Maybe your goal is to land a new job in 2020. Or maybe you're reasonably content where you are and prefer to work your way up the ladder or simply excel in your current role. No matter the circumstances, boosting your skills can set the stage for career-related success and buy you the job security you're no doubt looking for.

Here are a few specific skills it could pay to focus on in the coming year.

1. Time management

There's a reason so many workers these days run the risk of burning out -- they don't do a good job of managing their time, and they wind up spending the bulk of their waking hours dealing with job-related tasks. If you'd rather avoid that fate, focus on getting better at time management. That could mean learning to set priorities, mapping out daily or weekly schedules and task lists, or learning how to avoid on-the-job distractions.

Time management and productivity go hand in hand, so once you learn to excel in the former, you're apt to do better with the latter.

A man sitting behind a laptop at a desk


2. Communication

Many people think they're strong communicators when, in fact, their skills could use improvement. If you're not good at communicating, joint projects might suffer, your colleagues might grow frustrated, and your manager might question your ability to collaborate with others.

Think about how you communicate with your peers and boss at present, and see where there's room for improvement. That could mean sharing more details at the right time, or learning to consolidate your thoughts when writing emails so you don't wind up rambling or going off on needless tangents.

3. Attention to detail

When you're juggling multiple tasks at once (which tends to be the case for many workers), it can be difficult to take a step back and focus on the smaller details that may not seem all that important. But actually, if you learn to pay better attention to detail, you'll prove that you're the one worthy of leading projects or being trusted with high-profile assignments.

To that end, figure out how to get better at examining your own work, or the work you're tasked with reviewing. That could mean playing around with different environments or getting into the habit of reading reports out loud before submitting them.

4. Problem-solving

Becoming a good problem-solver doesn't just mean getting creative or trying out different approaches to the challenges you and your team typically face. It also means having the right attitude -- namely, the confidence to tackle work issues head-on with the underlying sentiment that you will, in fact, get to the bottom of things. Learning to be a better problem-solver is a good way to line yourself up for a management role. And if that's not your goal, know that it never hurts to secure a reputation as the person who somehow manages to tackle the challenges no one else can.

As you work your way through the upcoming year, it always helps to improve on the skills that are specific to your job. The above skills, by contrast, are more universal -- they apply to almost any job. But if you get better at them, you're apt to benefit in one way or another.