Six skills worth mastering to future-proof your career and retain your value in the job market
Image source: Adobe Stock.
The ongoing pandemic is changing how businesses run and how we work. While digital transformation was on the radar for most companies, COVID-19 accelerated these efforts. It’s now a digital-first world — companies need to be agile and innovative, and that means all of us who work for these companies must be at the top of our game.
Adapting to the new “work” world and ever-evolving technologies has become increasingly important to grow our careers. Our recent Adobe State of Work study found an eight-point rise in workers relying on technology to develop new ideas, and a nine-point rise in reliance on technology to support creativity and innovation.
No matter what your next job may be, the following life skills can help you grow professionally for the future workplace.
Life Skill 1: Improve your Digital Literacy
You may know the term digital literacy, but why does it matter? Digital literacy is critical for the democratization of creativity and for success in the modern workforce. Having access to digital technology is not enough — it’s a lifelong process to stay on top of our rapidly changing digital world. Don’t just take our word for it — according to one study, strong digital skills provide a clear career path into higher-paying jobs across multiple disciplines.
Some basic but important computer skills include:
- Document creation. Know Microsoft Office applications, including Outlook, Word and PowerPoint. For those who work with data on the daily, learn Excel. For sharing documents that need to keep their formatting or if you don’t want them edited, learn how to use PDF. (Read more below in our section on communication skills.)
- Image editing. Marketers aren’t the only ones creating graphics. You may need them for internal presentations or customer meetings.
- Video creation. Most of us now have smartphones to capture video, so be sure you can edit them and add captions. Bonus points if you understand the different video file formats, such as .mov and .gif, and know which online and social platforms each format is best suited for.
- Storing, saving and archiving. Most of us save our work on our computers but to ensure you don’t lose anything, be sure you understand where your computer saves files, and consider using a separate thumb drive or cloud (online) storage service.
Life Skill 2: Think critically for success
You probably already consider yourself a critical thinker, and who doesn’t? Whether it means color correcting an image or deciding on dinner, human beings are seemingly built to assess information to make logical and informed decisions.
In work and life, success is all about critical thinking, and it’s one area where we excel even as AI and workplace automation keep growing in the workplace. No matter what you do, having deep critical thinking skills will always be prized by employers.
To succeed as a critical thinker:
- Focus on your ability to logically connect ideas
- Scrutinize and evaluate arguments
- Find inconsistencies and errors in your work and the work of others
- Engage in reflection.
The fact is, your brain will continue to be the most powerful tool at your disposal, so make sure you know how to flex it and put it to good use.
Life Skill 3: Hone your creativity
At Adobe, we firmly believe creativity is for everyone — not just a lucky few. Between the explosion of devices, apps, and new media platforms, the need to be creative at work has never been greater. Even in fields traditionally not viewed as “creative,” such skills are becoming critical.
In an Adobe Digital Literacy Café webinar held earlier this year between Todd Taylor, an Adobe evangelist and several distinguished academic researchers, the ability to communicate scientific ideas and findings in creative ways was deemed essential to success for the next generation of scientists and engineers.
Below is a list of key creative skills you can start learning today. The first three are the typical skills most people think about when they hear the word “Creativity.” The second half of the list are skills that also require creative thinking. (And of course, this is by no means a complete list. Read more about creative skills required for tomorrow’s leaders.)
- Photo editing for web sites, ads, presentations and more.
- Video creation and audio production. The advent of Youtube, Tiktok and other video sharing sites tells us that video is only becoming more prevalent.
- Basic design for web pages, images, and signs.
- Copywriting skills will help you create great web page text and even work emails
- Digital marketing skills include analytics, ad management, ecommerce and more.
Life Skill 4: Develop emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is all about being tuned in to people’s feelings and surroundings so you can understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. As with other soft skills, emotional intelligence has become increasingly important in hybrid work environments where staff can operate from various locations and across time zones.
During a virtual forum with The Chronicle of Higher Education, we explored how colleges can ensure that their graduates thrive in today’s highly competitive job market. A key finding was that 62 percent of hiring managers said skills like emotional intelligence were more important now than before the pandemic. In a future setting, this is one of the most critical soft skills to have, especially as a manager or supervisor, since it will allow you to create a positive atmosphere and a dynamic workplace where humans can best coexist.
Life Skill 5: Think like an entrepreneur
The freedom to set your own hours, pay and career path remains a strong incentive for all of us. Perhaps this is why so many choose to join the burgeoning gig economy. Already, more than a third of workers in the U.S. are part of the gig economy. By 2027, gig workers could make up 60 percent of the workforce.
Today, perhaps even building more steam is the Creators economy, which is “the class of businesses built by over 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders including social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers.”
According to Forbes, transforming your freelancing skills into a viable career requires some strict guardrails. Keeping stable routines, maintaining close friendships, setting up a separate space to work, and remembering your ultimate purpose are all strategies that can help.
Life Skill 6: Communication is key
Last on our list, but perhaps most important when talking about future proofing your job skills, is communication. Communication at work isn’t just how you talk with others, and write. You need the right tools to streamline information with partners, customers, bosses and peers.
- E-docs ensure what you write is shared easily and securely.
- Image sharing is key — once you make the perfect graphic, how do you get it to colleagues and partners?
- Electronic and digital signatures are the best way to get fast approvals on documents and other work.
- Video conferencing — with many of us working remotely, make it as seamless as possible with a high-quality camera, microphone, and a backdrop that isn’t cluttered.
For more information on learning new skills and important technology solutions for modern businesses, check out our Adobe Learning Services.