The further you get in your career, the less you’ll be evaluated on those same skills— the hard skills that got you your current role/gig won’t be the ones that sustain your career.
Your career development is largely on you —whatever your current circumstance, there is no reason you can’t explore opportunities that address your skill gap in a meaningful way.
How often do you think about your own learning and development?
While your work is appreciated today, it may not be the reason for your next career move. The workplace of the future is learning to value people in an entirely new light — the most successful businesses of the 21st-century value adaptability, flexibility and skill development.
A new study by Cornerstone found that many people have doubts about the relevance of their skills in the future — 53% aren’t sure they have the skills to withstand a future layoff, and 83% believe it is essential to improve professional skills.
“People need to continuously adapt and learn new skills in order to stay ahead of change, prevent displacement and prepare themselves as well as their companies for future opportunities,” says Cornerstone.
To survive the future, pretend you have two jobs
Everyone who aims to be indispensable in the future should be responsible for two things —your first job, of course, is always the one you are hired for. Your second responsibility is yourself — you’re ultimately the best (and only) person to represent your own interests.
Many people forget about themselves until it’s too late. They focus on their roles with everything they’ve got and don’t think about their future selves and how they fit in the world of work tomorrow. Your second job prepares you for a better future. It sets you apart.
Don’t wait for permission to upgrade yourself — talk to experts, mentors, and superiors about your curiosities. Review your current skills and get a deeper understanding of your skill gaps — identify essential skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. This will help you to determine your next course of action.
Feed your curiosities. Pay attention to those moments when you feel excited and time passes effortlessly and use those to choose your learning opportunities.
“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success,” says Scott Adams
Wherever you find yourself, get practical hands-on knowledge to improve yourself. Step beyond your current role and learn new experiences.
“Something as simple as reading a new book by an expert in your field or staying ahead of the technology curve can put you in the position for advancement,” writes Jennifer Fry, Careerminds Consultant.
It’s easy to wait for approval. It’s even a lot harder to take initiative. But your long-term progress depends on your adaptability, and ability to think beyond the obvious. Being proactive often pays off–for you as well as your employer.
“No matter what stage of your career you’re at, simply “doing” the work is never enough. In order to take charge of your own career, you often have to take the initiative,” says Ximena Vengoechea of Fast Company.
Think of yourself as an upgradable professional — always willing to leap into new territories to be better, and ready for your next career move.
Get involved in anything that piques your interest. The idea is to do your best work every day and still look for opportunities to upgrade your skills.
Every time you take on a new challenge in your career, you gain a new perspective and build resilience to tackle the next one. I aggressively look for new ways to express myself fully every day. My curiosity drives my work.
Your current role may be analytical, data-driven, or mainly digital, and doesn’t require much interaction with others, but your next career move up the ladder may require a lot of interaction and people management.
Are you ready for that? If you had an opportunity today to lead even the smallest team of brilliant professionals, can do you handle it?
In Adaptability: “The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty” Max McKeown argues that “All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”
It pays to develop personality traits that make it easy to get along and work harmoniously with other people. You need hard skills to land a role, but you need soft skills to progress in your career.
The lesson here is this: your current skill should be thought of as a stepping stone to your next creative challenge, or project. Embrace new initiatives in the direction of your curiosities. Make your career upgrade your responsibility.
Previously published on medium
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