8 Underrated Skills And Why They’re Critical to Career Success

There is so much talk about the “Skills Gap” today. For good reason. After all, many employers have many positions open for long periods of time. Not because people aren’t applying. But because they lack the skills required. So what are these missing and underrated skills? Why are they important to career success?

To help answer those questions, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:

What is the most underrated soft or hard skill right now?

Here are some of their thoughtful, and also helpful, answers…


1. Persistence

I see it (and lack of it) in every role in a company. When someone is persistent, they’re naturally programmed to push through things; they figure it out. In sales, they’re more likely to follow up enough times to close the deal. When they get something wrong, they’re willing to correct it and keep moving. And when they do something right, they replicate that habit.

Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40


2. Project Management

Ideas are cheap. So execution is where wealth is found. Put only visionaries in a room, and nothing will ever get done. Whiteboards will be full and diagrams drawn, yet nothing is accomplished. Project management keeps expectations met and things moving forward. It also helps us all meet deadlines.

Josh Harcus, Hüify


3. Basic Photo Editing and Design Skills

We’re moving into a time when visuals are everything. From social media to online branding, photos and videos are everywhere, and there’s a new caliber to be met. Even the most basic photo editing and design skills help an employee stand out when something must be done quickly and well.

Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network


4. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence remains most underrated soft skill. It always has been. You can be a star performer and great at your job. And if you aren’t self-aware? Then at some point, you’ll plateau. Or even roll back downhill in your evolution as a person and a professional. Being able to understand and articulate where you need development will open more doors than it closes.

Sydney Williams, SYDNEY: unfiltered


5. Writing and Communication Skills

Almost anyone can write, so most people overlook the necessity of writing well. And yet even one incorrect letter in an email can mean the loss of clients and failure. That’s why I’ve made writing tests part of my interview process. Even if your business doesn’t need pinpoint accuracy, you’ll benefit from someone who can communicate effectively.

Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital


6. The Ability to Negotiate

Everyone knows what they want in life and in their career. However, few people know how to ask for it in a manner that is persuasive and not offensive. Know how to explain the value you contribute to an employer or customer? Or better yet, a future customer? Then you hold the keys to your personal success.

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep


7. Listening

Listening is a lost art that does so much for productivity, collaboration, respect and communication. However, not many people use it to its full advantage. Active listening important to use, especially when the external audience expects to be heard. So if you want to be known as a good leader and communicator, learn to listen first.

Drew Hendricks, Buttercup


8. Adaptability

underrated skillsOne underrated soft skill is adaptability. Being able to take on a project or a task that might not necessarily fall within your job description or wheelhouse is crucial for the success of a business. It shows you’re ready to be challenged. And having an adaptable nature really just means you’re willing and eager to learn.

Chris Savage, Wistia



YECYoung Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.



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