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Do you have the 8 most critical skills to ride your career wave to the max? In this new environment of rapid technological change and increased global competition, great business skills equal more job opportunities and more job opportunities equal higher earnings.

8 most critical skills to ride your career wave to the max


Written Catherine Adenle

Know if you have the 8 most critical skills to ride your career wave to the max. If you want to ride your career wave noticeably well, you have to know that the most sought-after skills by recruiters in organisations are becoming less and less about your aptitude in specific technical areas. They are more about your general business judgement skills, your personal attributes and how you think things through and work within the context of a team or group.

For instance, there are several clever MBA holders about who struggle when they find themselves in a position of leadership in organisations especially when it comes to managing people. Recruiters are now more aware that while you may have all the qualifications necessary to get you a job and up the corporate ladder, you may not necessarily have the skills set to lead in the real business world.

“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow”.  – Rupert Murdoch

See Your MBA Doesn’t Make You a Born Leader

Now, organizations need high-quality hires that are able to perform in interdependent and complex business work environments. While a new hire’s skills and abilities significantly impact that hire’s performance, how the new hire applies those skills and abilities within the position’s work-relevant network is actually more impactful. This is where these 8 most critical skills to ride your career wave to the max come handy.

According to Rich Milgram, the Founder and CEO of, “The most sought-after skill-sets for recruiters are becoming less and less about proficiency in specific processes and coding languages and more about how you think systems through and work within the context of the team. Learning technology is the easy part. Having the mindset to apply it, having the mindset and logic to process it, being thorough and detail-oriented while doing so, these are the critical skills.”

Primarily, the world of work is changing at an ever-increasing pace so employers actively seek out employees who can adapt to changing circumstances and environments, and embrace new ideas. They see employees who are enterprising, resourceful and adaptable.

To check if you have the 8 most crucial skills to ride your career wave to the max, see the list of related questions below:

1. Strong Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are the skills that a person uses to properly interact with other people. In the business domain, the term generally refers to an employee’s ability to get along with others while getting the job done.

  • Are you able to interact well with different types of people from all walks of life generally?
  • Do you build trust with others by keeping confidences and treating others with respect?
  • Are you able to work across borders and cultures?
  • Can you influence internal and external stakeholders by building consensus and gaining commitment to solutions?
  • Can you easily network and partner with key internal and external contacts to achieve desired results?
  • Can you leverage diversity at work through emotional intelligence?
  • Can you remove boundaries and include others to get any work at hand done?
  • Are you affable?
  • Can you remain calm when you deal with others even when are infuriated?
  • Can you work with difficult people?

See What Are Interpersonal Skills

See Samples of Interpersonal Skills Questions and Answers for Job Interviews

To succeed, companies need to be highly competitive within a global economy and thus be able to connect with various markets. “In a truly globally connected world, a worker’s skill set could see them posted in any number of locations—they need to be able to operate in whatever environment they find themselves,” according to Anna Davies, Devin Fidler and Marina Gorbis, authors of Future Work Skills 2020, published by the Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute

2. Change Management Skill

Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to the desired state.

  • Can you handle change?
  • Can you look for new ways of doing things and to achieve your objectives?
  • Can you conduct diagnostic assessments of processes, workflows and systems to create and add value?
  • Can you to accurately define change, the efforts needed and the end result?
  • Can you create a business plan for overall change strategy that will identify reasons for change, target outcomes, goals, and expectations?
  • Can you build support for change by providing feedback backed by data to stakeholders?
  • Can you demonstrate adaptability by responding in a positive way to changing situations or priorities
  • Can you gain buy-in and establish sponsorship and ownership for change and the change effort?
  • Can you offer on-going support throughout the change effort?
What is CHANGE MANAGEMENT? Training Video

  • Can you encourage the integration of change into an organizational culture by ensuring alignment of systems, policies, and processes?
  • Have you ever created a communication plan to build involvement and commitment for any change strategy?
  • Can you establish sponsorship and ownership for change and the change effort?
  • Can you manage the consequences of the change effort, helping staff and external clients to overcome resistance?
  • Can evaluate and communicate the results of a change effort?

3. Self-Development

This is the set of activities, tasks and study that an individual undertakes as they strive to improve their self-knowledge. The aim of self-development is to achieve your full potential whether in your professional or personal life.

See 11 Proven Ways to Demonstrate Your Value at Work

The world is changing rapidly and there are no excuses for not learning or utilising mobile learning for self-development. The transformation of the world into a ‘mobile world’ and the changes in work and workplace, are together presenting a great opportunity for self-learning and for all to transform the way they acquire knowledge.

Why Mobile Learning Is The Future Of Workplace LearningWhy Mobile Learning Is The Future Of Workplace Learning
Click to view the complete infographic. | Infographic by Upside Learning
  • Are you inspired by continued learning and development?
  • Do you have the desire to grow?
  • Can you model personal development by building new knowledge and skills?
  • Can you utilise opportunities to do independent training and attain knowledge?
  • Can you facilitate self-social learning?
  • Are you a Subject Matter Expert for a subject area in your organization or a go-to person for colleagues?
  • Can you convert knowledge gained into needed tangible business improvement plans to benefit your organization?
  • Can you transfer knowledge and make the best use of informal learning?
  • Do you belong to any professional organisation?

Being part of a professional organization brings increased professionalism, autonomy, development and self-regulation while offering additional benefits such as social interactions, increase in knowledge and peer support.

See 10 Effective Ways to Manage Your Career in a Tech-Driven World

4. Adaptability

This is the ability to change (or be changed) to fit changed circumstances.

