When it comes to strategic career planning, one of the things we recommend to our clients is to imagine where they want to be career-wise 10 years from now; what’s their dream scenario. It’s also important to consider where the industry you want to work in will be in 10 years from now as well. Ways of doing things change as time goes by, as industries grow and change, as technology alters the way people perform their jobs, and as professional trends impact an industry. Because of these sometimes rapid changes, it’s critical as a professional to stay relevant and valuable in the workplace.
Here are some all-important skills that are needed for the jobs of the future that you can work towards cultivating now:
The ability to learn new technology. Technology is always advancing, and a valuable employee is able to keep up. You must stay positive, enthusiastic, and open to new ways of doing things, even if you don’t fully agree with them. Do your best to adapt to new trends. Don’t be afraid to take an online course if you need a little help with new technology (Lynda.com and the General Assembly are some great options!) Then, take it a step further! Once you have a hold on the new technology, offer to help your coworkers. This is a great way to improve your team’s efficiency and demonstrates your leadership qualities as well.
Be flexible. Every professional has a different viewpoint and a different way of doing the same thing. Recognize that there is more than one way to accomplish a task and be flexible when working with new employees or superiors. When you insist that your way is the best way, this doesn’t make it easy for others to work with you. It doesn’t foster teamwork and, your way may not be the best way at the end of the day. Be willing to adapt to the needs of the day and be willing to shift gears if your superiors or your team needs you to handle a task differently than you normally do. While some of us are naturally more flexible than others, this is a skill you can strengthen. For example, when asked to shift gears, take a few moments to think about how this might contribute to an overall positive outcome for your team or department.
Project a professional image. Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the workforce, it’s essential to maintain a professional image, not just during work hours, but also off hours at work events and in your social media accounts. Things such as your branding statement on LinkedIn and business cards say a lot about who you are as a professional. If you aren’t sure what kind of image you project, ask a trusted colleague, friend, or mentor for feedback.
Be more creative. The future means new jobs, new processes, and new ideas. Do your best to be a part of creating the future for your organization. Stay up to date with what other companies are doing, new software, programs and systems. Then, take some time each month to brainstorm how your team or department could be more efficient at its tasks. This takes a little more effort, but this will help you stay valuable and reach your long-term career goals.
Guest Blogger Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. Her team of coaches help people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Visit her website at www.HallieCrawford.com for more information about her team's career coaching services. Set up a Complimentary Career Strategy Session with Hallie Crawford to get advice on your career goals. *Mention you saw us on Talent Zoo and receive a free bonus if you purchase a product or sign up for coaching.*
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