Digitisation is changing how employers are thinking about their future staff requirements and how they recruit. This change is reshaping more than companies’ bottom lines, it’s reshaping how they build and grow their teams.
As technology continues to impact the workplace at an increasing rate, business professionals, regardless of their industry, must keep pace, adapt and expand their existing skill set in order to be considered a valuable candidate or employee. The evidence of this shift can be seen in the birth of dozens of new jobs and job titles in recent years like the Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT), whose job is equal parts strategist, creative director, technology leader and teacher. The Digital Storyteller, or Chief Digital Officer (CDO), is another new role that has evolved recently as the need to collaborate across marketing, sales, publishing development and in-house IP teams to foster digital thinking through a creative and distribution context has evolved.
Lastly, the explosive demand for the new role of UX/UI designers (user experience and user interface, respectively) is more proof of jobs being created as in this case companies need to ensure that the experiences their consumers have on their websites are simple, intuitive and fun.
In a world where the skills needed to succeed are rapidly evolving, professionals are left to ask themselves, what should I be learning and what skills should I be developing to “future-proof” my career?
At a high level, the answer to this question is quite simple: To stay relevant in the digital economy, professionals must demonstrate the capability to constantly learn. More powerful than the possession of a laundry list of skills is the proof that you can learn new skills and adapt to solve complex and novel problems. Being able to demonstrate the ability to learn and adapt in changing environments is paramount for professionals today. It’s impossible to have all the skills needed BUT it IS POSSIBLE to prove you can learn new skills.
Versatility is king today and will be in the future. No longer are jobs static, work is evolving faster than ever before and to be the most prepared candidate possible, you must put emphasis on keeping ahead through your own learning and a strong network. A loaded and impressive resume can get your foot through any door, but it is the ability to quickly learn new skills and apply them to your area of expertise that will make you an indispensable employee.
So how do you future-proof your career? Here are 3 ways:
1. You don’t just deal with change, you enjoy it
Employers today aren’t looking for candidates that just “do well” with sudden change – they want to build a team made up of creative individuals who welcome it and, even more so, anticipate it, drive it and relish it. If you’re interviewing for a job, consider giving an example of a time in your career when you had to quickly change direction on an assignment or project with only a moment’s notice or even better a time you saw a need to change, did the research, gathered the support and led the change. Trust me, you will stand out. I guarantee you that most of you have done this in your current and prior jobs – spend the time reflecting and identifying these moments – it’ll be worth the investment.
2. Your network is part of your value proposition
While its impossible to know what skills you may need in the future, having a network that you can tap into to help you understand a new challenge at work is invaluable and will help support your learning new skills and abilities.
Organizations today are increasingly looking for candidates who bring a strong network to work with them. They know these people will be more likely to solve problems if they have a great network of resources they can call to solve problems or help them fill other key job openings in the company.
Invest the necessary time in nurturing your network and helping your network solve problems so that you can leverage it when necessary.
3. You find value in continued education
The only way to truly ride the wave of digitization is to take advantage of career development and educational opportunities to keep your skills sharp and relevant. Asking your employer about continued education opportunities not only shows you’re committed to furthering yourself professionally, it also reinforces that you anticipate your job and industry evolving in the future and want to be prepared. Ask about mentorship programs and career development seminars – chances are, if employers are committed to developing an inspired organization, they will have these options available. If they don’t offer any of these programs, then start one.
As the professional landscape continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace, individuals who model their versatility, invest in their ongoing development and nurture their networks will have a competitive advantage in the digital economy.
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