4 Ways to Futureproof Your Learning Career
Posted: March 25, 2019
The evolution of our economy and social construct is now moving at a faster pace than at any other time in history. New industries are emerging every day while others are becoming obsolete. In the past, people could stay with a company for a long period of time, which allowed them to really hone their skills and experience around key responsibilities and behaviors — making them an invaluable asset to the company. But the last ten years have shown us that that sense of security doesn’t exist anymore. Today, companies are asking, “What have you done for me lately?” and “Can you still add value tomorrow?”
To make the most of your career, you should be asking yourself on a regular basis: “How do I get better? What’s next in my industry? What new skills will I need to keep up with the trends?” If you’re not considering these questions, then you are already behind! But there are things you can start doing today to evolve and grow in the years to come. Here are four key actions you can take to “futureproof” your career.
Action 1: Keep your eye on the big picture!
Stay tuned in to how your industry is evolving. This allows you to sit in the driver’s seat and be ready for changes as they come. Here are some suggestions:
- Identify what upcoming skills will be needed in your company or position role. Research ways you can learn and hone these skills.
- Begin to demonstrate your new skill sets for others. This could be in a professional environment or in a more casual setting such as volunteering at an association, club, or your child’s school.
- Step up for new opportunities at work that can help you get noticed and demonstrate your dedication and enthusiasm.
Action 2: Develop a growth mindset.
You might’ve heard the phrase, “If you are not growing, you are dying.” And when you hear this, you either feel a sense of panic or you roll your eyes and have another drink. But listen up — it’s non-negotiable! You must become a constant learner. I know that after a hard day at work, you want to come home and relax. Or maybe you have to feed the family and get the kids washed and ready for bed. I get it! However, the world is not going to wait on you to “be ready.”
Individuals with a growth mindset do things like:
- Read books and blogs or listen to podcasts from experts who have the skills and experience they want — they follow existing paths versus trying to “figure it out” themselves.
- Attend webinars to explore potential new interests.
- Go to industry conferences.
- Hire a coach to help push them and stay accountable.
Action 3: Build your network.
With so many ways to connect to people everywhere, we have lost the art of building one-on-one relationships that can provide the opportunity for meaningful conversations and human connection (face-to-face experiences). In the last two years, I have focused my attention in this area by joining several local associations. This type of involvement has helped me strengthen my in-person social skills and allowed people to get to know me quickly and see my talents in action. Here are a few organizations to consider when looking to broaden your network:
- Association for Talent Development (ATD)
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- EQ Society
- International Coaching Federation (ICF)
Of course, I can’t fail to mention the expansive opportunity to build your network through social media, online forums, and chat groups. The world is at our fingertips, right? However, it doesn’t come knocking on your door. You have to put in some work to first build your presence. I love LinkedIn!
Next, start looking for groups or forums that focus on areas where you are interested in connecting with like-minded individuals. Remember, this is not always a “get” opportunity. My greatest learning experiences and connections have come through providing my expertise to others.
Two great resources to check out for online networking include:
- 19 Tips for the Best Professional LinkedIn Profiles
- The 5 Best Social Media Groups for Learning Professional
Action 4: Be courageous.
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that, as you experiment with new skills and behaviors, sometimes you will fail. This is a critical factor to true growth. Many people are so afraid to fail that they never even try. This is where courage comes in. You have to be courageous to grow. Futureproofing your career is all about continual growth and connection. Again, you HAVE to fail in order to grow. There is no other way. So, while you are learning new skills, build your resilience to get up and shake yourself off after a failure. It’s never going to feel good to fail, but you can lose the fear just by doing it. Enough said!
About the Author
Teresa’s passion for performance improvement started in her first management role. The ability to play a part in helping others improve and achieve has been her lifelong passion. She has worked with a variety of industries to analyze and solve performance issues and improve individual performance through development of innovative learning solutions. Most recently, Teresa has added certified professional coach to her repertoire with a focus on inspiring and guiding women to take on new challenges, find their joy and live a life full of possibilities. Teresa has two beautiful daughters and lives in Jacksonville, FL.