How to be a Forward Looking Employee

As the technology seems to be changing the world around us, society changes with it. Standing still feels like going backwards as we value skill and knowledge over just being a set of hands. Lifelong learning seems to be the new norm. That’s why we are seeing a true resurgence in community colleges and trades, signifying a real desire to learn. A society that is interested in different things now than it was 20-30 years ago. A society that consumes differently and demands different things from businesses. And as companies try to stay relevant, employees of the aforementioned companies need to evolve alongside all the changes. That’s why 20 years ago within corporate cultures, we talked about ISO standards and standardisation of processes in general.

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Nowadays, the hot topics are data science and machine learning. The pressure on employees to stay in the loop is commonly felt. How do you deal with this pressure and make sure you are preparing yourself for life long learning? Here are a few key areas.

Stay on Top of Your Game

First of all, keep learning. Stay on top of changes that are happening in your industry, but also outside it. Sure, it’s all about machine learning right now, sometimes even to the extent, it becomes gimmicky. The key is not just to try to absorb new knowledge, but to find your place in it. Not everyone can be a machine learning expert, but knowing what it is and how it could be relevant for your industry might even be a better vantage point. Just think of it this way, the best sports coaches in the world were not always the best players.

Always Be Ready

Make sure to always look for different opportunities. A common thing people might say is that they feel they never catch a lucky break. The idea is, however, that you have to make your own luck. Keep your LinkedIn page updated, refresh your CV once in a while (top tip: use online resume templates) and always keep your ears and mind open for something new. Finding the right position is often not a numbers game. It’s about timing and making the right connections. Make sure, in the most positive way possible, that your connections know that you are always willing to discuss opportunities. Even if the role is not perfect, one thing could still lead to something else.

Have No Fear

Be willing to make a jump at times to something completely different. It’s safe to stick within the industry or skill set that you are familiar with. And for most people, that’s what they will always do. Career moves are still vertical. But what if that’s not the right thing to do? Take some of these disruptive trends in some industry, for example, such as ride-hailing apps or all the splashed fintech is making. Do you think that there were smart people at the incumbents that had the opportunity to make a lateral jump but didn’t? And by not making the jump, they found themselves on a sinking ship a few years later? You can be pretty sure that these people exist and it’s probably not even a small group.

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So, keep learning, keep your credentials and network updated of where your head and heart are at, and make sure you can ride the wave of whatever the job market will bring.

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