Top 10 Career Skills for 2020 Part One: Risks to Presence

Jan 14, 2020

January has been one of the best months of my working life. And I don’t say that lightly. 

Although I have only been back officially for 7 working days, I have had video calls with 12 new coaching clients and I am in the middle of delivering a training course in London. The video calls and being in the training room bring me such joy. I am not telling you this to brag or to show off, I want to share the skills I’ve used to get to here. 


None of this happened by accident or by luck. I am highly aware of all the advantages that I have had alongside my hard work. I’ve started to realise recently that creating and maintaining a work life that you love requires new skills. 


I think back to the career guidance I have had in the past and the traditional way of looking at skills and feel more and more how much things have changed. 

So here is my take on the career skills you need to have a career or work you love in 2020. Maybe Forbes one day will ask me to write a version of this for them!



Every action has a risk attached to it and calculated risk takers are rewarded in the modern economy. The entrepreneur who starts a business, the employee who moves companies for a better position, the non-profit founder with a world changing idea. Every one of these people takes a set of risks to make change happen.

Risk taking does not come naturally to the majority of people and I am not recommending you become a dangerous or reckless risk taker but everyone can start building up their ability to take risks. 


Ideas for developing your Risk skill: 

  • Send an email to a client you’d love to work with and accept the risk they might say no
  • Have a meeting with your manager about your career progression and take the risk they are not going to be supportive 
  • Send a pitch to a publisher or agent and take the risk they might reject your book idea 



In this context, I am talking about career flexibility. The ability to change roles and jobs, move between employment and freelancing and back again if you need to. Many of the people I speak to struggle when they attach their identity to their job role and then I see the pain it causes when that identity is taken away by redundancy or career change. 


Ideas for developing your Flexibility skill: 

  • Broaden your identity beyond your work and job title by cultivating new interests and complementary skills 
  • Read the stories of people who have change careers or who have squiggly careers 
  • Volunteer for different projects, responsibility or develop new offerings 




With technology infiltrating our lives, the human aspects of being human are become more and more important. Repeatable and impersonal tasks are easiest to automate. What is hard to automate is the unique gifts of each human being. Where information is available at the click of a few buttons, the delivery of that information becomes the important part. I’ve called this skills presence because it is all about bringing your unique human presence (wether in physical reality or digitally) to your work. 


Ideas for developing your Presence skill: 

  • Start internally and fully accept you are a valuable and important unique human being who brings value to your work 
  • Practice being 100% present in the current moment when you are at work. 
  • Listen intently and actively to the people you meet with focusing on them as individuals rather than your own internal monologue


I hope you have found these ideas useful. I’ll look forward to hearing how you get on with your Risk, Flexibility and Presence Skills. 


Coming up in Part Two: Commercial Awareness to Drive.

Love Ruth