Early Career Professionals: How Do You Future-proof Your Career?

(This is the second in a series of articles by Mr. Surya Prakash Mohapatra, Global Head- Talent Transformation and Learning & Development at Wipro Digital Operations and Platforms for Early Career Professionals.)

These days, when I meet early career professionals or students on the verge of finishing their professional education, I see a sense of fear and anxiety lurking in their minds. The primary cause of their fear is the uncertainty hovering over the business and the economy. These youngsters are genuinely concerned about their careers in view of the uncertain times. However, these uncertain times are not going to go away. Rather uncertainty and volatility are going to be a way of life. So the question is: How can you future-proof your career throughout your life? Here are 7 things you can do:

1. Be a Problem Solver

Organizations would always need problem solvers. Develop your problem-solving skills. These skills will always come in handy and you would be always needed. This will go a long way in future-proofing your career.

2. Be a Lifelong Learner

Things are changing rapidly in our world today. We see technology and business models evolving all the time. You need to keep upgrading your knowledge all the time. In other words, you need to become a lifelong learner. This trait is a must if you desire to future-proof your career.

3. Be an Early Mover

Is it enough to acquire new knowledge and skills? Well, it is not. You also need to be the first one to implement your knowledge. If you do not implement your idea quickly, you would lose the competitive advantage because someone else could implement the same before you do. Jack Ma says, “Don’t try to be the best, be the first.

4. Accept that you may be laid off a number of times in your career

Well, you are not the only one who is likely to be laid off. This could happen to anyone of us. So why not be mentally prepared for this. If you are mentally prepared for getting laid off, the pain would be less. You would be in the right frame of mind to deal with it better and work harder to find greener pastures.

5. Don’t romanticise your industry or job

Don’t fall in love with the industry you are working for. Tomorrow, your industry or job may not exist. So why get emotionally attached to something which may disappear one day? Flexibility is the name of the game. Be flexible and prepared for different industries in different roles, if needed.

6. Create your Own Brand

You need to establish your own personal brand which would define who you are. In today’s competitive world, it is important that you stand out and be the face of the crowd. Your personal brand which defines your uniqueness will help you stand out. Do you have your blog page or YouTube channel or Podcast? Are you leveraging social media and other avenues to establish your brand?

7. Have multiple specialisations

Is it enough to be the best in the domain? Actually, it is not. It is great to be brilliant in one domain, it is essential to be good at multiple domains. What happens if tomorrow your specialization doesn’t remain relevant? At least, if you have multiple specializations, you can fall back on another one. Moreover, today is the age of convergence. Today, there are many jobs which require knowledge of multiple domains. Professionals need to have sound knowledge of multiple domains to succeed at work or in business.

So these are the 7 ways you can future-proof your career. Try these and see how they transform you.

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