Top 5 In-demand Soft Skills (according to LinkedIn)

September 16th, 2020

I was perusing the intertubes last night and found this article: The Top Skills Companies Need Most in 2020—And How to Learn Them

Y’all know I’m a sucker for soft skills and professional development. I’ve spent years creating more than three dozen soft skill and professional courses for Pluralsight, and easily a dozen before Pluralsight. And, for the record, I just tweeted this:

I like that… “Soft skills are like hard skills… but for your career.”

Back to LinkedIn’s survey of the whole professional world…. here are their soft skills that are most in demand, and Pluralsight courses that help you learn and improve your soft skills:

#1 Creativity (apparently was #1 in 2019, too)

Check out this course by the popular Dave Cross (@davecross) titled Photoshop CC Non-destructive Methods to Enhance Creativity. I’m not a Photoshop guy, but if you are into design, photography, etc. this looks like a super course. Of course, there are plenty of courses for creative professionals… here are six learning paths on Pluralsight for creatives.

Creativity isn’t just for creatives, though. Check out this popular course titled Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making Techniques by Milena Pajic (@milena-pajic).

My friend Stephen Haunts (@stephenhaunts) from England created this course called Innovation in the Workplace.

All the way from France, meet Cécilia Lejeune (@LejeuneCecilia) with her course on Exploring Innovating Product Experiences.

Jillian Kaplan (@TheRealJKaplan) has a nineteen minute executive briefing titled Importance of Innovation.

I (@jasonalba) really enjoyed creating this course on innovation, Boosting Innovation: How Leaders Can Create Innovative Teams. This isn’t just for leaders, though. Anyone looking to increase innovation should get good info here.

#2 Persuasion (was #2 in 2019, I guess :p)

Persuasion is influence is storytelling. I have to recommend Alan Ackmann’s Storytelling to Engage and Motivate.

One of the most important factors in persuading is listening and understanding… hence, check out my Becoming a Better Listener course (I’m proud to have over 575 ratings on this course!).

John Papa (@john_papa) is a Pluralsight legend, popular professional speaker, and has had a fantastic career. His course, The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations, is a must-watch.

#3 Collaboration (was #3 in 2019… trust me, there’s a reason they/I put all of these “the same as” statements)

Shelley Benhoff (@SBenhoff) created the course Fostering Effective Team Collaboration and Communication.

Collaborations means teams. My course, Working on a Team, talks all about collaboration.

One of my most important courses is Working and Communicating with Different Personalities. This course helped me understand how personalities impact relationships, communication, collaboration, etc.

Another important course, and one of my favorites, is Understanding Your Audience, which is a critical aspect of collaboration.

Another course from Stephen Haunts is How to Run Effective Meetings. Again, this is about collaborating with humans.

Collaboration happens through various mediums, including email. But how many of us (or your colleagues) should get some proper training on emails? Here’s my course, Effective Email Communication. Laugh if you must but I’ll argue a ton of people need this course :)

Casey Ayers (@caseyayers) is one of my favorite thinkers. He has a course titled Avoiding Common Writing Mistakes, which should definitely help you collaborate more effectively.

#4 Adaptability (you guessed it, was #4 in 2019 also)

Alice Meredith (@AAMeredith) is a senior HR professional and culture strategist, and is the perfect person to talk about change management. She has multiple courses that have to do with adaptability (see her courses here), specifically Embracing Change: Staying: Staying Agile in the Midst of Change, Building a Successful Change Strategy, Becoming a Change Leader, and Leading Change: The Head, Heart & Hands Approach.

Troy Hunt (@troyhunt) is a world renowned security expert and popular professional speaker, and has a course on Adapting to the New Normal: Embracing a Security Culture of Continual Change.

Kevin Miller (KevinMillerIT) has a course titled Change Management: Getting Started.

Again, Milena Pajic has a course on this: Business Analysis: Defining Change Strategies.

Dan Appleman (@danappleman) has a bunch of career courses, and he talks about future-proofing your career by being intentional. One of his courses relevant to change is Learning Technology in the Information Age (where everything changes!).

#5 Emotional Intelligence (NEW! NEW! NEW in the top 5!!)

I fell in love with emotional intelligence (EQ) as I was creating my course Leading with Emotional Intelligence. I thought this was a fluffy topic for years, but then I got to dive into it. I’m 100% onboard with emotional intelligence and think that as we improve ours, the world changes.

Jason Edleman did a course titled Introduction to Emotional Intelligence.

Alan Ackmann has a course titled Self-assessing Your Emotional Intelligence.

Heather Ackmann (@HeatherAckmann) has a course on Creating an Emotionally Intelligent Workplace Culture.

Emotional intelligence is a little tricky… it is not one single topic, rather a collection of soft skill topics. There are currently two learning paths focused on this, including Emotional Intelligence for Leaders and Managers and Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers.

Your career is in your hands. Now is your opportunity to work on yourself so you can be in high demand!

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September 14th, 2020

Years ago I wrote a scathing blog post to career center directors. It was a dressing down, if you will, because they just weren’t providing current solutions. I’ve learned that career center directors are underfunded and underpaid, and if you’ve been in college you know no one really values them (unfortunately, especially professors). My post, which I’m not even going to take the time to look for, was not kind.

JibberJobber Mean Blame

At the time I had a wise business coach who read the post and then sent me a multi-page email telling me to never do that again. I remember two things: (1) his email was as harsh as my post was, which I deserved, and (2) he said that if my audience (career center professionals) didn’t understand the value of JibberJobber, I was 100% to blame.

That lesson has stuck with me every since. Indeed, I was 100% to blame. It wasn’t that they were stupid or lazy, it was that I was not effectively communicating. I was trying, but I hadn’t figured out how to communicate the right way.

Thank you, Kent, for one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life and business. 

My message is not that you should blame YOU for your mistakes or issues or shortcomings.  I want to shift gears… away from finding and assigning blame to just giving up on blame.

I don’t want you to do this to the detriment of your mental health. I think sometimes blame can be good (I’m no doctor, though). Blaming others has motivated me to work hard, be better, achieve more, etc.

But I have seen people get stuck needing to blame and needing to get retribution. Hanging onto, and pursuing, blame has caused people to stop progressing. They put their mission to pursue blame in front of career, family, and personal health.

JibberJobber Bound

Sounds like a path to disaster, right?

My invitation to you is to move on. Work on you. Make progress in areas you should make progress in.

All the people I could have, or do, blame are… well, honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care where they are in their life, and I don’t care what they are. They don’t matter. They can’t have power over me anymore, unless I give it to them. And frankly, most of them don’t care. They probably don’t even remember my name.

Release the blame. Move on. Maybe even forgive.

Simple words that can feel impossible to put into practice, but they are so freeing. Do this for you, because you need it and you deserve it.

And then you are free to grow and heal.

I dare you to try it.

JibberJobber Freedom


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