Jobs Are Disappearing — These 3 Strategies Are What You Need to Future-Proof Your Career

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Technological advancements are coming at us faster, and they’re transforming the workforce. By 2030, McKinsey researchers predict that 12 million of us will make a career pivot. That isn’t a bad thing, as long as you stay in control of the situation and take steps to future-proof yourself professionally. This anticipated pivot is also ideal if you’re early in your career or not in love with where you are now. Implementing steps to push yourself into the career you want will be even more effective if those efforts are focused on adapting to technological advances.

Future-proofing yourself is essential because technology is not going away, but some jobs will. To maintain your competitive edge as an entrepreneur and secure the future of your business, it’s crucial to continuously invest in the skills that are currently in demand and anticipate those that will be vital in the future. To do that, you must embrace reality and stop hiding from the technology that could help you advance your talents.

For instance, I’m shocked when I hear that people aren’t using Grammarly, an AI-based grammar and writing tool, to elevate their writing and give themselves a competitive advantage. When the way you present yourself through email and other written communication is a large part of modern jobs, using AI-based grammar tools can help you come across as more polished and professional, helping your career without demanding more of your time.

Quite simply, if you can use AI and other technology as tools to enhance your capabilities, you’ll create an occupational safety shield. The best part? You don’t have to be a data scientist to use most of the products available on the market. Most of them are user-friendly and can be implemented quickly. Case in point: Not long ago, I was working with someone whose company is using generative AI to help organizations respond to proposal requests in two hours. Traditionally, these responses took a full team and two weeks to finish and submit. That’s a turnaround time of two hours versus two weeks — game-changing for just client satisfaction alone!

Not sure how or where to start on your mission to get ahead of the tech-driven “what clients want” curve? Put these strategies into motion to future-proof your career.

Related: AI Is Changing the Way We Look at Job Skills — Here’s What You Need to Do to Prepare.

1. Level up your soft skills game

For years, I’ve asked businesses what they want from our university’s STEM graduates. Their top answers always lean toward “soft” skills. Why? Employers assume anyone leaving a STEM program can handle STEM subjects. However, they want them to be able to communicate effectively, too.

If you’re looking to improve your communication skills, it’s well worth the effort, especially in professional settings. Effective communication by leaders not only boosts team and personal resources but also significantly increases both team effectiveness and individual engagement, according to a recent study. Mastering good communication can enhance your ability to work well in team environments, give 360-degree feedback and explain your thoughts to others. These skills are invaluable assets that can set you apart at any stage in your career, demonstrating your potential and capability in collaborative environments.

To improve your communication, take an acting class, a public speaking course or a writing workshop. Force yourself out of your comfort zone so you can interact with others non-awkwardly. Nothing says “confidence” more than being able to effectively run a meeting, pitch your ideas and explain concepts one-on-one, in small groups or to large audiences with gusto.

Related: Here’s What You Can Do Now to Stay Employed When They Finally Have a Robot for Your Job

2. Become the Reese’s of industry experts

Decades ago, Reese’s launched a clever campaign that emphasized the brand’s unique chocolate-peanut butter combination. You can be like Reese’s and make a name for yourself in your industry by excelling at two areas that normally wouldn’t be matched up.

For example, a common combination for many STEM workers is to have deep knowledge of both AI and robotics. An uncommon — and decidedly interesting — alternative would be to have expertise in game science and cybersecurity. Or understanding the ins and outs of the world of mobile programming, as well as how to analyze big data sets.

We’re living in a moment where technology offers a lot of independent and embedded moving parts and tools. To be successful, you can’t just be good at one thing. You need to have a range of aptitudes to wow your current and future employers. By bringing different puzzle pieces together in creative ways, you’re setting yourself up to be the unicorn in the room. This is also a great tactic to pursue if your competitors outrank you in lengthy experience for a job — you can shine with more skills to offer.

3. Get and stay tech-savvy

Have you been watching and waiting from the sidelines as new technology evolves? Stop observing and start engaging. You don’t have to climb the math mountain or go to engineering school, but you should stay open to attending a boot camp or availing yourself of another resource to get to know technology better. Every time you pick up a bit of insight, you’ll think differently about what you do. In time, you’ll be more valuable and agile because you’ll be up to speed.

A great place to start is by investigating AI and edge programming. Just a little skill and depth in either topic will put you ahead of the general learning curve. Not only will you understand more than others in your field, but you’ll also be able to identify potential career openings, promotions and lateral position opportunities before everyone else.

Related: AI May Not Take Your Job, But Someone Using AI Likely Will — Here’s Why.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Recently, Air Canada lost a lawsuit because their first-tier AI customer service tool was giving customers the wrong price. My hunch is that programmers will use this precedent to improve AI’s responses. But people are still going to want human-to-human service options for their more complex problems. Therefore, world-class service agents with incredibly diversified and deep skills will be sought after to fill in the gaps.

As we get more tech-infused, we’re going to see some jobs vanish. But what won’t disappear is the desire for companies that possess all the attributes that AI and technology can’t master. By being proactive, you can become indispensable and enjoy improved job security.

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