Are you future-proofing your career?

When I commenced my career twenty years ago the workplace was vastly different.  There was one office computer shared by thirty staff, no mobile phones and no email.  All files were stored hardcopy in a file-room and we received our weekly wage as cash in an envelope.  There were no cloud-based platforms, no co-working spaces and ‘marketing’ consisted of a listing in the Yellow Pages and sponsoring the local footy team. The way we work has been totally transformed since then and as a result jobs are changing at breakneck speed. So, are you future-proofing your career for these changes?

According to an academic publication by the Oxford Martin School, approximately 50% of all U.S. jobs are at risk of being automated and replaced by robots.  You can check if your job is at risk on the Replaced by a Robot website.

So, we know that many jobs will be replaced, but how do we know what jobs will be available to us in the future, and how do we prepare for these new occupations.  The truth is, we can’t possibly know what jobs will be available ten years from now.  However, it is possible to future-proof your career and keep yourself relevant and marketable.  Here are my top 5 tips for preparing for career change in the future:

  1. Annual Career Audit

We get our car service and a dental check once a year, so wouldn’t it be wise to also complete an annual career audit when everything is changing so quickly around us. Most corporates have at least an annual performance review but I also advise my clients to complete their own self-assessment to assess whether they need to upskill to keep themselves current in today’s market (not just for the requirements of their employer).  This should also apply if you are a contractor, freelancer or own your own business.

A career audit is also a great time to update your resume with new skills you have acquired, additional responsibilities you have taken on, and achievements or projects that should be noted for future reference.  If you go years between updating your resume it is much harder to recall and document your accomplishments in a compelling fashion.

  1. Expand your Skillset

If you are fortunate enough to work for a progressive organisation then you may have many opportunities to upskill and learn new systems and technology.  However, if your company doesn’t focus on learning and development, or you work for yourself, it may be time to stretch yourself and take more responsibility for your own professional development.  Short courses and free or inexpensive online courses can help you upskill quickly, particularly when it comes to technology.  I refer my clients to courses at General Assembly, Alison.com, Udemy, Udacity, Coursera, CAE and The Digital Picnic to name a few.

  1. Keep in touch with your network

You never know when you will be out of a job without warning whether you are a Graduate or an Executive.  Businesses change rapidly and redundancies are very real.

To future-proof yourself for a redundancy you need to build and maintain professional relationships over the life of your career.  Networking does not happen overnight and it doesn’t mean turning up at every function in town handing out business cards as soon as you find yourself unemployed.

The best networking is done over years between professionals who have mutually beneficial relationships.

In my opinion, LinkedIn is a must-have to prepare yourself for the future and to maintain these relationships.  LinkedIn is not just a social media site.  It also offers a cloud-based database that allows you to keep in touch with colleagues, university friends and previous employers long after they leave an organisation.

  1. Pay attention to what is happening in and out of your industry

Another way to future-proof your career is to keep on top of what is happening in your industry as well as keeping an eye out for innovation in other related-industries.  Process and technology innovation is not usually limited to just one industry so it pays to keep abreast of what changes are occurring both within and outside of your industry.

Again, LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for keeping abreast of industry changes as well as attending industry events, subscribing to industry publications and setting up Google Alerts to keep informed of industry news.

  1. Keep your marketing collateral current

It pays to not get too out of practice with marketing yourself.  If you are approached by recruiters for job opportunities, there is absolutely no harm in submitting a resume and attending an interview even if you are not 100% sure about the job.  Having a current resume (format and content), current interview skills as well as a complete and keyword optimised LinkedIn profile will ensure that you don’t get left high and dry after a sudden redundancy.

Preparing yourself for future change requires thought, planning and possibly some financial investment but it is absolutely vital if you wish to future-proof your career for the future.

If you feel you need assistance with career coaching, interview coaching, job search coaching or utilising LinkedIn for personal branding and networking, please contact me at leah@relaunchme.com.au or on 0413 558 758 for a 15 minute clarity call.