Essential Skills for Job Seekers in 2021
Global Alumni Relations has joined forces with Talent & Careers to give IE students and alumni an inside look at the changing job market and the essential skills to develop in 2021. Nearly every job is evolving and knowing what skills are needed can be challenging, especially for those who are just starting out in their careers.
We sat down (virtually) with Carlos Diez, Director of Talent & Careers, to discuss these essential skills in order to prepare the IE community for the future of work.
What are the top 4 skills job seekers should focus on developing in 2021 and why?
- “Emotional intelligence: self-knowledge, the ability to manage their own emotions, empathy, and motivating themselves.
- Adaptability and embracing (even fostering) change: accepting uncertainty is the first step to thrive in turbulent times.
- Creativity and innovation: thinking outside (and against) the box is how companies and people find opportunities and differentiate themselves from their competitors
- Integrity and humility
“Aside from the above, it is important to be comfortable with technology and being able to conduct data analysis as a tool to make sound business decisions. In addition, at this moment, companies need positive leadership more than ever.”
How important is it for students and alumni to have an entrepreneurial mindset?
“It’s essential to avoid becoming too comfortable in the workplace and staying in their comfort zone. Companies need employees with disruptive thinking, who provide a different perspective, changes of paradigm, and who are willing to take risks.”
In today’s tech-driven world, what is the importance of skills such as communication and sociability?
“They are more important than ever. Take the financial services industry: it’s a people’s business. The key factor to build a sustainable and successful career in finance is one’s ability to develop strong relationships with clients and peers. High performing teams are made of people who are ambitious, motivated, and who complement their strengths towards a common goal. Technology is a means to an end; it cannot substitute human collaboration; it should facilitate it.”
Should students focus on being experts in one or two skills, or should they focus on being generalists?
“They have no choice but to work on both. Depending on the type of sector/role they start their careers at, graduates should develop the key hard skills for the job, but be aware that specific knowledge (like a programming language for example) might become obsolete sooner than expected. Well-rounded professionals should combine technical knowledge with a life-long learning attitude and the key skills I mentioned before: emotional intelligence, positive leadership, adaptability, …And be authentic, leverage on your strengths (hence the importance of knowing yourself, your natural strengths, and areas of improvement).”
How do you view technology and its impact in the workforce?
“We should all see technology as a tool for improvement: more efficiency, better work-life balance, and more flexibility and orientation to results.”
Are there any aspects to being an IE student or alumni that set you apart in the job market?
“As a manager and recruiter, I value having interesting people on my team, with backgrounds and personal interests beyond their work: arts, music, literature, history, philosophy, etc. The Humanities pillar at IE fosters the curiosity of students for fields that make them grow at a personal, intellectual level.
This, together with integrity and maturity is what I find sets IE graduates apart.”
IE students and alumni are destined to encounter a world full of changes, complex technologies, and infinite obstacles in 2021 and beyond. Preparing for the future of work is vital to stay competitive and guarantee successful results. Whether its starting out or looking for that promotion, it is necessary to be able to adapt, reskill, and upskill. Carlos provided valuable advice and key insights that will allow IE students and alumni to prevail in 2021, and at IE we are always here to help support our community in their professional development.
Written by: Esther Bret De Sivatte, first year Bachelor of Philosophy, Politics, Law and Economics and Fellow at Global Alumni Relations