Essential Skills Professionals Need To Succeed In The Future Of Work

2 years ago   •   4 min read

By Zero Machina
"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change." – Albert Einstein

The only thing certain about the future of work is that it will change. And it's those who can adapt quickly that will be the ones who thrive and succeed. But, if the only certainty is change, how do you know what skills you'll need?

This article discusses the essential skills professionals need to develop now to build success for the future.

What Is A Skill?

A skill is a learned ability to perform a task.

Many skills are associated with specific occupations, such as carpentry or plumbing. Others are more general, such as the ability to communicate effectively or to manage your time. Some skills are innate, while others must be learned through experience or training.

The most successful people are usually those who have developed a wide range of skills, including both hard and soft skills.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are those that can be quantified and measured. These are often associated with technical jobs, and they're important in any role where specific knowledge or abilities are required.

Examples of hard skills include programming, accounting, and data analysis.

Developing these skills is often about discovery and practice. First, you must learn the task, and then you must perform the task repeatedly to become proficient at it.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual's ability to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

Soft skills are often described as interpersonal or social skills.  They include capabilities such as communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. Unlike hard skills, which are specific to a particular job or task, soft skills are universal and transferable across various roles and industries.

As the workforce becomes increasingly globalized and competitive, employers are placing greater value on employees who have well-developed soft skills.

Individuals with strong soft skills can not only navigate challenges and build relationships; they can also adapt to change, empathize with others, and think creatively. In short, they can lead and inspire others—making them invaluable in the future workplace.

Which Skills Are Future-Proof?

Soft and hard skills are both important to your future success.  However, soft skills are more future-proof because they allow you to adapt more easily to change.

Although hard skills will always be important in specific jobs, they're more likely to become obsolete. But the need for soft skills will continue to grow as the workplace becomes increasingly complex and competitive.

So if you're looking to future-proof your career, start investing in your soft skills.

Time Management

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but how we use that time can make all the difference in achieving our goals.

The ability to manage your time is a future-proof skill essential for success in any endeavor.  Time management skills allow you to prioritize tasks, set goals and deadlines, and allocate your time to optimize your productivity.

Also, to be in control of your time, you must know your abilities, speak up when overloaded, and take advantage of technology to automate repetitive processes. For instance, Undock removes all scheduling headaches and makes it easy to find time to meet with anyone.

These skills are essential in today's fast-paced world where there are constant demands for our time.

Critical Thinking

The ability to think critically is one of the most important skills humans can possess.

It allows us to examine problems, find solutions, make decisions, take action, and adapt. Regardless of your occupation, there will be moments when the answer isn't clear. Critical thinking skills allow you to consider your past experiences and knowledge to develop the best solution in the moment.

In a rapidly changing world, this is more important than ever as we need to be able to think on our feet and make quick decisions. Fortunately, critical thinking is a skill that can be learned and developed with practice.


"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." – Mary Lou Cook

Creativity has always been an essential skill, even in the most traditional professions.

Creativity is about finding new ways to solve problems and develop original ideas. As the world continues to change, the ability to think creatively will become even more valuable.

With the right mindset and some effort, anyone can become more creative and reap the benefits that come with it.


Most of us have at least one instance when we wished we'd been better at working together with others.

Whether it's working on a project with your team or trying to score a big client, being able to collaborate is essential to success. And yet, despite its importance, collaboration is often misunderstood and undervalued.

For starters, collaboration is not the same thing as teamwork. Whereas teamwork is about each individual doing their part to contribute to the whole, collaboration is about working together towards a common goal. It's about listening and respecting others' ideas while being willing to compromise to find the best solution.

As a result of increased global diversity in the workplace, we must become better at extracting and applying different ideas than we are used to.  This can only be done through collaboration.

How To Develop Your Skills Now, For The Future Of Work

Learning something new is one of life's most satisfying activities.

However, developing new skills can also be challenging. It takes time and effort to master anything new, and the journey is often full of setbacks. The good news is that there are some things you can do to set yourself up for success.

● First, it's essential to have realistic expectations. It takes time to develop any skill, so don't expect to be an expert overnight.

● Second, allow yourself to make mistakes. Making mistakes is a natural part of learning, so don't be afraid to try something new.

● Finally, stay motivated by setting small goals and celebrating your progress along the way. Every step you take is one step closer to your goal.

Next Steps

These are just a few of the essential skills you'll need to succeed. But by developing these skills, you'll be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way in the future of work.

Want to learn more about how to manage your time? Check out our article: How To Accomplish More Tasks And Be Efficient At Work.

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