Today’s interns are tomorrow’s business leaders. As you make your way up the hierarchy, you establish your expertise, develop finesse and carve a niche for yourself in your chosen company. You may be an investment banker or possess an ACCA qualification, but you still need to be equipped to handle any challenge that comes your way. Trust us, there will always be a fresh new event that will alter the corporate landscape. After information technology made a breakthrough in the 1990s, the corporate world turned on its head. The pandemic in 2019 once again drastically changed the way we conduct business. Safe to say, there will be a few more similar surprises down the road.

So, if you are entering the job market today, in a decade or so, you will have gained enough experience to climb your way to upper management. However, the same can be said about your peers. You may be very good at your job. It’s not enough, though. You need to excel in other skills as well. You have to show a higher range of capabilities. Recruiters, CEOs and company heads are looking for professionals who can adapt to a constantly changing work environment. You have to prove to them that you are worthy of that promotion. You must show you have what it takes to get the job, lead a department or run a company.

The right set of abilities will help you evolve and transform according to the changing corporate climate. It will prepare you for any event heading your way. So what are these special skills you need? So glad you asked. 

Skill #1 Decoding big data 

It finally happened. The business world has joined the matrix. (apologies if you are too young to get this reference. Look it up on Google.) All our information, ideas and insights are coded into a database. Today, digital data is king. Tomorrow, it will become our most benevolent dictator. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to speak in software languages. There is no escaping the value that data science brings to the business world. It gives you the tools you need to navigate valuable information in cyberspace. Today, business data analytics used big data. Tomorrow, everyone else will. 

If you can understand, process and visualise data, you are an asset in any field. You are able to make smart, informed decisions about the future. You show you have the wherewithal to be a leader and the foresight to move the company forward.   

Skill #2 Innovative thinking 

Gone are the days when traditional businesses frowned upon innovative ideas. To grow your business or increase your company’s revenues, a little creativity can really help. You can introduce new technology or tools that improve your company’s performance. Incorporate ideas and processes that use cutting-edge techniques that can increase profitability. For instance, As a future-ready CFP professional, you can use modern technology to enhance your existing products and services. An innovative leader is someone who carefully examine the industry and understands the changes within it. Strategic thinking coupled with an analytical study of market trends can lead to innovation in the workplace. 

Creative thinking and out-of-the-box solutions are the driving points of a successful business. Even in a classic corporate setup, they will get you noticed.

#3 Upgrade your IT skills 

The skills you had when you first got hired may not necessarily be the skills you will need down the line. Technology is constantly advancing. Programming language and computer literacy are evolving. Even if they don’t affect your job today, doesn’t mean they won’t be a factor later on. There is no room for software ignorance today. Employees who are digitally illiterate may not be considered ready for future management roles. 

Advanced knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint is crucial for most jobs. However, many professions will also require a working knowledge of Python, SQL, R and MATLAB. The knowledge of programming can help you automate your data, and make calculations faster. Today’s CFOs and CEOs won’t know much about programming languages. But tomorrow’s leaders are another story. So if you are a budding accountant with an ACCA certification, just remember to learn a programming language. It will be a useful tool to have on your resume. 

#4 Adapting to change

You know your job. You understand the industry-related knowledge. How well can you apply it to real-world situations? When new technology or another natural disaster affects your workplace, how will you adapt? Professionals who are reluctant to move with the times, often get left behind. Always be aware of emerging technology, new trends and shifts in perception. You also should be able to understand how it can affect your career. Will you be able to pivot and adjust to a new way of working? We do not know what challenges will arise in the next ten years. There will be cases when you will have to learn new techniques to keep up with the times. For instance, you may have done a cyber security course recently. However, online risks constantly change and upgrade to higher levels of threats. You should constantly educate and update yourself to stay ahead of the situation.

#5 Possessing emotional intelligence 

Most employees seem to think that it is enough to be good at your job. As long as you have the knowledge and the skills, you are set. That is only partially true. You also need high emotional intelligence to succeed at your job. Ask yourself this, how good are you with people? When you work with colleagues and clients, you require a certain amount of approachability and reliability to work well together. Employees come and go, you should have the people skills to be able to interact and collaborate with different team members. Your ability to motivate and encourage your subordinates is also something your supervisor will need from you. Employers want future leaders who can handle high-pressure environments, show a sense of maturity and be capable in crisis situations. You should also come across as someone who is empathetic and trustworthy when dealing with customers. 

For instance, as a certified financial planner, you will need to build and manage close relationships with your clients. It’s only when you gain your client’s trust, can you excel in your career. For many professions, building and managing close relationships will form a crucial part of the job.

In conclusion

While none of us know what the future will bring, we still need a plan to prepare for it. Recruiters and employers will also look for people who are quick-witted, sharp and tech-savvy. If you also possess the above list of skills, you will be seen as someone who can grow with the company. They can envision a bright future for you. Employees who are willing to learn new things and adapt to the changing times will be the ones who take on the mantle of leadership in the future. So whichever field you chose to excel in, be it data science, financial planning or cyber security, you need the right set of skills that can accelerate your career into the fast lane.  

Click here to see future-ready careers courses in finance and accountancy 

Click here if your future is in data science

Ask Proschool