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Business Skills: What They Are and How to Highlight Them When Searching for Jobs

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Business skills definedWhy are business skills important?Examples of business skills at workHow to improve your business skillsWays to implement business skills in the workplaceHow to emphasize your business skills when applying and interviewing for jobs

Guide Overview

Business skills in the workplace

Business skills are essential for professionals who work in business roles. These skills encompass both hard and soft skills and help an individual see the big picture when it comes to an organization and its needs. These skills are especially important for entrepreneurs and professionals in management positions. Here we explore what business skills are, why they're important, the most common skills hiring employers look for in candidates, and how you can improve on and highlight these skills when applying for jobs.

Business skills defined

Business skills are skills that enable professionals to start and run an organization. They also refer to the skills needed to manage a single department of a business, such as a marketing or sales department. This type of skill set encompasses a variety of individual skills that include both soft and hard skills. In-demand skills that employers look for in business professionals include communication skills, emotional intelligence, and finance skills.

Why are business skills important?

This skill set is essential for individuals in managerial roles or entrepreneurs for several reasons, including that it:

  • Allows for more effective communication with colleagues, clients, and employers.
  • Provides individuals with an edge over the competition when searching and applying for new jobs.
  • Enables the ability to understand organizational and consumer behavior.
  • Gives individuals the skills necessary to effectively manage their time, tasks, and projects in the workplace.
  • Ensures a higher quality of work and product .
  • Encourages better performance and productivity.
  • Helps to motivate employees to do their best in the workplace.

These skills are also important in nearly any other position a person may hold throughout their professional career. Business-related skills support continued career growth and ensure employees contribute their best to their place of employment.

Examples of business skills at work

The following are examples of common skills pertaining to business in the workplace:

Leadership

Most business professionals will need some level of leadership skills to be successful in their positions. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a manager, being able to effectively lead your team will directly affect the success of your organization and the productivity of your employees. Good leadership skills needed by business professionals include:

  • Honesty
  • Negotiation skills
  • Meeting management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Motivation
  • Team-building skills
  • Coaching skills
  • Adaptability
  • Open-mindedness

Delegation

Delegation skills are also important for business individuals. The ability to effectively delegate tasks to teams and individuals can greatly affect the productivity of your organization. Efficient delegation means giving your teams both freedom and responsibility and encouraging them to complete their duties on their own. Good delegation skills include:

  • Coordination
  • Planning
  • Scheduling
  • Collaboration
  • Goal setting
  • Conflict resolution

Management

The ability to manage people is essential for possessing strong business skills. Good management skills lead to more efficient processes and increased productivity within your organization. Management skills needed by business professionals include:

  • Organizational skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Time management
  • Budgeting
  • Administration
  • Relationship building skills
  • Logical thinking
  • Financial management
  • Positivity
  • Persuasion

How to improve your business skills

There are several ways you can improve upon your business skills to become more effective in a managerial position. Good tips that will help you better these skills include:

  1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Take some time to become familiar with the skills you already possess and the ones you need to work on. Knowing your weaknesses allows you to better focus on improving them. If you’re unsure, consider asking a close friend or colleague what they believe your greatest business strengths and weaknesses are.
  2. Take a course. There are several online and in-person business courses available that you can take in your free time to improve upon these skills. Consider choosing a course that focuses on one of your weaknesses identified in the previous step.
  3. Work with a mentor. A good way to hone your business skill set is to work with a mentor who has the skills you wish to gain or improve upon. You can find a mentor in your workplace or connect with someone through a networking event. Set goals with your mentor and regularly ask for feedback on your progress in developing your business skill set.

Learn more: 10 Easy Skills to Pick Up Before Applying to a Job

Ways to implement business skills in the workplace

The following are ways you can regularly implement this skill set in the workplace:

  • Practice good communication. Successful business professionals regularly practice clear and concise communication to ensure their message gets across and that they understand the message others are trying to relay. Practice active listening when speaking with someone and use professional and appropriate language. When sending written communication, double- or triple-check your work before hitting send.
  • Offer to mentor a colleague. Mentoring someone else will help you hone your own business skill set by allowing you to practice leadership skills with another person.
  • Prioritize your work. No matter what position you hold, possessing strong organization and prioritization skills are essential to positively contribute to a business. Categorize your tasks by importance and delegate tasks when necessary.
  • Volunteer for leadership roles. If an opportunity arises in which you have the chance to participate in a leadership role, consider volunteering for that role to hone your business skills. For example, if your company needs someone to lead a marketing team on a project, volunteer to be the team lead.

How to emphasize your business skills when applying and interviewing for jobs

Here are a few ways you can highlight your business skill set on your resume, cover letter, and during job interviews:

On your resume

Use the skills section on your resume to list the business skills you possess that directly relate to the job you’re applying for. You can also incorporate examples of these skills in your work history descriptions.

Learn more: 6 Ways to Make the Skills Section Shine on a Resume

On your cover letter

Choose one or two business skills to highlight in the body of your cover letter. Provide a quantifiable example for each.

In a job interview

A job interview offers several opportunities to show off your business skills. Arrive early to interview and practice good communication skills by actively listening, asking relevant questions, maintaining eye contact, and communicating clearly. You can also emphasize these skills by providing examples of times in which you used these skills in your previous positions using the STAR method.

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