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These are the 5 “super skills” you need for jobs of the future

Work is changing, so to stay ahead you’ll need to master these skills that you probably didn’t learn in college


Chances are your job description has changed over the past five years. Or maybe your role didn’t even exist a short time ago. The workplace of today and the future looks quite different due to technology, the economy, the environment, and politics, according to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a not-for-profit think tank that helps organizations plan for the future.

The evolving workplace is creating a skills divide, says Adam Miller, CEO of Cornerstone, a talent management software and systems provider that partnered with IFTF to create a future skills study. “We have a very large group of jobs that require relatively few high-level skills, and a lot of those jobs will become obsolete in the future, being automated away,” he says. “On the flip side, highly technical jobs are wide open because there aren’t enough people with the skills to fill them. Whether or not employees recognize it, the half-life of their skills is shorter than it used to be.”

If you want to compete and stay relevant in the marketplace, you’ve got to master five “super skills,” according to IFTF:


Being successful means setting yourself apart, and you’ll need a personal brand that defines who you are and who you want to become, according to IFTF. That involves building a reputation, trust, and a following. The impression you project about yourself is crucial for finding the best workplace culture fit and for inspiring confidence in your coworkers, clients, and managers, says Jennifer Lasater, vice president of career services at Purdue University Global.

Start with the basics, such as auditing your social media presence and email name. “Ensure that your image comes across as professional, polished, and appropriate for an organization that you are interested in, now or in the future,” she suggests, adding that it helps to have a mentor, adviser, or trusted friend provide you with candid feedback on your reputation.

Building a personal brand can also include being mindful of your accomplishments and traits, says Tammy Erickson, adjunct professor of organizational behavior at London Business School. “I like to call them ‘badges,’” she says. “It’s skills that are gathered that build your reputational portfolio. It can be that you’re a financial wizard, dependable or creative. You begin to blend softer, more qualitative skills that are not reflected in traditional academics.”

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