Technology today is moving at such a break-neck pace that it is difficult to anticipate what work will look like in even five years’ time. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that around 65% of children starting school today will have jobs that don’t yet exist!
The growing popularity of innovative technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and the internet of things will trigger a revolution in the way we work. So what can you do today to ensure you have all the relevant skills for industry 4.0?
For many, the key question is: will robots take our jobs? While fear-mongers link increased automation with job loss, research tells us that is not the case. For example, one study from Deloitte found that over 144 years in the UK, technology created more jobs than it has eliminated and contributed to the creation of better-quality jobs.
In the future, machines take on dangerous and repetitive tasks, thereby freeing up humans to focus on more interesting work. A natural consequence of this will be that inherently human skills and qualities (such as problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity) will only become more valuable in the jobs market. If you want to unlock future career success, now is the time to build up these abilities.
5 Ways to Future-Proof Your Career
Tip #1: Upskill Yourself
Upskilling is one of the most effective ways to futureproof your career prospects. Investing time and energy into skills development today will empower you to advance within your role or seek out entirely new job opportunities. What’s more, showing your ongoing commitment to learning will make you more marketable to potential employers as it demonstrates drive, initiative, a good work ethic and a curious mindset.
If you are in the fortunate position of having an employer that prioritises professional development, be sure to avail yourself of every learning opportunity that comes your way.
If you are looking to hone in on one specific skill then the best option may be to take an online course. Short and inexpensive, these courses are also ideal for those who want to try out something new before committing to a more formalised course.
Alternatively, you may want to look into making a return to education. Accredited third-level programmes allow you to update your skill set, gain a recognised certification and deepen your knowledge. What’s more, they also offer an ideal setting in which to grow your professional network.
When deliberating on what subjects to study, consider the following points:
- What are your motivations for upskilling?
- Do you want to learn something new that will help you in your current job or do you want to learn something that could help you transition into a completely new role?
- Do you want to gain an accredited certification?
- What kind of programme would best suit your unique learning style?
- Do you want to work on your hard skills or your soft skills?
- What difficulty level are you looking for in a course?
- What are the major trends and technologies in your industry that require new skills?
Tip #2: Build & Nurture a Strong Network
While technologies and trends will come and go, people will never go out of business. That’s why it’s important to build and nurture a strong professional network. An expansive network and the consequent social capital you will gain will provide ample opportunity to raise your profile, acquire new insights, and access new career opportunities. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success.
Tip #3: Develop a Powerful Personal Brand
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once quipped that “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” While most people think of branding as a company activity, the same principles can also be applied on an individual level. This is known as your “personal brand.” A well-developed personal brand ensures that your network knows who you are, what you stand for, and why it’s worth choosing you over your competitors.
There are many benefits associated with a strong personal brand. It allows you to stand out from the crowd, it engenders greater credibility among others, and it may lead to opportunity. All of these factors will give you an advantage as your career progresses.
The availability of a variety of online platforms means that it has never been easier to develop and share your brand online. For professionals looking to futureproof their careers, the key to crafting a powerful online brand is to create a strong profile, share original content, and engage meaningfully in online conversations.
Tip #4: Stay Up-to-Date with Industry Developments
Staying abreast of ongoing developments in your industry will arm you with the information you need to future-proof your career. In particular, be sure to keep an eye out for growth sectors, emerging technologies and in-demand skill sets. Be sure to regularly schedule time for catching up with the latest stories.
So what are some activities that will help you keep up with industry developments?
- Follow relevant and trustworthy publications
- Follow the social media accounts of industry thought leaders
- Subscribe to relevant newsletters
- Attend online and in-person events
- Talk to people in and related to your area
Tip #5: Open Yourself Up to New Opportunities
Expanding your skill-set is a sure-fire way to broaden your career prospects. Throwing yourself into new environments will show employers that you are adaptable, resilient and quick to learn – all valuable qualities in a rapidly-changing environment.
Vertical progression is the typical way most professionals open themselves up to new opportunities. However, there are alternatives.
For example, making a lateral career could be a strategic way to boost your career. This may involve moving to a different department, moving sector or taking on an entirely new role with a different company. Lateral career moves allow you to diversify your skill-set, expand your professional network and gain new experiences.
You could also transition from permanent work to contracting. As a contractor, you can move freely from project to project and build a wealth of experience through continuous upskilling. What’s more, you will get the chance to develop relationships across a range of different organisations and sectors.
With all of the above taken into account, don’t forget to be patient. A successful career isn’t built overnight. However, with a little bit of proactiveness and strategic thinking, you can ensure a future full of success and satisfaction.
Molly Forsythe is a Digital Marketing Executive with Berkley Recruitment. As part of her role, she enjoys writing helpful guides for job-seekers who are looking for their next dream job. Berkley is an Irish-based recruitment consultancy specialising in the areas of Business & Technology, Life Science & Engineering, and Supply Chain & Procurement. To discover the latest career opportunities in your area, talk to Berkley today.