Preparing for the job world used to mean you brushed up on people and interview skills, put on a suit and tie, and made sure your watch kept a great time. Today, we’re connected now through our devices, and even if you have 20 years of work experience behind you, it might not keep someone fresh out of college from taking the top spot.
How do you keep up? Employers are looking for something called 21st-century skills, a skill set inspired by the world of the internet and the things millennial take for granted. What’s a 21st-century skill? Let’s look.
Group Management Software
Meetings are a thing of the past. Many companies now subscribe to apps that allow groups of people to forgo the meeting and work directly on projects within a virtual space. This lets people get back to what they do best, innovating and tweaking, without the constant interruption of meetings.
You have to know your way around these apps and products so you can keep up your end of the project. Trello and Asana are two examples. With each, people can be assigned pieces of the project, make notes and suggestions, and mark things complete. This keeps everyone on the project up to date in a more efficient way. If you send out an email for an update, chances are you’ll hear crickets.
Another helpful skill is the basics of blogging software. Marketing has grown since the days of paper brochures, and now it’s not enough to throw up a half-baked blog and call it a day. With content marketing, it’s essential that you be able to write, follow performance statistics, and make tweaks based on that performance.
If you’re planning to email your article, or even worse, turn in a hand-written copy, you’ll be out of luck. Blogging also requires knowledge of style, basic HTML to help search bots find the article, and chances are you have a portal to upload your materials directly. It’s going to save a lot of pain if you already know the difference between H1 and H3 headlines.
Data and Privacy
Operating in the digital space requires knowledge of best practices in privacy and data protection. Any business that has a web presence must understand how best to protect the privacy of its customers and how to keep its data from being stolen.
Employees who are familiar with these best practices give the business a leg up. You should know basic virus protection methods and means. The business can spend fewer hours training employees how to operate within privacy restrictions, and have less to fear from accidental data breaches due to employee misconduct.
Employers still say the biggest skill they need in technology and outside of technology is that of communication. If you are blogging, you are communicating with the reader. If you’re in project management, you’re communicating with your team members. Marketing? Communication. Customer service? Social media? All communication. Basic business degrees will probably set you up with these skills, but it never hurts to go one step further.
The ability to communicate clearly and efficiently through the written word is so in need that employers fight for those who can do it. It requires etiquette and sincerity. Communicating effectively frees up your employer to do other things with the business, and makes you a valuable asset to the team.
Familiarizing yourself with tech principles and 21st-century skills gives you a competitive edge in a challenging job market. Statistics show that there are plenty of unfilled jobs out there; there are simply workers who don’t quite match skills employers need. Brushing up on various aspects of tech as well as mastering communication could be your lucky break.