Future-Proof Your Career With Diverse Skills Development

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BREADTH AND DEPTH - Protect your career by building a versatile and adaptable skill set. Continuous skills development will help you pivot and stay flexible, and could be the difference between thriving or surviving through change.

Sponsored by GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought massive disruption to the workplace. So, how can you future-proof your career going forward? Continuous upskilling and reskilling is critical to remain relevant in the workplace, with recent GetSmarter research finding that employers increasingly see continuous skills development as a key differentiator on candidates’ CV’s. 

The research also shows that careers are no longer linear. For most professionals today, career plans are fluid and change frequently, meaning it’s critical to build adaptability and versatility into your skill set. Move away from the one-dimensional view of the career ladder (i.e. the only way is up), to a more flexible career approach of the workplace ‘jungle gym’ (with many different ways to get to the top). Develop your skills in such a way that you have the agility to move in different directions.

Read: The Great Career Reset, and find out how South Africans are building their skills.

Increasing both your depth and breadth of skill is key. A depth of skills allows you to progress specifically in the area you specialise in by remaining up-to-date, enhancing your strategic capabilities, and strengthening these with leadership and soft skills. However, the recent economic crisis brought on by the pandemic has meant fewer corporate layers, and less ability to progress. This is where breadth of skill becomes important: ensuring you continue adding skills which are adjacent to your function, enabling you to make lateral career moves and gain experience in different industries. Diversifying your skill set will offer more career options and more agility in the face of disruption and change.

Whilst a lot of focus has been on how work and jobs have changed, we can't ignore the cumulative effect that this has had on careers. Although GetSmarter’s research into the future of work has revealed that respondents overwhelmingly agreed that career development should be jointly owned by individuals and organisations, careers have increasingly shifted away from the control of the employer, to the employed. This shift in ownership means that you can no longer outsource career development to your manager or organisation.

As the pace of change continues to accelerate, individuals will need to keep up with the development of their industry or functional area, deepen and broaden their skill set, and continue to strengthen their interpersonal skills.

Read: The Future of Work Is Here. Discover how professionals and businesses are adapting through change.

The impact of adding versatile and adaptable skills, solidified by on-the-job experience, brings invaluable resilience to your career. Ensuring a flexible career path also provides you with a greater number of choices in terms of the career final destination, allowing you to easily change direction or profession. 

Learn more about how to pivot from a career plan to a skills plan to ensure your career is responsive to change.