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10 in-demand professional skills and how to develop them

10 In-Demand Professional Skills and How To Develop Them

Today’s job market is flooded with opportunities. Despite this, even highly deserving candidates struggle to find a good job. 

Some of this is because applicants’ skill sets don’t match what’s hot right now. And those who have the right skills are getting rejected early in the process for not having a college degree

Unfair, right? We hear you, and we’re here to help with a guide on skill development. Below, we explore the 10 most sought-after professional skills today – and show you how to develop and showcase them so you can be noticed for the powerhouse you are.

But first, let’s briefly discuss what skill development actually is.

What is skills development? + Examples

Skills development (or simply “skill development”) is all about picking up new abilities or brushing up on existing ones to get a new job or do better in your current role. 

For example, a software engineer might learn the latest programming languages to keep up with tech trends. Or, an accountant could go to workshops to work on their emotional intelligence.

Now, we’ll dive into skills you can develop to set yourself apart in today’s job market.

10 in-demand skill development examples that set you apart from the competition

Here are 10 powerful skills to consider learning or growing to land the job of your dreams.  


1. Data literacy 

Today’s businesses rely on data to make nearly every important decision. It helps them spot trends and improve their services.

That’s why all businesses – not just tech companies – are always on the lookout for folks who can understand and work with data. Data-literate people know how to crunch numbers and understand stats. They’re also handy with tools like Excel, Google Analytics, Tableau, and more.

2. Tech-savviness 

Candidates highly skilled in coding and the latest programming languages are already winning in tech roles.

But tech-savviness doesn’t stop there. Most jobs today need some level of technical skill. Whether you’re an HR manager, marketer, or executive assistant, companies look for employees who can use digital tools to simplify work, save time, and reduce costs. 

3. Digital marketing 

With more people spending time online, companies are leaning more and more into digital marketing. They’re looking for candidates who can run online advertisements, connect with followers on social media, and use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to get their content seen by all the right people in all the right places. 

Good digital marketers directly impact business revenue and – contrary to popular belief – it’s not something just anyone can do. So, it’s no surprise that everyone wants candidates with solid digital marketing skills.

4. Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI has hit the world like a storm and is now used in nearly every industry. For example, many companies use AI chatbots as customer support. Meanwhile, others use generative AI for tasks like creating content, writing code, and even drawing construction blueprints. 

Without good AI, businesses will fall behind competitors. And because it’s a relatively new skill, there are more employers looking for AI talent than skilled candidates in the field. No wonder applicants with AI skills are in such high demand! 

5. Cybersecurity

As phishing, hacking, and other cyber-attacks become more common, companies need to safeguard their data and systems – for example, by setting up secure networks and protecting against viruses and malware. 

Otherwise, they could lose private company intel, break customer trust, and face big legal risks. Since external cybersecurity companies can be expensive, more employers are now looking to hire in-house experts. 

6. Risk management 

Good risk management helps companies survive in a constantly changing world – whether it's economic shifts, tech changes, or new laws. 

Employees who can’t handle these challenges spell trouble. Imagine a stock trader who ignores signs of a market downturn and makes risky trades that lead to huge financial losses. Scary, right?  

That’s why more and more employers are seeking candidates skilled at managing risks and making stable decisions, no matter the situation. 

7. Adaptability and flexibility 

The world is moving at lightning speed. The last decade alone brought many surprises – from economic struggles and the COVID-19 pandemic to remote working and the rise of AI. Companies need to adapt to shifts like these quickly if they want to stay in the game. 

For example, restaurants that switched to takeaway or delivery options during the pandemic probably suffered fewer losses than those that didn’t adapt.  

That’s why today’s employers want folks who can adjust their working styles, learn new skills, and handle whatever is thrown their way – no matter the role or industry. 

8. Critical skills and problem solving 

It doesn’t matter what job you’re after – problems will arise at work, and facing them head-on is the only way to keep things running smoothly. 

Unsurprisingly, companies are always looking for candidates with sharp critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Basically, they need reliable people who can handle anything from fixing bad products and PR crises to resolving unexpected customer complaints.

9. Emotional intelligence 

Knowing how to understand and respond to others is arguably one of the most important skills for employers today. Why? 

More remote working means you have to be able to communicate and sense people’s emotions even when they’re not in the same room. 

Additionally, today’s workers have little to no tolerance for toxic workplaces. They look for colleagues and leaders who are empathetic, respectful, and inclusive of others’ needs and emotions. 

Finally, emotional intelligence helps with understanding customers. If you can make clients feel seen, heard, and valued, your company will stand out among competitors – which is why every employer wants emotional intelligent workers!

10. Cross-cultural competency

As more businesses run globally and with remote teams, understanding and respecting cultural differences is crucial. Now more than ever, employers want candidates who can work well with people from different backgrounds, contribute to an inclusive culture, and even negotiate with international clients. 

How to develop these skills in 3 steps

Here’s how you can build these skills and impress top employers in three straightforward steps. 

1. Identify the skills relevant to your desired career

The first step is to research your dream job so you can pin-point which skills you want to learn or improve. Carefully read the job description, speak to the hiring team, and connect with others in the field to learn more about what employers are looking for so you don’t waste your time and money on the wrong skills. 

For example, those interested in financial services could focus on risk management, data literacy, tech savviness, and adaptability rather than spending their energy on digital marketing concepts. 

2. Develop these skills: Where to get started

Once you’ve identified the skills you need, the next step is to, well, actually develop them!

Here are some ways to do this:


3. Test your skills

Learning skills isn’t enough. To land a good job, you must excel in these skills and show you can apply them in real-world scenarios. 

Here are a few strategies to help you assess and refine your skills:


Get your peers or mentors to ask you questions, set you real-life tasks, or test you through case studies. This is a great way to see how you can improve. 

That said, it requires these folks to take time out of their day, so don’t be overly demanding with your request for feedback. 

Quizzes and assignments

Online or in-person courses and workshops will likely include tests to check how well you’ve learned and remembered topics. These could be anything from quizzes and games to practical tasks. 

Talent assessments and skills-based job boards

Consider taking online skills assessments with a platform like TestGorilla. This is a fantastic way to test your knowledge from the comfort of your home and without relying on others. Plus, you’ll get detailed reports that tell you exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are, so you can take appropriate action. 

Check out these TestGorilla tests for the in-demand skills we discussed: 

Once you’re satisfied with your skills development, check out TestGorilla’s job board. This is the perfect place to find job opportunities – including remote roles – that match these skills.

The best part is that TestGorilla uses your test scores to match you with employers who are looking for your specific skills. This way, you’re not just developing skills but can also showcase your talents without needing formal qualifications or getting lost in a pile of resumes. 

Go in for the skill with TestGorilla

Today’s employers want candidates with powerful skills relevant to the current times and job market. 

Since our world is so tech-focused, it’s not shocking that data literacy, digital marketing, AI, cybersecurity, and risk management skills take the cake. Meanwhile, candidates who are adaptable, quick-thinking, emotionally intelligent, and good at working with people from other cultures are the icing on top. 

To ace your skills development journey, first identify which skills apply to your dream job. Then, develop them through online courses, peer shadowing, mentorship, stretch projects, and more.  

When you’re ready, use TestGorilla’s talent assessments to test your skills and our job board to be matched with employers who are looking for people exactly like you. 

Sign up for our job board and check out our full range of tests today!


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