Your employer expect you to know a lot more than just what you studied at school. A degree is no longer sufficient to be indispensable at work. Most people are replaceable at their jobs. But they can do something about it.
What you know now may not be the only skills required to occupy your current position. What’s even more scarier is that machines are eating jobs. Each generation, and even within a single decade, we see some jobs largely disappear, while other new ones pop up.
According to one unpublished study, the coming wave of technological breakthroughs endangers up to 47% of total employment in the US.
When you think about your career path or your life’s work, you need to consider both your skills and your personality traits. Don’t aim to fit in but be different. These are some of the most indispensable skills you need to be better at what you do now and in the future.
1. Knowing how and when to show empathy.
“Having the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes is a key people skill,” says Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, star of MTV’s Hired! and author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad.
It allows us to create relationships with others, provides insights into people’s motives and allows us to predict responses. “Offer support, sympathy and feedback in your daily business life,” Taylor suggests. “It will bring you positive emotional returns – part of ‘corporate karma.’” — Forbes
2. Critical thinking skills.
“The ability to solve problems and make decisions can be a huge asset to your employer and these are therefore desirable skills to develop. Decision making and problem solving require gathering reliable information, evaluating the information for a variety of solutions and selecting the most appropriate option based on the criteria and situation.
Creative thinkers are innovative and inventive and are more likely to devise new ways of doing things that add value to the work environment, making systems and procedures more efficient. Creative thinkers can offer new perspectives about the job and the company.” — SkillsYouNeed.com
3. Virtual collaboration skills.
For many employees, spending every day in an office is no longer a necessity. A lot more companies are now embracing virtual collaboration. The ability to use tools and resources to communication with teams from different locations more important than ever.
The need to communicate with and lead remote teams is creating a new management style, not necessarily difficult to learn, however team work may need to unlearn and re-learn new ways to interact better for higher productivity.
Many larger companies have been embracing remote workers, at least partially, including powerhouses like Apple, Amazon, Dell, Intuit and IBM. This full list of the 100 top companies with remote jobs in 2015, by FlexJobs.
The ability to work with on site and remote teams will even become more crucial in the years ahead. You can start learning how virtual tools work now to be prepared and ready when management starts to embrace the idea of remote work.
By 2020, an intuit study estimates that more than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will be independent workers—freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees.
The report further states that, working in the cloud is increasingly shifting work lives away from corporate offices altogether and toward an in-my-own-place, on-my-own-time work regimen.
The possibility that your company will work with a lot more freelancers is very high.
“We live in ever-changing world which is unlikely to ever slow down. So, what mattered yesterday (e.g. skill, knowledge, social circle, etc.) very much so might not be worth a dime tomorrow.
Adaptability enables us to dwell on new circumstances and stay on top of the situation. Of course, this skill is best when combined with insight, giving us fresh perspective before the change itself.” —Quota user, Ivan Rasic
5. The ability to listen.
Listening is one of the top skills employers seek in potential and current employees, and it’s correlated with perceived ability to lead. Giving people undivided attention, helping them feel motivated and energized, and showing them that you care about their thoughts and opinions is more powerful than you know or think.
6. Looking at things differently.
“When facing a tough problem or an important question, the majority will fixate on only one or two dimensions to the exclusion of many other viable ones. The people who can look at the problem from a different angle often end up solving the problem in a completely unexpected, often elegant way. At the same time, they expose how narrowly the majority had viewed the problem, or whether it even was a problem. —Quora user, Christian Bonilla
7. Digital media literacy.
Everyday life is now a buzz with varying new media types and platforms. And they keep changing. The ability to make connections and engage audiences across vast, differing networks is paramount. Can you connect the dots in your industry when it comes to interpreting social data?
Customer demands will always change. How soon can you identify a shift in consumer trends. You will be indispensable if you can predict and follow trends in your industry and most importantly take advantage of them.
Whereas it used to be sufficient to sell a product and receive revenues, customers now seek to connect with other like-minded individuals to get the most value in the long run. Can you think ahead of them?
Business communications has gradually shifted to mobile devices. New and emerging communications tools like slack are making it a lot more easy to work and stay in touch with colleagues and team members.
Businesses are now embracing text, chat, video, file sharing, and screen sharing in addition to email and phone communications at the workplace. How much of these tools do you know and most importantly, can you use them without struggle.
Not sure what skills you should be developing? Start asking questions, attend conferences and take relevant online courses to upgrade yourself and prepare for the future.