Some of the Most Useful Skills to Know (And How to Learn Them)

March 16, 2017

Some of the most useful skills to learn are time management, focus and learning from failure.

What are some of the most useful skill a professional could learn, regardless of industry?

That exact question was recently posed on Quora, generating more than 100 answers and thousands of votes on those responses. From that, we identified some of the most popular skills on the list, and paired it with a LinkedIn Learning course that teaches it.

So what are the most useful skills to learn to advance your career? Well, the Internet suggests you learn how to:

Recover from failure.

Shared by Pedram Keyani

Why it matters: “Don't collapse. Get up, brush yourself off and figure out how to use that experience to make yourself stronger and more ready for the future. Simple advice, but not easy.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Learning from Failure

Take feedback.

Shared by Keyani

Why it matters: “For most of us, it is hard to hear how we made a mistake or could have done something better. An amazing skill (which you can learn through practice) is to set aside your emotional response in the moment and focus on the information presented to you. Some of it will be valid and some of it invalid but let your brain decide that, not your ego.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Bill George on Self Awareness, Authenticity and Leadership

Deliver an elevator pitch.

Shared by Max Lukominskyi

Why it matters: “Concise and clear delivery of your ideas should be #1 in your skill set. In our noisy world, people are too busy to listen to you longer than 30 seconds. Brief and persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in who you are or what you do can become your secret weapon to landing a job of your dreams or establishing powerful business ties. A skill to get your points across quickly is essential and definitely worth mastering.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Giving Your Elevator Pitch

Write effectively.

Shared by Lukominskyi

Why it matters: “Learning to write well involves not just mastery of grammar but the development and the ability to organize one’s thoughts into a coherent form and target it to an audience in the most effective way possible. The ability to express your thoughts in a clear manner will benefit you in many forms and spheres of your activity: corporate emails, pitches, presentations, meetings, formal/informal letters, interviews and the like.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Writing in Plain English

Say no.

Shared by Yogi Raj

Why it matters: “It might sound a cliché, but saying NO when needed can save you lot of time, confusion, guilt, attachment, commitments, stress and other social evils.
While Curiosity is about saying YES to everything, maintaining the fine line between both can make life much fun and enriching.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Learning to Say No


Shared by Raj

Why it matters: “People are often nodding their heads and waiting for the other person to stop speaking so that they can start talking or just walk away. But no one pays attention or listens. It is because of this that valuable insights about a person's thought process, personality are missed out; leading to confusions, clashes and disagreements.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Effective Listening

Present to an audience.

Shared by Janis Butevics

Why it matters: “The ability to speak clearly, persuasively and forcefully in front of an audience – whether an audience of one or of thousands – is one of the most important skills anyone can develop. People who are effective speakers come across as more comfortable with themselves, more confident and more attractive to be around.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Public Speaking Fundamentals

Make smart decisions.

Shared by Butevics

Why it matters: “The bridge that leads from analysis to action is effective decision-making – knowing what to do based on the information available. While not being critical can be dangerous, so too can over-analyzing or waiting too long for more information before making a decision. Being able to take in the scene and respond quickly and effectively is what separates the doers from the wannabes.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Decision-Making Fundamentals

Have great body language.

Shared by Dean Bokhari

Why it matters: “Sometimes your body language tells people everything they need to know before you ever open your mouth.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Body Language for Leaders


Shared by Tobias Greener

Why it matters: “It is impossible to become the best at what you do unless you can concentrate on the things you want to accomplish. The world is full of distraction. Hence, you are unlikely to achieve massive wins if you want to be everywhere and do everything at the same time. Focus is crucial.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Improving Your Focus

Manage your time.

Shared by Rahul Tat

Why it matters: “Developing the right strategies is very important for managing time to balance the demands of today. Time management is one of the most valuable skills that one should aim at.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Time Management

Work well with others.

Shared by Tat

Why it matters: “You need to possess qualities of a team player to work in a culturally diverse environment and with people of different thinking. The ability to work at a place where you can think beyond your area of expertise and take leadership roles when needed is an asset at any organization.”

Recommend LinkedIn Learning course: Teamwork Fundamentals

There are thousands of courses in the LinkedIn Learning library, covering everything from leadership and management to Sequel, Java and InDesign. Check out our full library here.