The secret to everlasting employability is intuitively obvious: it’s about having a set of skills the marketplace wants to buy.
Organisations typically only want to employ you for the skills you already have – and when those skills are no longer relevant they will get rid of you. Only the most forward-thinking businesses will train you up for the skills you’re going to need in the future. You should assume, therefore, that it is your responsibility – and yours alone – to keep investing in yourself.
To start this process, you have to understand the marketplace in which you operate and have a view on the skills that will be needed in the future. What the market wants tomorrow then needs to matched to your career plan.
Get yourself noticed
If already in employment, now begin this matching process by getting yourself noticed for the right reasons: you need to argue the case for training and development that will benefit the business as well as yourself. You then need to seek out personal development reviews to win support for your case and make sure, politely but firmly, that the business follows up on what has been agreed. Whether you are currently in employment or not, one key competency that will always serve you well is curiosity.
Always ask yourself: “Why?” and look for connections and links. People naturally like people who always know things because they’ve had the curiosity to go and find out.
As well as looking inwards to develop good habits to ensure future employability, look outwards for sources of development and inspiration. Keep talking regularly to those in your network and in professional associations, use LinkedIn and meet competitors regularly. All of these are invaluable sources of information and knowledge that you should accumulate and draw on.
Stay relevant, achieve your goals
Remember that employability is not just about where you are now but about staying relevant in tomorrow’s marketplace.
Write down a personal development plan and re-contract with yourself each and every year – there is a strong correlation between writing down goals and achieving them. Make sure you did what you said you were going to do and, if you didn’t, ask yourself honestly why not?
Finally, be a participant, not someone who watches from the sidelines. Don’t be one of the starlings in the nest, always sitting there with mouth open, expecting good things to come along.
To stay relevant is about building a set of skills that the marketplace needs. That is your responsibility and yours alone. And once you realise that, you are sowing the seeds of your everlasting employability.
Want to learn more about everlasting employability? Read my book The Guide to Everlasting Employability and watch this short video clip.