To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has touched every person and every industry isn’t an over-statement. It is a worldwide crisis that has rippled throughout every industry and taken its toll on countless businesses. The result is a very much changed landscape of that just two years ago, and for many, it’s left them wondering what the best way forward is? How do you ensure your own success in a career, how do you make sure your skills and qualifications are still relevant and what’s needed at this time?
Because of the changing times, there are some essential qualifications and skills that have emerged that are seen as advantageous for anyone who possesses them. They can help you get the leg up on the competition when applying for a job, gain you that promotion, and even help you to get a higher salary. So, what are the essential qualifications and skills that are standing out above the rest? Let’s take a look at six that are well worth obtaining and pursing this year.
Computer Skills – Possessing the Basics Isn’t Enough
The first qualification or skill that could be highlighted is computer skills. Where it used to be that you could get by with basic skills and still land that “dream job”, times have changed. Employers are no longer happy with the candidates that have the basic skills, instead they are looking for employees who can easily find their way around various programs and bring something to the table.
Today’s landscape is one that is highly reliant on digital tools, and a computer is something you will use in almost every job out there. Even if it’s just a small portion of your job, it’s still something you need to be comfortable and confident in.
Of course, you can take this qualification to the next level and really position yourself for success in the digital age. You could pursue a computer IT degree that obviously elevates your qualifications and makes it possible for you to apply for a wide variety of jobs.
Some of the most notable computer-based degrees to pursue include systems and network administration, information technology and information systems, information science, computer science, computer engineering, and software engineering. Any one of these degrees can help you to succeed.
MBA – Employers Are on the Hunt for These Professionals
Then there is the Masters of Business Administration degree – the MBA, which is a very well-known qualification. This particular degree can be described as one that focuses on managerial, technical, and leadership skills required running businesses.
Esteemed Suffolk University looks at why businesses need MBA professionals amidst COVID-19 and the answers may come as a surprise to you. Not only are employers looking for those with an MBA, they are proving critical to help companies get through the pandemic. The fact is that MBAs largely focus on crisis management – and that is the exact situation so many companies find themselves in, a crisis.
Those with an MBA are not only able to help the company to get through these uncertain times, but can identify issues early on in hopes that early detection helps to mitigate the fall-out. Some of the specific skills that are proving helpful during these times include:
- Being able to adapt to and manage change
- The ability to play analytical reasoning skills to all situations
- The ability to be agile when it comes to developing effective strategies
- A greater understanding of the industry on a global scale and how it affects that particular business and its market
- Sound financial planning skills, which can make the difference between having cash flow and having none
- Adapting to ever-changing supply and demand issues
- Implement and work with remote workforces
- Make sure the workplace is safe for all
- Ensure all employees feel supported, and ensure communication lines are open
Each of these important skills can have a huge impact on how well a company gets through the pandemic and what it looks like coming out the other side. And with the post-pandemic world getting closer and closer by the day, thanks to vaccination efforts, having these MBA employees makes even more sense. Getting through the pandemic is only step one, businesses are now moving into or planning for the recovery stage which will be just as important in the coming months and year.
For those thinking about, finishing up, or who have recently obtained their MBA – the fact is that the market is yours for the choosing right now as you have skills and qualifications that are very much in demand and considered essential.
Customer Service Skills Will be Necessary for Companies to Grow
Because so many businesses out there today are thinking about either bringing back their customers, or growing their customer base, highly qualified customer service representatives will be needed. It may not even be a specific customer service-based job, yet having these skills and qualifications can help you to be successful.
Knowing how to properly approach customers, understand their needs and concerns, make them feel heard and ensure their issues are addressed will be pivotal. While these are certainly qualifications you can learn through schooling, they are also the kinds of skills that you learn through on-the-job experience. These ones can therefore take a little longer to build up and really perfect.
It’s Time to Sharpen Up the Sales Skills
This particular skill or qualification can go hand-in-hand with customer service skills, depending on the industry. It may be necessary for you to possess both or sales skills may be all you need. Sales skills are the kind of qualification you can most certainly learn in school, but it also takes a certain personality type to really excel in this area. And let’s not forget that today’s sales people are very different than those of 50 years ago, and you’ve got the digital age to thank for that.
As businesses open back up across the country, and the world, it’s time for these sales pros to take center stage. They will be the first line for any company selling products and services. It will be up to them to grab the attention of potential customers and then close the sale. It’s not exactly an easy task in all situations; in fact, closing a sale can be incredibly difficult.
Besides just having excellent sales skills and the ability to read customers, you will also need to have product knowledge skills. It’s very hard to sell a product or service you know nothing about. This requires an extra level of training and understanding. It can become more in-depth depending on the industry.
There Needs to Be a Thirst for Knowledge and Learning
While not a qualification exactly, another thing employers are looking for in 2021 are employees who want to continue learning and growing. Think of it as a thirst for knowledge. If you’re set in your ways, have no desire to learn and push yourself further, you’re likely going to have a hard time finding a job not just in 2021 but moving forward. Industries are constantly changing, as is technology and the market. Because of that, businesses and their employees need to be more agile than ever before, knowing how to read the changing tides and reacting to it in a timely manner.
So, how can you continue to learn? Take a proactive approach and enroll in any courses your employer may offer, or enroll in courses outside of work and focus on how that continuous learning can really impact your future far past this current year.
Stress Management Skills Can Play Into How Effective You Are
And then the final qualification which is classed more of a personal skill is stress management. This isn’t something you can learn through a degree program or any sort of class you enroll in, rather it is a mindset that you need to be able to possess.
As so many businesses struggle to succeed and flourish, there is a lot of stress that is built into it. That stress can wear people down, affect their decision making abilities, and their performance at work in general. Employers are looking for people who can come in, hit the ground running, juggle a number of tasks and responsibilities at once, and not be flustered. And let’s face it, stress management skills don’t just help you in the workplace, they make life a lot smoother in general.
A few tips to help you better manage your stress include:
- Making sure you’re getting enough sleep
- Giving yourself downtime to relax and turn your brain off
- Separating work from your personal life
- Eating a healthy well-balanced diet
- Including physical activity into your daily routine
- Knowing when to ask for help and when to say no
Setting Yourself Up for Huge Levels of Success in 2021
Now is the time to start getting excited about all that 2021 has to offer. There are so many opportunities out there, it’s a matter of holding the skills and qualifications that employers are looking for, and then knowing how to leverage them to your advantage.