5 Skills to have Successful Career in the 21st Century

The age of the internet has changed many things in our day-to-day lives, from how we keep up with friends to how we pay the bills.

It’s changed the way we work.

Remote work is common in many jobs, whether you never leave your bed or only work from home a few days out of the month.

Now more than ever, employers are seeking specific skills in potential employees to ensure they can successfully navigate the distractions of the modern workplace.

These skills will help you advance in your career path and can improve many aspects of your personal life.

1. Focus

Focus is an often-overlooked soft skill that can make one employee stand out over another.

The ability to sort through distractions to identify the most crucial tasks and focus on those first ensures projects are completed by their deadlines.

Not only does a strong focus help improve your work, but it also helps you complete work faster.

By avoiding “busy work” in favor of key tasks, you’ll maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Otherwise, you can get caught in the endless cycle of doing a thousand low-priority tasks yet making very little progress on your primary goal.

Plenty of self-help books exist to explore ways of increasing your focus and setting good priorities. It’s a skill that will help you get ahead in all areas of your life.

2. Agility

Another overlooked soft-skill in high demand is agility.

Agility encompasses several important skills on the job, including:

  • Actively listening to coworkers and supervisors
  • Being flexible to change
  • Collaborating with others

These skills allow you to be flexible for projects and responsibilities in the office.

You can bounce back from setbacks and handle stress well. You listen to your coworkers and respect their ideas.

Skills you need to be successful

Skills you need to be successful

Agility is often present in small businesses, where employees often have to fill multiple roles. The web designer may also help with accounting while the secretary often lends a hand to handle a high volume of sales inquiries.

Without flexibility and a willingness to learn, this wouldn’t be possible.

Agility is a great skill for anyone to master, but it’s a crucial skill for managers.

If you want to move up in your current company, being an agile team member is a must-have skill to help you reach those goals.

3. Literacy

Literacy skills go beyond the ability to read. Information and technology literacy have become crucial skills for virtually any job.

Older adults seeking to re-enter the workforce will find familiarity with technology to be one of the most vital skills for landing a job in today’s work environment.

Information literacy covers the foundations of finding, testing, and interpreting data.

Today much of our information is online, yet false info is everywhere. You’ll want to know how to weed through the less useful information to find more valuable parts.

Technology literacy covers the rapidly growing technological field, from computers to smartphones.

Few employees can get by today without some basic computer knowledge. If you’re unfamiliar with basic computer skills, you can often find classes at local libraries or community colleges.

If you already feel at home using a computer, expanding your skills into more nuanced skills such as Microsoft Office can prepare you for better employment positions.

Literacy skills become even more vital for employees who work remotely.

Not only will you spend most of your day using technology, but you also must communicate without seeing the other person face-to-face.

4. Deep Work

Coined by Cal Newport in the book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”, the term deep work refers to the ability to focus on a single, demanding task.


Video courtesy & Credit (youtube publisher ALPHA AUDIOBOOK)

As the workforce moves away from manual labor and into more tech-based jobs, employees will need to learn new skills quickly.

Often these skills will require concentration and hours of study to master. Deep work goes hand-in-hand with focus.

Technology is a double-edged sword of knowledge and distraction. Those who can spend large chunks of time committed to a project while tuning out distractions are in high-demand.

5. Communication

The smartest person in the room is useless if they can’t communicate their ideas to others. In-person, on paper, or by email, clear communication reduces misunderstandings and clarifies intentions.

Each form of communication has its own set of best practices.

Email can be less formal, and meaning is often more important than perfect grammar.

A report, however, requires a formal language and thorough editing to sound polished.

Identifying and adapting to the style required for a particular communication or project is a valuable skill. Employers are always seeking employees who can communicate with coworkers and clients.

Employees and employers both will want to familiarize themselves with the remote work landscape, even if you don’t work in a remote position.

As its popularity grows, more companies will require workers who have strong technology and time management skills and can work from home.

It benefits employees by eliminating commute times and gives them more control of their environment.

Employers also benefit by reducing the space and costs required to run a workforce.

But switching to remote work is a bit more complex than just having a laptop and working from home. It requires knowledge of specific policies, knowledge on security and using the right tech and software solutions too.

Keep Learning!

Lifelong learning better prepares you for unexpected career transitions, whether you have to find a new job or take on new responsibilities in your current role.

Learning new skills can be fun, and it helps keep your mind sharp.

When you find yourself bored at work, take a few minutes to pull up an e-book or load a free online course to increase your skillset.

You never know when it may come in handy!

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Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters


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