Career Planning

7 Skills You Didn’t Know You Needed (And How to Build Them)

Lolita Allgyer
October 2019

You’ve heard about the skills all employers are looking for. Basic writing and communication skills, the ability to learn quickly, common sense . . . every hiring manager has a list like this in mind.

But there are some skills even employers don’t actively think about or check off when looking for a new hire. These are the subtle skills that will set you apart in your career. They’ll make you instantly likable. And they’ll compound your growth as you find your niche in the company you work for.

Here’s the list of good skills to build–no matter what career you want to pursue. How many of these have you cultivated?

Content Re-Creation

Coming up with ideas is great, but what can you do with ideas other people have created?

Can you turn a video into a great blog post? How good are you at visually-representing a concept that is expressed in writing?

Here’s the truth: most ideas aren’t original. They’re combinations of lots of other ideas that’ve been pieced together by the unique experience of the creator.

The best take this concept and play on it. They focus on becoming “content re-creators,” as I like to call them. 

This skill will help you go far in the career world because every business needs employees who are fast at coming up with content that feels fresh. Content re-creation is the way to do that.

This idea is inspired by Everything is a Remix, a video series created by Kirby Ferguson. Check it out if you want to dive deeper into the idea of content re-creation.

How to Email Well

This should be self-explanatory. But unfortunately, many people still struggle with email communication. Rise above the crowd.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Respond to your emails within twenty-four hours.
  2. Make sure you use the correct name of the person you’re addressing. And always double-check to be sure it’s spelled right!
  3. Proofread and edit any and all grammar errors. Tools like Grammarly help.
  4. Learn how to properly CC and BCC. 

Those are just the basics. Want to become the best at email? Check out these resources:

5 Ways to Improve Your Email

How to Use Email

How to Send Effective Follow-Up Emails

Basic Tech Skills 

Everyone knows in today’s job world you should at least be able to type and use the internet. 

But you’ll make yourself 75-100% more hireable if you’ve mastered some basic software most startups use. The software tools you master are commonly called your “stack”. Build your stack early-on in your career, and focus on adding one tool at a time. Each tool you master will compound your hireability later on.

Here’s a list of tools many businesses use. They’re not hard to learn if you’re willing to put the time into learning them. Master one or multiple of these, and you’ll set yourself apart from many other people who are applying for the job you want.

Salesforce (Customer Relationship Management)

Salesforce is used by customer service, sales, and marketing teams. Even if you don’t know what role you want at a company, learning Salesforce will come in handy. It’s like having a tool belt all your other tools will fit in.

GSuite (Manage schedules, store and collaborate on documents, and much more)

If you can manage Google Docs, Google Sheet, Gmail, Google Slides, and collaborate easily and quickly with your team, you’ll make your transition into any role much easier. 

Excel (spreadsheet software)

Will your job involve data? (Hint: there aren’t many jobs that don’t involve data.) You definitely want to master Excel. It allows you to store, organize, and edit data in rows and columns. You can run formulas and functions on the data, too, allowing you to quickly analyze it. It’s another tool that’s useful no matter what role you have at a company.

MailChimp (email marketing platform)

MailChimp is a popular email marketing platform with tons of integrations and automation features. Once you understand the basics of an email automation tool, you can quickly get up to speed on other platforms (such as SparkPost, Get Response, ActiveCampaign, and AWeber). Additionally, it’s often connected to a CRM like Salesforce so all your data can be stored in one place.

Other tools used by most companies include Slack, Yesware, Loom, Buffer, and many other similar softwares. Learn as many tools as you can–it cuts your training time down and allows you to create value for the company you want to work for quickly.


Be thankful. It makes you more likable.

Send thank-you notes to people. This little gesture is easy to remember and will build social capital with those around you.

Be open about the little things you appreciate about people. All of us love being recognized, and someone who is grateful will be the one others think about when collaborating on projects or creating something new. Want to be the person they think about? Build an attitude of gratitude!


This is a skill you’ll use even before you get the job. It’ll be a determining factor when your possible employer is deciding whether to hire you.

Be confident in your skills and potential. Learn how to persuade people in a conversation. Pay close attention to what makes individuals respond to you. Ask good questions.

The skill of sales encompasses many other skills, including psychology, communication, empathy, and debate. Build it today!

Want to learn more about what you need to succeed in sales? Check out this Sales resource page to learn how sales can equip you with a skillset and professional experience that offers exceptional career and income upside.

Reception to Feedback

Are you willing to take criticism even when it hurts or feels unfair? Are you quick to implement the suggestions others give you?

If someone offers to give you feedback on a project, accept the offer. Actively seek out the critiquing that will help you grow.

You can take this a step further: learn to be your own biggest critic. Assess each project and make note of what you can do better next time. Then get better! 

Individuals who can grow without needing to be pushed are the ones who’ll grow quickly. Employers realize this, even though they don’t always know how to put this skill down on a hiring checklist.


Yes, networking is a skill. And no, it’s not all about working a conference just right or following the Five Steps to Networking Success.

Use your gratitude and sales skills. Be available when people need help. Create cool projects and put them out into the world. And if you find an article or video you think someone in your network would enjoy, be quick to send it over!

If you’d like to keep track of your progress building a network, here’s a moves management system you can implement:

The best part about all these skills? You don’t need a fancy degree to get them. You don’t need an IQ of a hundred-fifty-six to master them. All it takes is an attitude of learning, a little hustle, and a lot of consistency.

Frankly, you don’t have an excuse not to build them.

So what’re you waiting for? Start today.

This post was originally published at by Lolita Allgyer.

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