In-demand skills for your resume


After graduating, it’s common for Singaporeans to immediately join the workforce to earn our keep and pave the way for our careers. Fast forward a few years, and many yearn for career progression or a complete change of pace to follow their dreams. If you’re looking to make a mid-life career swap or vie for a higher-paying role, then upskilling is a way to buff up your portfolio and wow interviewers. Don’t just take our word for it; here’s some insider info from recruiters themselves on the in-demand skills to add to your resume in 2021, and relevant courses to take.


1. Media – creative thinking & visual editing


a person snapping a picture of another woman over a nice backdrop

The media industry has many facets from publishing and broadcasting, to creative agencies and production houses. It’s common for creatives to explore and work in these different areas and environments throughout their careers. No matter which area you’re looking to excel in, one crucial skill needed in pretty much every media company is creative thinking.

“Creativity usually can be assessed through tests specially prepared for the role”, says Winson Chin, who currently works in the media industry and has seven years of HR experience. “Showcasing your best work in your portfolio and explaining them well during the interview helps us identify a candidate’s thought process.”

On top of this, he says that it’s always a bonus to have practical skills like photo and video editing. Since pretty much every field in media utilises visual mediums like Instagram or banner ads, picking up editing skills and mastering it makes you indispensable regardless of which line you work in. 

Creative Thinking Made Easy
Training duration: 14 hours
Training provider: Nanyang Technological University
Course fee: $590
Find out more about Creative Thinking Made Easy

Basic Video Creation & Editing
Training duration: 7.5 hours
Training provider: Republic Polytechnic
Course fee: $81
Find out more about Basic Video Creation & Editing


2. Marketing – presentation skills & digital marketing strategy


man dressed in a dapper suit presenting over a laptop, in-demand skills 2021

Having the gift of gab can get you out of sticky situations and win people over. When you work in client-facing roles where pitches and presentations are part of your day-to-day tasks, having good presentation skills is vital, especially in the marketing field.

“For both verbal and non-verbal communication, the key thing about communication skills is it has to be effective”, says Winnie Toh, an HR Executive from a marketing firm with eight years of experience. “Anyone can talk and speak, but the question is, was your message delivered and received the way you intended?” 

No job-seeker wants to end up shooting themselves in the foot when an interview goes awry, so it’s essential to hone your presentation skills. It also helps to have ample knowledge on how to engage consumers in this day and age, so being well-versed in digital marketing strategies will give you an edge when interviewers prod you to “show” rather than “tell”.

Effective Digital & Social Media Marketing for Beginners
Training duration: 8 hours
Training provider: Temasek Polytechnic
Course fee: $190
Find out more about Effective Digital & Social Media Marketing for Beginners

Advanced Business Presentation
Training duration: 16 hours
Training provider: Nanyang Technological University
Course fee: $1,200
Find out more about Advanced Business Presentation


3. Tech & IT – Python and cryptography


using the computer, in-demand skills 2021

There’s no way we can survive without technology in this day and age, and it so happens that more digital platforms we use daily are being powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. According to a LinkedIn report, these are two highly sought-after skills, so upskilling in these areas opens up pathways to these rapidly growing sectors.

Thabye Soe, who’s worked as a recruiter in the IT industry, explains that picking up coding languages like Python and R are essential if you’re looking to work in AI-driven sectors. This could include developing mobile apps or creating sophisticated software.

To break into the blockchain sector, on the other hand, Thabye cites cryptography as one of the skills recruiters look out for. With an in-depth understanding of what makes blockchain tech like Bitcoin tick, you’ll be well-equipped to take on jobs in high demand such as backend developers.

Fun fact: Music application Spotify uses blockchain tech to sort out their artists’ license agreements, so you aren’t just tied down to tech or finance industries when you pick up this skill.

Python for Machine Learning
Training duration: 19.5 hours (3 days)
Training provider: Nanyang Polytechnic
Course fee: $195
Find out more about Python for Machine Learning

Cryptography
Training duration: 23 hours
Training provider: Singapore University of Social Sciences
Course fee: $1,033
Find out more about Cryptography


4. Finance & Accounting – CFA, CPA & data analytics


a person handing money bills over to another person, in-demand skills 2021

Crunching numbers and dealing with the dough are what people in finance and accounting do, but their 9-5 desk job isn’t as simple as it sounds. 

