Important Business Skills for Workplace Success

Surrounded by business minded individuals
••• PeopleImages / Getty Images

What skills do you need for success in the business world? Possessing business skills means seeing the big picture of organizational and consumer behavior. It also means being aware of the needs of others and knowing what resources are available to meet those needs.

To be successful in a business role, you'll need more than technical and learned skills—a variety of soft and hard skills are essential for you to flourish in this field. 

And, for those going into business as entrepreneurs, you'll also need the ability to plow through obstacles and see solutions where no one thought one was possible.

What Are Business Skills?

Business is the most popular undergraduate major in the United States in recent years. Marketing, selling, organizational strategy, and “crunching” numbers are all important parts of managing a business.

Business skills help people start a business and manage a single branch of a business. But it doesn’t stop there.

Employers seek business candidates who possess high levels of emotional intelligence, communication skills, and organizational skills.

Passion and determination can go a long way, and those skills are proven over time. Organizations also look for candidates with hybrid (technical and non-technical) skills that can add value to the workplace in a variety of ways.

An entrepreneurial spirit, a community-oriented mindset, and a tendency toward innovation greatly benefit those seeking jobs in business.

Types of Business Skills

Communication

To communicate effectively, you must be a good listener before being a good talker. Being in business means working with other people, both as a leader and as a subordinate. Both roles require humility, a civil attitude even under duress, and respect for the various needs at play.

You should be able to articulate your thoughts clearly, both in writing and in meetings. You should be comfortable speaking one-on-one or while public speaking.

Finance

Managing financial decisions is a key part of the role of most business employees. This means that candidates should understand a company’s financial needs as well as the intricacies of what the market is currently demanding.

Employers will seek candidates who can analyze a financial situation, draw logical conclusions, and then implement action.

A good candidate will be able to articulate the financial reasons behind a controversial decision. They should also be able to produce detailed and accurate financial reports. Here are specific finance skills companies value: 

Management

Managing people and resources means taking everything into consideration.

TIP: In business, a spirit of collaboration benefits everyone, and part of collaboration is leadership and delegation.

This means offering other people opportunities to do work, even if you think it would increase your own clout or benefit your resume to do it yourself. Delegation is also an important part of time and resource management. If you take everything on yourself, chances are your work in key areas will suffer. Someone who excels in business will be able to manage their own workload by directing tasks to the most appropriate colleagues and subordinates.

Business Soft Skills

It’s tempting to focus on technical and hard skills when discussing business qualities, but soft skills are every bit as important as the things you learn about in business school.

One of the top soft skills that are essential for being successful in business is being a team player, which means being unselfish and cooperative, considering what’s best for the group and not just for you. For example, having a flexible attitude means going along with a plan even if it’s not one you favor or agree with. 

Problem-solving is another major soft skill to cultivate. When unexpected wrenches are thrown into the gears, a good problem solver will stay calm and think critically to get things moving again.

Problem solvers are highly valued by employers. Similarly, confidence is a soft skill that’s of high value, but not false confidence or an arrogant attitude. Confidence must be backed up with real knowledge, skill, and ability.

More Business Skills

  • Content Management
  • Content Strategy
  • Journalism
  • GAAP Principles
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Tables and Queries
  • SPSS
  • Coaching
  • Relationship Building
  • Motivation
  • Positivity
  • Integrity
  • Devising Strategic Plans to Expand Sales
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Ongoing Improvement
  • Six Sigma
  • Creating Milestones
  • Building Mission Statements
  • Identifying Objectives
  • Estimating Costs for Jobs
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Outbound Marketing
  • Differentiation
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Developing Proposals for Projects
  • Developing Sales Pitches
  • Documenting Business Development Activities
  • Drafting Quotes for Projects
  • Facilitating Meetings with Staff and Clients

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: When crafting a resume, pay attention to the skills listed above so that you can properly add them to your summary and work history.

HIGHLIGHT SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: Pull one or two anecdotes from your experience and training and briefly showcase them in your cover letter.

SHOW YOUR SKILLS IN YOUR JOB INTERVIEW: A job interview is a business meeting. Be prepared to offer numerous examples from your experience and education in which you executed the skills listed above and in the company’s job posting.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. "Most Popular Majors." Accessed April 29, 2020.