5 Essential Skills That Will Improve Your Future Prospects

Things You Should Focus on to Stay Relevant Long-Term

As you deal with constant change, there are essential skills that will help improve your future prospects.

Focusing on skill improvement is important if you want to stay relevant in years to come. Those who do not develop skills may not be as valuable, while dealing with a world that does not exist.

Over the last couple of decades, change has disrupted industries, with many of them no longer existing. This disruption has led to new industries or markets starting up.

Examples of industries or markets disrupted or starting up include:

  • Online streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime.
  • Social media platforms.
  • Transportation services such as Uber and Lyft.
  • Hospitality with companies such as Airbnb.
  • Photography with the introduction of mobile devices.

With industries or businesses needing to change to stay competitive in the twenty-first century, you and I are no different.

We must know the essential skills we have to develop to stay relevant years to come.

essential skills

My previous career was in manufacturing. In Australia, it has been an industry that has struggled to stay competitive and profitable. Over past couple of decades, many manufacturing businesses have had to shut down or move their operations overseas.

Knowing that manufacturing was not an industry I wanted to be a part of, I had to develop new skills. These included writing and content creation, public speaking, training and facilitation, coaching, and online marketing.

Developing those skills has helped me transition to the career I now have. With things continuing to change and evolve, I’m always identifying skills I will need to have in the years to come.

5 Essential Skills You Should Focus on to Stay Relevant Long-Term

Depending on your interests and goals, what you consider as important skills may vary. Irrespective of the career you have or what you want to achieve, here are five essential skills that will improve your future prospects.

  1. Managing your priorities. With so many choices or distractions today, knowing what’s important and what’s not is critical. Poor priority management can lead to stress, frustration and overwhelm. That will affect our ability to do what we want to.
  2. Knowing how to adapt to different situations. With things changing at an increasing pace, our ability to adapt will help us deal with change better. Knowing how to adapt depends on our visions and ambitions, and our willingness to learn.
  3. A strong ability to lead yourself. Self-leadership is important no matter who we are or what we do. We cannot lead others well if we cannot lead ourselves well first. Skills such as communication, negotiation and having the ability to inspire and motivate others are all part of self-leadership.
  4. Problem-solving through innovation. We create products and services to solve problems and to fill a need people have. The ability to pinpoint a problem in the marketplace and create solutions is useful. Even though most innovations improve on existing ideas or solutions, learning to problem-solve is a valuable skill to have.
  5. Focusing on outcomes. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and lose sight of what we want to accomplish. Having clear intentions and the ability to stay focused on what needs to be done are important skills to have. Those who can focus and get things done will always outperform those who lack clarity and are unfocused.


Even though we may not know how things will change, staying proactive is important. This means we have to continue learning and growing. Skill development is one component of learning and growing.

Those who can identify and focus on the essential skills they want to develop will improve their long-term prospects. Those who don’t, risk being left behind or wishing things will stay the same.

Action Step: Select two essential skills necessary for you to succeed at the level you want to for the next five years. Create a plan so you can allocate the time and resources to develop those skills.

Question: What are more essential skills that will improve your future prospects?