In today’s rapidly changing work environment, many people are finding that their skills are obsolete long before they reach retirement age. New technologies, redesigned business processes and mergers/acquisitions are among many factors changing the world of work. That’s why it’s up to you to regularly assess whether your skills are up to date.
Success occurs by taking your career into your own hands and adapting your skills to suit the jobs that are available today, as well as those that will be available in the future. By equipping yourself with the right knowledge and skills through work experience and training, you’ll be able to choose which organization to work for and demand an excellent salary and benefits. But what do you need to do to become—and remain—an ideal job candidate?
In the future, people will have several different jobs—and even careers—in their working lives. Until recently, individuals believed that the qualifications, skills and experience they brought to a job would last them for years. This is simply no longer true. The skills that individuals begin their careers with aren’t sufficient for the long run. Instead, they will need to periodically refresh and develop these skills.
Continuous lifelong learning is the order of the day if you want to remain relevant and valued throughout your career. Such lifelong learning could entail developing an entirely new set of skills. As many low-skill, routine jobs are eliminated, skills that were once in demand are rapidly becoming obsolete. For example, a webmaster was a pretty hot job not so long ago, but with the advent of off-the- I shelf software programs, the market for those skills is significantly lower. It’s quite scary for individuals to find that they are less attractive and less valued by employers than just 12 months earlier.
The key is to continuously assess your current skills, experience, knowledge and training and identify alternative career paths should your current role become obsolete. You can then prepare for those careers and make a quick transition should it become necessary.
You can do this by identifying which positions are in demand within your company or industry and managing your own development with one of these positions in mind. Being adaptable and willing to work outside of your traditional role in an organization is a strong asset in today’s labor market.
Realistically, it’s up to you to take advantage of training opportunities. Actively seeking out training that complements and extends existing knowledge is the best approach. Consider that pilots need to continuously refresh their knowledge in flight simulators and accountants must sit for additional financial exams. The same is true for every job category.
Finally, don’t put off managing your own career. Now is the time to take action and make yourself a desired candidate for the long run. With the growing talent shortage affecting employers today, there is a market for capable people who can improve productivity and help organizations beat the competition. Those who take control of their careers by constantly learning and refreshing in-demand skills will ensure their continued career success and viability long into the future. IBI