15 Necessary Skills for Students in the 21st Century

6 October 2020

With All Things, Learning Has Drastically Evolved in the Age of Information. Here Are 15 Tools to Equip.

Being a student in the 21st century is so much more than just being good at what you study. The pressure and expectations are far higher than it’s ever been, and with Covid-19 leaving most students to their own devices studying from home, they have had to adapt like never imagined.

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Let’s see what skills you need to be a successful student of the 21st century!

If you’re already tired of all that course material, you can wave a goodbye to reading and switch to a fun video. Here’s our YouTube upload on this topic:

With that out of the way, let’s take notes of the 15 tools every modern student needs.


High EQ Levels

Aluxers, before you’ve even opened a textbook, you need to have a high EQ level. Because, while you’re out studying your butt off, artificial intelligence gets more advanced, leading to fewer job opportunities and more people applying for the same post. You’ll need to outshine your competition.

Now, how can you do that when you all have the same qualification? Easy – get to work on your EQ – which is your ability to understand other people, and yourself. Many people believe there is far more value in having higher EQ levels than higher IQ levels.

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skills

All of these form part of EQ and we’ll go into greater details within this article.


Be Digitally Literate Across Multiple Platforms

It’s all very well knowing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok inside out, but it’s not enough. Students in the 21st century need to know about all digital platforms available and develop skills that will help them work within all of them.

Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, Viber, and Medium – are just some of the mediums that students need to know about.

It was calculated that in 2017, 90% of US businesses were using social media. That figure has steadily increased since then. With over 4-billion people using the internet every day, it’s vitally important to ensure that you know a wide variety of platforms. The more platforms you know, the more employable you are.

Ryan Holmes, Internet entrepreneur, said the following, “Importantly, companies are using social media to do things that go way beyond just chatting up existing customers on Facebook. Sales departments use social to nurture leads and close sales. HR posts job openings and vets applicants. Community and support squads mine networks, blogs, and forums with deep listening tools.”


Students Need to Be Able to Access and Analyse Information

So, there’s no point being able to use all those digital platforms and not be able to make any sense of the information they provide.

These days, students need to look at the information and analyse it constructively. This skill will be able to provide a business or company with facts and figures that are easy to understand and will help the company make better decisions.

It helps you target the right customers, be innovative, cut operational costs, and makes businesses run a lot smoother.


Have Incredible Communication Skills – Both Online and Offline

Having great communication skills may not come naturally to students, but fortunately it’s an area that we can work on. Being able to effectively communicate with people from all walks of life, LSMs, cultures, backgrounds, personality types and ages, is a skill that no one can take away from you.

To highlight the important bits of getting it right, here’s what you need to do:

Really listen. Be an equal. Don’t give unsolicited advice. Be aware of your tone and body language. Be yourself and remember, it’s not about you.

While online, follow the “netiquette” rules. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone standing next to you. Keep your posts short and to the point. Provide proper feedback if required and keep the tone in line with your audience.

And Aluxers, please don’t do what Capetonian, Donovan Tooth, did. The guy was employed by Panda Clothing, a local activewear brand, who went onto Instagram stories and shamed fat women. Needless to say, he no longer has a job and his reputation has been ruined.


Develop an Entrepreneurial Spirit, Even if It’s Just Yourself You’re Marketing

In the 21st century, having an entrepreneurial mindset is extremely important. Being innovative and taking calculated risks are all part of the skill set needed to succeed.

Having this kind of mind-set doesn’t just have weight in the business world, but in other areas of your life as well. Taking risks and dealing with failures are all part of business, but they’re part of real life too. It will help you to keep putting one foot in front of the other when things are tough, in business and in your personal life.

Being entrepreneurial means having the ability to make lemonade out of lemons and is a creative outlet to make sh*t happen. And this skill Aluxers, is going to set you apart from your peers.


Change Happens Overnight – Students Need to Be Adaptable

In the “old days,” our parents or grandparents would find a job in their early 20s and celebrate 40-years with the same company. Things have changed, and so have we.

These days it’s not uncommon for people to move jobs frequently, to job hop in search of something that has purpose and where employees are valued.

A report by LinkedIn confirmed that 94% of employees would rather stay at their current company but felt the need to move to advance their careers, learn new skills, and earn a better salary.

Being open to change and building skills to help adapt is integral for the student of the 21st century. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”


Be Able to Problem Solve, Think Critically, and Self-Motivate

Aluxers, these skills go hand in hand, and are skills that are going to put you at a distinct advantage over your counterparts.

Problem solving involves identifying the problem, looking into alternatives, choosing the best solution, and implementing the change.

Being able to think critically and follow through with the change will all bode well for the future.

