Plutio - Top 10 in-demand soft & hard skills to develop for your freelancer profile

Top 10 in-demand soft & hard skills to develop for your freelancer profile

November 23, 2020

Are you a freelancer searching for a new role? Perhaps you’ve read about the pros and cons of freelance life, and decided to give it a go? Before you begin sending applications and setting your freelance rates, you’ll want to develop your freelancer profile with a host of great skills to make you stand out among all the competition.

As a result of 2020’s global pandemic, more than half (60%) of freelancers reported decreased demand for their services. This is likely due to companies cutting back on their business operations as a result of the recession. Now more than ever it’s vital for freelancers to prove that they can add value to businesses, and do it better than anyone else.

In today’s digital age we’re lucky enough to have a plethora of accessible resources for developing skills available at the click of a button. There are plenty of free or affordable online courses that can help you develop technical skills, learn new languages, or improve your business email etiquette. If you feel that you don’t have some of the crucial skills to stand out in today’s market, then consider signing up for an online class to learn a new skill, or improve an old one.

In this article, we’ve chosen the top 10 in-demand skills to develop your freelancer profile with. We’ll also look at the difference between soft and hard skills, and which are most important for freelancers to have in today’s competitive market.

What’s the Difference Between Soft and Hard Skills?

Hard skills are relatively easy for employers to define, evaluate, and measure. Hard skills are often acquired through formal education or training programs and work experience

They include things like:

  • Language proficiency (speaking Spanish is a hard skill, for example)
  • Machine operation abilities
  • Computer programming knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Writing
  • Design
  • Video Production

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more difficult to define. Soft skills refer to interpersonal skills, personality traits, and behaviors which are often related. It’s hard to point to specific evidence that you possess a soft skill, as you can’t back your claim up with a certificate or work experience. That’s why in interviews, you’ll often be asked to describe an example of a time where you used a particular soft skill. Soft skills can be things like:

  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Flexibility
  • Time Management

When it comes to developing your freelancer profile, a combination of professional hard and soft skills is crucial. Employers are looking for candidates who possess hybrid skills that combine interpersonal and technical skills and make a candidate stand out among the crowd.

In the competitive business landscape of 2020, landing freelance jobs can be pretty difficult, particularly now that more and more people are turning to remote work to improve their work/life balance. You’ll need to incorporate both skill sets into your resume and cover letters when applying for jobs and ensure that you can demonstrate these skills in some way.

Most In-demand Hard Skills


Blockchain came about in 2009 to support the use of cryptocurrency. Knowing how to handle cryptocurrency is a valuable and not-so-common skill that can be a huge asset for businesses. Blockchain’s novel way to transfer and store information across the internet allows businesses to securely store their digital assets.  If you’re among the small supply of professionals who possess blockchain skills, you’re likely to be in high demand.  Blockchain skills require a solid understanding of coding and software development before moving on to blockchain specific coding skills. There are plenty of online courses that can help you develop and refine this hard skill.

Cloud Computing

Many companies in 2020 are built and run on the cloud. Companies require talent who possess the cloud computing skills to understand, design, and deliver cloud systems like a hosted PBX. With advanced digital transformations taking place left, right, and center, cloud computing skills will continue to be valuable assets to businesses for years to come.

Artificial Intelligence

Companies are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to empower employees and improve customer experience by streamlining business operations. From automated business call recording solutions to predictive algorithms to data analysis; AI works in tandem with human employees to improve and enhance business processes.

Those who can develop more intuitive AI technology or harness the power of machine learning can help businesses to provide more innovative and personalized products and services. It makes sense then that possessing AI skills will put you in high demand as a freelancer in today’s business landscape.

UX Design

Skills in UX design are highly valuable in helping businesses to develop intuitive, personalized, and efficient products and services. Customers increasingly demand top-notch user experiences. 88% of users are unlikely to return to a website if they’ve had a bad user experience. With this in mind, businesses need to ensure they provide exceptional UX to engage users.

