you may encounter situations which require developing arguments to support a point while keeping the interaction positive. Negotiation skills can help you secure a contract or an appointment with a client, which may benefit both you and the company. These may also enable you to resolve conflicts with colleagues and superiors or get a raise or promotion.

You're likely to develop your negotiation skills in the workplace through experience. For instance, you may learn how to negotiate during sales training by practising with your colleagues. You may also improve these by reading articles and books on negotiation and practising your communication skills.

Related: 7 Negotiation Courses to Explore (With Negotiation Styles)

10. Professionalism

Professionalism refers to the ability to behave and communicate in a professional manner. This is important because it demonstrates a strong work ethic and helps you to gain the trust and respect of your colleagues and superiors.

You may develop your professionalism at work by practising good etiquette, which includes being courteous, respectful, and patient. It's also important to develop your communication skills, such as writing and speaking in a clear and concise manner, making eye contact, and using proper titles. You can improve the way you conduct yourself in the office by exposing yourself to different situations at work, such as attending meetings, participating in events and activities, and working on projects as part of a team.

11. Project management

Project management is a set of skills that allows you to manage a project from start to finish. This is beneficial because it helps you to complete the project within a specific timeframe and budget. You can develop these skills by participating in projects and observing how others manage them. You can also improve your project management skills by managing small projects on your own, such as setting a deadline for a short report, or by improving your time management, such as learning how to prioritize tasks.

Related: Understanding Project Management Methodology (With Examples)

12. Industry knowledge

Industry knowledge refers to your understanding of the field in which you're working. This includes the concepts, terminology, processes, and practices in use in your industry. It can also include your knowledge of the products and services the company provides to customers.

You can develop industry knowledge even before you start working by researching the field and taking related courses. You can also expand your knowledge by applying for an internship or volunteering in an industry-related organization. At work, you can improve your industry knowledge by attending seminars and conferences, reading industry-related journals, and talking to colleagues and superiors about the industry.

Explore more articles