Today we want to look at how to future-proof a career. We look at what it involves and how it can be done. We’re going to cover four key principles of future-proofing which apply to everyone, regardless of role.
Update your skills
According to The Muse, 63% of CEOs say the availability of skills is their primary concern. Thanks to the speed and unpredictability of change, the kinds of skills needed to do the work will vary. However, if you keep your eyes open to what’s happening in your industry, and in organisations other than your own, you’ll be in a good position to get ahead of the rest.
Be ready for lifelong learning.
Neuroscientists have found our brains adapt well to absorbing information when we do it on a regular basis. Apart from holding off the gradual decline of our cognitive function as we age, regular learning helps strengthen neural pathways in the brain helping you absorb and apply knowledge.
We all know our workplaces will continue to change, so we need to change with them. By keeping your skills up to date, you’ll never find yourself ‘past your use-by date’ at work.
Know your technology
Knowing your technology isn’t just a matter of learning about new systems; it’s more important to learn how the technology will impact on jobs. While technology might not directly affect your role, it will bring change to the whole team.
As an article in Forbes says, we all need “knowledge of not only how technology works but what it can deliver.” That’s where we see which parts of the job will change, and how people and technology will need to work together.
BE the change – innovate.
To stay relevant in a changing environment, you need to be proactive as well as responsive. Introduce new and better ideas/systems. Technology and innovation will create new roles, but they’ll also leave gaps that technology can’t fill. Organisations will rely on their people for creativity, communication and foresight. The person who future-proofs his or her career is the one who looks for new ways to work and develops ideas which take advantage of the technological changes.
This is important. You’re going to need to have a degree of maturity to know you’re future-proofing the right thing. You’ll need to understand the skills you have and the skills you don’t, the things you enjoy and the things you don’t. You’ll need to understand your values and what’s important to you.
Change shuffles everything around so the path which was once clear to you is now hidden. It makes you reassess yourself, your career and your life. Until you’re sure your newly shaped future is what you really want, there will be gaps in your future-proofing, and they’ll be hidden in your emotions. Knowing yourself means you know what you want. If that’s the career you’re in, you’ve built a solid basis to start securing your future.
In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at the role of the leader. We know it’s going to be vitally important, no matter how much technology changes the look of the workplace. So, we’ll examine the techniques you’ll need to apply to stay relevant and essential in your role.