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  3. 6 Main business skills that are useful in every career
6 Main business skills that are useful in every career

6 Main business skills that are useful in every career

  • What business skills are useful everywhere?
  • 1. Interpersonal communication skills
  • 2. Negotiation skills
  • 3. Data analysis skills
  • 4. Networking skills
  • 5. Marketing skills
  • 6. Leadership skills
  • Key takeaways

Different jobs may have different requirements, but the following business skills are useful in every career! Read this article to learn more about how these 6 skills are so versatile.

Some jobs have very specific requirements: a college degree, X years of experience in a certain industry, and so on. The six skills described in this article, however, are useful in practically any career you can think of. Mention these main business skills in your professional resume and you’ll catch a recruiter’s eye. Master these core business skills, and you’ll be a strong asset in every workplace you enter, regardless of industry.

This blog covers the following business skill topics:

  • What skills are useful everywhere?

  • Interpersonal communication skills

  • Data analysis skills

  • Negotiation skills

  • Networking skills

  • Marketing skills

  • Leadership skills

What business skills are useful everywhere?

In general, there are two kinds of business skills that’ll come in handy at any job you apply to.

Every modern business sells something to customers–a product, a service, and so on. That means that every business needs employees who are good at persuading customers to buy something. Customer service, promotion, public speaking–these sorts of charismatic skills are handy in any corporate workplace and will always catch a recruiter’s attention if put on your resume.

On the other hand, we have organizational skills–that is, any ability that helps keep the organization you work for functioning smoothly. Management skills are one type of organization skill, as are more humble proficiencies such as bookkeeping, administrative assistance, and project planning. Mastering organizational skills like these will improve your productivity and the productivity of your workplace as a whole. Demonstrating these skills will also impress your supervisors, improving your odds of getting a promotion, more advanced responsibilities, and other such perks.

Some of the skills listed below are charismatic. Others are organizational. Each is well-regarded by businesses and will advance your career if mastered.

1. Interpersonal communication skills

Success in business requires extensive communication–the leadership team must articulate a clear vision to their employees who in turn communicate with each other and their customers to make that vision a reality. For this reason, few business skills are as important as the ability to communicate with other people in productive and meaningful ways.

Interpersonal communication skills can be roughly divided into these categories:

  • Verbal communication. Speaking boldly and with minimal hesitation, expressing positive emotions, etc.

  • Written communication. Employing a sophisticated vocabulary, editing your texts to improve clarity, knowing how to adjust the layout of a document to improve accessibility, etc.

  • Rhetorical skills. Knowing how to make a good argument, explaining complex topics using straightforward terms, etc.

  • Body language. Making eye contact, using gestures to supplement your words, adopting confident body postures, etc.

  • Active listening. Demonstrating an awareness of other people’s emotions, expressing empathy, asking specific questions, giving others space to speak, etc.

2. Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills and communication skills are categories that often overlap. A skilled negotiator, after all, needs to be a persuasive public speaker and a good listener. At the same time, there are several key negotiation skills that rely less on eloquence and more on critical thinking. Mastering these skills makes you a great resource for companies who need a negotiator. They’ll also give you the tools you need to stand up for your own interests in the workplace and reach fair compromises with associates in your company. Some of the more technical negotiation skills:

  • Establishing negotiation priorities to determine the demands you can concede and those you cannot.

  • Knowing when to compromise in order to reach an agreement.

  • Walking away from the negotiating table when a compromise can’t be reached.

  • Reviewing contracts and agreements for loopholes or ambiguities.

3. Data analysis skills

Every business comes with information you’ll need to keep track of: inventories to manage, sales reports to process, spreadsheets that need to be filled out, etc. Because of this, there’s a high demand in the modern economy for data analysts who can organize information, check its accuracy, and identify helpful trends. Even if you’re not working at or seeking an actual data analyst career, skills related to information processing will make you indispensable at any workplace you join. Some specific examples of data analysis skills:

  • Coding languages such as SQL, Python, or R.

  • Software proficiencies in applications such as Excel or SAP Analytics Cloud.

  • Data visualization skills such as creating graphs and charts.

  • Database management skills such as managing inventories or spotting patterns in data sets.

4. Networking skills

No matter what career you pursue, professional networking is a vital skill if you want to find new job openings, unlock new opportunities for your business, or build bonds of trust between you and other professionals in your workplace. A large, well-maintained professional network also strengthens your reputation in your industry of choice, making it more likely that other professionals will reach out to you with offers, proposals, or requests for guidance. Most successful “networkers” work hard to improve their interpersonal communication skills alongside these more technical skills:

  • LinkedIn. Expanding your network is easy with sites like LinkedIn where you can easily find and connect with professionals in your industry.

  • Social media. Building and regularly updating social media profiles on platforms like Facebook or Instagram will help you stay on your network’s radar while potentially expanding your reach.

  • Personal connections. Regularly contacting colleagues in your network and showing curiosity about their lives is a great way to nurture your current professional connections.

  • Business cards. Designing physical/digital business cards and portfolios provides you with a quick way to connect with other professionals at conventions and mixers.

5. Marketing skills

Even the most hard-working businesses won’t last long if they don’t try to promote themselves. If you master certain key marketing skills, you can make yourself a vital asset for any companies that need to get customers interested in their brands. Even if you’re not applying to or working in an advertising role, a basic knowledge of marketing and demand can help you understand your company’s business model and how it can be made more profitable.

Data analysis is a very useful skill for marketing-related business endeavors, as are the following other skills:

  • Social media campaign planning on platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

  • Graphic design for creating logos, brand icons, and ad images.

  • Video editing for creating/refining commercials.

  • Researching new business trends and current consumer demands.

6. Leadership skills

Even if you’re not looking to become a manager, managerial skills are still handy to have in your back pocket if you’re ever asked to lead a project or offered a promotion. Knowing how leadership works can also improve your relationship with your supervisors or managers (and give you the knowledge needed to spot moments when a manager or executive is misusing their authority).

Some examples of key business leadership skills:

  • Conflict resolution for when employees/employers are disagreeing or at odds.

  • Organizational skills such as recruiting qualified employees, assembling teams, and delegating responsibilities.

  • Strategic planning skills such as setting up deadlines or milestones for long-term projects.

  • Training employees and colleagues in new skills or better work habits.

  • Motivating employees with rewards, consequences, praises, etc.

To learn more about how to promote your general business skills, check out Career.io’s Resume Builder.

Key takeaways

  1. Business skills for socializing and business skills related to a company’s day-to-day operations will always come in handy, no matter what career path you’re on.

  2. Communication and networking skills are useful if you need to be a professional that customers and colleagues trust and look to for help.

  3. Negotiation and leadership skills make you a reliable asset for your company and a promising candidate for promotion.

  4. Marketing and data analysis skills let you find new ways for your current company to grow.

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