Naracoorte Herald

What does it mean to have a 'future-proof' career?

What does it mean to have a 'future-proof' career?

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If there is one thing we've learned over the last few years, it's that the future is unpredictable. Whilst we're still looking for fulfilment in our careers, we're also now equally as focused on finding jobs that manage to stay in demand regardless of new technological developments in the digital age or other evolutions that may be on the horizon for Aussie industries.

But do these jobs that have an evergreen demand even exist? And if so, what can we expect from these 'future-proof' career pathways? Today, we take a look at the steps that modern professionals need to take in order to not only find satisfying employment, but keep it too.

Remain on top of technology

Although it's not entirely possible to predict the future in business, one thing we can be certain of is that technology is only going to continue reshaping industries as they exist today. Once upon a time, this may have only been true in fields that worked directly with technology like computer programming, software engineering, or database management. But as previously mentioned, digital technologies are rapidly growing and expanding. This means that in order to stay current, virtually all professionals must be proficient when it comes to using industry technologies.

Consider the developments over the last twenty years alone, with digital technologies finding their way into virtually all Aussie industries, ranging from manufacturing to financial services, and even everyday office spaces. This is further backed up by a 2019-20 study from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that reported that 55 per cent of all businesses used paid cloud computing, as opposed to only 42 per cent in 2018-19. The upward trend in this statistic suggests that businesses' reliance on technology will only continue to expand in coming years.

Learn to diversify

Although it is undoubtedly important to remain on top of ever-evolving digital technology as a way to make yourself a more attractive prospective employee, this is not the only method for ensuring that you continue to present yourself as a strong candidate when applying for advertised positions. Previous job experience is always going to be valuable, so even taking unpaid internships is a great way to learn the ropes whilst also networking in a very natural way.

Never underestimate the importance of developing 'soft skills' such as communication, collaboration, and the ability to empathise in the workplace. Potential employers are likely to remember you if you make a good impression through taking initiative, working with dedication, and possessing a generally good demeanour.

Networking is such a valuable thing to do in order to further your career, as not only can you make connections in your current industry, but you may also make connections in other ones that could become valuable in the future and over multiple other potential career pathways.

And that's just the thing. This information is provided with the assumption that you stay in your current field. Surprisingly, however, new studies show that many Aussies are already gearing up for a career change. The Australian Financial Review reported in 2021 that almost 70 per cent of young people aged 18-24 would switch careers if it meant they would get a job.

In this sense, it can actually pay to diversify your professional skill sets and seek opportunities both within and surrounding your industry, just to ensure that you stay open to other professional roles that you may perform well in.

Diversifying also includes saying yes to jobs that require you to undergo some level of retraining or relearning, and in some instances take further courses in order to be fully qualified for the position. A candidate who is willing to say yes to opportunities like this is far more likely to be hired in the future than those who are less flexible or adaptable.

Don't limit yourself geographically

If you're a young graduate or have just entered the workforce and you're searching for the perfect professional role to fit your skill sets, then we strongly encourage you to look for jobs outside of your hometown.

This doesn't simply mean looking outside your city, but rather thinking globally. After all, thanks to the impacts that digital technologies have had on the nature of business today, the sky is very much the limit for young graduates.

The ability to adapt in your career is more important than ever, and adapting doesn't simply mean putting your hand up within working hours, it also means saying yes to overseas roles if the opportunity presents itself.

Working globally not only benefits you in the immediate sense, but it also gets you more assurance in the global job market and can make you look more attractive to future employers. It all comes back to what gives you an edge, which naturally includes the skills and experiences you have been able to accrue for yourself over the course of your still young and budding career.

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When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, having a 'future-proof' career is not simply a one size fits all situation. Adapting to the mindset that change is inevitable and it is better to evolve with change than to resist change, is imperative in having a successful career with ensured longevity.

Alongside this, using interpersonal skills like networking, and developing your soft skills, as well as using education as a lifelong support to grow your career, will stop you from ending up in unfavourable professional roles or roles that provide no opportunities for growth in any capacity.

The long and the short of it is that so long as you take efforts to continuously invest in yourself, chances are high that you will be able to enjoy a long-lasting and fruitful career in your chosen industry.