8 Skills That Employees Should Work on for Career Development



If you love your current business but want to take your career to the next level, then it may be worth investing some time and money in career development. While you may show up every day and work as hard as possible, that’s not necessarily enough to get yourself a promotion or new opportunities, and you’ll likely need to upskill before you go any further. Here are some skills that employers value, that no matter what industry you’re in, could potentially be useful.

  1. STEM skills

Even if you aren’t in a science or tech-related industry, learning some STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills can actually be great for those in any industry. Study with Wilfrid Laurier Online, and even if you don’t remain in a STEM-focused career, you’ll bring skills to the table such as:

  • Logic
  • Reasoning
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytics

These sorts of skills are highly sought-after, and likely the reason why STEM graduates tend to earn more than their contemporaries.

  1. Leadership

Even if you aren’t going for a management position, leadership skills are highly valued by employers, as those with good leadership skills are likely to be loyal and stay in the same role for longer. They also have a more significant potential to be promoted in the future, which saves businesses money on recruitment in the long-term.



Having leadership skills means you’re likely to be good at decision making and using your initiative, as well as taking ownership of projects and mentoring others. Therefore, leadership skills can look great on your resume.

  1. Resilience

Everyone suffers some setbacks at work as well as in their personal life and having resilience skills allows you to recover from difficulties more easily. Some people are more resilient than others, while others will need to find ways to become more resilient, for example:

  • Not being afraid to reach out when you feel overwhelmed
  • Being open about your feelings
  • Embracing changes and new opportunities
  • Take action and search for solutions, rather than letting things fester

Resilience is useful in an uncertain economy, or when times are tough, so it’s worth developing your skills to use for the future.

  1. IT skills

The newest generation coming into the workplace are digital natives; people who have never lived without the internet, which you may think would bring lots of IT skills to the workplace. However, modern tablets, phones, and operating systems are so easy to use that many people who’ve grown up with computers will struggle in a work environment. If you’re looking for a new career, it’s worth considering working on your IT skills, perhaps taking a specialist course for your industry to learn the latest software.

  1. Teamwork

Whether you’re working in an office or remotely, collaboration is an essential skill, and not something that everyone can do. If you need to improve your teamwork skills, there are ways you can do so in a non-work environment. For example, you could join a local sports team or hobby group, which will allow you to work closely with others to achieve a goal.

No matter what sort of personality and skills you have, there will be a role within a team for you. This could include:

  • Coordinator – confident people who enjoy guiding the team will often naturally become the leader and delegate duties
  • Resource investigator – a natural negotiator and networker who can find the right resources for the team and develop contacts
  • Specialists – the member of the team who has specialist knowledge of the project and helps maintain high standards in the work
  • Plants – if you’re introverted, but enjoy coming up with ideas, you may be a plant. Plants are often great at solving problems and coming up with innovations, but they tend to like working alone, so need encouragement to come out of their shell
  • Implementers – these are the people who get work done, but they can be quite rigid in their beliefs and ideas, so may need to be encouraged to accept change

Knowing the kind of role, you excel in within a team can make it easier to work in one, as you can do what comes naturally.

  1. Self-motivation

Nobody wants to hire employees that need to be continuously supervised, so employers want to know they are hiring self-motivated people. If you’re someone who always procrastinates or can’t get going in the morning, it’s worth looking for tips to become self-motivated and finding a system that works for you. For example, some people find they are most productive when they work in short, intensive bursts followed by breaks, while others find that they need to schedule their most laborious work for a specific time of day when they are most motivated.

  1. Emotional intelligence

Many jobs require emotional intelligence; the ability to understand your emotions and those of others, as well as what those emotions mean. Some people can be knowledgeable, but lack emotional intelligence, which can make it difficult for them to work in public-facing and collaborative roles. Many businesses test for emotional intelligence in the early stage of the recruitment process with quizzes and questionnaires, so it can be an essential skill to get you through initial selection processes.

  1. Time management

From showing up on time to ensuring you have enough time to get everything done, time management skills are essential for modern business. They show that you are organized and self-motivated, so work on getting your schedule together and use your calendar apps and other tools to keep on top of things. If you’ve ever juggled different priorities, such as childcare, work, and study, then you may already have more time management skills than you think and will have lots of examples to give at an interview.

Most employers will have a wish list of skills they want an employee to have, and often, they are general skills like the ones above. While you can’t gain a qualification in many of the above skills, you can work on areas where you perhaps feel you are weak, giving you more confidence when you apply for jobs.