Nowadays most commerce and business operations are conducted through online platforms. If these online platforms are clunky, slow, or just simply aesthetically unappealing organizations risk losing out on customers, sales, and profits. Those with UX design know-how are in high demand, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

Affiliate Marketing

As traditional marketing methods become increasingly obsolete, 81% of marketers are adopting affiliate marketing tactics to boost their revenues with passive income. If you’re skilled in affiliate marketing and have experience in securing company partnerships and appealing to the biggest influencers, then you’ll be a great asset to any organization.

Video Production

Video production is one of the most sought after hard skills in today’s digital landscape. With 81% of businesses using video as a marketing tool, it’s clear that it’s one of the most popular and digestible media forms for consumers.

YouTube is the second most popular website after Google (source), which means that video production opens up a huge audience for businesses to promote their product or service and engage with customers. Due to its increasing popularity as a medium, being able to produce videos (for whatever purpose) puts you in high demand among businesses looking to increase engagement with visual marketing campaigns.

Most In-demand Soft Skills


Creativity is a constant among the most in-demand soft skills. It’s the ability to think about a task or problem in innovative ways. Creative people have the capacity to use their imagination to generate new ideas and make connections to find opportunities where others might not. Whether they’re developing sales channel strategies or engineering new software, people with creative skills drive business solutions through innovation and problem-solving.


Today’s world is rapidly changing. Do you find it hard to keep up or are you able to adapt with ease? If you’re working in a technological field or a growing startup then adaptability is an essential skill to have as a freelancer. Employers will want to know that they’re hiring a value-adding freelancer who can adapt to their strategies and tech tools, not slow them down.


In today’s competitive market it’s not enough to just offer a great product or service. Organizations need to employ people who have excellent persuasion skills to sell it. Not everyone has a natural knack for persuasion. If you want to develop your persuasive skills for your freelancer profile you can try checking out some phone sales tips and working on your overall communication skills.

It’s important to note that persuasion skills don’t just apply to sales though. Good persuasion skills can also be of use in recruiting team members, increasing productivity, and increasing others to perform well.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, evaluate, and reason with emotions. It’s a skill increasingly sought after by employers in order to improve company culture and teamwork. Moreover, emotional intelligence informs business decisions, high-pressure situations, conflict resolution, constructive criticism, and more.  Perhaps that’s why 90% of top performers score highly on emotional intelligence, whereas only 20% of lower performers achieve the same high scores.

This soft skill is particularly sought after as more teams transition to remote working. You might think that remote working would require less EQ, but this isn’t the case. Virtual project management requires high levels of EQ as team members need to collaborate and communicate online, maintaining great teamwork. This has become even more important with less face to face contact and more meetings and collaboration taking place over a virtual phone service or chat tools.

How To Highlight Skills on Your Freelancer Profile

Before applying to a freelance job you’ll want to make sure you’ve highlighted the job-specific skills that apply to that role.

If you’re applying for a job as a freelance software developer, for instance, you should emphasize your coding expertise, computer proficiency, and creative problem-solving skills. This will show the hiring manager why you’re the perfect candidate for that specific role and show that you’ve paid attention to the job description and requirements.

On the other hand, if you’re applying for an administrative role you’ll want to highlight your customer service and communication skills, as you’ll mainly be working with other people.

When it comes to creating a great freelancer profile soft skills can be more difficult to highlight than hard skills. Scan the job description for the soft skills they’ve mentioned, and consider the skills you think would be important to succeed in that particular role. Also, think about how you’ve used your soft skills to achieve results in previous jobs, and think about examples you can share with the hiring manager during an interview.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

When it comes to developing a great freelancer profile that impresses employers and lands jobs, soft and hard skills are equally as important. Transferable skills are particularly valuable. Consider the job-specific requirements that your potential employer is looking for and highlight them to stand out. With plenty of accessible resources available, it’s easier than ever to develop your freelance skillset.

Everyone can benefit from consistently improving and honing their skills in today’s competitive job market. Not only does this increase your potential for employment, but it showcases your dedication and desire to succeed.

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