Nobody has a crystal ball, of course. But with an eye to technology, the economy, the environment and politics, the Institute for the Future — a Palo Alto, Calif.-based training company that helps organizations plan for the future — has made some solid predictions about the type of worker the workplace is clamoring for, not just today but into the future.

Overall, the IFTF advises that staying relevant in the marketplace means mastering “performance zones” – the skill sets, traits and activities that position you as an employee of the future.

They are:

  • Establishing a strong professional identity or “brand.” Make sure your resume, LinkedIn profile and other social media reflect your professional identity. A positive professional brand is a critical part of “reputation management” which enhances your credibility to employers, telling them who you are and how you fit into workplace culture;
  • Embracing technology. Being confident in a digital world means knowing more than how to send an email. As robots, bots and artificial intelligence increasingly become part of the workplace, you will need to be skilled in understanding how they operate and how technological tools and people can function together in achieving goals;
  • Building a strong personal network. Whether employed or not, keeping up with a network is key to staying plugged into new opportunities and industry changes;
  • Being flexible. Adaptability and resiliency are critical soft skills any time, but particularly in a rapidly changing world. Those who make sense of complexity and embrace change are the ones whom employers will count on to strengthen workplace culture.

If employers are looking toward the future, so are must current, or prospective, employees. Master these performance zones and you will make yourself valuable today and tomorrow.

Sherri Sacks is a career coach for the JCS Career Center. The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment services to help job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment or change their career. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resumes, interview preparation and connections to employers who are hiring. For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit