It's a fact that nothing ever stays the same and our industries are constantly changing. How we resist or adapt to change can sometimes dictate the direction of our careers, defining whether we will retain longevity in a role or become an outdated, stuck in the mud resource within a fast-moving business. Ongoing changes resulting from technology advancements, new equipment introduction, software upgrades and safety or government regulation overhauls require us to stay agile and willing to accept new methods or ways of executing tasks. This can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow, but it's essential to recognise that change isn't always a bad thing. Industry evolution ensures businesses stay competitive in the marketplace, typically allowing for operations to run cheaper and more efficiently over time because of the change. Within some industries, these changes can also keep us safe in the workplace. Organisations need to keep up with industry advancements or do their best to stay ahead of the pack to keep the doors open (and keep you in a job!). In recent times, it's become overly apparent that the flavour of the month word with job advertisements is "innovation" and this is no accident. Businesses want people who think outside the box to execute tasks to a better standard with more cost-effectiveness and efficiency. It's these people who adapt to industry change and allow businesses to thrive in the next phase of an organisations growth and success.
The below-listed points are some things you can incorporate to ensure you maintain relevance in an evolving industry.
Engage in Further Coursework
The old cliche states that "knowledge is power" and that saying couldn't be more relevant than now. One critical thing you can do to stay connected is to continue your professional development and further educate yourself. Whether you're completing an MBA or a 2-day weekend course, it's a brilliant idea always to be studying something as it keeps your brain active and your mind fresh towards new concepts and ideas. Typically, all institutions or course providers regularly update course materials and content to be an accurate reflection of current day standards, expectations and scenarios in real working world situations. Hence, engaging in further coursework, no matter how strenuous, is an excellent way to ensure your professional capability is always relevant.
Taking part in industry conferences is a brilliant way to learn and hear from profound industry leaders about current industry happenings. These conferences are usually attended by other like-minded professionals with the same desired outcome as yourself, and typically, you will always gain value from such scenarios. Conferences usually are always rich with opportunity in different ways.
Reading is a fantastic way to enhance your knowledge base, no matter what it is you are reading. However, reading industry magazines, email newsletters and similar publications will always serve you definite purpose for gaining valuable information on industry happenings and advancements.
Learn Another Language
With advancements across technology, communications and air travel, the world has suddenly become a tiny place. Most businesses operate in some way, shape or form with overseas counterparts. If they aren't working overseas, most have intentions to expand and get there eventually. One way to solidify your point of difference and stamp your mark as a critical resource for most businesses would be to hold multilingual communication capability. A manager who can speak French and English can open doors for not only for English speaking countries but locations such as France, Belgium, Switzerland and Francophone Africa. A Mandarin-speaking Executive Assistant would be a highly desired resource for nearly every executive on the planet as they could translate the communication with China-based business leaders — a genuinely invaluable capability for various reasons. If you have the time, patience and willingness, try to learn another language.
Maintain a Modern Resume & LinkedIn Profile
In some ways, the recruitment industry is as fluid and complex as any. Expectations of the candidate change nearly as often as the seasons do with changes across hiring frameworks, candidate databases and various services such as Linkedin coming into the equation to confuse even the most profound and employable professionals. Maintaining a modern resume which takes into consideration the current day hiring expectations is essential if you wish to be competitive in your industry. Whether you are searching for work with a new business or simply seeking a promotion with your current employer, your resume needs to show a high capability representation of yourself. In some companies, when employees put their hand up for internal promotions, HR process requires these individuals to apply for the role just as an outside candidate would. For this reason, even if you aren't seeking to leave your current employer, it's a good idea to keep your resume maintained and up to date.
Network with Industry Peers
Networking with past colleagues or other industry professionals via methods such as email, LinkedIn, or even having a beer with an industry peer on a Friday afternoon, are good things to do to stay relevant. These are effective methods for learning about what might be occurring in other businesses, what local projects are coming online, what enterprises are incorporating various consulting firms, etc.
Maintain Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Many professionals tend to lapse in some way as they get busy, and personal health and fitness can tend to be one of these areas. It's essential to try and maintain good health to ensure longevity as a professional. Many successful business leaders and professionals ensure they dedicate at least some time to physical activity and exercise during their busy days. Aside from limiting sickness and disease, regular exercise provides an appropriate release of serotonin in the brain, making you feel good about yourself and most likely all components of your life, including your work. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet is also useful for keeping your energy levels up, allowing you to stay ahead of the pack, upbeat and productive during a busy workday. A healthy body ensures a healthy mind.
Keep an Open Mind
Most importantly, do your best to enforce a dynamic perspective upon yourself always. Try to embrace change and realise that things alter and evolve to serve a better purpose for humanity. Keep an open mind and be willing to take on board new information and constructive critic if you're lucky enough to receive it. If a colleague is providing some constructive criticism, be thankful they are directing their attention to you and providing information on how you can better yourself. People typically give this kind of feedback if they care about you or if they have respect for you in some way (otherwise, they would most likely save their time and not open their mouth). Keep an open mind for your own professional and personal development.
Things will always continue to change, evolve and develop. Sometimes it's not always for the better, but when it comes to industrial development, it's usually so. Whether you allow yourself to change and mould with industry is entirely up to yourself, but to ensure longevity, it's essential to try to stay flexible and open-minded as your industry evolves. New blood will continuously come into the workforce with new ideas, willingness, motivation and desire to try exuberant things to push the status quo.
Stay agile, maintain fluidity, remove complacency, continue to excel and be a part of the development for your industry.
Dan McComb - Director
Iron Cove Global