Are you worried about your career prospects due to the global pandemic? Here, we share seven ways to help future proof your career.
Here at Start Me Up, we often talk about the future of work in our remote internship workshops. But what actually is it?
Well, the future of work is actually already here. The way we work is fundamentally different from how it was 50, 30 or even 10 years ago.
In 2016, the term ‘future of work’ received 48 million hits on Google. Fast forward to May 2020 and this number has reached a whopping 3.55 billion. That’s a lot of searching.
So what is changing the realm of work and creating this idea of the ‘future of work’?
Technology. Technology is taking over the world and shaping every aspect of it.
Generation shifts. Millennials currently make up 50% of the workforce.
Globalization. The world is becoming more and more globalized year on year.
The global pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly changed the way lots of people work.
Business shift. There are 100 million new businesses per year which shows a shift from large corporations to a more entrepreneur-driven society.
So what is worrying about the future of work?
Well, with automation, increased productivity, smart algorithms and robots, it is estimated that two billion jobs will disappear by 2030.
So what can you do to make sure your career is future-proofed?
Focus on Future-Proof Skills
Don’t invest time or money in improving the skills associated with the left side of the brain. The left side of the brain involves analytical and algorithmic skills. These can and will be automated in the future.
The right side of the brain is the more creative and heuristic side and involves skills which robots will have more difficulty with. It is worth improving these skills as they’re safe from automation.
Skills that cross platforms, industries and cultures are also worth developing.
Having a unique combination of skills that bridge more than one industry, technology and so on will be harder to replace and will be valued by companies.
LLL (Life-Long Learning)
Life-long learning is the future; make learning a habit and a lifestyle. We’re used to spending a lot of time studying but then we get our degree and then we stop. This won’t work in the future.
It’s time to experiment and try and become a learning worker rather than a knowledge worker.
A learning worker is someone who is paid to do a job but can acquire new skills and new information while working compared to a knowledge worker who is just paid for the skills they know.
Knowledge expires; it becomes obsolete very quickly and so we need to keep building it to be ahead and at the top of our game.
In the wise words of Darwin, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Most of us are digital natives; we grew up with technology. But the problem is that many of us only use it for social and entertainment purposes.
Don’t just be on Facebook and Instagram; discover how the tools work, how the algorithms work. Staying up to date with new innovations that are useful to work, business and science will help you stay up to date with the latest advancements.
Even if you’re not a person who builds technology, the ability to understand technology and be tech literate is very important.
Attitudes and Behaviors > Skills and Knowledge
Because knowledge is becoming obsolete so fast, attitudes and behaviors are taking the front seat.
For example, having the attitude to want to learn and the capacity to learn fast is a lot more important for companies when they hire than what the person already knows.
Network Like a Pro With Companies That Interest You
Don’t just network when you need a job. Build contacts with people and companies that are doing interesting things. An opportunity may arise even when you’re not looking for it.
When networking, start and engage in conversations, create meaningful connections and try and stand out from the crowd. And most importantly, don’t give up.
If a company doesn’t have an opportunity for you right now, doesn’t mean they won’t have one in the future.
If you stay engaged and build a relationship with them, when they do end up needing someone, you’ll be the first to come to their mind. Remember, as many as 60% of all jobs are unadvertised.
Forget the Old Ways of Working
They don’t work anymore. Things have changed and moved on.
For example, micromanagement doesn’t work for a lot of us anymore. It’s a thing of the past. Things like hierarchies aren’t really a thing of the future.
Look for companies that are moving with these times and scrapping or have scrapped these things.
Find companies that offer remote work, not just now during the pandemic because they were forced to but after as well.
Steer Clear of Dying Industries
Only go into one of these industries if you feel like you’re going to disrupt it or if you feel like it’s going to make a comeback in the near future and you’re targeting a niche.
If you’re really passionate about a dying industry e.g you want to be a journalist, don’t go and write for print media.
Find a media startup which is innovative and moving with the times, finding a new way and gap in the market. That way you’re still doing what you want, but it’s future proofed.
So there you have it. Seven ways to help you future proof your career for the years ahead. Which one are you going to start with?