5 incredibly important work skills money can’t buy you

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Many of the job skills employers look for do not require expensive training or degrees. If you are looking for new job opportunities, whether to be an invaluable asset to your current employer or to improve your promotion potential, it’s important to know which work skills are invaluable — and what you can do to gain them.

Concise communication

We all know that many employers highly regard great communication skills, and being concise is one of the most important skills you can acquire. It’s one of many ways you can improve your chances of getting a job.

“People who can make a point in as few words as possible are terrific candidates for management positions,” said Igor Kholkin, an operations manager with web design and marketing company Coalition Technologies. “They are time-efficient, and they can explain anything quickly.”

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You don’t have to take a class in communication to excel at this skill. Kholkin suggested a good habit to help improve your communication. Review each of your messages, and trim them of all the “fat.” This includes unnecessary details, adverbs and adjectives that dress up a sentence but don’t add any real value.

“The remaining message should include all of the important details to be conveyed in as few words as possible,” he said.

A high ‘emotional quotient’

Want to make your boss love you? Being especially adept at reading and understanding others’ emotions is a highly valued but vastly underrated job skill, said Kholkin.

“The millennial workforce loves leaders with a high EQ, which leads those who possess it to be promoted into managerial positions,” he said. That’s because managers with a high EQ will know how to get the most out of their staff in any industry, said Kholkin.

A first step to improving this key skill is learning to objectively identify your own emotions — and how they affect your behavior.

“You can then apply this knowledge to identify others’ emotions, how to empathize with them and work with them towards agreeable outcomes,” said Kholkin. Your boss, as well as your co-workers, will not only take note — they’ll admire and appreciate your high EQ.

The ability to influence

The ability to get people to do whatever you need them to do without forcing them to do it is invaluable, said Kholkin.

“With this skill, the best team leaders will be able to motivate their teams organically,” he said. But remember: True influencers are looked up to, not feared or followed strictly based on strong debating skills.

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To develop this skill, become the proactive thinker and doer on your team, suggested Kholkin.

“Volunteer to take on the hardest tasks, or be the one to give a pep talk during a challenging stretch in a project. Inspire the team by being the first one to spring into action,” he said.


No one likes a downer. But an employee who is positive, even when given a downer of an assignment, is going to get appreciated, said Deborah Sweeney, an entrepreneur and CEO of MyCorporation.

“While so many employees plug along within their job descriptions, it’s noteworthy when someone has a positive attitude and engages with other team members and customers in a positive way,” she said.

If you’re not always as positive as you think you should be, there are ways to turn that frown upside down. The Mayo Clinic listed habits that can help build this key skill, including the following:

—Check yourself for negativity often.

—Be open to humor.

—Live a healthy lifestyle.

—Keep the company of positive people.

—Practice positive self-talk.

Tracking everything

One of the biggest mistakes professionals make is waiting until just before their review process to try to remember which deals they closed or what projects they finished, said Graeme Austen, author of “Hired: A 21st Century Guide to Paying Yourself, Not Your ‘Dues.’”

The good news is that acquiring this skill doesn’t demand any talent or learning, he said. All you need to do is create a spreadsheet and set up columns that track all of your accomplishments. Make sure you list the details, like dates, and specifically explain how it helped the company.

“This gives you a lot of leverage when it comes to negotiating your salary,” he said.


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