Updated Jan. 11, 2023
We all know that skills are valued differently in the marketplace. There’s constant flux in which skills are in the highest demand, meaning that they become outdated every 5 years.
But the good news is that you can learn and sharpen your high paying skills, whether you’re currently working or not, and leverage these skills to progress your career! Adding some high paying skills to your resume is a great way to boost your hireability and your income. And — by the way — you can often teach yourself these skills.
This post will walk you through 12 high paying skills that will help you launch your career forward! I’ll talk about where to get these skills and how to use them at work.
So whether you’re just starting out or have been in the workforce for years, add some of these to your resume! These are skills that make money!
Some of these are affiliate links to products we’ve used and love. Thanks for supporting Roostervane!
1. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses everything from social media marketing to search engine optimization (SEO). While it’s becoming more and more common to specialize in areas of digital marketing (ie. SEO, social media marketing, or email marketing), most digital marketers will still use a little bit of each of these.
The beautiful thing about digital marketing is that you can learn a lot of it on your own.
But don’t be fooled by the fact that everyone who posts their thoughts on LinkedIn or Twitter thinks they’re a digital marketer. The masters of digital marketing go deep, studying analytics and conversions, perhaps using paid advertising, all in the quest to become the very best at driving customers to a brand.
Because, after all, digital marketing is ultimately about engaging potential customers. And as Neil Patel, the master of digital marketing says, “If you write content and nobody reads it, you’re a writer. If you write content and it drives traffic, you’re a marketer.”
How to learn digital marketing skills:
Obviously, there are a TON of different ways to learn digital marketing. Here are some of my favorite resources & courses for learning digital marketing.
- Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate (Coursera)
- Digital Marketing Strategy: Profitable Sales Funnel Fundamentals (Skillshare)
- Digital Marketing Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
- Advertising on Facebook (LinkedIn Learning)
How to use digital marketing for your work
- Start to grow your skill set with projects and “spec” work, made-up assignments that you can use to grow your portfolio and ultimately impress a current or future employer.
- Volunteer for projects at work with a digital marketing component, or create them! For example, you could volunteer to write guest posts for high-quality blogs on behalf of your company. This will help you grow your audience and also add value to your current employer!
- Follow digital marketing companies on LinkedIn (or other platforms) and engage with them. Connect to key people in those companies, and see if you can grow your network in the field.
2. Project Management
Project management is a high-level skill that deals with planning and executing projects, meeting both deadlines and budgets. The skills you learn as a project manager can take your career anywhere from marketing to IT, so there are plenty of opportunities out there for those who want to put in the work to learn.
There are project managers with just about every background too! I managed research projects on social policy issues with my humanities PhD, but project managers can also be found in sciences, engineering, IT, and more!
How to learn project management
Here are some of the best courses online to get started with project management:
- Project Management Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
- Scrum: The Basics (LinkedIn Learning)
- Become an Agile Project Manager (LinkedIn Learning)
You can also learn project management skills on the job. If you’re a high performer, your employer may see that as a great opportunity to invest in training for you! This might include a PMP, which is the gold standard for project management.
How to use project management at work
Many people who end up in project management never intended to do it! Often people within companies end up taking more and more responsibility, and before they know it, they’re managing a project! Look for opportunities to show that you’re thinking through planning, funding, and other aspects of a project. People who can manage projects often end up moving into leadership positions in an organization.
Selling skills are high demand, high pay because they’re so important for everyone from employees to managers.
Being able to communicate your ideas and win people over is a vital skill in any organization!
Of course, some people will use these skills for a lucrative career in sales. But selling doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a salesperson.
How to learn or improve your selling skills
Sales are fundamentally about relationships. Really, sales are about people. But there are some courses that can improve your chops. Here are a few options.
- Sales Fundamentals (LinkedIn Learning)
- Business-to-Business Sales (LinkedIn Learning)
- Communication Skills Machine: Master Persuasion and Influence for Entrepreneurship, Business, & Life (Skillshare)
How to use your selling skills at work
If you’re good at selling, you might look for high-quality sales jobs. Since this is a valuable skill, it might make sense to make it your full-time work!
Otherwise, don’t be afraid to use your selling skills in other areas of business. Take on projects or roles that require building consensus, working with stakeholders, or championing ideas. Use presentations as opportunities to convince and persuade.
It’s said that anybody can be a manager, but not anyone can be a leader. And that’s true! Leadership is one of the most in-demand skills in the modern workplace, but also one of the most misunderstood.
