The year 2000 seems to be a focal point in everyone's life. We ask ourselves, What will life be like then? Will life be much different than it is today?

Regardless of what happens in the next 11 years, a survey by Manpower Inc., a worldwide temporary help firm, shows college students are identifying what skills they'll need for future job success.With technology changing rapidly, it is difficult to understand what skills might be needed in the next two years, let alone in the year 2000.

Some of the changes are already evident, said Mitchell S. Fromstein, president and chief executive officer of Manpower. "The acceleration of technological change in the office and plant has produced a plethora of new skill requirements accompanied by the need for adequate training."

The survey showed the students feel they need to be computer literate. Familiarity with computers will be as essential for those managing information in offices as for those controlling automated processes, Fromstein said.

He said communication and people skills may become even more essential in tomorrow's high-tech workplace than they are today. Students are preparing themselves to communicate their technical expertise to co-workers and managers at all levels.

Flexibility is another important quality the surveyed students feel is necessary, meaning that technological development changes are inevitable and training and re-training will be an ongoing part of any career.

Students also are looking to become generalists by acquiring broad educational backgrounds and experiences, Manpower officials said. Employment experts agree that the most sought-after employees of tomorrow will be those who can draw on knowledge of a number of fields to creatively solve problems and manage other workers.

The students said their college and university courses are giving them the basic knowledge they need for future careers, while temporary work experiences are developing and polishing their work skills.

While we all wait for the year 2000 and the changes it will bring, many students must work for money to complete university and college courses. Fromstein, whose company will fill more than 100,000 temporary job openings this summer, offered this advice for those looking for summer work:

- Start early. It gives you an edge over the others. Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to get a job. Many companies don't complete their hiring until the end of May.

- Explore all potential job sources. Newspaper ads are a good source for leads, but so are relatives, teachers and friends. Call major firms about job openings, contact temporary help firms, check with Job Service offices and call former employers.

- Apply in person. Phone calls won't get past a switchboard and messages won't draw much attention. Dress appropriately, even if only picking up an application because you never know whom you'll run into.

- Be honest. Claiming to be an expert work processing operator when you're not can result in a frustrating summer. You could be fired when your deficiency is discovered.

- Look for learning opportunities. Act like you're eager to learn. Initiative can result in a summer job becoming a permanent one.

- Have proper legal identification. You must have a passport, Social Security card or pictured driver's license to prove citizenship under immigrations laws.

- Make commitments and keep them. Employers want assurance you'll be around for the entire summer and not just for a few weeks. Replacing workers is costly and difficult for business. Leaving an employer in the lurch can destroy valuable contacts.