The impact of the Industry 4.0 has become more prominent in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. And while the Fourth Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as the marriage of physical and digital industries promises to upend how we work – from executive to intern level, what does that mean for a portion of our current workforce? Or in other words, how do you future-proof your career, so you remain relevant in the times to come?
Some time ago, we spoke about the fact that changing jobs might be easier than you think. Today, we’ll take a look to see how we can apply our current skill sets and upgrade them to make sure we stay relevant in the new workforce market.
Work On Your Soft Skills. I Repeat. Work On Your Soft Skills.
Raise your hand if you think technical/hard skills are more important than soft skills. All of you who have raised your hands, please put them down, and listen up. In the times before us (and even now) think of soft skills as if they are as valuable as gold. Here’s why.
Technology is weaving its way through nearly every industry you can think of. So much so, that in the next five years, that on the global market, there will create space for 150 million tech jobs. Most of which don’t even exist today. So how can we prepare for something that doesn’t even exist? Working on your soft skills is the correct and only answer.
While technology such as artificial intelligence or robotics compete with humans when it comes to knowledge and execution, soft skills such as creativity, originality and social influence are not their forté. Pairing that with the fact that by 2025, companies will displace 6% of their total workforce, we all might be eager to learn what are the skills we need to start investing our time in (if we aren’t already).
- Adaptability / learnability
- Cognitive flexibility
- Collaboration and coordination
- Complex problem-solving
- Critical thinking
- Curiosity and creativity
- Customer service/service orientation
- Emotional intelligence
- Initiative and creative risk-taking
As it turns out, the highly competitive organizations of the future will have struck the right balance between using the technology to elevate the performance, and their workforce to propel the business forward. And that’s the tea.
Future Proof Your Career: It’s Important How You Present Yourself
All the soft skills in the world will not do us justice if we don’t stand out from the competition. And as we all know how fierce the competition is these days, we might as well stick out like a sore thumb. Well, not quite what I meant, but we’ll get there.
It is quite evident that CVs are no longer the most effective manner to draw the employer’s attention. More and more applications are asking you to upload a video of yourself where you need to briefly introduce yourself and say your motives for applying for that particular job. This is to say that employers what to know a bit more than you can deliver on a CV. Employers want to get to know your personality, motives, and not just hard skills listed along with your references.
What is the best way to stand out?
I would say – think big. How big? Website and personal branding big. Taking care of your personal brand is crucial when it comes to differentiating yourself from others. And since the brand is the sum of your personality, skills and experience you want others to associate with you. So think about the message you want to send, and how your current digital footprint influences others’ opinions of you. How does a website come into play? Easy. Website is your online home, that shows the world who you are and what you stand for. You can host a blog on your website where you’ll share your professional expertise. Or a projects page where future employers would get a glimpse of your work. Instead of a boring about me page, upload a video.
Why not make a great personal website and show your future employers just how great a cultural fit you would be?
Future Proof Your Career: We All Need To Be Tech Fluent
Now I am not saying you need to learn how to code in six different program languages. Not at all. But what I am saying is that you need to have digital and tech literacy. Days of analog approach to work are gone. Being tech fluent is a requirement, but it does not only reflect the way we work. Rather, it goes to the core of our approach to the work. Let’s say you are a business strategist. As such you’d need to know about the ways in which technological advancements can disrupt the organization and how to adapt subsequently.
What am I getting at? Technology has seeped through and influenced nearly all aspects of our lives and jobs. This means we need to keep pace with it. As companies and organizations across the world are restructuring in order to capitalize on technological advancements, we need to do the same. Look at the industry you are working within. What are the most prominent technological advancements present? Look at the ways of how you can familiarise yourself with the new technology and to which aspect you need to keep track of the emerging ones.
Future Proof Your Career: May The Continuous Learning Begin
At last, I have some good news and some bad news. Let’s start with the good news since I am that kind of a person. Well, the good news is we’ve been learning and adapting since the day we were born. The bad news is, for as long as we want to stay relevant in the fast-paced world, we need to continue learning and adapting.
While it is uncertain whether the education systems will change in order to adapt to the new approach to learning, one thing is for certain – formal education is no longer as relevant as it was before. World Economic Forum, LinkedIn, and Coursera joined forces and done research that identified 99 emerging professions that keep growing in demand. To top that, many of the mentioned professions do not require previous experience from that particular industry. And while the skills are not 100% transferable, it is safe to say that a little learning and adaptation you’ll go a long way.
May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour
I’ll be straight with you. Keeping up with technological advancements is a must for us all. Walking into an interview and saying you are not interested in new and developing technology can have a negative impact on the outcome of your interview. The recruiter will not take your stance as a romantic ode to the times long gone, but as an unwillingness to learn and keep pace with innovation and progression.
So what did we learn? Well for one, not to panic and think of technology as our enemy. Let’s leave that scenario for Hollywood movies. Secondly, you can and will future-proof your career. And thirdly, the way you present yourself matters – so make sure you are your best self both in the online and offline worlds.