The job market has transformed, mainly due to the global pandemic that is still part of today’s reality. Workplaces have changed, remote working is now a fact of life, and the skills that are most demanded in 2021, have also adapted to the new norm. What companies and recruiters are looking for in candidates now is completely different than just over a year ago.
For professionals, fresh graduates and job seekers on the hunt for the perfect career opportunity, or those already employed, there are many skills that would differentiate you from others applying for the same role or your team members. To brush up your skillset and remain relevant, there are thousands of online courses and trainings that you are take part in (with many offered for free).
So, what are the most in demand skills this year?
Tech and IT skills
Remote working comes with its own challenges, so companies are on the lookout for professionals that are digitally savvy, equipped with up to date tech and IT skills.
With the technology needs of organizations changing, continually updating your skillset, and tapping into latest the trends is advisable. Research and hone your skills based on your interests and background, in the following areas cyber security, blockchain, virtual reality, User Experience (UX) design, cloud computing, mobile app development and machine learning.
The details are in the data, but analyzing data requires professionals powered by the left side of their brain. Data is driving business choices, it is shaping consumer behaviors and it allowing companies to tap into the minds of their target markets. As such, data analytics has become a top priority in marketing, advertising and communication, and companies are allocating bigger budgets in this area. Start by diving into social media metrics and Google analytics and try to make sense of them. Explore the consumer journey, from awareness to acquisition. Google Digital Garage is a great place to start (and most courses are offered free of charge).
Whilst creativity is not considered a ‘hard skill’, it is one very much in demand. Building creativity can be a challenge for some professionals, however, the skill can be enhanced and cultivated. Try out a creative hobby, such as painting or drawing. Music is also known to stimulate the creative side of the brain. Read a book that inspires you and helps you tap into your creative side. Find what works for you to stimulate your imagination and be in a state of ‘flow’.
Another soft skill, emotional intelligence (EQ) is integral for professionals to thrive in today’s work environment. Given the numerous challenges that companies and professionals are faced with today, along with the destabilizing global (and local) situation, between COVID-19, the lack of foresight to plan and the stress of remote work, EQ has never been more important. The workplace used to be where professionals ‘escaped’ from their problems at home. Today, that is no longer the case. Start by understanding your own emotions then practicing empathy towards others, especially your colleagues, to become more of a ‘people person’. This will allow you to bridge stronger connections with others and build your sense of community.
Growth mindset and continuous learning
Gone are the days when professionals used to join one role and stay in it for decades. Today’s workplaces are much more challenging and professionals are likely to switch jobs and careers, more often than before. Hence, honing your skills by being curious and flexible is a must. Companies are looking for those willing to learn and grow, face challenges head on and continuously enhance their skills. Being agile is a must in today’s workplace.
Working under pressure
If recruiters ask Lebanese professionals if ‘they can work under pressure’, they probably have lived under a rock for years. The environment in Lebanon is one that consciously and subconsciously impacts our stress levels. Companies want to see how ‘resilient’ a candidate or team member’s mind is. Can they work under pressure? Can they work when things don’t go according to plan? Can they adapt to a rapidly changing environment? Can they perform in ambiguous work situations? Analyze yourself, how you work in difficult circumstances, and think of instances where you overcame challenges, to share with potential recruiters.
With life becoming more virtual (or completely virtual in some cases), having a strong mindset, a hunger to learn and grow, and the ability to connect with others, are crucial differentiating factors that professionals must have. Analyze the areas where you rank well, where you can improve and where your skillset lacks, for the requirements of 2021 and beyond, and get started. Every small step counts.