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Job Skills Employees Need in the 21st Century

Updated on September 12, 2012

Times Have Changed or Have They?

Are skills and abilities you learned when you were first out of school still relevant today? Did the classes you took in high school and college help you get a job? Will they help you find a new one? The workplace has changed and employees have to change with it if they want to be seen as valuable assets to employers. Here is a short list of some of the skills you might want to gain or sharpen if you are job hunting.

Collaboration Skills

The focus with more businesses today is on collaboration. Gone are the days when you sit in an office alone all day and do your job. More employers are creating teams in person and online to work together to create and implement projects. Employees must know how to work with others on tasks.

This skill also includes the necessity of other skills such as the good communication skills, flexibility, patience, and other people skills. You will have to learn how to work with others and share ideas to create a cohesive project. This may mean the ability to compromise and a willingness to work with people with different personalities and work styles.

Knowledge of Current Technology and Trends

Today, employees must know more than just how to work on a computer. Many of them need to understand Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking and interactive sites. This is the way people are getting jobs in the first place and many jobs require you to understand this technology.

You also have to learn how to work with new hardware, such as smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices. It doesn't just affect corporate business people; maintenance employees, health care staff, and many other careers are using technology as a means to communicate more efficiently.

Cultural Awareness

Along with working with others in the same office or company, you may find yourself working with freelancers or remote employees from another state or country. They may have a different style or communicate in a way that is different than you are used to. You may work with people online or over platforms such as Skype. You will have to learn how to communicate so that they understand your meaning and can do their job effectively. You will also have to know how to understand them so you can accomplish your tasks.

We live in a global world today brought closer through technological advances. However, we still need people skills such as teamwork, patience, understanding, and communication to help us work with people.

The Ability to Adapt and Problem Solve

Businesses are always working to improve their product or service for less money. This may mean changing the way they do certain things. New positions are created and old ones are phased out. Employees will have to be willing to learn new skills to take on new tasks or work in a new position.

It is also expected that employees can find solutions to problems on their own. While often working as a team, employees still need to know how to work independently. They need to know how to handle issues without waiting for direction from superiors. If they are working with others, they need to collaborate to find a solution.

A Strong Work Ethic and Positive Attitude

This skill hasn't changed from the past, but it is even more important today. Employers want staff that take pride in their job and in the company. They want people who are willing to give 110% and do it with a smile. Since teamwork and collaboration is the modern trend, a person't attitude can have an even greater influence on the company than before. A negative attitude will work its way through the entire team and reduce productivity and the quality of the end product. A positive attitude will improve team morale and improve efficiency.

Developing the Skills Needed

Each of these skills are ones that can be learned or developed. They do not require years of training, only a willingness to become the best employee you can be. The technological skills will require a few classes or some time spent reading articles and guides. The other skills are ones you have to work on yourself. It is essential that you develop these skills to compete with other's in today's work force.


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    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      The skills you mention are definitely more in demand nowadays. Gone are the days of specializing only, now you need to be a pro and diverse!

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • zahir hassan profile image

      Zahir 5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      nice information