Almost 90 percent (89%) of Millennials and Gen Z professionals feel that skills are more important than job titles, and for good reason —with AI becoming increasingly powerful in today’s economy, professionals will need to gain relevant skills for the jobs of tomorrow.
But what kind of skills are relevant? LinkedIn’s Economic Graph aims to solve this question by digitally mapping all aspects of the global economy including people, skills, jobs, companies, schools and professional knowledge to spot trends such as skills gaps — the gap between the skills employers need (demand) and the skills workers have (supply).
In a recent WIRED event, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner asked the audience “When I talk about a skills gap, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? What’s the first skill you think there would be a gap on?”, to which the audience unanimously replied: “coding?!”
Turns out, it is actually less complicated than we think. In fact, the #1 skills gap in the United States is soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and leadership (in other words, skills that require human touch or interaction). Another important skill is digital fluency — basic tech skills such as designing presentations, using spreadsheets and navigating through social media.
“One of the things that’s going to be most important in terms of preparing the workforce to re-skill, is that people just have basic digital fluency skills.” — Jeff Weiner
So how can you gain these skills while working from your laptop somewhere on a beach in Bali or your comfortable couch at home, you might ask?
In my first article of the Rise of Remote Work series, I gave a brief introduction into location independence, or “remote work”, and its career opportunities. This week, I’d like to share how working remotely actually helps you get the skills your future self will be thankful for, based on my experiences working from co-working spaces and cafes across the globe:
1. Soft skills
- Become a great communicator: Whether you’re a (remote) employee, freelancer or an entrepreneur, communicating effectively both offline AND online is a crucial skill. Working remote will give you first-hand experience to communicate effectively across different channels (email, phone, social media, chat, in-person etc.) often across different time zones, and sometimes even different languages!
- Collaborate across borders: As a remote worker you’ll often learn how to collaborate with clients or colleagues around the world. You can work from the comfort of your own home or go to shared office spaces such as co-working spaces or cafes where you have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow like-minded people to work together on projects or simply share ideas and best practices.
- Develop your leadership potential: Having the freedom and flexibility to design your own work schedule and work from anywhere gives you the authority and responsibility of running your own business and getting results. But, you’ll also have to learn to say no (even if it means you’ll miss out on this epic beach party because of a late-night client meeting), manage your time effectively, and build a ton of resilience.
Here’s a few LinkedIn Learning courses I’d recommend if you’d like to up your game in any of these skills: Communicating with Confidence, Influencing Others, Giving and Receiving Feedback, Effective Listening, Building Business Relationships, and Managing Your Time.
2. Digital fluency
- Design and deliver awesome presentations: Designing proposals, client on-boarding calls, workshop presentations, pitch decks, reporting and more — remote work provides plenty of opportunities to practice your presentation design and delivery skills. In fact, I spend most of my time crafting an awesome (online) presentation, as it is a great opportunity to impress your team or (potential) client from the ease of your own laptop!
- Become an Excel wizard: Working remote most probably means you’ll spend most of your time on your laptop, so make sure you’ll rock those basic Office 365 skills. I can’t even count the number of spreadsheets I’ve created since starting my own business (accounting, sales pipeline, content calendar, reporting etc) — I am a disaster when it comes to spreadsheets, but am pretty proud when I finally manage to rock a pivot table.
- Become a social media guru: In today’s digital era, your online professional brand is vital to stay ahead of the competition. As a remote worker, you’ll often have to gain trust from (potential) customers and stay on top of mind of your target audience — especially if you’re a freelancer or online entrepreneur. Create social media accounts, brush up your LinkedIn profile, post relevant and inspiring content, engage with your target audience and you’ll be a social media guru in no-time.
Here’s a few LinkedIn Learning courses I’d recommend if you’d like to up your game in any of these skills: Word Essential Training, Introduction to Formulas and Functions, Learning Data Visualization, Learning Graphic Design: Presentations, Online Marketing Foundations.
I hope this article will help you reflect on your marketable skills for the jobs of tomorrow. Next week I’ll share more about the benefits of a remote workforce for companies (it involves lower costs and happier employees), so subscribe to this series and stay tuned!
Founder of Make the Leap
PS: If you’re thinking of transitioning into a remote career, I’d highly recommend the How To Work Remote, Travel the World & Live Life On Your Own Terms e-guide which has helped me throughout my location independent journey.
This is a guest post from Mandy F, freelance LinkedIn consultant and founder of Make the Leap. She successfully transitioned from her corporate job to a freelance consulting business. This article is part of a pilot for LinkedIn Series, a new feature which aims to spark conversation between a community of like-minded professionals.
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