How to Futureproof Your Career
Just a quick glance at the news in recent years will tell you how much the world of work is changing. There are whole careers that are disappearing or changing beyond recognition – and a big part of the reason why is the rapid advancements that have occurred in technology recently. While the internet has opened up a whole host of opportunities for humanity, it has also come along with more than its fair share of challenges. So, the act of ‘futureproofing’ your career has never been more important than it is now. Essentially, this means that you keep relevant to the ever-changing job market and ensure that you keep moving upwards in the right direction rather than risking your career moving the opposite way – or worse – stopping entirely. Here is a bit of advice that can help you to futureproof your career.
Remain Technologically Knowledgeable
Probably the most important action that you can take to futureproof your career is to stay technologically knowledgeable. No matter what career you are involved in, it is bound to involve technology in some way. If you can’t even use the basic programs, you are much more likely to get left behind the crowd. This can be a particular challenge for older people who have not grown up with tech, but even for millennials, the thought of a more technologically adept Generation Z coming through into the job market can certainly be intimidating. This should spur you on even more to develop your tech skills. You can do this in many different ways, but if you are looking for a more structured approach, there are plenty of tech classes out there that can teach you a great deal.
Choose a Future Facing Industry
There are plenty of job industries out there that have the future very much in line. Just take a look at this article about statistics and how it will remain a relevant industry in the future. So, when you are involved in a career path, it is always worth looking at the opportunities that are available to you. Assess whether or not you have the option of progressing. If not, it may be worth reassessing your prospects and pivoting to a career that offers you further opportunities. Look at the industries that are experiencing fast growth, as well as the ones that are very much involved in the latest technology. These are the ones that are more likely to stand the test of time and present opportunities for you now and in the future.
Develop Transferrable Skills
Even if you work in quite a niche job, you should still aim to develop your transferrable skills. If you only have a very narrow area of specialisation, there is every chance that your job is at risk from automation. There are plenty of skills that employers of all variety are on the lookout for. Just think about leadership, innovation, and communication as three examples of them. Not only can these help you move up your current ladder, but they can also aid you in seeking out a new career entirely if this is what you choose to do. If you are not able to sharpen up your abilities in your current job role, it may be worth looking ahead to the ways in which you can improve your abilities. You don’t want to risk stagnating. Plus, if you stay in a job over a long period of time, employers often want to know why you have not stretched yourself. If you don’t have a good answer to this question, you can easily find yourself in difficulty in justifying why they should promote or keep you.
Have a Global Perspective in Mind
For all the good and bad that the internet has brought, we live in a world which is more global than ever before. So instead of thinking on a local level or even a country level, it is worth thinking about your place in the world as a whole. Open up your mind to the ways in which other countries do things. Consider learning new languages – particularly from fast-emerging markets around the world. Businesses operate on a global scale more than ever and they also have a high level of cultural diversity as well. The greater experience you have of working in a range of different environments, the more appealing you will be to employers now and in the future. If you have the opportunity to travel to visit another office in your company, it is always one worth taking.
Keep a Record of Success
When you move through your career, it can feel like somewhat of a blur. So, to give yourself a pat on the back, as well as having a record that you can display to current and future employers, it is worth keeping a journal of your success along the way. Employers want to know exactly what it is that you have to offer their organization and if you keep a clear record of this, you will be able to reel off some key facts and statistics about yourself. Some people only do this when they are about to apply for a new job role, but it is better if you keep it as a continuous record. If you are not sure where to begin, list some of your key duties, as well as the projects that you have taken on and results that you have achieved. Make a list of the training that you have received, as well as any volunteer work that you have taken on. This success journal has the other positive impact of making you realize exactly what you have achieved over the years, which can prove to be a major boost to your confidence. Employers are always searching for people who are able to sell themselves well, and a journal can prove to be a big part of this.
Build Up Your Professional Network
Rather than letting your contact book get outdated, you should make connections with people in every new job role that you take on. Not only is this nice from a social point of view, but they may be able to provide you with job opportunities that you didn’t know about before. Professional networking services like LinkedIn make it easier than ever to keep a record of your contacts. Even if you have not got in contact with them for a number of years, people often appreciate a message from an old colleague. It is also a good idea to join online groups and professional networking associations. If you can build up relationships that are beyond your existing career or industry, this can be even more worthwhile.
Follow Career Trends
A big part of futureproofing your career is simply keeping up to date with the news and seeing where trends are heading. You should be on the lookout for employers that always keep one eye on the future, as well as those that are interested in sustainability. The news has never been easier to follow, but there is also such a huge amount of it out there that it can be difficult to know where to get started. Ultimately, you are better off turning to one or two trusted sources. It is all too easy to get news fatigue by trying to follow too much of it. Be wary of industries that appear to be on a downward trajectory, as well as those that don’t seem interested in adapting to keep up with current demands. Sometimes, it is not industries themselves but just individual employers that are the problem.
Develop a Sense of Resilience
It can be tough out there in the job market, so you need to develop a thick skin to continue operating in it effectively. While you can do as much research as possible into the future, nobody can say with absolute certainty where it is leading. Therefore, you need to be ready to be as adaptable as possible. Sometimes, it is how well that you bounce back from setbacks that can end up making all the difference. Don’t forget to concentrate on the other areas of your life too. Enjoy your hobbies and keep mentally and physically well. Employers are also looking for well-rounded individuals and not those who are simply work-obsessed.
Keep Your Options Open
If you have as wide a path as possible ahead of you, this will ensure that you always maintain a good perspective of the world and that you won’t become too narrow in your way of thinking. Be prepared to adapt and change career if this is the way that the world is heading. If you get too stuck in your ways and refuse to make this change, you can end up causing a great many problems for yourself further down the line.
Making sure that you futureproof your career is the responsibility of everyone and these are just some of the ways that you can achieve this goal successfully.