Looking for ways to optimize your own skillset? Take the time to add these valuable skills to your repertoire, and you'll set yourself up for career success and even more personal fulfillment!
1. Become Bilingual (or Multilingual)
Knowing more than one language can revolutionize your job outlook, enable you to earn up to 20% more than your single-language counterparts, open up social and cultural opportunities you would never have had otherwise, and even make you a more effective processor of information. And with the huge wealth of resources available online for those wanting to learn a new language, you have all the tools you need at your fingertips to pick up Spanish, Mandarin, French, or Arabic... the sky is the limit! Duolingo, Babbel, and OpenCulture.com all offer tons of free resources for language learners.
2. Learn to Code
This isn't necessarily a project you can just jump into in ten minutes a day, but it's huge, practically anyone can do it given enough drive, and you can learn it for free. Being familiar with html, being able to code, knowing how to build your own website, or even being able to build an app can and will set you apart from the competition in many professional environments. And with all the resources available online for those wanting to learn, there's not much stopping you--except time and dedication (or lack thereof). Code Academy and Code School Blog are great places to start your coding adventures.
3. Become Adept at Drawing/Sketching
Drawing isn't just a lost art; it's a lost skill that's useful for pretty much everyone, not just aspiring artists. Whether you're a designer, a business manager, a university student, or the owner of a retail store, being able to quickly sketch things with a semblance of perspective can be a huge asset when you're trying to describe an idea, suggest a new store layout, or illustrate an abstract concept. Contrary to popular assumption, being able to draw isn't based purely on natural talent; it's a skill you can develop with practice. Check out Skillshare's free classes in basic drawing (and a plethora of other topics, as well).
4. Do Math in Your Head
This might not land you a new job--and you probably don't want or need to list it on a resume. But being able to crunch numbers in your head is a huge asset (and just personal convenience) in a world of people who pull out the calculator on their phone to figure out what 12 x 6 is. Look up the hacks that make it easier and take a few minutes to practice here and there. This is one skill you'll probably use every day for the rest of your life. Check out Concordia University's tips for doing math quickly in your head, and practice your skills at DoItInYourHead.com.
5. Sell Yourself
We're not talking sketchy backstreet deals here; we're talking about your elevator pitch. Being able to tell someone in five minutes or less (about the time you have with random strangers on an elevator) about what you do and why you're great at it is an incredibly valuable skill. Knowing what to say before someone asks can make all the difference in your business or entrepreneurial success. Looking for a job? This Forbes.com article can help you iron out the perfect elevator pitch to get you the position you're dreaming of.
6. Write Clearly and Coherently
You've probably heard it before; maybe you heard it and scoffed. But everyone is a writer. Whether you're writing an email to coworkers, college professors, or potential employers, being able to communicate clearly in writing is an essential skill in today's communication-rich world. Careless grammar, spelling, and poor sentence structures can quickly undermine your credibility whether you're a salesperson, a business associate, or a CEO. But being able to say what you mean clearly will give others the impression that you're trustworthy and capable. Grammarly and the Hemingway App are both great tools to help you identify common errors and streamline your writing.
7. Speak In Front of A Crowd
Many people fear public speaking more than death. This is particularly unfortunate because the most successful people in the business world do a lot of talking in front of groups--they get their point across clearly and confidently in a way that people don't mind hearing, all without breaking a sweat. You can make this happen, too. A lot of it just takes practice, but knowing a few tips to ace your next public speaking opportunity can work wonders. One of the most-watched Ted Talk speakers shares his public speaking tips here, and Harvard's Professional Development department also offers a host of helpful tips.