The economy continues to recover in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but with the unemployment rate still at 6.2%, according to the Department of Labor, millions of Americans remain out of work and seeking their next job opportunity.

If you're on the hunt for work, staying up to date on what employers are looking for in potential new hires is key. As various fields benefit from new technologies and working from home becomes increasingly normal, the employment landscape keeps shifting. Knowing which abilities to highlight on your resume "can help you stand out," says Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecruiter.

Here are three in-demand skills for job seekers to include in their resumes in 2021.

Self management

As millions of jobs have gone remote during the pandemic, soft skills like self management have become highly coveted by employers, according to a recent post by Fairygodboss.

Self management includes active learning, a high tolerance for stress, and flexibility. Demonstrate that you've honed your self-management skills in your resume by including points that highlight different capabilities you've learned on the job, how you've managed tight deadlines, and your ability to juggle multiple projects and prioritize whatever your bosses found most important.  

In the interview itself, discuss problems you've helped solve and give examples of how you've managed your time and kept yourself motivated while working from home.

Video by Courtney Stith

Communication skills

"The U.S. is now fundamentally a service sector economy," says Pollak, with "people persuading each other and selling to each other and solving each other's problems." As such, communication skills are becoming more and more important to employers.

These can include "business communication skills like dealing with clients and customers" and "writing emails and speaking clearly," says Pollak. Here are her suggestions.

  • "Make sure there are no spelling errors and grammatical errors" on your resume.
  • If you've written articles or blog posts, or created content on social media platforms like TikTok that showcases your ability to communicate an idea, make sure to highlight those in your resume.
  • Before a video or in-person interview, practice interviewing with friends or family to prove you can speak clearly and succinctly.
  • After any video or in-person interview, "follow up with a thank-you note," says Pollak.

Tech savvy

Virtually all professions now rely on tech, from engineering to marketing, so it's important to make "sure you're constantly keeping up with what's happening" in your field in terms of the latest platforms, tools, and software being used, says Georgene Huang, co-founder of Fairygodboss.

"Digital marketing, for example is changing all the time," she says. Impress employers by coming into an interview with know-how about TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other platforms they should be using.

Video by Courtney Stith

Speak to people in your industry and read newsletters and blogs to keep up with the latest tech you may be asked to know and use. Scanning job descriptions may also help you gauge what capabilities employers are looking for along these lines.

"There's very low barriers to entry" in some of these platforms, says Huang. "As long as you have a computer [and feel like] 'I'm willing to put in the time'" to learn how to use them, you should be able to stay up to date, and maybe even ahead of the curve, on what tech matters in your field.

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