Can you future-proof your career?

Future proof your career, careers advice, careers tips, planning your career, career move, strategic career planning

Long gone are the days of having a job for life!

It used to be simple – graduate, get your first job, stay with a company for 10, 20, 30 years or more! Retire.


Today’s world of work couldn’t be more of a contrast.

If you haven’t already upped your game, it’s time to!

We wrote a blog recently ‘what’s on the cards for 2018’ and a trend that keeps popping up is technology. We all know it’s making a great impact on the global workforce, but it’s not just the impending replacement of the mundane roles – with automation on mass.

There’s another challenge for us. If we don’t get replaced by a computer, as individuals we have to make sure we stay on top of our game. We need to ensure we continue to grow in our careers, learn new software packages, embrace change, understand different concepts.

It’s easier than ever now though, we have a wealth of online learning and software packages at our fingertips – free or paid for, such as:, are just a couple.We can rent the latest software from Adobe, or find a free alternative in some cases.

“In our current economy, change is happening faster than ever before and the half-life of a learned skill is a mere five years.” (Forbes)

So, what does that mean exactly?

According to Denning and Brown, the authors of A New Culture of Learning, “The half-life of a learned skill is 5-years” – this means that much of what you learned 10 years ago is obsolete and half of what you learned 5 years ago is irrelevant.

This is scary.

I have been working for over 20 years now, so if this is true, it means that most of the skills I’ve acquired throughout my career have become redundant. Hmmm. Definitely some have, but thankfully not all!

Designers – digital, website or print and website developers are an obvious group that have been impacted. Website platforms and software developments mean that you don’t have to be HTML proficient or Photoshop savvy to know how to create a website or layout a magazine.  ‘Drag and drop’ does all the hard work for you. This applies to other skills too.

Of course, some careers will be affected more than others. Many core skills and theories will not change, they will evolve – and again it’s keeping up with the latest thinking in your industry.

We could look at our skill set a bit like a garden, it needs to be nurtured and weeded – to develop it, stay fresh. Grow.

Make time to do this.

The continual change of software packages and web technologies will only continue – so how to keep up and safeguard yourself from this? A sensible thing is to look ahead, consider how technologies and different factors might impact your job role.

Do a SWOT style analysis if you like :0) and make a 5, 1o  year plan for yourself. Think about what factors might affect your job – environmental, social, political..etc.. none of us has a crystal ball, but we already know that customer service is an area being replaced by chatbots at one level.

Some skills are inevitably going to be superseded by technological advances, but here are a few simple pointers to get started.

1. Make time in your day to read the latest industry news –  Personnel Today or Marketing week

2. Use technology to stay on top of technology – flipboard, google alerts etc.

3. Social media – sign up to the feeds that are beneficial to your role and stay up to date with new developments & then make sure read them!

4. Use in house online training courses and facilities that are available to you, to get yourself up to scratch with packages.

5. Make time to read your news – on the train, bus or at lunch.

6. Network  – online and offline. Use linked in, go to events. Grow your contact base, you never know how useful it will be in the future.

Related Dovetail Articles:
What’s on the cards for 2018?

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