Straight out of college, you zealously send out resumes in hopes of landing that dream job. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bigger paycheck, but it takes more than just earning a college degree to find a lucrative career path.
At the moment, millennials are the most predominant workforce in the U.S, followed by the GenX. And like any regular employees, they all want a bigger, better pay.
We put together a list of the best skills you can acquire to find and land better paying careers. Explore them using these page jumps:
What the Facts Say
Soft Skills that Lead to High-Paying Jobs
∅ Project Management
∅ Customer Service
∅ Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Technology-driven Skills
∅ Ace Interviews
∅ Analytical Reasoning
∅ Interdisciplinary Knowledge
∅ Financial Management
What the Facts Say
Some 49% of workers in 2023 reported satisfaction over their jobs. However, they were generally uncertain of their potential for professional growth.
Did you know that individuals with higher education often get better employment even in economic downturns? With the rise of AI, workers with little to no educational attainment experience job scarcity. By 2030, they are projected to have limited job offers particularly in sales, location-based work, and coding jobs.
However, new graduates still find themselves accepting employment offers that do not align with the competencies they acquired in college. Underemployment has been an issue in the general workforce for the last 30 years. External hires are paid more by up to 20% than internal hires. External hires, or those individuals hired outside the company, maybe earn promotions faster and seek higher pay. Some executives also prefer global hires that bring an inclusive experience and better results for the organization.
A 2017 Salary Budget Survey revealed that workers in the U.S. only took a 3.8% pay raise despite the 4.3% overall wage growth. To resolve, they would need to find better job prospects. To do that, they need to focus on enhancing their skills.
Soft Skills that Lead to High-Paying Jobs
While a college degree makes you an expert in your field, a truly effective way to create an edge over your competition in the workforce is to develop and possess a specific set of soft skills.
Soft skills are rooted in your personality and illustrate your true character as an asset in your organization.
Also known as a soft skill, the ability to network is one of the biggest competencies to which recruiters can’t say no. This is the “If you’re not networking, you are not working” era where an attention economy wins big time at every business level.
One way to climb your way up in the ladder is to develop excellent soft skills such as being an efficient team member, connecting and establishing good relationships with customers, negotiating well, or solving problems as a team.
Internet marketing is another form of networking in the digital space. We are now in global business. Whether it’s a small or large enterprise, companies are likely taking offshore transactions. If you have training and knowledge in digital marketing, chances are employers would want to hire you.
Positions such as chief marketing officer or marketing manager in advertising and promotions can earn $150,000 to $250,000 per year.
Networking skills require you to be adept in:
- Communication (e.g., verbal, non-verbal, listening)
- Emotional Intelligence
- Influencing abilities
Good moral standing, attendance, and ability to finish the job on time are some key elements to learning project management. It is about proactively taking on tasks.
As a project manager, you are expected to be:
- Always on time
As a self-starter with basic tech skills in project management tools, you can consider becoming an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems administrator for a cool $95,000 per-year salary.
Most businesses have gone global, resulting in the rising need for customer service representatives both offline and online. Whether you’re communicating through phone, email, or chat, customers want to feel that they matter.
A background in marketing is a plus for recruiters. Businesses would always prefer someone who can “sell” for them.
Take short courses to improve customer service skills. Participate in weekly gatherings to enhance your public speaking. When you develop the confidence to market your skills, you get better prospects in areas where business negotiations are commonplace.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Technology-driven Skills
With the rise of AI and even more modern technology on the horizon, companies are changing their hiring processes and standards. Get skilled in UX design and software development to land high-paying positions where automation is the name of the game. AI-equipped talents land some of the most profitable and in-demand jobs today, especially in Silicon Valley.
You probably immediately think “haggling,” but negotiating skills present you with a broader range of job prospects beyond sales. Good negotiating skills can land you lucrative jobs across the board.
A CEO role will require you to strategize and organize teams to reach the company’s goals. It requires planning and coordinating with operations between other companies and organizations. Arbitrators and negotiators are the front line personnel in resolving issues and conflicts between two parties outside the court’s system. Lawyers, purchasing agents, and business managers for athletes and artists are also negotiators who get paid handsomely.
During the interview process, you showcase your communication skills written and verbally. Recruiters will ask you a series of questions to test your proficiency in problem-solving and reasoning. They may ask you several questions on challenging tasks you did and accomplished, as highlighted by the infamous Google interview questions.
To ace your interviews, research is key! Recruiters find it impressive when candidates know what they’re in for, and ask the right questions. As an excellent communicator, you should also know how to establish rapport with your interviewer and keep them interested in you.
Did you know that routine jobs are at risk of becoming obsolete? These days, more companies prefer applicants with a degree in liberal arts because, according to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, liberal arts degree holders focus on the nature of artistic activities with an emphasis on analysis, performance, and examination, and the development of technical skills. Entering an age of globalization, any business would want to capitalize on these attributes on a wide range of applications.
Although intertwined with creativity and AI, analytical reasoning is a broader take on making efficient solutions to short- or long-term problems. It’s the ability to make decisions, organize, manage, conduct research, and implement protocols with regard to the overall well-being of an organization.
While everyone has an innate ability to think, not everyone can do efficient thinking. Thinkers usually find themselves in positions of leadership, as well as jobs related to technology and the sciences. Individuals who score high on this attribute do well in business, forensic science, marketing, and public relations.
Individuals with interdisciplinary majors are in-demand due to their wide experience and background in two or more subjects. Multiple sets of expertise in the sciences, technology, and engineering fields usually result in bigger paychecks.
In particular, Data science is currently one of the hottest jobs that require interdisciplinary knowledge in mathematics, computer science, and data analysis. Similarly, electronic business marketing, or E-commerce marketing, requires you excel in three areas: business, info systems, and marketing. All of them promise lucrative jobs.
Small businesses have also grown in numbers since 2017 and present better job outlooks. With financial management skills, you can be part of these growing businesses and working for them to get their financial data and documents in order, such as income statements, taxes, or create sales projection.
A background in Finance is your key to landing better-paying positions. A finance manager’s duties include forecasting, trend analysis, risk management, and ensuring the overall health of the company’s finances.
There are roughly 2,907 insurance companies in the U.S as of 2017 so financial management graduates with exceptional communication make an average of up to $62,995 per year as an insurance agent.
Personal financial advisors are also in-demand with the rising rich who deal with various assets and investments. On average, financial analysts earn roughly $85,000 per annum.