Your Virtual Counselor! Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action!
The California Career Center. Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action!

Skills & Qualities for the 21st Century World of Work

In order to be successful in the world of work you’ll need to have skills that are in demand, but you may end up working in occupations that don’t even exist yet! So how can you prepare?

You can prepare by identifying things that are constant across the world of work and then develop skills or qualities based on those constants. This way, you’re prepared to step in any direction the future takes you.

These across-job skills are called transferable skills because they are important to have in any occupation. The following skills are consistently identified as critical for anyone seeking to be successful in the 21st century world of work: 

Information and communication skills

  • Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
  • Ability to communicate in writing
  • Ability to obtain and process information
  • Ability to create and/or edit written reports

Thinking and problem-solving skills

  • Ability to make sound decisions and solve problems
  • Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
  • Ability to analyze quantitative data
  • Ability to think critically and creatively

Interpersonal and self-directional skills

  • Ability to influence others
  • Ability to work in a team structure
  • Ability to demonstrate responsibility and self-discipline
  • Displays positive attitude and sense of self-worth
  • Takes responsibility for professional growth

Technical skills

  • Technical knowledge related to the job
  • Proficiency with computer software programs

For additional information, check out the Standards for Career Ready Practice which describe the skills all high school graduates need to succeed in the world of work.