There’s nothing like a pandemic to remind us all that we can’t predict the future! We’ve been made very aware that anything can happen, but at least a secure, stable career can give us a firm foundation to face life’s uncertainties. It’s not just a matter of money, but also gaining and retaining the skills, confidence, and mindset to handle challenges.
Whether you’re looking for your first job or changing your career path, it’s a good idea to focus on companies with great, solid reputations. Start-ups can seem exciting and fun, but since future-proofing is your goal, you want an organization that can take care of you for the long haul, and/or adds serious credibility points to your resume.
So when you consider job openings, don’t just look at the job description – research the company, how they present themselves, and how they’re seen in their industry. A company that’s won many recent awards, for instance, is a safer bet than one that hasn’t. If they’re excellent at what they do, they can help you excel, as well.
A renowned organization has the experience, resources, and desire to support your continuous professional development – and you should want that, too! The hiring process costs time, money, and effort – on their side as well as yours – so you’re both hoping to build a lasting relationship that will reap benefits for years to come.
One of the benefits you should definitely value is training, in terms of formal programs, mentoring from your prospective superiors, and more. View every work task and position as an opportunity to hone skills that can not only help you advance in the organization but transfer through any career moves you make, moving forward.
All right, let’s say you’ve found yourself a solid company, position, and prospects for growth. But you’re not a robot – if you’re unhappy with the people and environment you work with, your job will feel more like a burden, and you probably won’t last long.
Company culture plays a huge role in job satisfaction. You want to find an organization that cares not only about your professional performance and progress, but your personal fulfillment and empowerment; mental, physical, and emotional well-being; and a positive, energizing workplace. You might want to look into firms that emphasize work-life balance; offer fun incentives, company outings, and interest clubs; or even run corporate social responsibility programs that align with and enhance your own values.
If there’s one skill that’s critical in any organization, any industry, and even your own relationships, it’s communication, because with all the challenges life and business have to throw at us, we don’t need to throw misunderstandings and conflict into the mix!
A workplace that values open communication can go a long way toward helping you develop these capabilities, as well as collaborating with clients, customers, and colleagues from different walks of life. A customer-centric job, as a call center agent, for example, can hone your communication to the fullest.
Change is growth, so don’t just accept any challenges that come your way – welcome them! Becoming adaptable enough to embrace opportunities in any circumstance is key to future-proofing not just your career, but even your personal situation. As you build problem-solving skills and strategies in the course of work, you’re also developing a resilient, positive mindset that will help you weather any changes to come.
And speaking of changes, in today’s business world, it’s smart to stay current with the rapid pace of technology. You don’t need to be a computer programmer, but you should be able to understand and use the most widespread programs, systems, and apps related to your line of work. This is vital, to maintain your value as a professional.
Everyone you meet in the course of work might be a gateway for your next career step, whether it’s within the same company or an external option. Growing your network could get you a new mentor, a fresh perspective, travel opportunities – who knows?
In the same light, you’ll want to constantly update your portfolio and resume, especially online. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your current job and company, an online presence will keep you aware of evolving standards in your field, so you can make sure you’re getting what you deserve, and developing the capabilities you need. After all, a future-proof career isn’t about finding one position to stay in forever – it’s about shaping a skillset and reputation that will enable you to always decide your destination.
In these fast-paced, uncertain times, we can at least secure our professional and financial well-being, with smart steps toward a future-proof career.