The Job Skills You’ll Need in 2021 and Beyond

The pace of change continues to accelerate in our society, led by technological progress and the accompanying economic growth. Growth and change will only continue to pick up speed into the future. In such an environment, what are the skills and abilities workers will need to navigate the world of work?

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The skills necessary for success in the 21st century, as identified by business leaders and academics, are all connected to what is known as “deeper learning” or “higher order thinking skills”. These are skills such as analytic reasoning, complex problem solving and teamwork. They put a premium on flexibility and adaptability. They differ from more traditional types of skills in that they are not as content or knowledge-based.

It will certainly come as no surprise to hear that skill sets related to digital literacy will be highly valued. So-called “soft skills” (such as being able to get along with others and communication skills) will become increasingly important as well. Here are some of the key skills for the 21st century.

Learning and Innovation Skills

  1. Critical thinking

This involves analyzing facts to reach a conclusion or form a judgment. It is based on a rational, logical, objective evaluation of evidence.

  1. Problem solving

This is the use of different methods or strategies to find solutions to problems. There are many different methods depending on the type of problem. Some of the more common problem-solving strategies include abstraction, brainstorming, hypothesis testing, root cause analysis, and divide and conquer.

  1. Communication

Communication skills encompass both written and oral expression. These skills are necessary to express thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively.

  1. Collaboration

This skill involves the ability to work with others. It requires empathy, listening, tolerance, and good communication. People with collaboration skills can handle difficult situations, accept feedback, work with people of different cultures and backgrounds, and influence and persuade others. They know how to work in a team-oriented environment.

Digital Literacy Skills

  1. Information literacy

This is the ability to determine when new information is needed, as well as the ability to locate the information, evaluate its validity and then use it effectively to understand an issue or solve a problem.

  1. Media literacy

This involves the ability to assess the information produced by different types of media for its truth value. Being media literate means a person can detect propaganda, censorship and bias in media information and the motivations behind these distortions.

  1. Information technology

Information technology covers a broad range of activities. Generally, it describes any entity that stores, retrieves, manipulates, or receives information electronically in a digital format. This covers everything related to computer technology and to areas such as robotics. The skills required to work in this area are considered hard skills: learned abilities that can be quantified.

Career Skills

  1. Leadership

Not everyone will be in a leadership position, but the kinds of skills leaders require will be highly valued by employers. These are skills that relate to decision making, managing and resolving conflict, delegating, giving clear and useful feedback, and project and task management.

  1. A solid work ethic

People with a strong work ethic are motivated, dependable, persistent, and resilient. They meet deadlines. They have a positive attitude and are results oriented. They focus on how to overcome obstacles rather than being overcome by them. They work to continually improve their skills and performance.

  1. Organizational and time management skills

When companies are always trying to do more with less – and do it more efficiently – they value employees with good time management skills. These are skills that involve prioritizing tasks, allocating time, planning, setting goals and creating strategies to meet them, and reviewing performance in order to determine how to improve it.

Whether you’ve been laid off in 2020 or are thinking of broadening your job and career horizons in 2021, the recruiters here at Helpmates are here for you. If you haven’t already, check out or current job opportunities and/or contact the branch nearest you to register with us.

Here’s to a happy 2021 for all of us!!!

Overcoming the Overwhelm When Working at Home

The pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval in people’s lives. Many of us now work remotely, all the while trying to take precautions against the virus. We battle with a lot of anxiety and stress and even some disorientation. It’s a lot to get used to.

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Working from home also presents unique challenges. We need to overcome distractions from family and friends. Work time tends to bleed into personal and family time until it often feels like there is no boundary between the two. It is easy to feel that we’ve lost control.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you need to examine the sources of stress in your life. Here are a few things you can do to cope, and here are even more tips.

  • Take breaks

When working, it is best to take a short break about once each hour. That is about the limit of time that our minds can focus intensely. If that doesn’t suit your routine, you should definitely take a break when you are feeling stressed or fatigued.

Do something physical during your break, such as taking a short walk, doing some quick callisthenic-type exercises, throwing some dirty laundry in the washer, or cutting up some vegetables for supper. This helps to get the blood flowing, delivering more oxygen to the brain, improving your mood and reducing stress.

  • Set benchmarks

Most of us procrastinate, at least some of the time. If a big project is due in two weeks, we wait until a week or so has gone by before starting to work on it. To eliminate this problem, try setting benchmark goals. Break down the project into smaller tasks and set deadlines for each of  them on the way to your final goal.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself

We all make mistakes. When we do, often there is a feeling of embarrassment and inadequacy, especially among perfectionists. We scold ourselves for our poor performance and become angry and depressed. If you screw up, forgive yourself. Don’t take it too hard. Realize that everyone makes mistakes and experiences failure. Treat it as a learning experience and move on.

  • Make time for you

No matter how busy you are or what you have on your plate, you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t, your performance and productivity will suffer in the long run. Take time to exercise every day. Eat a healthy diet. Get seven to eight hours of sleep. Take time to interact with family and friends. You’ll feel better, have more energy and get more done. You may even want to try meditation. Research has shown that it can help you focus and lessen stress.

  • Reduce the “modern” type of “clutter”

If you stop and take the time to notice, you will be surprised at the amount of time wasted each day on frivolous activities. For example, how often do you check your email, Facebook, texts and Instagram? How much time do you spend reading blogs or diddling around YouTube?

These are time sinks. If you want to get more control of your life, cut back on the amount of time you waste on these activities.

  • Remember your purpose.

When things get chaotic and stressful, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Remember why you chose this profession and this job in the first place and the things you want to accomplish in your career. Look at your current situation as a step along the way.

  • Get organized

Believe it or not, just looking at a cluttered desk can increase your stress level. Studies have shown that people who are better organized are more productive and not as stressed out.

Is your current employer asking you to work from home 24/7? Sensing that your boss truly is asking too much and it’s time to find another position? Check out our current job opportunities and, if you find one or more of interest, follow application instructions.

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