Have you become so focussed on your day-to-day job that you can't recall the last time you took a step back and looked at your career from a more holistic perspective?
You go to work every day. You work your way through your task list. Achieve what’s being asked of you. And, you work pretty darn hard.
We know that these things are important to our performance, and ultimately to ensuring we are getting the job done, but, when we are so focused on the day to day tasks, we can find ourselves looking up and around one day and realising that the world has shifted. Our industry has changed. Or, ultimately, the skill sets needed for our careers have changed, and we haven’t consciously kept up with it.
How are you ensuring that you remain relevant in your career, industry or organisation? What are you proactively doing to stay ahead of the curve?
Here are a five questions that may help you start reflecting on this around your own career.
1. What might be on the horizon that you need to prepare for in terms of industry changes and technology shifts?
If you step back and think about the industry that you’re in, even over the last three years, what’s changed? How has the industry evolved? How has technology impacted the industry that you work in? If you’re unsure where to start on this, jump online, look up any kind of industry magazine, network associations, industry blogs etc – I guarantee you will find a whole host of information online, just by searching your career role, or the career pathway that you’re in.
2. What future fit skills do you think you need to ensure that you’re set up for success in your industry?
One critical skill that we all need to take the time to build on is our own self-awareness. Self-awareness is critical for all of us in terms of the way that we show up and lead. As we continue to navigate ambiguity, as we continue to try to work through uncertainty, and volatility, as we continue to keep having to show up at work without having all the answers, our ability to be self-aware of the impact that we’re having on those around us will be key to staying relevant.
Tied to that, we need to also be honest about our skills. What future fit skills do you have – or think you need to have to ensure you’re set up for success? Just identifying skills though isn’t enough – you need to start thinking about upskilling, too. Don’t sit back and wait for somebody else to offer it to you. Take control, put yourself in the driver’s seat, be accountable for your own success, and start upskilling yourself now, not when it’s too late.
3. How is your industry or your career pathway changing?
For example, consider someone who used to work in hard copy media or magazines. Now that people aren’t buying hardcopy magazines as much any more, think about how those writers have adapted. How have they upskilled themselves to be able to adjust to the way that the industry has changed, and the way that people receive information? Now, how might that look in your given field or industry?
4. What are some of the micro skills that you might need to invest in now and continue to build on?
How are your written and verbal communication skills? How do you know that you’re good at decision making? From a technology perspective – do you feel that you are technologically savvy? Do you feel like you’re able to navigate new tech and new software platforms pretty quickly?
If you said “NO” to most of these questions, these might be areas you want to improve and invest a little bit of time in to help you build up both your capability and your confidence.
5. How are you sharing your learnings with your team, your peers, your organisation, and manager, so that they can also see that you’re being proactive in your own growth?
One sure fire way to ensure you can showcase you are future focused - share your learnings with your manager and your team. Make sure you communicate with your team and leaders; share your learnings, opinions, suggestions, and thoughts. Help them drive their own learning too by cultivating an environment where proactive learning and growth is encouraged and normalised.
The Bottom Line
The world will continue to evolve and change - and it won’t wait for anyone. We must continue to think about how we are remaining relevant within it from a career perspective, so we don’t find ourselves one day in a position where we are redundant, outdated, or left behind.