We are now entering an age of flexibility, where the acceptance of change is crucial to your career success. We are leaving behind an era where working in the same role for most your career is no longer seen as the norm.
From the rise of the gig economy to the impact of automation and AI, there is a lot to contend within the future of work. If you are a skilled individual who is in strong demand, then this presents a challenge. How can you plan, adapt and revaluate how you are positioned? How can you protect your career until retirement?
Here are three ways you can future proof your career.
1. Invest in yourself
In this age of continuous learning, you will need to constantly develop your skills to be at the top of your game. My advice is to make learning an essential part of your job.
The reason is simple. It demonstrates to your employer that you are not just valuable, but that you are also appreciating in value.
That is why most companies will encourage their employees to upskill while working. It is a way to protect their workforce. After all, there is no point in hiring talented workers, if their skills and experience become obsolete. It also helps boost their employer brand because it shows their willingness to future proof the jobs of those they employ.
Investing in yourself through continuous learning is therefore a win-win for both you and your employer. It’s an easy way to future proof your career.
2. Create the job you want to do
I have often heard both candidates and employers say that job titles and job descriptions do not matter. I do not agree. I think both matter a lot.
A job title and job description allow you and others to understand where you sit in a company. It also makes the value that you add in your role much more tangible to senior management, which in the end, protects your position as an employee.
However, it also has another valuable function – it allows you to see where you are in your career and where you might want to be in the future. In other words, it provides you a base to build your career on.
As a skilled candidate, you have a lot of power to craft the job title you receive and the job description you get when you change roles. If you are not feeling satisfied or fulfilled with the position you are in, you might be able to create a new one with you next employer.
You could even ask your current employer if you can make some changes. Even if your suggestion is not accepted, it makes your ambitions visible and shows your willingness to adapt to change, which could benefit the company you work for. With such a move, you won’t just future proof your career, you will also future proof your job with that employer.
3. Build your professional network
This is time-tested advice for anyone who wants to build a successful career. A strong network provides invaluable support and opens up new career opportunities. It also gives you a much broader perspective of the industry you work in, which you might not get internally, for a company that you work for.
The difference, however, is how you grow this network. It is no longer limited to physical events, such as conferences and face-to-face meetings outside the office. Although these will remain an important part of networking, there are other powerful ways that you can expand your network beyond where you are physically located.
Online platforms like LinkedIn can allow you to significantly increase your global reach in the industry you work in. Subsequently, it can create an endless source of career opportunities from the friendships you create online.
It can also protect your career – the larger your network, the more support you will receive if you ever find yourself unemployed or in need of new career opportunities. It is an immensely powerful way to future proof your career.
The bottom line
These are the three methods I would recommend for future proofing your career. However, the method you choose does not really matter. The goal is to be seen as valuable within the industry you work in regardless of the changes that occur.
To do this, you will need to be visible, relevant and open to change. The threat of redundancy from automation and AI should pose no threat to you, nor should changes in how we work.
When you look at the world in this way, then the future is bright in your career is future proved.