Five Ways to Future-Proof Your Career

With a job market that’s constantly in flux, it’s more important than ever to keep skills sharp to stay relevant and stand out regardless of the state of the labor market. Soft skills are especially helpful to continue to excel in leadership roles that will always be in demand.

Here are five ways to continue to learn and future-proof your career:

1. Seek out your own organization’s resources

Employers don’t want their workforce falling behind, so they often offer free classes and training, the ability to travel to conferences, or even paid tuition to upskill and reskill. Before you reinvent the wheel, talk to your manager and other leaders in your  organization to see how you can learn on the job – and even get paid to do so. This helps employers retain talent and workers succeed in their career trajectory, which is a win-win for everyone.

2. Read for knowledge

“I don’t have time” is a common excuse for not reading. However, even 10 minutes or a chapter a day can significantly add up. In his book “Tiny Habits,” behavioral change expert BJ Fogg advises starting very small to make a habit stick — such as reading just a page a day. Furthermore, setting a time or trigger to begin reading will help with the hurdle of getting started. Carve out the time and place, and watch your knowledge accumulate.

3. Subscribe to podcasts

With a quick search on Spotify or Apple podcasts, anyone can find a subject-matter expert, a CEO, or any other leader talking about their lessons learned on a podcast. A podcast can complement taking a walk or doing housework while maximizing your learning potential.

4. Take an online class

Today, there are more online learning options than ever in any area you seek to improve, from public speaking to SEO secrets. Options include sites like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and academies and tutorials from online platforms like Google Analytics. Often these courses can be certified with a digital “micro-degree” that can be added to a LinkedIn profile, which further enhances your profile in the eyes of HR and recruiters.

5. Network for knowledge

Most people think of networking as a way to make connections and find jobs – which is only one part of the equation. Staying in touch with people who are subject matter experts in your field can expose you to blind spots and growth opportunities in your career. For example, is there a new emerging tool, technique, or digital frontier in your field? You can soak up the knowledge of what your peers are doing by meeting for coffee, going to conferences and scoping out your competition. The answers can be in plain sight – if you look for them.

There is no one-size-fit-all approach to learning. It can mean upskilling or reskilling and building off your existing skills, or growing adjacent skills to your repertoire. Find the approach and tools that work for you, and get started! You will become a more marketable candidate today while also investing in your longer-term career path.

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