How to remain relevant in an unstable market

4 Apr, 2018

Gone are the days when a university degree secured a 30-year-long career path. The rapid pace of change is forcing people out of their career comfort zones. Many in-demand skills today didn’t exist five years ago and roughly 45% of jobs today could be automated much sooner than you think.

Driven by digitisation, automation and machine learning, the digital age will continue to alter how we work and what we do for a living. Future-proofing your career is about maintaining your value in the marketplace despite rapid changes in the world around you.

The key is the ability to learn and adapt at a moment’s notice. To make yourself irreplaceable in the future workplace, you have to be SMART: Specialist, Mobile, Adaptable, Resilient and Talented.

Here are 6 ways to future-proof your career:

  • Don’t sleep on the job (ever again)
    Keep a close eye on key trends and challenges facing your industry and how it can impact your career. Instead of taking a reactive approach, consider how you can lead or shape change. Get in the habit of assessing your value to an organisation and acquire the necessary skills to stay on top.
  • Be ever-curious
    Ongoing learning is essential given the accelerating rate of change. Change your “once-off” approach to education and embrace a life-long learning curve of acquiring essential skills and knowledge to stay in the game.
  • Learn to love tech
    Make a concerted effort to understand how technology works and how it can benefit your career. Areas to look out for are robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the commercialisation of genomics, big data, cyber security and the codification of money and trust. Become an expert in these areas.
  • Accept change as the new normal
    Learn to actively participate in change by welcoming, driving and relishing change. Adapting to change must become a knee-jerk reaction so get in the habit of pre-empting sudden changes in any direction.
  • Network far and wide
    Grab every opportunity to learn from a professional network. Get in the habit of participating in learning and relationship building opportunities, such as seminars and webinars. Building up a solid network is essential in solving problems and identifying fruitful opportunities.
  • Keep calm and buy a lightsaber
    Never neglect your unique characteristics. Machines will never replace the human touch. Creating a personalised connection will call on your creativity, sense of humour, empathy, compassion, improvisation and spontaneity, especially in the fields of marketing, communication, entertainment, therapy, nursing and so forth.

Versatility is essential. More important than an impressive resume, is your ability to adapt to change and make yourself invaluable. Be mindful, be curious and use that futuristic lightsaber to lighten up.