According to Daryl Ong, who’s had over six years of experience in finance, possessing qualifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) are excellent ways to flex your technical knowledge.

“Finance and accounting positions generally tend to be very technical and require people with the right background and expertise to do the job”, she explains. “Having qualifications such as CFA and CPA shows dedication to improve your technical skills.”

Besides these qualifications, Daryl adds that knowing your way around the Microsoft suite of applications is also a must to break into the industry. You’re also an asset if you’re well-versed with data analytics, as you’ll show employers you’re able to make sense of financial trends and provide essential knowledge that’s crucial for company decision making. 

CFA Singapore Level 1 Preparatory Programme
Training duration: 93.5 hours
Training provider: CFA Singapore
Course fee: $5,000
Find out more about CFA Singapore Level 1 Preparatory Programme

Extracting Business Value Through Data Analytics
Training duration: 7 hours (1 day)
Training provider: Singapore Management University
Course fee: $240
Find out more about Extracting Business Value Through Data Analytics


5. Retail – customer relations & search engine optimisation


a person smiling and shaking hands with another person

It doesn’t matter whether you’re at the front-of-house or behind-the-scenes in retail – all your efforts are to ensure a smooth sailing customer experience. Customer relations is therefore a must-have skill in this field, according to Shirin Wellesley, a recruiter from the retail sector with six years of experience. 

She explains: “A good foundation in customer relations is noticeable once a candidate walks into the office for the interview. You’d be surprised at the number of people who do not greet the receptionist when they walk in.”

Additionally, with online channels being a must in the retail industry today, search engine optimisation (SEO) becomes another neat skill to have in your repertoire. Knowing the subtle intricacies of keyword ranking and the “rules” of Google’s algorithm will be crucial to land your company on the coveted first page of Google – and a job for yourself too. 

Customer Communication Skills to Drive Service Excellence
Training duration: 3.5 hours
Training provider: Temasek Polytechnic
Course fee: $49.99
Find out more about Customer Communication Skills to Drive Service Excellence

Search Engine Optimisation for Beginners
Training duration: 14 hours (2 days)
Training provider: Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Course fee: $150
Find out more about Search Engine Optimisation for Beginners


6. Healthcare – gerontology and health technology assessment


nurses walking in a hallwayImage credit: Nanyang Polytechnic

With more than seven years of experience as a Human Resource Executive, Ang Jun Kai mentions that suitable candidates need to be able to learn quickly as the healthcare sector is “versatile and unpredictable”. This means that they need to get up to speed with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) fast and adapt to any issues that pop up along the way.

Besides our frontline workers who’ve valiantly toiled for us during the ongoing pandemic, the healthcare sector also needs reinforcements to care for Singapore’s rising elderly population. That’s why specialising in gerontology and geriatrics – the study and care of the elderly – will inevitably be a coveted skill.

Fun fact: According to Statista, it’s said that by 2030, roughly one in every five Singaporeans will be aged 65 or older – making gerontology and geriatrics increasingly important in the future.

You have to also be on top of new tech developments in healthcare, with telemedicine options and AI emerging as an essential part of it. Health technology assessment skills will help you suss out the efficacy of new tech and whether it’s beneficial for the industry in the long run. Honing this future-centric skill will prove you’re equipped to evaluate and adapt to new changes in this fast-paced industry.

Post-Diploma Certificate in Principles and Science of Gerontology Nursing
Training duration: 163 hours (30 days)
Training provider: Nanyang Polytechnic
Course fee: $847.02
Find out more about Post-Diploma Certificate in Principles and Science of Gerontology Nursing

SGUS Programme in Healthcare Management and Digital Health
Training duration: 360 hours
Training provider: Singapore Management University
Course fee: $500
Find out more about SGUS Programme in Healthcare Management and Digital Health


7. Hospitality – customer experience & revenue management


customer being attended to at a hotel, in-demand skills 2021

Whether you’re checking into a cosy resort or ordering up a feast at a restaurant, what makes or breaks the mood depends on the pleasantness of the staff. That’s why Winson, who has also recruited in the hotel industry for almost five years, agrees that Customer Experience Management (CEM) is a top skill in the hospitality industry.

