Two hundred years ago, candle makers had a great job. They provided a great product that lots of consumers needed. Fast forward to 2040 and the candle making industry would have been more niche than it is now.
How will your job be different in ten years? Will your job even exist as it is now in ten years? What strategies should you be pursuing now to keep your opportunities open?
GET AND REMAIN TECH SAVVY
Technology has been responsible for rapid changes in various industries. The publishing industry, for example, is suffering from advances in electronic reading and the proliferation of e readers and other mobile devices.
Force yourself to keep your technical skills up-to-date. Learn the latest tools and technologies. Be proactive and stay current. Don’t wait for the lead of your company. Keep developing your technical skills.
MAINTAIN A PROFESSIONAL NETWORK
You should be building relationships with people in your industry both within and outside your company. If and when there are changes and challenges in your industry, they can help provide help and opportunity. Add a mentor to your network. Maintain contact with former colleagues. Exchange business cards with other people. Build your rolodex and join professional networking associations.
IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE
Everybody who wants professional development must continue to build those transferable skills universally sought by employers. Skills like innovation, communication, persuasion and leadership can come in handy in a number of industries. If you can show a demonstrable history of showing those skills, you would increase your relevance in the future.
Also, learn about the emerging skills in your particular industry. For example, programming has been of emerging importance over the last few years in the investment management industry. Employees who wanted to “future proof” their career would have spent some time to learn at least the basics of programming. So you should develop skills that are in line with the industry you would like to work in.
BE AWARE OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Don’t be taken unaware as your industry or profession changes. Try to follow the trends in the economy and your industry. This would involve reading industry reports and news articles. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry. If your industry is in dire condition, you may want to find another industry while it is still possible.
In general, career planning is of serious importance if you want to be in control of your future career.