General, How to

Future Proof Your Career

Ayoola Sosan Written by Ayoola Sosan · 3 min read >

Why not foresee the future of your career?

With future careers impacted by innovative technologies, advances in science and new business models, new work will emerge and new skills and capabilities will be needed. The way we traditionally thought about our careers has changed. Now, there are new ways to make progress by taking on stretch assignments or making an intentional move. 

Currently, I am at a very deliberate point in my career where every step I take connects with advancing my career. An MBA was one of those major steps. Then, a few weeks ago, I decided to take it a step further. I applied for a short-term growth and development programme called “Be Bold”, organised by the company I work for, and I was selected. The aim of the programme is to help employees unlock their career potential, future proof it and invest time in themselves. In one week, I gained some insights about the skills required to future proof my career. I think you will find this insights useful.

What will it take to future proof your career?

It’s not just about seizing opportunities but about staying on top of emerging trends and using insights to anticipate what the skills of the future might be and how our businesses and our clients’ businesses are evolving. It’s important to think outside the box too, not just about the traditional career pathways of the past.

Remember, careers don’t happen in a vacuum but are shaped by one conversation at a time. You’ll benefit from having a network of supporters, people you can talk to about your career! Explore ideas, gain feedback and inspiration about how you can build your capabilities and experience.

Through your relationships, you can learn about other parts of the business. No one can tell you what your next move is, or what is right for you, but seeking out conversations with others is an essential part of future proofing your career.

The 7 Future Proofing Skills

1. Know Yourself

Self-knowledge is asking ourselves the right questions, taking the time to explore our answers (with ourselves, with others, and through our actions), and cultivating the ability to listen to and trust what we hear. Know your work view, life view, values, strengths, success, happiness, energy, needs, desires, weaknesses and so on.

2. Stretch Yourself

Like I always say, learn, unlearn and relearn. What got you to where you are won’t get you to the next point. Despite what was thought growing up, learning doesn’t stop after school. No longer can we use the skills we learned at 12 or 16 or 25. Even a university degree is no longer the fast track to relevance and wellbeing it once was. To future proof your career, you have to keep stretching yourself one way or the other. Become a life-long learner.

3. Adapt to change

The world has become so disruptive. The technology used in the work environment is going to keep evolving – there’s no doubt about that. Today, a lot of companies rely on these extremely convenient tools when it comes to customer interactions. It’s important to have an open mind about what these kinds of (unavoidable) changes may bring and be capable of taking them head-on.

4. Spot opportunities

To spot opportunities, you need to get a sense of direction, collaborate, connect with a mentor, be reliable and be of value. Opportunities can appear anywhere at any time. When you spot one, take advantage of it.

5. Build Network

It is essential to develop relationships with people within and outside of your industry. These people can be of valuable support as the landscape of work changes. You can learn tips and tricks from inspiring leaders, as well as boost your exposure to new opportunities. A good tool for this is LinkedIn. Career groups are also a good way to start. Other ways to build your network include joining online forums and professional associations. You can also take part in industry events and activities.

6. Build Brand

As work becomes more virtual, it is essential to develop a digital reputation. This will provide opportunities for individuals to progress, regardless of race, gender, religion or location. Already, we see a lot of remote jobs. Organizations now hire people without having a meeting in person. Make sure your online profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn reflect how you want to be perceived by your professional network. I am a victim of poor online presence. I intend to work on this.

7. Reflection and Planning

Always reflect on your past, work on your present and plan for the future. A method I find useful is keeping a journal. Keep a record of what you do well, what you don’t do well and areas of improvements. You can refer to these when you need a confidence boost or if you want to narrow down your specific areas for development. A lot of people swear by keeping a success journal. 

Act Now

It’s important to make your career a priority, by committing small amounts of time on a regular basis and investigating the resources available to you. Managing your career can become a natural and everyday activity if you adopt the ‘7 Future Proofing Skills’


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