With the workforce landscape changing regularly (at the best of times), it is vital to ensure your work skills and qualifications remain current – and even ahead of the curve. Add in COVID, and we are now seeing more changes than ever occurring within countless industries.
Overall unemployment has risen; many businesses have either closed their doors or completely changed their operations; many traditionally successful industries have fallen by the wayside; while new industries and opportunities have successfully emerged.
One example of an entire industry that has all but been wiped out overnight is the airline industry. The circumstances of the pandemic were arguably unforeseeable, leaving many workers with specific skillsets (such as pilots) blindsided, without skills or experience to fall back on when looking for work outside their field.
Turning the tables around
Whereas, other businesses that have thrived during COVID, such as distilleries/bars that could no longer serve drinks in-house, but started selling take away packs, supplying to bottle stores, and using their alcohol to make hand sanitiser; and clothing stores that completely moved their operations online and cut their overheads by up to 80%.
The latter are both successful examples of ‘pivoting’ (or changing direction in a business/career), which can also be necessary under normal circumstances (although the writing is usually more visible on the proverbial wall).
For example, when CDs and DVDs moved to online streaming, tech businesses could see they would become obsolete without a ‘pivot’ strategy in place, so the successful ones controversially made their content available online (sometimes for free), while selling advertising and eventually subscriptions in this space.
The businesses – and employees – who have thrived in the face of change have often been the ones who have not been afraid to pivot themselves in a new direction.
Change is the only constant
As Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives; it is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
This quote highlights the importance of being adaptable to change within your career and being able to ‘move with the times.
How can you do this? Is it possible to foresee future changes without a crystal ball? How will you know when to pivot?
It is important to regularly check-in with yourself and evaluate your existing skillset/s. Ask yourself, “Are my skills transferrable?” and “What would I need to do to gain employment in another industry if I needed or wanted to?”
While there will always be unpredictable circumstances such as a pandemic (who knew hand sanitiser and toilet paper sales would skyrocket in 2020?), there are ways to keep a cautiously watchful eye on trends and developments that may affect your industry and/or your career at any time.
- Subscribing to industry publications or blogs, regularly keeping abreast of the news, joining networking or social media groups for advice, and, most importantly, ensuring your ongoing professional development is up-to-date.
- It is vital to know if there are any new qualifications or legal requirements you need to meet to continue performing your role. If you work for a large organisation, you may be lucky enough to have a management team or HR department that keeps you apprised of this. If you work for yourself, you may need to take this research into your own hands. This may seem tedious at first, but it will certainly put you ahead of your competitors.
- It is also pertinent to remain knowledgeable of any government incentives or workplace training opportunities that may be on offer, by subscribing to government websites or intranet emails. This will ensure you don’t miss out on any funding or free training available to gain the qualifications you need.
For example, the Australian Government has recently been offering various funding opportunities for RTO’s and Universities to provide training for roles with skills-shortages at reduced rates or even for free.
- Adding additional qualifications to your professional ‘toolkit’ – even short courses – for industries where you know there are skills-shortages and high levels of job vacancies can recession-proof your career.
- Upskilling to new qualifications that are similar to your existing qualification or relate to your current role can also show your existing employer that you are proactive in progressing within your career. They may well consider you for a future promotion or a new role that hasn’t even been created yet.
- Gaining new skills can also ensure you’re able to make a swift pivot if and when you need or want to.
For example, if you have worked as a marketing executive since before the introduction of social media, doing short courses in social media management can bring you into line with current and emerging marketing trends and exponentially increase your ‘hire ability’ in today’s job market.
Plan of action
Frontier Institute of Technology has a wide range of short courses and trade courses available online, on-campus, and/or in conjunction with your current work arrangements.
They also have qualified Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) coordinators who can determine if you are entitled to any qualifications for work and training you have already completed on the job.
If you are unsure about which direction to take in your career, they also have qualified career counsellors on hand to help you chart out the best path for your immediate and/or long-term future.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR|
Benjamin Congiusta, is the Director of The Resumeologist, a career counseling service comprising of 100 of the very best writers, trainers, and designers throughout Australia. His diverse corporate experience in Australia, America, and multiple countries throughout Europe coupled with extensive qualifications in both Finance and Economics earned at Universities throughout America, allows him to relate to people from all walks of life. Benjamin’s favourite aspect of his work lies in helping others make a significant career or industry change, a challenge that he has now experienced numerous times.