Future-Proof Your Career for the Digital Age

5 tips to drive your career forward

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Many of us shudder when we hear about the impact of technology on jobs. What used to make interesting topics of conversation about what would happen in the future are now a reality, and some predictions terrify even the most cutting-edge among us. These predictions include, for example, new digital applications that would eliminate a large percentage of jobs that many of us hold today, just as new technologies have already eliminated widely applied business models.

Think about how Kodak, Blockbuster or Nokia disappeared. Or how new business models like Airbnb, Uber or WhatsApp are forcing industries to completely rethink and re-invent themselves. We’re on the brink of a digital revolution that will completely change the world of professional and executive jobs as we know them today. In fact, our most valuable skills today may no longer be sell-able in the job market in the near future as talent requirements evolve.

Given these advancing changes, how will you plan for your career into the future? How do you stay ahead in your professional position within your organization? How do you develop the necessary skills to be relevant in this world of rapidly and profoundly evolving technologies? 

For today’s business leader, your top concerns also include how to redesign your business model and how to lead the transformation needed in your organizational culture to implement innovative processes.

Use these tips to drive your career forward into the digital age:

1. Change your attitude. The key to not falling behind is to reframe your attitude so that you stop seeing only the threats of rapidly evolving changes, and instead learn to welcome technology and its advancements. To do this means you need to seriously commit to ongoing learning and keeping up to date. 

2. Embark on a path of exploration. Once you open yourself to pursuing new knowledge, you’ll suddenly find resources at every turn. Some suggestions to help jump-start this include, for example, introductory books on technology, such as Innovate or Die! by Andres Oppenheimer, andExponential Organizations, by Salim Ismail. Videos on YouTube can offer an overview, such as Abundance, by Peter Diamandis, founder of Singularity University. Attending courses, conferences and seminars on innovation and technology are also informative and will connect you with a network of other professionals working to navigate this new terrain. 

3. Repeatedly ask yourself, “What skills do I need to advance to the next level?” As disruptive technologies rapidly transform the world of work, it’s important to measure your employability by watching and studying the job market in your industry. It’s important to identify your level of employability, recognize your advantages and limitations, and work consistently to improve them. Update your skills by frequently attending courses or seminars, and in particular, keep up with everything related to the advances in technology that relate to your position. 

4. Consider yourself the CEO of your personal corporation. Whether you’re the leader of an organization or you’re working in the trenches, approach your personal career as you would if you were head of the company. What’s the CEO’s primary role? It’s to design a long-term vision, set a course, create strategies and policies and serve as the face of the company. By formulating a plan to stay up on technology’s advancements, and then defining your particular goals and objectives, you’re more likely to achieve them. This is what companies do to succeed, and because your career is your primary business, applying the same approach will help you achieve results.

5. Strive to stretch beyond your boundaries. It’s amazing how most people don’t really improve their skills unless they’re challenged or pressured. Endeavor to be among those who looks ahead and anticipates what will very soon affect your job, your company and your way of life. Make your best effort to sharpen your mind and expand your ideas. Embrace the opportunity to transform and reinvent yourself and to build better ways of working and learning. When you find yourself confronted by new ideas or new technology, repeat to yourself: “I’m ready to learn!”

It will be very hard to sustain a professional or business career, even in the near future, without cultivating a curiosity about digitization and a basic understanding of digital concepts. Along the way, you may even discover that it’s a fun, creative and inspiring pursuit. Jump in and be a part of it!

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