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5 soft skills LinkedIn says will get you hired in 2021 — and the online courses to help you develop them

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The job market is always shifting, but soft skills like emotional intelligence, adaptability, and creativity translate to every career.
LinkedIn used billions of data points from its 660+ million members to determine which hard and soft skills matter most to employers in 2020, and which ones are helping LinkedIn members get hired at the highest rates. 
Read about the top five soft skills employers want their employees to have, along with online courses you can take to improve yours, below.
See also: 54 free online courses from the best colleges in the US — including Princeton, Harvard, and Yale
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Navigating the job search as a candidate can feel pretty opaque. It can be challenging to identify which skills you should prioritize to remain competitive, and which areas of your résumé you need to build out to stand out from the crowd. In other words, what are employers looking for, and how do you gain and demonstrate those skills?
Putting its billions of data points to good use, LinkedIn created a “roadmap” for job seekers in 2020. The company used data from the 660+ million professionals in its network and 20+ million job listings to determine the soft and hard skills that are most in-demand (and likely to get candidates hired) this year. 
In order to define what the most in-demand skills really are, LinkedIn looked at skills that are in high demand relative to their supply. Demand was measured by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of people who are getting hired at the highest rates. Only cities with 100,000 LinkedIn members were included in LinkedIn’s evaluation, according to the company.
Though you might typically focus more on hard skills, 57% of business leaders surveyed in 2018 said they believed soft skills were the most important. Perhaps that’s because soft skills translate to any career path and most aspects of being a great employee, teammate, and leader. 
We put together a list of LinkedIn’s most in-demand soft skills of 2020 below, along with online courses you can take to foster them. The online-learning sites we included — LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Coursera, and edX — are among the most popular and inexpensive. You can find more online learning resources here.
Coursera and edX allow you to take classes from the top universities around the world, nearly all of which are free to audit with a fee of $29-$200 to add a verified certificate that you can include on your résumé and LinkedIn profile. Udemy offers more than 100,000 online courses and typically charges about $12 per course. LinkedIn Learning comes with a free one-month trial; after that, access is $29.99/month or $19.99/month annually.

The five most important soft skills that employers are looking for in 2020, according to LinkedIn: 

Banish Your Inner Critic to Unleash Creativity with Denise Jacobs, available on LinkedIn Learning
Creativity For All (Weekly Series), available on LinkedIn Learning
Creative Exercises to Spark Original Thinking, available on LinkedIn Learning
Creativity, Innovation, and Change, available on Coursera
Innovation: From Creativity to Entrepreneurship Specialization, available on Coursera
Creativity & Entrepreneurship, available on edX
Design Thinking and Creativity for Innovation, available on edX
Innovation and Creativity Management, available on edX (starts March 2, 2021)


Persuading Others, available on LinkedIn Learning
Leading Without Formal Authority, available on LinkedIn Learning
Persuasive Coaching, available on LinkedIn Learning
Master Persuasion Psychology, available on Udemy
Negotiation Skills and Effective Communication, available on edX
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking, available on edX
Communication Strategies for a Virtual Age, available on Coursera


Being an Effective Team Member, available on LinkedIn Learning
Shane Snow on Dream Teams, available on LinkedIn Learning
Teamwork Foundations, available on LinkedIn Learning
People Management, available on edX
High-Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation, available on Coursera
Collaboration and Emotional Intelligence, available on Udemy


Managing Stress for Positive Change, available on LinkedIn Learning
Developing Adaptability as a Manager, available on LinkedIn Learning
Finding Your Time Management Style, available on LinkedIn Learning
Adaptive Leadership in Development, available on edX
Innovation Leadership, available on edX (starts 10/12/20)
Design Thinking and Creativity for Innovation, available on edX

Emotional Intelligence

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence, available on LinkedIn Learning
Social Success at Work, available on LinkedIn Learning
Influencing Others, available on LinkedIn Learning
Leading with Emotional Intelligence, available on LinkedIn Learning
Personality Types at Work, available on Coursera
Relationship Management, available on Coursera
Conflict Management Specialization, available on Coursera
Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work, available on edX
Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills, available on Coursera


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