The 10 Most Important Soft Skills for 2020
Ten years ago it was hard to imagine that marketers would be expected to have a thorough knowledge of digital technologies, IT specialists would need the ability to build relationships with people and everyone would need to know how to speak to the public and make concise, yet interesting presentations... But the world is changing and so are basic skills on the job market.
Each job requires different technical knowledge and skills, but beyond that, there is a set of general professional skills and competencies that will increase your value to a potential employer. What agile skills do employers value now?
According to the World Economic Forum’s report “The Future of Jobs,” by 2020, the top ten soft skills for employers will include:
- The ability to solve complex problems
- Critical thinking
- People management skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Emotional intelligence
- The ability to draw conclusions and make decisions
- Customer focus
- Negotiation skills
- The ability to learn new things easily and quickly
Flexible skills for specific professions
These qualities are essential for any modern profession. But every profession also has a certain set of flexible skills.
Research conducted by hh.ru and Microsoft identified the following flexible skills:
For marketers: the ability to analyse and interpret large amounts of data, multitask, think systematically, and demonstrate managerial qualities and creativity and developed communication skills.
For HR specialists: the same skills as for marketers (because they need to be able to promote the employer's image and “sell” vacancies to candidates), as well as the art of networking and the ability to motivate, or involve people in work processes.
For analysts: accuracy, attentiveness, flexible thinking, the ability to work with large amounts of data in a short time, presentation skills and the ability to visualise data, the ability to work in a team and adaptability.
For developers: systemic, rational thinking, a flexible mind, accuracy, constant self-learning and a desire to share new knowledge with colleagues, the ability to work in a team and non-conflictual, project thinking.
For process engineers: organisational skills and a focus on results, skills in working with standards and regulations - which means accuracy and attentiveness and the ability to find and process the necessary information. Communicating with customers, internal or external, presupposes communication skills and the ability to grasp a task, even if the customer cannot formulate it in technical language.
How to know which flexible skills you have and which need attention?
If you trust your colleagues and are not afraid to hear the truth about yourself, which may be unexpected and not very pleasant, you can ask them how strong or, on the contrary, weak in certain skills you are. Another way is to see a career counselling specialist.
Yet another option is to undergo an assessment process. This process includes detailed, serious career guidance tests. They are usually focused precisely on identifying the most highly developed “soft” skills, and selecting the most appropriate professional area in which these abilities will be most useful.
We recommend analysing your skills and determining a rating for yourself (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest) in each category. This will give you a pretty clear idea of the strengths you need to master in order to market yourself in a job interview.
How to upgrade your soft skills?
Think about what competencies need a boost and how to do it more efficiently. Make yourself a study plan for the year. Follow it, record the results. When you feel you have made progress, invite colleagues or friends to mentor your new skills for a while, giving you a chance to practice them and help other people.
Theories and concepts need to be put into practice, experienced first-hand and analysed.
We invite you to read an interview with a Peruvian student studying in Poland about her job search in Poland.
Photo by Robert Kneschke