It's long been established that if you get the right training and education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, your job prospects are much higher than those who don't have such skills.
However, as the job market continues to improve, employers are demanding a new set of skills that match the changing landscape of today's businesses, Forbes reports.
According to the news source, no matter what type of education or training you have, there are a handful of marketable skills that anyone can develop, and could significantly boost the chances of finding a job. One of the most in-demand – and most basic – is the ability to write well.
As the preferred method of communication and marketing has shifted from phone calls and meetings to emails, web pages, social media and email marketing, written communication is more important than ever. Many hiring managers say that if a candidate has a blog, it suggests they have a strong command of the written language, and that following an interview, they often check it out themselves.
"Blogging is a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself. It gives employers much deeper insight into candidates and shows off a skill that can be put to use immediately," wrote Raj Sabhlok, president of software support and maintenance company Zoho Corp. "Frankly, candidates with blogs have a much better chance of getting noticed and hired."
Reading, writing, arithmetic and... programming
The media outlet noted that as writing is making its comeback, another relatively new skill is becoming increasingly important, and will likely be included in the list of must-know areas in the not-too-distance-future: computer programming.
While many feel coding is reserved for only "technical thinkers" who have extensive training in computer science, the truth is, creativity plays a huge part in computer programming, and having a basic understanding of the process could help your job search tremendously.
"Businesses have been automated to the point that virtually every task is done on computers running software applications," Sabhlok added. "Many of the applications need to be customized or optimized for the particular business, which is where programming skills are critical."
According to Jobs DB Inc. having a good balance between technical and basic skills may be the best way to get employers' attention. For example, a candidate who can show critical thinking, complex problem solving and good writing skills, and also has a handle on computers, electronics and mathematics may have the best job opportunities in the current labor market.