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Skills you need in the 21st century Print E-mail

Monday, 09 January 2012 00:00

Written by Leigh Goessl

Applicants looking for jobs in the modern work environment need many different skills than they did a few decades ago. Today's applicants must possess a variety of skills as it is no longer feasible to be only adept in one area.   

While a great resume and cover letter helps, that is not enough to land the job nowadays. Today's employers will be looking at a variety of talents which include, but are not limited to technology, communication, interpersonal skills, and flexibility.

Not only do applicants need to possess today's dynamic needs, they also need to have traditional skills which have always been sought after in employees. Applicants looking to land a coveted job are smart to consider the many qualities employers will be looking for as they evaluate job candidates for available positions.

Today's workplaces are rapidly evolving and it is important to keep this factor in mind. Not only do job applicants need hard skills, but the soft skills which cannot often be measured by education or work experience.

Here is a rundown of some of the skills, talents and attitudes employers will be seeking when looking for qualified employees:

♦Technology Skills

The days of typewriters and handwritten memos are long gone. Today's workplaces are connected to networks and employees will be expected to understand, at the very least, basic computing and Internet search skills. Many jobs will require higher level technical skills and this is likely to increase as time moves forward.

The age of technology is here and will continue to expand. Workplaces are rapidly embracing mobile technologies and employees will be expected to seamlessly enter a job and understand how to use these technologies. Without listing some sort of computer skills, a resume won't likely make it to the interview stage in today's world.


Years ago people could come to work and quietly do their job in their designated work area. This is rapidly changing and today's employees will likely be engaging in a lot of communication with colleagues, customers and managers either in person or through technology.

No longer are people working in environments which is isolated from the rest of the world. Companies often have workers from many different locations and heavily rely on e-mail, messaging and other electronic and technological means of communication.

Employers actively seek out applicants who have a strong command of both the spoken and written word as there are numerous means people use to communicate nowadays and employees will need to adapt. Those who have strong communication skills will have the upper edge, all other things considered equal.

♦Interpersonal Skills

Job applicants who can illustrate they have the necessary interpersonal skills also will have a competitive edge in the applicant pool. With an ever increasing global presence, many companies require strong levels of interpersonal skills and an ability to effectively work within a team environment.


As industry continues to move to the international level, many companies actively are working around the clock in order to accommodate the different time zones which span the globe. As a result employers are looking for employees who are flexible in order to accommodate a global presence and extended hours.

Many jobs require after hours meetings, conferences, an ability to work from home, or even travel. Employers today often seek flexibility in their staff members in order to keep the company moving and dynamic. Traditional 9 to 5 offices are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as these hours are restrictive and do can impede the needs of the modern business environment.

Employees who are willing to be flexible in their schedules are often highly desirable candidates.

♦Strong Time Management

Possessing the ability to prioritize tasks is another valuable commodity which can give an applicant the competitive edge. Those who can successfully balance unexpected demands with established tasks will be valuable employees. In addition the ability to distinguish priorities is also a sought-after skill.

For employers, time is money and those who cannot effectively manage time and contribute strong levels of productivity will be less likely to progress professionally.

These are many of the skills and abilities employers are looking for. However additional, more traditional, qualities are also still highly sought. Qualities such as a strong work ethic, loyalty, and efficiency are also attractive. A strong initiative and high level of motivation doesn't hurt either.

Employees who are able to break the traditional mold of what a job entails are going to stand a better chance of succeeding in the 21st century. Those who cannot adapt and/or are unwilling to bend with the times of change will experience more difficulty in not only finding a job, but maintaining one.


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