Hard Skills That Will Increase Your Job Opportunities

Are you wanting to advance your career? Or perhaps you’ve had enough of having a “job” and want to start looking for something more permanent? 

Whatever your motive, you’ll need to learn some new and varied hard skills in order to expand your options. After all, there’s a famous quote that goes like this:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

While the section about insanity doesn’t quite fit, the general concept is sound. If you want anything different (professional development, greater money, or even a career instead of a job), you must take action. There’s good news and terrible news here!

The good news is that you have complete control over what happens because it’s up to you. The bad news is that change is difficult to achieve.

Humans are creatures of habit, which is why we form routines, and any disruption to that routine causes us discomfort. And we’ll go to any length to get rid of our anxiousness.

The overweight person will ease their tension by eating the doughnut, whereas the smoker will escape uneasiness by lighting up a cigarette.

The goal of this essay is to provide you with the hard skills you’ll need to lower your anxiety so you may advance in your work, earn more money, or have a career rather than just a “job.”

The following hard skills are essential to learning if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

Related: How to Move Up in Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May Be Making)

1. Cloud Computing

“Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and moreover the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

In today’s cloud computing era, there are numerous work opportunities. They include architects and developers, as well as data scientists and security experts. Each work is unique and necessitates a high level of specification in order to advance.

This is unquestionably a difficult skill that necessitates instruction. However, if you enjoy working with computers and technology, cloud computing might be a rewarding job. 

2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

These are, once again, extremely specialized fields. Data mining is the process of looking for anomalies and other patterns in massive collections of data in order to predict future behavior.

The most well-known corporation that uses data mining is Amazon. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something on Amazon, there’s a small ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…” and lists a couple of other items?

All of that data comes from data mining; by looking at the millions of purchases made by Amazon, they can anticipate that if you buy item #1, you’re likely to buy one of the other goods as well.

This not only boosts Amazon’s revenue but also serves as a reminder to you that you might require these extra things for your project. This is extremely useful knowledge with a wide range of applications.

It is a very beneficial instrument for maximizing productivity and sales, despite its terrible image and evil-sounding name.

Related: How to Conduct Market Research: Gathering the Right Data and Growing Your Business

3. Data Management

Today’s businesses deal with a massive amount of data! It is not only desirable but also necessary, to be able to manage that data effectively.

Computers are something we all have on our desks. Almost all of our data is computerized unless a paper copy is required. In theory, this means that everything is at our fingertips.

Computers are displacing file cabinets because they can organize data and make it conveniently and rapidly accessible.

Data management on a computer, like data management in an old filing cabinet, is only good if it’s well structured. You’ll want to make sure your data is well-organized so that it’s easy to find when you need it.

This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others, it will be a skill that needs to be practiced. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

4. Scheduling

Making and sticking to a schedule is a valuable skill in both business and life. Effective scheduling is being able to prioritize jobs, comprehending the tools required to complete the job on time, and being well-organized enough to lead others. 

The importance of writing things down cannot be overstated! It doesn’t matter if you use an old-fashioned daily or weekly organizer or a PDA. Keep a copy of your schedule on hand at all times.

Related: Why Should You Follow Kit Kat’s Advice?

5. Financial Skills

When hunting for that promotion, these are very vital. Accounting, budgeting, financial planning, and cash flow management will become more important as you go up the corporate ladder. 

While you do not need to be an expert in all of these areas, you should be familiar with them all. Taking a few night classes at your local community college is an excellent choice in this case.

Although you don’t have to become an expert, brushing up on these skills will be quite beneficial. 

6. Research Skills

These are crucial in all facets of life, but particularly in your professional life.

Are you looking for your first job after graduation? Nothing impresses a supervisor or recruiting manager like someone who has done their homework about the business.

They deal with people wandering off the street seeking work every day, so trust me when I say that managers and owners must see the value in employing (or promoting) you.

