Here’s what we know for sure: Today’s market is evolving and highly competitive. Whether you’re fresh out of school, have a few working years in the bag, considering a big career change, you need to stay relevant and position yourself as a viable competitor in the workplace. Things can change at the drop of a hat, and you need to prepare yourself for the future of work and how you can stay relevant in a changing job market.
We’ve put together a list of 10 things you can do to help you stay ahead of the change.
- Define your career goals
Before you embark on any journey, you have to know where you want to go, and the equipment you need to get you there. Careers are the same. You need to have professional goals (destination) and know what skills (equipment) you have and what will get you there. Which industry do you dream of working in and what career path do you want to pursue? Define your goals and then take the necessary actions to get you there.
- Study industry trends
What are the latest news, trends, and developments happening in your industry? Who are the thought leaders and what are they saying? What are your international counterparts doing that could be introduced where you are? What are the big problem areas your sector experiences? Where is the potential for growth? Keep up to date with your industry news and find a place you can use your skillsets to fill that gap.
- Get certified
A certification is a feather in your cap that makes you stand out among the crowd. Recruiters and hiring managers, in searching for fresh and ideal candidates to fill positions, keep an eye out for those who have completed certifications in their field and will match the demands of the role. The additions to your resumé will make you look good on paper and give you an advantage over other applicants.
- Expand your network
Get to know people in your industry. Be intentional about joining professional groups, attending events, meeting fellow industry leads and colleagues, finding a mentor, and much more. Make it a point to establish and build relationships with those in your field. Having these influential people in your network will help you when you need assistance down the road. They can also give you career advice and guide you in areas you need to grow.
- Develop your personal/professional brand
Think of your personal brand as your two-minute elevator pitch – online. Personal branding plays a huge part in reinventing your career. This doesn’t mean changing who you are but freshening up your image on professional platforms like LinkedIn. Take part in and share conversations about relevant industry topics and use this platform as a place to showcase your skills and knowledge. It also allows recruiters and other members of your industry to have a snapshot of your professional skills, education, and background and keep you on their radar when opportunities arise.
- Step out of our comfort zone
This is not always easy but it’s necessary. The future of work indicates many of us may need to step outside of our comfort zones and step into fields we never thought we would. Review your skills to see which areas need growth but more than this, consider if branching out into a new position and sector is worthwhile. You may have been in finance for years, but now could be the right time to step into a new career. Alison’s Workplace Personality Assessment is a short, simple, and easy way to measure personality traits, and cognitive abilities, and help you discover your behavioural style – all these to give you insight into who you are and your dream career.
- Learn new technologies
The world and businesses are becoming more advanced and require employees to be tech-savvy to keep up with the developments. Discover what new technologies your industry is to familiarise yourself with them, learn how they’re being used, and start using them too.
- Upskill and reskill yourself
Staying relevant means you need to constantly upskill and reskill yourself in your industry. This will ensure you stay ahead of the curve. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and enrol in courses that will enhance and improve these areas.
- Embrace the gig economy
The gig economy, a new term for many people, speaks to the increasing number of workers who are taking on freelance, contract work, temporary and short-term projects. It’s an ‘economy’ that’s expected to grow in the future because of the changing attitudes to work, technology, remote and hybrid working solutions, and the growth of platform-based business models. It provides flexibility and autonomy to employees and gives employers access to highly-specialised individuals on a short-term basis.
- Know your worth
We tend to shy away from talking about money, our salaries, and when applying for new jobs, asking for what we believe we’re worth. But to do this accurately and not be seen as pulling numbers out of the air, you have to know your market price and add a figure on the value you’ll bring to the company. This is based on your skills and experience. Additionally, this will help you find your fit within the right company and position you will ultimately hold.
“The gap between academic insight and work requirements has increased” – Ulrich.
Today, companies need you to have more than knowledge, experience and qualification. They need individuals who stay on trend with industry changes, are skilled in the latest tools, features and technologies, can adapt to required changes in a constantly evolving environment, and show tenacity to see through the challenges that may come their way.
The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is that little bit extra. These steps are a few extra things you can do to step up your game and bridge the gap between you and others navigating the job market.
If you want to reach professional success, you cannot afford to get complacent and comfortable with how things are. They are bound to change. Building on your current skillset is important. Know who you are, what you want, and where you want to go, and then make decisions that will get you closer to achieving that dream.
The future of work will be shaped by a variety of factors like the gig economy, ageing populations, automation, sustainability, and emerging industries. These, of course, are simply predictions of what the future of jobs will look like but the exact nature and impact of these changes remains to be seen.