4 areas to focus on when future-proofing your skill set

Image Credit: Getty Images
This article is sponsored by CQUniversity to guide

With COVID-19 altering our economic landscape indefinitely, setting out to develop skills that will translate in an ever-changing, uncertain world is essential.

According to this report, 28% of Australian workers have considered upskilling during the pandemic, showcasing how reactive professionals have been to sudden changes in the workforce.

‘Upskilling’ can seem like a broad pursuit, but there are a few foundational aspects to consider building on when looking to diversify your range of expertise.

So, if you’re looking to future-proof your career, here’s what you should take into account.

Engaging in further study, like completing an MBA

Education is an investment. While completing an undergraduate degree may seem like a distant memory, engaging in further study has become a pivotal aspect of professional development.

According to Universities Australia, there were over 300,000 students enrolled in post-graduate study in 2017, with the demand for these options growing yearly.

Ensuring your skills stick out amongst this pack can be vital.

The advantages of postgraduate study include, but are not limited to, greater employability, broader career development and increased professional satisfaction. Garnering a certification like an MBA is one of the most universally recognised pathways to these benefits.

With a focus on developing skills such as effective organisational leadership, change management, as well as business ethics and governance, an MBA is known to increase the strategic thinking and workplace agility of those who complete it. According to the 2019 BOSS MBA Ranking, executives who recently graduated with an MBA had experienced an annual salary increase of 28% (to an average of $157,00).

Programs like CQUniversity’s MBA (Leadership) deliver a specialised and contemporary course that caters specifically to focus on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial strategies – an impactful armour to have on hand in the instance of a career change.

The course is self-paced, and delivered completely online, allowing for flexibility around work, family and other commitments, and can be completed within a time frame of 12 months to 5 years.

Even if you’re not looking to alter the trajectory of your career altogether, completing an MBA is an impactful means of setting yourself up to take on more responsibility within your current job, as well as the potential better hire when the time comes to switch jobs or industry.

Developing transferable skills

2020 has highlighted how unpredictable life can be. Even without a pandemic, ensuring your skillset is flexible to cater to industry demands, technology changes and evolving personal goals is a must.

Developing transferable skills, like emotional intelligence, persuasive and communicative skills is a huge aspect of this.

According to this 2018 report, it was found that honing ‘soft skills’ (like the ones above) was the top priority for talent development teams.

It requires a certain level of self-awareness to first identify your soft skill strengths and weaknesses, in order to know how to develop them. Take for example, the MBA (Leadership) units in Communication for Leadership Success, and People, Leadership and Culture which ave been designed to hone integral soft skills to lead more effectively in the face of adversity or change.

Asking for feedback from peers, or seeking out a mentor can also be effective means of improving these important skills too.

Committing to life-long learning in various fields

The base level requirements needed to thrive in certain industries are constantly evolving.

It’s more common than ever to see roles combined with companies, requiring only one person to complete the job. This means most employers will require employees to commit to constant upskilling to allow for agility in a changing landscape.

This is more relevant to the development of ‘hard skills’, rather than ‘soft skills’ like communication and creativity.

For example, according to Forbes, blockchain technology is likely to disrupt the way industries like banking, real estate and healthcare operate within the next 5 years. Having an understanding of blockchain is listed in this report as the most sought-after skill businesses are looking for in employees in 2020.

Whilst it may be far-fetched to expect all workers to suddenly have a complete understanding of blockchain, adopting the mindset of constantly learning new hard skills is essential.

Whether it’s delving into UX design, crafting your video editing skills (or entrepreneurial skills, like taught in the MBA Leadership course), adding one of these to your resume undeniably adds edge.

Thinking globally

Businesses are operating on a global scale more than ever before.

Having an understanding of the various models, theories and techniques used around the world is crucial to ensuring the stability of your career.

Even if your business does operate locally, having a greater understanding of what global workplaces are integrating into their operations will ultimately lead to innovation and dynamism within your role.

Engaging with professionals (and experts like lecturers and professors,) within and outside your field, is an effective means of developing a wider worldview around business operations.