So what is leadership?
One of the definitions of a leader that I learned from Dave Ramsey is “Leaders make decisions.” And I think that’s a pretty good start. If you look at your organization, you’ll see that–even without a title–there are some people willing to champion work and make it happen, and others that wait to be told what to do.
But real leadership goes further than this.
As we’ve learned from Brené Brown’s work, true leadership requires vulnerability. It requires embracing our weaknesses and showing others our failings. It means acknowledging that we’re not perfect.
How to develop or improve your leadership skills
- Leadership Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
- Top 10 Rules for Highly Effective Leadership (LinkedIn Learning)
- Get involved in projects or volunteer for things outside of work. Sit on the board of a charity, or join in running events. All these are opportunities to develop leadership skills.
How to use leadership skills at work
Look for opportunities to lead in small or large ways. Even if you’re not “the manager” of something, you can show leadership by taking initiative over your own work, and share your ideas freely.
Books to develop your leadership skills
- Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, John Maxwell
- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, Brené Brown
5. Public Speaking
The famous joke about public speaking is that, on a list of fears, people put public speaking above dying. That means that, at the average funeral, most people would choose to be in the casket instead of giving the eulogy.
You can see Seinfeld telling this joke here.
But you don’t need to be afraid of public speaking!
Nobody is born a public speaker. Everyone can get better.
And take it from me, after hundreds of speaking gigs, you get less nervous and a bit better every time. (Go look at my YouTube videos if you don’t believe me!)
How to learn public speaking skills
- Communicating with Confidence (LinkedIn)
- Intro to Public Speaking – Give a 5-Minute Talk Without Dying (Skillshare)
- Take advantage of Toastmasters International. It’s a high-quality organization that will help you improve your public speaking skills over time, and it’s free! You can look up local clubs online or by asking around.
- One thing that has helped me a lot, as mentioned above, is my YouTube channel! Creating videos has meant a ton of practice speaking, sketching out ideas, and then critically watching a video of myself and noticing everything I did wrong (yeah, really).
How to use public speaking skills at work
One of the reasons public speaking skills are so valuable is that they intersect with a lot of the biggest moments in the life of a company. Presenting the new product. Showing off research. Making a pitch. Even negotiating salary and mastering a job interview requires some public speaking skills (they’re performative, even if not done in front of a crowd).
If you get better at public speaking, it will pay dividends throughout your career!
Books to develop your public speaking skills
- Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life, Michael Port
6. Data Analysis
If you can master data, you’re golden. Data analysis is about using high-quality data sets and statistics to make informed decisions on almost anything–from what products your customers really want (and what they don’t want) to the best way to get high-value employees interested in your company.
And one of the GREATEST skill sets is the ability to go beyond simple analysis and tell stories with data!
How to learn data analysis skills
Here are some courses to help you learn data analysis!
- Introduction to Data Science (Datacamp)
- Learning Data Analytics: 1 Foundations (LinkedIn Learning)
- Intro to R (Datacamp)
How data analysis can help you at work
Find out where data gets used in your workplace, and don’t be afraid of it! Getting comfortable with datasets is key. Find projects that let you engage with data, and focus on not only understanding, but also communicating what the data means to those who aren’t data heads.
Writing is still pretty dang valuable, and that’s not going away. Plus, there are a zillion different types of writing in the modern workplace, from writing blog posts like this one to writing internal reports to writing emails.
There’s a good chance your job is going to include writing, and learning to write gooder (see what I did there?) will help a lot!
How to learn writing skills
- Of course, there are a ton of writing courses online. You can take these. But really, the best way to learn writing is to practice. Writing is something you can start practicing right now–every day if possible!
- BUT, don’t just write. Find people to critique you! You’ll never know how good (or bad) your writing is until you hear how other people understood it. One surefire way to become a better writer is to subject your writing to scrutiny. Embrace the feedback–from it you’ll grow!
- Write for different audiences and different formats. I can write like an academic OR I can write policy reports like a government official OR I can write blog posts like a 1990s teenager with a studded belt and a Geocities page. Yeah, I’m that old. Each of these writing styles serves a function and have different values.
How writing skills can help you at work
There are a million different ways that writing could intersect with your work, but let me say this above all. If you write well, people will notice. Being a good writer can boost your personal brand, your ability to sell yourself and your ideas, and avoid miscommunications.
8. Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is an important part of understanding what your customers (or employees or partners) actually think about something, and why they feel the way they do about it. It usually involves in-depth interviews with a small number of participants to actually go deep into how they’re feeling.
Qualitative research also feeds into one of the top, in-demand tech jobs- User Experience Research (UX).
How to learn qualitative research methods
- There’s a high quality course on Coursera that covers qualitative research methods in detail. It also includes skills you can use in your current job!
- Reach out to people who do this for a living and ask them about their experiences with it. Through some informational interviews, you’ll learn more about it.
- Most companies include some sort of UX design if they’re designing a product, even if they don’t have a full-time UX team. See if you can get involved with some of this work!
How to use qualitative research at work
Like I said above, find opportunities to get involved in qualitative projects. This could be through product design, but could also be through things like employee engagement interviews or exit interviews (HR). These are moments in every company’s life that produce qualititative data that could be compiled, studied, and learned from.
9. Grant Writing
Grant writing is another high paying skill that’s in high demand. If you want a job working at the leading edge of a nonprofit, research institution or other high impact organization, learning to write grants can pay off big time! For these orgs, grant writing literally pays the bills, and therefore will be super valuable.
How to learn grant writing skills
- You can take a grant writing course online, for example, Teresa Huff’s course on SkillShare (which I’ve linked to below).
- If you have a non-profit job now, reach out to your boss and ask them if you can be involved in grant writing–even as an editor or proofreader initially. Study winning grand proposals to see what they did well. OR, if you’re a student, apply for every scholarship and grant you can find for your research. It’s a great way to get some hands-on experience.
How to use grant writing at work
If you’re already at a non-profit job and want some career advancement opportunities (or if there are any openings), this is the high quality, high demand skill you’ll need. Like I said above, look for opportunities to jump in on projects that have a grant writing component, and study past successful grants to see what they did well!
10. Video Production
Video production and editing is a high impact and high demand skill. With web traffic turning more and more to video, this skill is a huge asset to have in your back pocket.
How to learn video production skills
- There are online courses that cover everything from using the right gear to editing high quality video.
- You might be surprised at how much you can learn from high-quality videos on YouTube too. I’ve even made a few videos about how I make videos on my YouTube channel.
How to use video editing skills at work
If your company is looking to create a high impact marketing campaign or other high demand high impact task, you can use your video editing skills to add value! Even if your job title isn’t “Video Editor,” look for opportunities to pitch in! You might also look for marketing or storytelling jobs where your video editing skills would be an asset.
Managing a budget is a high value skill, especially when paired with project management (above). Managing a budget requires a high-level of understanding of where the money comes from and where it goes.
Plus, you don’t have to work in finance to benefit from a budgeting skill. Just about any leadership position will probably require at least a basic understanding of budgeting.
How to learn budgeting skills
- Look around! You might be surprised at how many great budgeting courses are offered online for free – even by top universities like Columbia University and MIT. Otherwise, try platforms like LinkedIn learning.
- Get your hands on some budgets. Learn by doing!
How to use budgeting skills at work
There’s always a budget in every modern workplace. Figure out where they are and who owns them, and see if you can get involved with planning or testing a budget. Look for opportunities to create budgets, even for small projects, that will demonstrate this skill to your employer!
12. Affiliate Marketing
If you want to have a more diverse income stream or build your own website empire, this high quality skill will help! I use it here with Roostervane. But affiliate marketing is increasingly factoring in companies’ marketing strategies, as they form relationships with influencers and thought leaders to build their affiliate profiles.
Affiliate marketing is a win-win, since companies get new clients, and influencers get paid to put products they love in front of their existing audience!
How to learn affiliate marketing skills
- There’s a lot of knowledge about affiliate marketing online, since it’s become one of the key ways the internet is monetized. Look for blogs and podcasts about it.
- I took a great course from Michelle-Schroeder Gardner, who runs the blog Making Sense of Cents (and famously earns up to $50,000/month from affiliate marketing).
How to use affiliate marketing skills at work
If you have a job right now where they run affiliate marketing campaigns with influencers, a good understanding of affiliate marketing will help you manage relationships and understand how to make sure your campaign is successful.
These are just a few of the high-paying skills that will make you an asset to any organization. How many of these do you use right now? Create a plan for learning one or two of these and watch as your income and value increase! Good luck!
Now Read: 14 Viable Passive Income Ideas for 2023