Given the rate at which technology is impacting upon our working lives, it has never been more important to leave room for change in your working life. As technologies quickly make jobs obsolete and threaten to make us all jobless in the future, finding a way to stay relevant is vital.
As the retirement age increases and jobs arise that we could never have predicted, setting yourself up for a long and happy career is increasingly about giving yourself flexibility rather than staying power.
Forging a New Career Path
Though there are many traditional career paths that still exist such as teaching, medicine and the law, many people will find that they can have multiple careers over the course of their working life. For lots of people, this should be quite exciting as it overcomes the worry of job vs career as any job could easily become a career and you could change anytime.
Even if you have so far focused all your energies and attention on one traditional career path, it is never too late to return to your CV and see which skills could be transferred to a new role or a new industry. Many teachers are now dropping out of the profession and given that they have so many skills and highly regarded qualifications, most are snapped up quickly by other businesses in a variety of roles.
Updating Your Skills Regularly
The best way to ensure that you can have multiple careers is to be continually mindful of your skill set. Most jobs come with all sorts of different transferable skills such as communication, software use and organization skills. These might sound like soft skills, but coupled with a determination to learn lots of new things, they can make the difference in a job interview.
You should also think about taking courses and lifelong learning. Your current company is likely to offer a variety of opportunities to develop your skill sets but you can also sign up for part-time higher education courses too. Adding qualifications to your CV over the course of your working life is a great way to demonstrate your ability to learn and continue to expand your opportunities.
Working Your Contacts
Developing your career isn’t just about your skill sets; you should also think about making contacts in a variety of different industries and then using those contacts for advice as well as finding out where new opportunities may arise. Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are good for keeping up with your contacts, but really you should go to networking events for a more natural introduction.
Though lots of people hate networking – the word really sounds awful – if you think about it more as making friends, it is much easier. Go with the intention of collecting cards moving around the room. It might seem rude to keep moving around, but it is why you came and everyone else is doing the same. Don’t get stuck with one person, however fun they might be!
Swapping from one industry to another can be a difficult manoeuver if you don’t have contacts and may not have a fully developed skill set just yet. But, you shouldn’t give up. Freelancing is a great way to open yourself up to more exciting prospects and a fabulous way to meet lots of different companies who may have openings.
As you build up a portfolio of experiences, you will be able to provide greater evidence of your skill sets. This is an invaluable asset and could benefit you more in the long term than a fixed role in a single company.
Take the Opportunities that Excite You
With a varied skill set, a wide range of industry backgrounds and an impressive CV of skills and qualifications, lots of opportunities are likely to open up. This is exactly what you are looking to achieve.
As you progress through different jobs, carving out your own career path, you can choose which opportunities to take and when. This means that you might decide to work abroad for a time or go freelance. Perhaps if you want to start a family you could go part-time or work from home. Your career isn’t just a list of experiences, it can become a story that you tell prospective employers.
The most important thing is that you choose to follow opportunities that take you in a new direction and excite you. So many people get stuck in boring office jobs they hate. You don’t have to.