Future-proof your career

The saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is so last century. These days, everyone is expected to learn new tricks all the time in the ever-evolving workplace, and not doing so can impact on your career in ways you really don’t want it to.

Here are a few ideas on how to stay on top of all you need to do, know and learn to future proof your career.

Be that person who says yes

Consider saying “yes” at work as a way of upskilling, widening your knowledge and getting paid while you're doing it. As an added bonus, you might just impress the boss, and others, enough to further yourself in the industry.

What sort of things should you say yes to?

  • Joining a new project.

  • Taking on extra responsibility, even if it’s temporary.

  • Any form of professional development, training or upskilling. The more you learn now, the wider your skillset will be, and the more employable you become.

But, don’t burn yourself out. That’s not a way to future-proof your career. Instead, prioritise your tasks and be honest with yourself, and your boss, if your plate is overloaded.

Don’t be a pigeon (in a hole)

One of the biggest dangers for those who want to grow in their career is to pigeonhole yourself with skills so specific they become non-transferable or, worse, you simply get left behind. How do you avoid this from happening? By diversifying.

  • Always be open to learning new skills, particularly when it comes to learning new software and technology, which can rapidly change and evolve. Remember, everything’s new until you learn it – then it’s another tool to add to your arsenal.

  • Keep up to date with the latest news and developments in your field, so you know where areas of upskilling or improvements should be in the future.

  • Ask for professional development opportunities.

  • Use social media and other online tools to hunt for clues about what could be changing in your industry and seek out links to useful resources to change with it.

Stay fresh, stay relevant

In a fast-paced, ever changing world, keeping up with the skills you require for the job can be a job in itself. But, in the interest of future-proofing your career, it’s a task that should be considered an investment.

  • Set aside time regularly to assess what new skills are required – or will soon be needed – in your industry. That could mean researching jobs similar to your own, identifying new software and technology developments or even reading job ads to find out what skills are needed in other places.

  • Is there anything you can do at home to upskill to make sure you stay relevant in your industry? Consider online training or other education options.

  • Shadow someone in a senior or different position to you to build on your current skills, and make yourself more employable by increasing your knowledge.

When opportunity strikes, be ready

Ensure your CV and professional online profile is relevant, up to date and out there to be seen – after all, you never know who could be looking.

  • Use relevant keywords on your profile.

  • Seek out connections and maintain them. A personal endorsement, a hint about upcoming opportunities or the latest word on new developments could make all the difference in your future career path.

  • Make sure you have a Trade Me Job Profile, so new opportunities can come to you.

Remember why you’re there

Buried beneath a mountain of work, you may suddenly wonder, ‘why am I here’? That’s a good question that you should continue to ask yourself if you’re wondering how to future-proof your career.

Remember what inspired you to enter this industry in the first place. Are you still here for that reason and, if not, what can you do to change it?

Revisit your original goals and intentions and, if you’ve gone off course and aren’t liking it, then find a way to rejoin the career pathway that you always wanted to be on. Or reset your focus, and carry on.

Are you bored? Ask for a new project, increased responsibilities, a leadership course, or aim for a promotion to get the spark back into your workday. Or move on – it may be time.