When they hear about 10, 20 or 30 professions which vanish within a decade, it is very natural to ask a simple question: How can they best prepare for their future career in such a rapidly changing and unpredictable world? Well, here are five things I’d recommend to all students interested in future-proofing their career.
1. Project management skills are transferable across many fields
Every field and every profession has its own set of very specific and narrowly defined essential skills. At the same time, some skills are universal and applicable in many fields. One such skill is project management. Indeed you will find almost every job description calls for project management skills or project management experience, as more and more companies and organizations build their work and activities around specific projects.
An unofficial motto of project managers is wisely expressed by American entrepreneur Denis Waitley: "Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised." The quote may make you smile, but it also conveys how solid project management skills will stand you in good stead, in practically any profession.
2. Multitasking your projects
Multitasking – an ability to perform several tasks (or manage several projects) at the same time – is a highly controversial field in modern debates about the workplace productivity. Some productivity gurus believe that the ladder to the top corporate corner office goes only through effective multitasking. Others argue that multitasking actually is as Latin say “vexata quaestio” (vexed question) as it may negatively affect your productivity outputs and even lead rapid exhaustion and health destruction. The reality is that in the modern complex world multitasking is unavoidable and multitasking skills are highly valued. The challenge is to develop effective multitasking skills according to the personal intellectual and psychological abilities and … planning skills, as effective planning and prioritizing are in the center of the modern school of multitasking.
3. Don’t forget about strong communication skills
In the rapidly globalizing world, strong communication skills have become increasingly important for staying competitive in the job market today and tomorrow. Although almost everyone can claim to have communication skills in one form or another, modern effective communication has its own rules, techniques and scientific principles which can significantly boost success in communication.
Indeed, you can have the brightest and most innovative idea, but if you fail to communicate it to your friends and colleagues, the idea will be lost: in fact, the first 50 prototypes of the iPhone failed and kept failing until the innovative team learned to communicate between each other better.
Many comprehensive courses – both in-class and online – and complex communications matrixes and systems can boost effective communication skills. American billionaire Warren Buffett highlighted “learning communication skills such as public speaking” among top skills for success not only in the world of business but also in every other field.
4. Advanced digital skills have become key
Advanced digital skills have become increasingly important as we use and rely on our new technologies – social media, various gadgets and artificial intelligence. The recent trend has seen many of the largest and most venerated corporations and even government agencies adopting information communication technologies (ICTs) as their main mechanism.
In this environment, having basic computer knowledge is not enough. Employers demand recent graduates be capable of everything from using the internet efficiently to producing virtuoso work on Microsoft Office, and from software coding to advance internet business skills.
5. Emotional intelligence can’t be easily replaced by technology
Paradoxically many corporate leaders increasingly talk about and highly value emotional intelligence, despite the fact we use more machines and robots than ever before and now communicate more online than in person.
In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is your ability to deal effectively with emotions, create appropriate emotional relations with each other, communicate competently with workplace teams, and intelligently and appropriately use emotional information to create a positive workplace environment.
By developing and training these skills and abilities, you can be more successful in your personal interactions, from attending job interviews to creating a positive emotional environment for a team you’re leading, and from dealing with most difficult customers to meeting challenges of the rapidly changing and globalizing world.