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How To Future Proof Your Career

Posted October 30, 2019, by Elesha

Let’s face it, your job as you know it might not exist in 5 or 10 years from now so taking steps to future proof your career is a wise move.

We’ve put together tips to keep your career prospects bright in rapidly changing times, insights into where the job market is heading, and the best courses for future jobs.

Take Charge Of Your Professional Development 

To future proof your career, you’ve got to take charge of your own professional development. 

Whether you like it or not, as an employee your skills and capabilities will constantly be compared and benchmarked against your peers.  Keeping your skills and knowledge of tools, best practices and industry changes up to date will help you gain an edge in a competitive market. 

Goalposts will constantly be moving, what you learnt 5 years ago in tertiary study could become obsolete; if it hasn’t already! Taking on further study, either online or on-campus, regularly attending industry events and joining an industry body will all help you stay relevant.

No matter the industry, continuous learning is the foundation of a successful career!

Focus On Developing Your Personal Brand 

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon

These days, the concept of a personal brand isn’t just for creatives, business owners and consultants. If you have a name and a digital presence, you own a personal brand.

Your digital presence can play an important role in how you future proof your career. It’s what hiring managers and clients will see when they’re deciding whether to interview, employ or work with you.

Your professional digital presence should highlight strengths and experience, communicate the attributes that set you apart from the pack and showcase your commitment to continued professional development. 

Make sure your online profiles, both professional and personal, accurately reflect the message you want to send to your professional network. 

Work For An Organisation That Focuses On Continuous Training And Development 

Joining an organisation with a robust and varied training and development plan in place for all employees will be a real asset to your career. You’ll have the opportunity to learn skills, sharpen existing ones, and develop your soft skills  – like leadership and time management.

Major bonus, in most cases, the organisation will cover the cost of your training and development. 

How will this future proof your career?  Both companies and employees reap the benefits of a commitment to training, including increased job satisfaction levels and better retention as well as more internal promotion opportunities. 

Be Proactive About Building Your Professional Network

Your professional network can be your strongest career asset or your biggest liability. 

If you want to future proof your career, don’t take a reactive approach to using your network – ie scrambling around for contacts only when you need something…like a new job!

Building a powerful professional network requires time; commit to making it an ongoing activity and touching base every now and then through email, Facebook or LinkedIn. 

Keeping in semi-regular contact will help you segue into asking them for a reference or a leg-up into the industry without it being an awkward “Oh hey, we haven’t spoken in a decade but can you help me out?”

Check out these 7 ways to maintain your network.

Embrace Digital Change

Resisting change or complaining when you need to learn new technology for your role because “That’s not how I’m used to doing it” can spell disaster for your future career prospects. 

It’s a simple matter of keep up or fall behind. 

This doesn’t mean you have to turn into a total tech-head, but you do need to be willing to learn and adapt to the digital innovations in your workplace. Embracing tech skills can make a big difference to how successful you are in future-proofing your career.   

Don’t Neglect Your Soft Skills

More than ever, soft skills matter.

It’s great that your rock the technical aspects of your job, but without levelling up your soft skills too, you might struggle to future proof your career. Soft skills are those intangible skills like teamwork, leadership and time management skills.  

Your peer likely has the same technical know-how as you, so in a crowded marketplace, honing your soft skills will give you that extra edge many employers are looking for. Here’s our pick of 8 of the best soft skills to future proof your career

Consider getting a degree

A recent report, The Future of Work For Australian Graduates from the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, shows having a degree can give you an edge in a competitive market. The report revealed almost a third of jobs in 2018 required at least a bachelor’s degree edge, and over the next five years around half of the reported 800,000 jobs created in Australia will require a degree.

It also concluded those graduating with medicine and teaching degrees had the best chance of scoring full-time employment within six months, compared to those with more general degrees, like creative arts.

If you’re already working full time but interested in future-proofing your career with a degree, consider studying online. Forget myths about online study, more and more people are choosing online education as a mode of study for its convenience and flexibility.

Develop a growth mindset

In her award-winning book, Mindset, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck says these two mindsets can significantly affect your life, including your career. 

A growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe their level of intellect, talent, and skills are fixed so beyond a certain point, they can’t do anything to change. 

Someone with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believes they can enhance their abilities. They know they can move the dial to achieve and learn more thus creating more opportunities in their career – and life in general!

When it comes to future-proofing your career, stamp out a fixed mindset and embrace a growth mindset and the belief that you can have an amazing career. Even if life throws an unexpected work-related curve ball in the future.

Best Industries For The Future

According to Job Outlook (Australian Government)the top industries for job growth to 2023 will be: 

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Construction
  • Education and Training
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

It’s estimated almost 2 in every 3 new jobs created will come from these sectors so some of the best jobs for the future will be in these industries. 

Reasons for jobs growth in these industries

“An ageing population, the NDIS (Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme), and growing demand for childcare and home-care based services is driving jobs growth.

Investment in infrastructure (like roads, railways and airports) means jobs will continue to grow in the engineering construction sector. 

The number of school-aged children is growing and there is strong demand for adult and community education. More people are working part-time and in non-teaching support roles.

Demand is growing for qualified workers, especially in computer system design, and the management and consulting services sectors.” – Future Of Work 

Best Jobs For The Future

Keeping in mind those industries expected to boom, here are a few ideas on what the best jobs for the future could look like:

Health Care and Social Assistance

In addition to nurses and doctors, the healthcare industry includes healthcare administrators, physician assistants, and personal care workers focused on wellness and disease treatment and prevention. A career in social assistance covers roles such as social work, counselling, and recreational therapy. Some common jobs in these industries include –

  • Registered nurses
  • Carers for the aged and disabled
  • Social workers
  • Nursing support and personal care workers

Related courses include Nursing and Bachelor of Social Work


Construction

This sector includes the construction, remodeling, maintenance, and repairs of commercial, industrial, and residential buildings and engineering projects like roads, bridges, and utility systems. Popular roles include –

Related courses include: Bachelor of Construction Management, Certificate IV in Building And Construction and Bachelor of Engineering. 


Education and Training

Course and degrees in adult education usually builds upon your education and work experience, qualifying you to not only to work in a particular field, but to teach skills in that field too. Common job descriptions in this field include –

  • Adult Education Lecturers
  • Tutors

Related courses include: Master of Education


Information Technology 

IT professionals design, support, and maintain computer hardware and software in various different roles are much sought after for their expertise in all industries. In demand roles in the IT arena include –

Related courses include: Bachelor Of Information Technology And Data Analytics, Data Science Part Time, and Web Development Immersive


Science 

Acting as an umbrella term for a plethora of industry fields and specialisations, the sciences are as vast and varied as the universe itself. Everything from nanotechnology to astronomy, zoology, food technology and even psychology is founded on one strand of science or another. Some science roles include – 

  • Laboratory technician 
  • Chemist
  • Chemical Engineer 

Related courses include: Bachelor Of Science


The bottom line? Failure to adapt in our modern workplaces can spell professional disaster. The future is bright for those who don’t get complacent about their career and find ways to connect with professional networks, keep their skills fresh and embrace advancing technology. 

Check out 6 Ways To Future Proof Your Resume For 2019 And Beyond.

Elesha

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