Fast Changing World of Work: 10 Tips for Career Success

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Below are 10 tips to help you to be more successful when planning your future career.
In the boxes next to each tip, show how well you believe you are doing on a scale of 1 – 5 (where 1 is lowest and 5 is highest). You have to print out the tips first to do that. This will give you confidence in the things you’re doing well, and identify things you need to work on.

1. Keep up to date with contemporary changing work patterns. Predicting the future doesn’t have a good track record. Many surprises occur, and will continue to do so. Even though it’s far from perfect, present day trends are the best we’ve got, so keep up to date and in touch with them.

2. Be clear and realistic about your own goals, abilities, potential and career plans. (If not already, we can help: click here to read how.)

3. Flexibility is critical. Narrowly defined jobs are disappearing. Additionally in the future we will have new challenges, knowledge and skills to learn throughout our lives. Be prepared to be challenged and welcome new developments. You can’t stop a juggernaut.

4. Develop broad skills, and never stop learning. An understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) is important. If you have strengths in these areas then develop them. On the other hand, everyone isn’t cut out for STEM studies. Nevertheless, we need to be alert to STEM advances, and how we can harness these developments within the workplace.

5. So-called “soft skills” are, and always will be, vitally important. These include highly developed communication skills, inter-personal effectiveness, team building, negotiation and conflict resolution skills, people management skills, time management, enthusiasm, resilience. Ignore these at your peril. They need to be developed: wise people engage with such personal development opportunities.

6. Creativity and critical thinking are both important. But you can’t do both at the same time. Creativity involves suspending criticism, while imagining what might be, thinking “outside the box”, generating new ideas, innovations and possibilities. On the other hand critical thinking involves logically evaluating ideas, checking evidence, clarifying concepts, studying feasibility, and anticipating problems.

7. Be ready to move out of your comfort zone. Don’t get stuck in a rut which gets bypassed. This is not to suggest there is anything wrong with niche jobs, rather to ensure you are continually alert to global trends and developing your knowledge and skills.

8. Interdisciplinary (or transdisciplinary) approaches are becoming increasingly important. As boundaries between different subject areas become more fuzzy, and even disappear, people who can understand more than one discipline are increasingly valued. Ability to connect countless dots and to cross-pollinate ideas from multiple of disciplines will increase in importance.

9. Cross-cultural competencies are valuable. In a time of global inter-connectedness and unparalleled mobility we need show respect and understanding of the different people we dealing with.

10. Digital fluency is needed now, and will increasingly be so in the future. Everybody doesn’t need to understand underlying technical details. But we all need to know how to take advantage of new digital developments. This includes taking advantage of big data. “Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate” (Wikipedia quote). Digital systems are increasingly collecting masses of data on so many aspects of humanity and the world around us. Collecting the data is the relatively easy part. The next, and most interesting parts are analysis and making sense of it all. Those able to capitalise on this will be at a distinct advantage in the future.