Around 22 million jobs were lost in the US in 2020 due to the pandemic and only about half of the folks who got unemployed found new jobs. This leaves millions of people in the job market today, making the competition for openings a lot fiercer.
If you’re currently job hunting and want to have an edge over your competition, you’re in the right place. The fact that you’re reading this means that you’re taking ample steps to get ahead in the game.
You must be wondering what exactly can give you a leg up in the competition at this point. And to cut to the chase, we’ll tell you exactly what lots of employers are looking for in new employees right now: communication skills.
According to a LinkedIn survey, more and more employers are now adding communication skills to their lists of requirements in job postings they put up on the site. Among all of the soft skills that employers are seeking in applicants, this seems to be gaining traction.
Swedish job engine Jobbland.se also analyzed LinkedIn job postings and found that effective communication is included in the requirements of more than 2.3 million listings on the platform. The next in-demand skill, leadership, was only cited 1 million times.
It’s not shocking to find communication skills to be a top requirement for applicants. As LinkedIn’s head of content strategy Dan Brodnitz puts it, “Communication is core to how people interact, and therefore it’s core to how people do business effectively.” It’s definitely a necessary ability for lots of positions, especially for those who will deal directly with customers.
What makes it more notable now, however, is that even in positions that do not come with tasks that will involve interactions with clients or do any kind of networking, communication skills are becoming a requirement. It’s said that the increased demand for this soft skill is a sign that effective and strong communication skills are now being recognized as a necessity in almost any corporate and business setting.
Better Communication is Necessary with the New Normal
It can be said that with companies shifting to remote work, effective communication skills became very important for most employers. As most interactions among colleagues are now limited to instant messaging and text exchanges as well as the occasional video calls, lots of nuances are lost in conversations. If one party is unable to communicate effectively, problems can arise.
To be fair, however, Brodnitz says that there has already been a growing appetite for applicants that have excellent communication skills. The pandemic just gave it a solid push as the new circumstances further highlighted the need for smooth exchanges.
The importance of this competency also transcends all positions. It’s a given for leaders that they need to be able to communicate well but to get the best results from their team, their members also need to know how to conduct effective exchanges. Communication is also an essential team skill and it’s a vital one at that.
There’s also evidence that competency in communications will continue to be in great demand even in the post-pandemic world. Experts believe that employers now value soft skills as much as hard skills mostly because they’re the hardest to train people in. It’s said that employers are now seeing the value in employees’ technical abilities and their capabilities in delivering the work.
Another possible reason for the high demand for communication skills is the fact that such soft skills can’t be replicated by automation. Machines and technology may be able to simplify certain tasks but the ability to communicate effectively is one of the quintessential human capabilities that can’t be automated.
How to Boost Your Communication Skills
If you feel like you’re lacking in communication skills, there are lots of ways how you can improve yourself. Sure, this soft skill is also more of innate talent for some but most of it can still be learned and developed using the right tricks.
To help you in this area, here are a few expert tips that you might find useful:
Take communication-related courses.
There are lots of communication-related courses that can help improve your skills. The good thing about them is their specificity, so if you struggle in a specific area of communicating professionally, you can find a suitable course that can help you out. As a bonus, they can also pad your resume and give you an edge, thanks to your certificate.
Listening is the most important thing to do if you wish to communicate well. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for your job or for any other kind of interaction. If you wish to communicate better, you should make sure to listen.
According to best-selling author Leil Lowndes who penned several books on communication, it’s crucial to avoid focusing on oneself in order to communicate well. By toning down your personal agenda in an exchange and learning of what others have to say will help you converse more effectively.
Using brief and specific speech will help you get your message across more effectively in most situations. Do not beat the bush as it can only create confusion.
Double-check your message before speaking or hitting send.
To avoid miscommunication, be sure with your message. This can be a bit tough to do when speaking extemporaneously but now that you might be primarily relying on instant messages and emails to communicate with others, it’s easier to double-check your messages before hitting send. Make sure to do so as it can also make things more efficient for you.