Even back-of-house staff need CEM skills as it’s not all about customer interaction – there’s still a lot of planning, research and ideation that goes behind picking the brains of customers. Since the whole industry is predicated on customer satisfaction, CEM skills come in clutch to help you come up with ideas that meet the customers’ ever-changing demands. 

Generating profits has also become a significant concern for the sustainability of hotels due to the current travel ban. In this case, your trump card comes in the form of revenue management skills, as you’ll be able to display your financial savviness to keep business profits as high as possible.

For budding hotel operators, Winson shares a tip to help you get to grips with the finance side of things: “It’s important to know the basics of using reservation software. Knowledge of that will allow you to know the occupancy rate, and in turn, help you understand the revenue of the hotel by season.”

Know Your Customer – Mapping Customer Experience and Journey
Training duration: 7.5 hours (1 day)
Training provider: Republic Polytechnic
Course fee: $81
Find out more about Know Your Customer – Mapping Customer Experience and Journey

Revenue Optimisation and Ancillary Revenues
Training duration: 24 hours
Training provider: Singapore Institute of Technology
Course fee: $2,700
Find out more about Revenue Optimisation and Ancillary Revenues


8. Human Resources – performance management & negotiation


two women having a conversation with one another

Managing employees, settling behind-the-scenes administrative tasks and making crucial hiring decisions: such is life for people in Human Resources. To Thabye, who has over 10 years of experience in her field, it’s performance management and communication skills that show the proficiency of an ideal candidate.

“As our work arrangement shifts from office-bound to a results-based work-from-home model, employees that can prioritise goals and are accountable for their necessary tasks become invaluable”, says Thabye. “Being able to effectively communicate when you no longer have the advantage of being in the same space is also important.”

While goal-oriented and disciplined candidates are essential in other industries too, these skill sets play a larger role in HR as professionals manage the welfare and overall structure of a company. 

After all, they’re the architects of their downfall if they can’t complete their set duties. Plus, as the one asking interview questions, relevant communication skills are a must to get the best out of interviewees.

Pro tip: To highlight these somewhat intangible skills, Thabye suggests the Situation, Tasks, Actions and Result (STAR) method to convey your proficiency to recruiters. 

She elaborates: “You start by framing the situation, laying out your responsibility and role in this situation, describing the actions you took and share the results at the end. You can use STAR to highlight how your skills helped your team navigate a challenging client.”

Post-Diploma Certificate in Future Skills in HR
Training duration: 111 hours (45 days)
Training provider: Singapore Polytechnic
Course fee: $729
Find out more about Post-Diploma Certificate in Future Skills in HR

Collaborative Performance Management and Coaching
Training duration: 14 hours
Training provider: Nanyang Technological University
Course fee: $590
Find out more about Collaborative Performance Management and Coaching


Upskill and stand out with SkillsFuture Credit


people gathered over a laptop, in-demand skills 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt, it’s that upskilling and picking up in-demand skills keep our creative cogs turning even as we age. We can tap on a wide range of SkillsFuture Credit-eligible courses to keep our lifelong learning dreams alive.

This way, upskilling becomes even more accessible to Singaporeans who’re entering or are already in the workforce. Access MySkillsFuture and explore the multiple categories of courses tailored to help you garner more relevant skills in your particular field.

What’s more, since 1st Oct 2020, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above as at 31st Dec 2020 would’ve already accumulated $1,000 worth of SkillsFuture Credit – you’re awarded $500 from the get-go, with a top-up of $500 which will expire on 31st Dec 2025.

Singaporeans between 40 – 60 years old get another $500 Credit to aid their mid-career switching goals. These credits also expire by 31st Dec 2025 and can be used for several programmes.

Trainees under the SGUnited Skills Programme or SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Training will go through a full-fledged upskilling course to stay relevant in the workforce. A handy remuneration of up to $1,500 to cover basic expenses will also be given during their stint of six to 12 months.

There are also Career Transition Programmes to equip you with the necessary skills to start afresh in a new role if you’re seeking a mid-career switch.

There’s no stopping any of us from upskilling, especially when we have ample opportunities to do so. As Shirin shares, “It’s not wise to be stagnant in this fast-changing world. We need to be able to keep up and adapt quickly to stay relevant in our field of work.”

Explore SkillsFuture Credit-eligible courses here


This post was brought to you by SkillsFuture Singapore.
Cover image adapted from: Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Institute of Technology

Some responses have been edited for grammar and clarity.