Future proofing your career prospects

By Ivor Lloyd-Rees

Published on 07-09-2016

Career advice - future proof your career

Landing a job successfully in this evolving market requires you to have a current and applied understanding of many broader business challenges - how they affect consumers and the organisation you want to work with.

So you’re looking to transition or expand your career? High calibre talent is literally transforming businesses across a range of industries; analysing complex data/ information, making commercial recommendations and influencing key stakeholders to deliver significant competitive advantage.

Step 1: Your Digital Footprint

Chances are you have one or more social media accounts - Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat - and hopefully, as an active job seeker, a professional channel such as LinkedIn or Twitter.

Never forget that your public conversations with friends, family (and possibly enemies) can be easily viewed by recruitment consultants and potential employers with a quick google search. If you use social media as a form of communication that’s going to be a positive in an online world - depending on what you’re posting. It might seem obvious, but things you shouldn’t be sharing include: embarrassing pics (nudity, drunkenness), inappropriate comments (swearing, arguing, ranting) and privileged information (NDAs, client news, personal data, workplace info) to name a few. Remember: “what goes on social stays on social”, so best not to use it as a platform to discuss things you may regret later.

So, before you commence any new job search, our advice here is simple.

Clean up your social media presence. Optimise your professional channels.

Read our tips on improving your LinkedIn profile HERE

Conversely, if you are going to be positioning and marketing yourself as an expert in your field, but have no visible online presence, you could be selling yourself short in a competitive market. For professionals, LinkedIn and Twitter are both credible platforms that showcase not only your education and career highlights, but they can also showcase relevant conversations you are having and position you as a leader in your space through sharing industry news and making insightful commentary.

Need some tips for using social media to help with your interview preparation? Try these.

Step 2: Having the edge - what employers want.

#1 Curiosity

Beyond the obvious relevant skills and aptitude required to execute against your role, our clients are looking for talent that demonstrates genuine curiosity. Why? Because the nature of this world is fast-paced and evolving quickly.

If you’re not being curious, you’ll get left behind.

Businesses, especially those that are going through transformation or are digitally-led, want people working in their teams who are willing to be agile and keep-up-to date with trends and technology. If you’re not as up-to-date as you should be, or you’re transitioning into a different role/ industry, do your homework and understand the basics and learn what trends are happening in that space. Make this an absolute priority before you start your resume refresh.

#2 Understanding

Even though personally, you may be highly active in your space - never apart from your smart devices, hyper connected online and constantly consuming new media information and content - you need to demonstrate to prospective employers that you understand the challenges their business faces and why they need you as part of the solution.

How can you demonstrate ways you not only understood, but creatively solved and executed similar problems for organisations and their customers in your previous roles?

Sure, you can use all the jargon in the world to tell your employer that you built a relevant solution that best suited your business objectives, but WHY was this the best approach and what outcome did it achieve?

#3 Multi-Faceted skills

The need for T-shaped professionals is on the rise. As businesses transform to include technology in every aspect of operation, the array of skills and knowledge-based solutions required from teams expands.

At the recruitment level, T-shaped talent is appealing for businesses because they have a basic understanding of multiple disciplines, while at the same time being a clear specialist in one or two key areas. As an example having a broad understanding of the digital, sales and even marketing mix enables teams to have more agile and responsive discussions internally and outside the business.

So, think about all the know how you have and isolate that from your specific areas of expertise. This doesn't mean you become a ‘generalist’. Far from it. T-shaped professionals are characterised by their ability to be “adaptive innovators”. Showing you have the capacity to stretch across ideas and add value to a team can give you that edge; just remember to back your skills up with results-led proof points.

Step 3: Create a point of difference - standing out from the pack

Working in this constantly shifting environment not only requires you to have the right skills, but an understanding of the external landscape. Whatever your career highlight to date has been, prospective employers want to hear about the specifics of what YOU did, the outcomes you achieved and how that relates to the current challenges and opportunities their business has.

Capabilities are continuously evolving for people forging their career, so approach your job search from articulating how you can differentiate yourself from others, your signature strengths and specific examples you can bring to the table that showcase your up-to-date thinking.

Found a job on our site you’re interested in? Get in touch with a specialist consultant today for further career advice.