  • Can you anticipate and respond positively to changing environments?
  • Can you think quickly to respond to sudden changes in circumstances?
  • Do you persist in the face of unexpected difficulties?
  • Can you adapt successfully to changing business or work situations and environments?
  • Can you keep calm in the face of difficulties?
  • Are you able to adapt to change positively in response to changing circumstances?
  • Can you take on new challenges at short notice?
  • Can you deal with changing priorities and workloads?
  • Do you plan ahead, but have alternative options in case things go wrong?
  • Can you respond with energy to new challenges, the unfamiliar and the unexpected?
  • Can you look for ways to make changes work rather than identify why change won’t work?
  • Can you shift your priorities in response to the demands of a situation?
  • Are you afraid to improvise?

See 7 Undeniable Reasons Why Quick Adaptation to Change is Vital at Work

This is probably the most important skill you can have in and out of the workplace. Working with people whom you might not have similar interests can be a difficult task. Being able to adapt to any situation will not only allow you to be a better colleague but will help you to fit into the company culture which helps you be more successful and productive.

Kevin Watson, CEO and co-founder of jobdreaming, said small businesses don’t have room for people who just want to do their job and their job only.

“Employees that will get hired more easily and ultimately succeed are those that show an eager willingness to do whatever needs to get done, not just what’s in their job description.” – Kevin Watson

 5. Communication

Simply put, communication is the act of transferring information from one place to another. It is the ability to express your ideas clearly and confidently in speech or writing.

  • Do you communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing?
  • Are you comfortable utilizing all communication methods?
  • Can you disseminate complex information to others verbally?
  • Are you able to speak or present in public?
  • Can you give well-articulated feedback, comments and remarks to others?
  • Do you have the ability to transfer abstract thoughts into spoken words?
  • Do you plan your communication with your intended audience in mind as well as the communication channels?
  • Can you write a report?
  • Through words and your body language, can you persuade and influence others?
  • Do you listen attentively to others during discussions?
  • Do you always know the “How?”, “Why?”, “When?”, “Who?”, “What?”, “Where?” of all your communications beforehand?
  • Do you speak with conviction when selling services to others?
  • Can you convey thoughts, opinions, suggestions, questions and answers in an appropriate and professional manner at work?

See Communication Skills: Speaking and Listening

Communication is essential for every part of an organization to function effectively. There are multiple forms of communication that go on daily in an organization and being able to use each properly is critical. Some things can be addressed via email, in person, and others over the phone. Learning the proper way to communicate will create a dynamic work environment that will stand the test of time.

6. Business Skills and Industry Knowledge 

  • Do you have a global mindset?
  • Can you manage external resources as well as internal ones?
  • Are you knowledgeable about other industries or industry-segments?
  • Are you aware of recent technological developments?
  • Do you place any importance on networking and do you network?
  • Do you know who your customers are?
  • Can you wear multiple hats if required by your organization?
  • Can you apply business acumen by being part of by helping to build or support a team to make a difference and add value to what it does?
  • Can you bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive attitude?
  • Can you use data from a variety of sources to analyse business needs and propose valuable solutions?
  • Can you use innovative thinking, methods, or tools to advance productivity and development?
  • Do you seek knowledge so that you are aware of trends, changes and developments in your field?
  • Have you ever gone above and beyond the call of duty to exceed expectations?
  • Can you demonstrate strategic thinking by meeting and exceeding targets in terms of quality, timelines and quantity?
  • Are you able to drive improved results through solutions by setting goals, tracking progress, and sharing results?
  • Can you plan and implement assignments to achieve goals by creating action plans and ensuring completion of tasks to generate result?

See Self-Assessment of Business Skills Check List

See What Are Business Skills on Google Custom Search

7. Positive Attitude

A positive attitude will get you through those dark days when either colleagues nor your manager or external contacts seem to be biting your hooks.

  • Are you always showing positive behaviour at work?
  • Do you always see the glass half full rather than half empty?
  • How do you embrace a new system, manager, workflow, tasks and any other change?
  • Are you always happy at work?
  • Do you eliminate negative self-talk?
  • Do you always adopt beliefs that frame events in a positive way?
  • Do you ignore whiners and negative people?
  • Do you always use positive vocabulary?

See 7 Ways to Maintain a Positive Attitude

8. Teamwork Skills

As you must know, this skill is a no-brainer. Trust me; no one wants to hire anyone who refuses to fit into a team.

  • Have you ever worked in a team-based environment before?
  • Have you worked well as part of a successful team to implement actions that add value to your organization in the past?
  • Do you function as an active participant in a team?
  • Do you get your fair share of work done to show your commitment to a team?
  • How have you contributed to the team’s success in the past?
  • What have you learned from working in a team about yourself?
  • Do you prefer to work on your own rather than work as part of a team?
  • Do you have problems working with difficult people?
  • Do you prefer actively listen to other team members?
  • Do you share information with team members openly and willingly?
  • Do you cooperate and pitch in to help?
  • Do you treat others in a supportive and respective manner?

See How to be a Successful Team Player at Work

in terms of the 8 most critical skills to ride your career wave to the max, combination skills can dramatically affect your progression at work so having just a specialised skill is no more acceptable by employers. In the past, before cutbacks and downsizing, employers were satisfied once they find people who brought one highly specialized skill to the table. However, while this kind of hire still takes place, most employers will now go out of their way to hire those who bring multiple skills with them.

Finally, remember that you need tangible examples and pieces of evidence to demonstrate any of the skills above to a potential recruiter.  The questions will allow you to think of pieces of evidence to back your claim.

Now that you know these 8 most critical skills to ride your career wave, do you know of other most critical skills required to progress further at work? Share them with us below in the form of a comment or simply share this article.

Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle

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