5 Must-Have Skills You Need To Stay Relevant Over the Next Decade

Key Takeaways:

  • Learning and growing is a part of healthy professional growth, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

  • A study conducted at Oxford in 2013 predicts that 47 percent of U.S. jobs will be impacted by computerization.

  • There are five must-have skills that you should cultivate in order to stay relevant over the next decade.

  • But, don’t forget —technology can’t replace relationships, which (in the end) will make us the most successful.


It seems like every time you turn around you’re required to add to your skillset in order to make the most of new tools and opportunities. This is a part of healthy professional growth, and doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Still it is smart, every now and then, to look ahead and identify some skills that will be essential on the road ahead.

Personally, I can’t tell you how important I believe it is to take the time to step out of my comfort zone and face my fear of throwing everything I’ve ever known about business out the window to learn and grow —both professionally and personally. I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am with my company and my career today.

As you saw in my blog Lessons From the Movie, the Intern, this is as relevant as you can possibly imagine. And once you step across that line, I can’t tell you how much fun you will have. Not only do I have new and improved skills, I’ve learned and met so many people through reaching outside my comfort zone.

Reasonable Predictions

We’d all like to see into the future, and as a species we’ve become pretty good at making reasonable predictions about what might happen. A study conducted at Oxford in 2013 predicts that 47 percent of U.S. jobs will be impacted by computerization.

When it comes to the job market and the world of work, here are some skills shared by FastCompany that are likely to be essential in order to stay relevant and competitive in the coming decade.

Cultivate these 5 must-have skills to stay relevant, whatever your field, to be ready for the changes afoot.

#1. Trendspotting

In order to keep pace with the rapid changes occurring in how we do business, it’s essential to develop the ability to identify major trends as they arise. The best way to do this is to learn as much as you can by attending conferences and trade events and reading the ideas of industry leaders. Listen to what’s being said about your field, and then look at your own practice and see what applies.

In today’s environment you could solve a super simple problem and end up being one of the unicorns like Uber, Facebook, etc. But it all started by someone realizing a pain point and taking the extra step to make a change.  Do it —stop talking about it!

Realize the pain point, take the extra step to change it. Stop talking about it!
Tweet: Realize the pain point, take the extra step to change it. Stop talking about it! via @JonSchultz_Onyx #StreetSchultz

#2. Collaboration

Teamwork is important in real estate, but keeping up with communications can become cumbersome as the numbers climb. It will be important to adapt to new ways of staying in touch and collaborating. Video conferencing and more streamlined messaging platforms, like Yammer or Slack, will see heavy use, so work toward becoming comfortable with these tools.

In my opinion, you should also keep your eye on video —this will be perhaps the most important way of communicating in the future. YouTube, for example, while still relevant for entertainment content, has become a method for people and brands to communicate and collaborate with their audience. I no longer read instruction booklets —I turn to YouTube to watch and learn.

#3. Brand-building

In addition to crafting the best possible public face on your social media channels, it will be important in many industries to participate online in a broader sense. Any online component of your work is a critical part of your personal brand.  Share your thinking on critical issues, engage others, and establish your online identity.

Finally, we are all our own hollywood producer. We can voice our opinions. We can share. We can contribute. And, we can be heard like never before. All the power has come back to the consumer, which avails us the ability to create a personal brand like never before.

#4. Learning new technologies

Keep your eyes open for new technological ideas that might cross your path. Find out about ideas like wearable tech or artificial intelligence, so that you’ll be well positioned to utilize and support these technologies when they become mainstream.

I’ve talked so much on my blog about new technologies from virtual reality to blockchain.  

#5. Emotional intelligence

A human skill that will never be outdated, emotional or social intelligence is all about accurately understanding the actions and motivations of those around us. The Oxford study lists these components of this complex and essential skill:

  • Social Perceptiveness —Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

  • Negotiation —Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

  • Persuasion —Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

  • Assisting and Caring for Others —Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

The Oxford study suggests that, while many tasks are likely to be computerized, there are some areas where that’s unlikely. It predicts that computerization will have a lower impact on fields like management, business, and financial services, as well as education and legal services.

While I agree with the Oxford study (maybe not so much on the areas that they say computerization will have a lower impact), I believe technology will only take you so far. It will certainly make everything easier and more accessible, but it will not create the relationships that make you in the end, successful.