The most useful skills to develop for the ‘new normal’

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No matter what sector you work in, it’s likely that your job has been affected by the ongoing pandemic in some way – whether it’s moving to working from home, getting used to new health and safety measures, being put on furlough leave or having to deal with redundancy.

Some of these changes may not be permanent, but we are facing a considerable period of what has been classed as the ‘new normal’.  What do these changes mean for us in the long-term and what can we do to secure our position within the new world of work?

Here are five essential skills that employers will be looking for in a world post-COVID-19.

Digital skills

These skills have been increasing in demand for years, but the pandemic has boosted them to the top of the list of essential skills that employers desire.

Digital skills in everything from web development to IT support, digital marketing to data processing are key right now. Employees who have a tech-savvy attitude and a willingness to learn are valuable assets in this difficult time, as without them businesses wouldn’t have the tools they need to survive.

This means that candidates who demonstrate a willingness to develop their digital skills will be top picks when it comes to hiring during and after the pandemic.

It’s never a bad idea to get certified if you have a specialist skill and can afford to do so, it might give you that extra advantage to land your next job.


Companies adapting to the ‘new normal’ either by working from home or implementing increased safety measures have relied on their staff to take on a flexible attitude to their roles.

As a result, employees have had to adjust their work style, responsibilities, and day-to-day working in a way that fits around changing business needs. The importance of being adaptable is only going to grow as new ways of working are likely to continue in the future and employers will be looking for this skill in their new hires.

Now is the time to make yourself an attractive candidate by honing your ability to adjust to new and unexpected deadlines and continuously grow your skills to meet the changing demands of employers.

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Creativity and innovation

Whilst digital skills are in high demand this doesn’t mean that creativity and imagination aren’t also valued. Technology can do a lot for us, but businesses still rely on human creativity and innovation to drive them forward.

You don’t even have to work in a traditionally creative role to demonstrate this skill, you just have to show that you can think outside of the box.

Innovative solutions are essential for almost every industry, especially in times of crisis, and those who take a creative approach to their work will continue to be sought after to help businesses develop new products, find new ways to meet their customers’ needs or dream up new ways of working.

Emotional Intelligence

Books smarts will only get you so far, to be a great all-rounder you also need to demonstrate emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is all about being aware of the emotions of others and being able to empathise and understand how they’re feeling. It’s closely linked to strong communication skills which are always handy to have. In times of uncertainty, it’s a skill that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Whether you’re using it to reassure your coworkers, adapt your workload in response to the pressure others are facing or just keep up clear and honest communication within your team, emotional intelligence is guaranteed to help you get ahead now and in the future.

Plus, as our reliance on digital communication is expected to increase, it’s worth working on how you show your emotional intelligence through less personal means like video calls and emails.

Hand arranging wood block stacking with icon leader business. Key success factors for leadership elements concept


Leadership skills aren’t just for those in management roles and employers will be on the hunt for these even when recruiting for entry-level roles. Now more than ever, with the need for businesses to be adaptable, there will be more opportunities for people at all levels to have a chance to take the lead.

With less face-to-face meetings between managers and their team, workers are likely to have more autonomy than ever. This makes the ability to work on your own initiative, take ownership of your work and show confidence working unsupervised, vital and something that employers will look for when screening future candidates.

If you are in a management role, managing your team remotely will be helping you develop a host of new skills and abilities. Boosting morale, communicating clearly and encouraging collaboration are all part of being a good leader and if you can get a strong grasp on doing this from a distance, you’ll be in a great position if, and when, you want to move on to a new role.


If you’re looking to continue your job search, you can find the latest vacancies at jobs24.comdon’t forget to sign up for job alerts to get new jobs delivered straight to your inbox.

Posted on August 11, 2020