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9 Skills Students Need to Succeed in the Future Workforce

The world is constantly changing. We are living in a modern era of a fast-paced development. Needless to say, the labor market is not immune to all the changes, especially when the spiralling advancement of technology comes into play. With the crumbling fall of the outdated paradigms of the past in 2008, we have already experienced a glimpse of the future of the job market. And, to make things more complex, this is only the beginning.

So, what are the vital skills that every ambitious student will need in the future workforce? We’ve put together the top nine skills students should acquire to remain competitive in the future job market.

1. Digital literacy

This one goes without saying – forget about basic computer skills: the perfect job candidate of the future will have to be well-versed in a variety of technologies in order to be even considered for a position. We are talking about: different devices, such as personal computers, tablets, smartphones, virtual assistants and whatnot; both up-and-coming and old-school social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.; new software, such as virtual reality, enhanced reality, AI, progressive web-apps, etc.

You can easily find videos and tutorials on different platforms and devices by simply searching on Google.

2. Communication

When it comes to communication skills, we’re not saying that knowing a half a dozen of the most popular languages in the world is not great, but in this case, we are talking about general linguistic fluency. The development of electronic media has transformed the world into the proverbial “global village,” meaning we are now connected as never before. We can now easily connect and communicate with people all over the world, meaning that cross-cultural communication is becoming a necessity in the future workplace.

Graham Davis, a writer for Assignment Geek, highlights the importance of cross-cultural communication on the future market, having worked with hundreds of students, all from different backgrounds, ‘’Having a good command of cross-cultural communication, pragmatics, socio-linguistics, etc. is paramount in a world where everybody is one click away. If you want to be fit for the job market of tomorrow, start learning techniques about how to communicate effectively with people from different social, cultural, economic, geographical and political backgrounds.’’

3. Emotional intelligence

Breaking the outdated belief of the perfect employee being an emotionless robot, there is a rising tendency for employers to search for employees with high emotional intelligence. It’s simple, really – the obsolete model of looking for someone to fit perfectly inside the strict and rigid box has been shattered by young, yet well-rounded and mature people who are bringing new ideas on the market.

In other words, people with high emotional intelligence are able to control any given situation by controlling themselves – a system which proved to be a lot more effective than management trying to control every possible situation by micromanaging “predictable” employees.

4. Leadership

Leadership – the evergreen professional skill has arguably always been essential in one’s success at work. However, in the not-so-distant future, this skill will be needed more than ever. The market is constantly reshaping, which forces employers to look for a new kind of leaders. It is easy to be a leader among a group of 5, 50, or 100 people if the members have similar backgrounds and there is a real-life contact between the leader and the group.

But, what happens when the whole business goes online? What happens when you need to coordinate a highly diverse group of people from all around the world? What happens when you try to empathize with an employee, but all you have to work with is an avatar and a bunch of written text? These challenges are actively reshaping the meaning of the role of the leader.

If you are looking to further develop your leadership skills, hiring a leadership or executive coach is a fantastic option. What’s more, if you are already a leader or are being groomed for a senior-level position, your company will likely foot the bill for this.

5. Entrepreneurship

Again, the global market is in a state of constant flux and this trend will only be more prominent in the future. And the need for people who can sniff out the newest new technologies and developments is on the rise. Modern business owners are turning away from being the entrepreneurs themselves and usually spread the responsibility to a number of “junior entrepreneurs” in order to widen the scope of the company and reduce the risks of new ventures.

Some say that people can only be born as entrepreneurs. Others think that it’s just another skill that can be acquired. We stand somewhere in-between: some are natural at it, others could acquire it with hard work and dedication.

6. Analytical and critical thinking

Working intuitively and following “a hunch” is a thing of the past. The internet revolution changed the landscape of decision making by giving the world something invaluable – abundance of data. Why should any company risk resources when they could employ a person with strong analytical and critical capabilities, someone who could see through the sea of data, “connect the dots” and discern between useful and useless information?

7. Empathy

New business models shift towards work in compact groups. Needless to say, a crucial prerequisite for this model is a great rapport within the group. Empathy is vital for creating strong interpersonal relationships, not just with colleagues, but with customers alike. While not everyone is both with this trait, with practice and patience you can learn to be a more empathetic person and therefore develop better relationships with your peers, superiors and anyone you interact with both in and outside of work.

8. Resilience

The market is becoming more and more competitive and the students of the future will be faced with the “missing the tree for the forest” analogy. Both strong competition and disloyal competition are reducing the chance of success, so it is vital for students to learn how to deal with this challenge from an emotional perspective. While success is becoming more marginal, students need to learn to redefine the meaning of success and how to pick themselves up after a failure. There are a variety of techniques and strategies to build up your resilience, so it’s important to find which works best for you.

9. Curiosity

One of the biggest downfalls of the workforce of the past and greatest advantage of the workforce of the future is curiosity. No matter what the profession is, students need to understand that learning is for life – it never stops. The most successful students are the ones that are constantly looking at more ways to expand their knowledge, research, learn new skills and are often always on the lookout for opportunities.

The world is changing and all of us have to adapt. The youth will decide our future and we have to prepare them for what’s coming. If you are a student or have recently graduated, take these skills into consideration and get a head-start on the job market of tomorrow.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you land your dream job? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

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About the Author Mary Whitman

Mary Whitman is a writer and editor based in Adelaide, South Australia. In her spare time, she likes to talk about Art and Sustainable Development. Follow Mary on Twitter.

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