This soft skill is the new Harvard degree, says expert: It’s ‘the biggest competitive differentiator’

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There's no shortage of stories about how technical skills in IT, software and data are in high demand and can command a handsome six-figure salary.

But according to one LinkedIn expert, one particular soft skill may be as coveted as an Ivy League education.

Given the fast-changing world of business, hiring managers "want to look for growth mindset," says Aneesh Raman, a vice president and workforce expert at LinkedIn. "This is the new degree, the way that you've been looking for a Harvard degree."

A growth mindset, coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, is the idea that you can continue to improve your abilities, talents and knowledge over time by learning through new experiences. The opposite is having a fixed mindset that you can't improve on your skills.

The advice to prioritize continual learning and development is especially crucial to young professionals today who may one day end up in roles that don't yet exist, Raman says. For example, LinkedIn recently identified fast-growing jobs on the rise in 2024 — including chief growth officer and sustainability analyst — many of which didn't exist 20 years ago.

Developing a growth mindset involves setting challenging goals for yourself, taking risks and seeking feedback and coaching from others, Shekhinah Bass, Goldman Sachs' head of talent strategy, previously told CNBC Make It.

How you respond to feedback is especially important, she says: "Feedback can help you identify your blind spots, so you can shift or change how you're showing up in certain work situations. With a growth mindset, you will see those blind spots as things that are within your control to improve." 

Having a growth mindset is essential to achieving goals, gaining skills, viewing failures as learning opportunities and developing positive changes in your life, according to research.

And it could give you an advantage in the hiring market. To demonstrate a growth mindset in an interview, express your enthusiasm for learning on the job and working with the manager to grow as a valuable team member.

"You've got to get excited about learning as an individual," Raman says. "The biggest competitive differentiator a young grad can have is internalizing the idea that they're going to be learning for the rest of their life and getting excited about it."

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC's new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

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