Want to challenge your thinking muscles? Let’s see how well do you work with these “15 Uncomfortable Ideas To Think About“.


Students Need to Be Curious

Actor, Businessman & Author, Eric Booth, “When curiosity is alive, we are attracted to many things; we discover many worlds.”

Curiosity is such an important factor for success. It leads you to ask questions, learn from others and find ways to do the job better. Curious people want to understand things, they make an effort to know everything about what they’re doing and why, and how their role fits in to the bigger picture.

When a curious person has a setback, they analyse the reasons for it and then do it better when they try again.

If you’d like to learn more skills that will put you one step ahead as a student, be sure to watch our video: Top 10 SKILLS To Learn For Your FUTURE.


Being a Good Team Player

Aluxers, we know there have been countless lists and articles being done on why being a team player is important, so we’re not going to drone on here.

We just want to highlight one of the greatest advantages of teamwork… and that’s diversity.

Teamwork is the perfect platform to engage with different cultures and experiences, providing a greater understanding of the customer’s needs. Not only will you be able to better provide for your clients, but you as an individual will grow too.

Which leads us nicely to our next point.


Leave Egos at Home and Develop Inter and Intrapersonal Skills

If you’re a great team player, this wouldn’t apply to you. But in the 21st century, there is no place for big egos. People don’t like them and those that continually display them are soon left behind.

To avoid getting a big ego, students need to continuously work on their inter and intrapersonal skills. So, what’s the difference?

Interpersonal skills refer to your personality or social skills and intrapersonal is your character and how you manage yourself.

Good interpersonal skills link directly to being able to communicate effectively. Being a good communicator means you will find it easier to make friends, have meaningful work relationships and even find a job.

When you have good intrapersonal skills, you have the ability to manage your emotions, you speak kindly to yourself, you self-motivate, and adjust your approach when needed… like Darwin said, it’s not the smartest that survive but those that can adapt to change.


Show Initiative

If you have an idea to save the company money, share it. If your idea can increase turnover, speak up. And if you can improve things within the workplace, do it. Initiative is all about being resourceful and being able to work without being told what to do and how to do it.

Showing initiative doesn’t just end in the workplace. It’s important for personal advancements, getting communities together and not waiting for someone else to make the change, do the job, fix the problem.

That change starts with you, Aluxers. Still to come, why unlearning to be a workaholic is crucial.


Great Work Ethics Never Goes Out of Fashion

Work ethics is not like patchwork jeans and Bermuda shorts, it’s going to last more than a season! Like we said in our video,  15 Things That Require ZERO TALENT, having a great work ethic means you show integrity, you take your work seriously and produce great quality work, you take responsibly, work as a team and show endurance.

Sam Ewing once said, “Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don’t turn up at all.” Which one are you, Aluxers?


Accepting Responsibility

Easier said than done, isn’t it? It’s a skill that most people don’t have, and if you can learn this skill from a young age, it will prove that you’re the best person for the job.

Accepting responsibility when things go pear-shaped, makes people trust you. Plus, if you f*ck up once and accept the repercussions, truth is, you’ll probably not make that mistake again.

Sadly, we’d rather listen to our egos and have someone else take the fall. Remember what we said about ego…  there’s absolutely no place for it anymore and it will just bite you in the butt down the line.

Coming up – what students can learn from a recent move from Pinterest.


Being Efficiently Productive

Aluxers, workaholics are truly not getting any more work done than you are. What they’re doing is fussing over the minor details and completely stressing themselves out, unnecessarily.

It’s crucial to unlearn the rhetoric that being a workaholic is a good thing. It isn’t. And the sooner students learn this skill, the better.

If you find yourself having little outside interests and living for work or your family rarely sees you, you’re struggling with depression, and have health problems, we strongly advice that you seek professional help.

Give yourself time off and you will find that you can achieve more during the workday when you are rested and not burnt out. Do go and have a look at our meditation course at alux.com/mindmastery


Be Globally and Culturally Aware and Sensitive

Knowing what is going on around you and around the world is imperative.

Being culturally sensitive is non-negotiable.

As our world is getting more and more connected, we are becoming more aware of cultural differences and how we respond to them can make or break us.

Just look at Pinterest. Just a few days ago, they announced that they would be removing all culturally insensitive costume ideas from their site. They already have a ban on the advertisement of “culturally inappropriate” costumes. If you do happen to spot one, you’ll be allowed to report it.

And Aluxers, saying people come from “sh*thole countries” like Trump once said, is not going to win you any favours. Leave the racism and intolerance to him and you go and be the change you want to see in the world!


We’d love to know what you believe is a necessary skill needed for students in the 21st century. Let us know down below!