So do your homework and be prepared to ask some company-specific questions. Demonstrate that you want to work for that firm or in that position, not just for “a” job or a “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

If you’re vying for a promotion, never criticize the prior occupant. Instead, choose a suitable example and describe how you’d like to utilize or expand that policy, as well as how it would benefit the policy changes you’d like to make.

If you’re interviewing for a new job, make sure you have some company-specific questions prepared to demonstrate that you’ve done your research.

Related: Marketing Books to Help You Build Your Personal Brand

7. Marketing Skills

While marketing a company’s products or services has always been in great demand. It can take many various shapes in today’s environment.

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing, and marketing campaign management are some of the most in-demand marketing abilities today. Knowledge of Google Analytics and Word Press is also beneficial.

Traditional marketing and branding were primarily concerned with advertising and sales. Nowadays, almost all marketing efforts are centered on the internet.

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8. Network Security Specialist

Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can cost them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

9. Communication Skills

Communication abilities may not appear to fit into the category of “hard skills” that can help you achieve at first glance. However, in an ever-shrinking globe where businesses can conduct business from practically anywhere, communication is becoming increasingly vital.

Are you able to communicate in two languages? It makes no difference what language you speak; a corporation is seeking someone who speaks that language. 

Related: The 5 Most Essential Skills for Remote Professionals

10. Computer Programming

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

11. Graphic Design

There were 4.37 million new websites launched in 2018. [2] A large majority of them will fail because they aren’t visually appealing enough. The use of templates and cloned websites exacerbates the issue.

Google indexes sites in part based on their originality, which nearly guarantees that duplicated sites will never be ranked.

As a result, the more unique your website is, the more probable it is that people will visit and spend time there.

A competent graphic designer does exactly that. It transforms your fundamental concept into a website that people desire to visit.

Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

You know it’ll be there, and you know you’ll want to quit while acquiring these new talents, but you also know the ultimate result will be worth it.

When you’re feeling stressed, try this simple trick:

Have you ever encountered an ex-smoker who regretted their decision to stop smoking? An ex-drinker or drug addict who claims life was much better before they stopped?

These individuals have faced some of the most arduous obstacles imaginable, including weeks, if not months, of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the agony and anxiety they would feel would lead to a far better life in the end.

What was it that you didn’t like about going to night school?

This is the phase that everyone despises; everyone associates it with night school, adult education, and generally foregoing family and/or leisure time. While those are all viable options for gaining the essential skills, they aren’t the only ones.

You should verify with your human resources department because, depending on the organization, a specific level of education may be required to even be considered for a position.

In that situation, night school, online learning, or another type of adult education may be the best option.

However, if a degree isn’t required, you have a lot of possibilities.

Let’s imagine you’re a salesperson who wants to advance to sales manager, but the region you’ve been assigned will never produce the sales numbers that would make you a suitable contender for the position.

So, let’s assume you want to start your own side business (that doesn’t conflict with your current job), but you adore golf.

There are numerous resources available nowadays that can teach you how to sell things online and even set you up with your own website.

So you decide to build a website that sells golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t have to bother about inventory or delivery).

Now, when that sales manager position becomes available, you can explain that while other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales aptitude and more to do with the territory you were assigned.

And to prove it, you brought in some facts regarding a side business and began demonstrating that you’re on track to boost your revenues by 30% this year.

And because you were responsible for all of the company’s marketing, you developed certain marketing tactics that you may use for your new work (built-in experience).

Related: COVID Anxiety and Stress: How to Handle It

The Bottom Line

These 11 hard talents have been put together to offer you an advantage over the competitors. We tried to provide a mix of talents that require extensive training as well as skills that you may work on and improve on your own.

We understand that not everyone is set out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also understand that working on projects and having solid scheduling abilities can make you a far more attractive candidate for the job!

We don’t want you to dismiss the possibility of a “side hustle.” Having a successful business that you founded and ran tells potential employers that you have initiative and scheduling skills, which is especially important for people fresh to the workforce.

As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media? It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!


  1. Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing

2. Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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