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22 Useful Skills That Can Be Applied to Any Job

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Oh, hello there, job-seekers! I didn’t see you there, probably because you’re standing in a line behind me and all of the other exceptionally qualified people blocking our view of our dream careers.

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In a time during which everyone is building kingdoms and starting businesses by age three, it’s a little difficult to show potential employers that we can really kill it if they would just give us a chance. If you’re one of the lucky employed ones, you probably want to show your bosses and co-workers that you are the best they’ve got.

The best way to hone your work-self skills are to practice the same ones in everyday life, or at least think of them in a more normal context. In fact, many of the skills you can use to succeed in work, you can use to succeed in just about anything else (and vice versa). There are some skills that, across the board, will set you apart from the rest.

Without further ado, here are 22 of the most useful skills that can be applied to any job!

22. Active Listening

Don’t just “smile and wave”—work to process that information you’re hearing. Active listening requires focusing and responding to the speaker, thereby confirming that you understand what they’re saying. If you don’t understand, that’s okay too! Asking questions shows that you’re listening.

21. Keeping your Cool

A hotheaded employee is just as confusing/frightening/uncomfortable to watch as volatile guy at a party: kicking over a lamp because someone dropped a chip on the floor. Don’t be that guy; don’t kick over a lamp.

20. Open-Mindedness

Don’t shoot down an idea or task right away. Take some time to consider the benefits, and perhaps try it out. It will show that you can adapt to change and embrace new ideas.

19. Ability to Influence Others

Yep, that’s right. Forbes knows that one of the most useful things you can be is a persuasive force.

18. Self-Confidence

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This one seems like a given, backed by US News & World Report listing it as one of the top five soft skills to showcase in an interview. If you believe in your abilities and your mission, you can persuade others to do the same. This one might be the most difficult to develop, but certainly not impossible. It may also be the most rewarding.

17. Organization

Not everyone can be a Type-A mastermind, but please, at least use Post-Its®.

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16. Networking

Networking can be done in everyday life. For introverts like a certain Miss Millennia writer that is happy to be in her quiet room right now (hint: it’s me), this can be a daunting thing. However, simply meeting people that you wouldn’t normally can open doors to aid, promotions, or new career opportunities for the future.

15. A Sense of Humor

If you can laugh at yourself, you can honestly do anything.

14. A great butt

(Just kidding. See? Laugh!)

13. Self-Motivated

Just as you cannot have a parent telling you to put your pants on your great butt every day, your boss can’t guide you through projects every step of the way. Quint Careers lists the ability to work independently as one of the top skills that employers seek from job-seekers.

12. Going the Extra Mile

Taking the initiative to go above and beyond can distinguish you from a crowd of entry-level employees. Take opportunities to learn and use those news skills to show your bosses that you can absorb quickly and effectively.

11. Loyalty

People will put their full trust in you if you are honest to both them, and the company. Even if you are searching for another job while employed, for example, keep open lines of communication to assure your boss that you aren’t doing so to spite your company (unless that’s the goal, in which case, good luck to you).

10. Cultural Sensitivity/Awareness

This should go without saying, but as is proof by recent national events, I feel as though it should be said again: It is absolutely critical to be able to “build a rapport with a diverse workforce in multicultural settings.”

9. Focus on Your Goals

Keep your career and personal goals in mind in whatever it is that you do; don’t lose sight of what you truly want. This will come in handy in all facets of life.

8. Decisiveness

Cheddar or provolone? Cheddar. See how easy that was? Now apply that to your work. Employers want to see that you can use your processing skills to assess a situation and make the best choice that you can.

7. Writing/Editing (and doing it well)

Thank you, Forbes, for justifying my creative writing degree! Employers agree that the ability to communicate effectively via the written word is crucial (and a rapidly disappearing skill).

6. Problem-Solving

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Employers want to see you overcome obstacles, even if you fumble a little bit. It’s all about creating a “successful solution” (US News & World Report).

5. Kindness (Awww) (But actually)

You don’t have to be sappy, but don’t be rude. Aside from nepotism being a very real thing, being nice to your co-workers can make for a pleasant work environment and potentially lasting bonds.

4. Emotional Intelligence

Try and understand where others are coming from, and respond in a way that is helpful and useful. Being personable is more important than you might believe.

3. Communication

Whether you’re in the office or in a relationship, a lack of communication will absolutely break down a good thing. Keep your bosses and co-workers in the loops just as you would your friends. Don’t leave anyone hanging, and if you have a problem with something, try your best to work it out rather than throwing a fit (or worse, saying nothing at all).

2. Positivity

Brian Goodman, manager at Experis, says that positivity is “contagious.” People are drawn to optimists; negativity is “a drag on a business” and can be difficult to work alongside.

1. Ability to work on a team

Forbes lists this as the number one skill they want to see in 2015 graduates. This doesn’t mean you must love group work, but you must be able to hold your own and communicate with a team to complete a task, and complete it well.

The amount of things on this list might seem intimidating, but odds are, you’ve probably had many of these skills all along. The next step is to locate them within yourself, and use them to your advantage.

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Me though

Resources: US News & World Report, Forbes, USA Today

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22 Useful Skills That Can Be Applied to Any Job

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9 Comments

  1. That’s a really nice list, I love the skills for being a good employee the most, like active listening, loyalty, open mindedness, and positivity. Everything here is definitely important, though, it helps you become better at what you do.

  2. I need to work on my decisiveness. I’m a horrible decision maker, just horrible! Active listening is a skill that not everyone has either. It takes practice.

    1. Decisiveness is a challenging one (especially when you’re choosing between two not-so-great options), but definitely not impossible to improve upon! Best of luck to you, Liz!

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