6 Skills You Need to Stay Competitive in the Age of AI

In this article, we'll go over six of the top skills employers want across all industries heading into the future, and how you can effectively showcase them in your job applications.

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With recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, the job market is already beginning to shift to make way for new titles like "Prompt Engineer," "Machine Learning Engineer," and "AI data scientist."

Though most of us won't be pursuing AI-specific roles like these, we'll all need to hone a forward-looking skill set that allows us to work (and compete) with AI.

In this article, we'll go over six of the top skills employers want across all industries heading into the future, and how you can effectively showcase them in your job applications. Let’s get started.

1. Data analysis

Data analysis involves gathering, organising, and interpreting data to identify patterns, trends, and correlations. It's a skill that's in high demand across industries and will help you use AI systems to make data-driven decisions, identify opportunities for improvement, and optimise processes in any role.

Here are five key data analysis skills to develop:

• Programming. Proficiency in programming languages is useful for manipulating and analysing large datasets and performing statistical analysis.
• Statistical analysis and modelling. With a strong foundation in statistical concepts, you’ll be able to understand patterns, correlations, and trends in data.    
• Data wrangling and cleaning. Before anything else happens, you need to convert raw data into a form that’s ready for analysis and easy to understand.
• Data visualisation. Representing data visually in charts, graphs, or interactive dashboards is important for communicating insights and progress. Start working with Tableau, Power BI, or Matplotlib to develop data visualisation skills.
• Machine learning. Developing knowledge of machine learning algorithms and techniques will help you make use of ML technologies to analyse data and automate processes.

2. Project management

Adopting new AI technologies often requires complex implementation processes and cross-functional collaboration between technical and non-technical stakeholders, including data scientists, software developers, business analysts, and executives. Project management skills are crucial for effectively overseeing AI projects, guaranteeing seamless integration, and maximising positive outcomes.

With a solid understanding of AI technology and its applications, you can bridge the gap between teams, ensure clear communication, set realistic timelines, and align project goals with organisational objectives.

Here are four project management skills to hone:

• Planning & scheduling. Creating project plans, defining tasks, and creating realistic expectations will ensure a smooth workflow and maximise productivity.
• Risk management. There’s a level of complexity and uncertainty inherent in AI projects, and effective risk management can help inform decision making and mitigate negative outcomes.
• Change management. When your company is implementing new AI technologies, the ability to perform impact analysis, implement change, and report on outcomes will ensure smooth transitions.
• Quality assurance. If your company plans to use AI, then implementing effective quality control measures to ensure accuracy and monitor outputs will be crucial.

3. Editing & fact-checking

One of the most popular applications for generative AI is content creation, but companies still rely on human expertise to guarantee the accuracy, quality, and credibility of information. Good editing and fact-checking skills allow you to ensure high standards wherever AI is used, whether it's for internal documents, the company website, or social media.

Here are a few ways to hone your editing and fact-checking skills:

• Perform research and source evaluation. Thoroughly vetting and fact-checking content is vital for ensuring accuracy and preventing the spread of misinformation.
• Familiarise yourself with popular style guides. Proficiency in style guides like the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook will develop your eye for grammar, punctuation, and style.
• Take ethical considerations into account. With rapidly evolving AI technologies and limited regulation, it’s crucial to build ethical choices into developing frameworks. Grow your knowledge of intellectual property rights, privacy and data protection, and inherent bias.

4. Creativity

Creative thinkers are adept at identifying new opportunities, anticipating potential disruptions, developing solutions, and driving forward-thinking initiatives – things AI isn't capable of just yet.

Creativity is also key to working in fields where human intuition, emotional intelligence, and subjective judgement are essential. Successful marketing, for example, relies on crafting compelling narratives, building trust, and finding ways to resonate with target audiences.

Here are some ways to explore your creativity:

• Collaborate. Working with others stimulates idea exchange and brainstorming that doesn’t happen independently.
• Experiment. Try doing things differently than usual – try a new time tracking software, or take a different route to work. Staying open to alternatives will help you see opportunities you may have missed before.

5. Communication

Having good communication skills is crucial for conveying complex information effectively, collaborating with diverse groups of people, and fostering cooperation and teamwork. Effective communication helps bridge the gap between technical expertise and non-technical audiences, making it easier to understand and integrate AI technologies.

Here are a couple ways to enhance your communication skills:

• Get comfortable using online communication platforms. It’s only going to become more commonplace to communicate online, so make sure you’re proficient on platforms like Google Suite, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Asana, or Zoom.
• Practise active listening. While communication may become increasingly automated, AI can’t replace human connection. Develop your ability to understand others and build meaningful and productive relationships by practising active listening.

6. Adaptability

Workers who readily adapt to change, embrace new technologies and ways of working, and effectively problem-solve are in a stronger position to thrive in a technologically evolving job market. Being adaptable enables you to learn new skills quickly, acclimate to shifting job requirements, and welcome the new opportunities AI presents.

Here are a couple ways to demonstrate your adaptability:

• Continue learning. Whether you’re happily employed, actively job hunting, or taking a career break, find ways to educate yourself, develop skills, and stay on top of industry developments.
• Seek out new experiences. Take on new tasks or challenges at work that you normally wouldn’t. Trying new things and giving your brain the chance to function differently can help you stay flexible and open.

Effectively highlight skills in your job application

When you’re looking for a new position, stay competitive in the job hunting process by using your application to reflect these top skills employers are looking for. Below we’ll show you how to use your resume and cover letter to your advantage.

Showcase skills throughout your resume

When it comes to effectively highlighting skills on your resume, here are four important tips to remember.

1. Choose a resume format that showcases your skills well. You can search for a template online that fits your unique needs. Consider the placement of each resume section, and what should be featured at the top.
2. Use your resume summary to spotlight your most relevant skills, as this is what employers will look at first.
3. Demonstrate skills in your work experience section by describing specific accomplishments and using hard numbers and action verbs to back them up. Your work experience is the perfect place to show employers your soft skills – like communication, adaptability, and creativity.
4. Use the skills section of your resume to highlight mostly hard skills, and consider if adding a skills bar would help enhance your application.

Add more context in your cover letter

If there are skills you particularly want to highlight, use your cover letter to go into more detail. Your cover letter is your opportunity to provide additional information and context for your professional accomplishments and convince employers that you’re the right person for the job.

If you want to showcase your ability to adapt, highlight one or two key experiences when you made a seamless transition or successfully navigated an unfamiliar situation at work, and make sure to mention how you’ll apply that skill in the new position.

The best way to show off your skills is to describe them in action. Mention the challenges that you faced and note the outcomes of your actions (with tangible results wherever possible). And be prepared to back up each statement with a more in-depth explanation in your interview.

Author Bio

Corissa is a Career Advisor and Staff Writer at Resume Genius, where she loves equipping others with the tools they need to pursue their dreams. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Philosophy and a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies.

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