Monthly Archives: August 2015

Where will your job be in the future?

Article by Belinda Fuller

iStock_000066431281_SmallAccording to a recent report by CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – more than five million of Australia’s current jobs may have disappeared within 10 to 15 years. That’s almost 40 per cent of our total jobs which puts us on the verge of massive change to say the least.

This recent research suggests the whole world is facing a new but very different industrial revolution with the reality that we will experience significant job losses due to computerisation and automation. But is it something to fear? It’s not all doom and gloom, with new jobs emerging as current ones disappear and ways to prevent obsolescence.

Consider these statistics – in 1900, one in four Australians were employed in Agriculture – in 2015, jobs in Agriculture account for just 2% of all Australian jobs – that’s one in 50! Likewise, manufacturing accounted for 28% of the workforce in 1970, fast forward just 45 years and that’s down to around 7%. In our dynamic and globally competitive economy, lost jobs in declining areas are usually made up for in new ones because innovation drives new ways of doing things and new demand in different areas.

We know that technological advancements have been reshaping the way we work for many years, with increasing computer capacity and the ability for machines to replicate the work of humans. We have already experienced automation and job losses in many areas and we are now seeing areas previously deemed impossible to replicate with machinery almost becoming reality. For example, driving is no longer considered a task that will always require human intervention, with Google recently patenting a driverless car.

Even where humans can’t be replaced altogether, automation is impacting speed, productivity and efficiency, which is reducing the amount of human intervention required. One certainty for the years ahead is that employment will continue to be affected by evolving technology. This means employees need to be able to work with technology as a basic requirement, but they also need to understand that technology will likely replace many tasks, and eventually jobs, that we previously thought would always require a human touch. We simply don’t know where technology will take us – the past 20 years have seen the internet, broadband, mobile and social networks cause disruption to existing businesses. Examples include online travel booking and review sites shaking up the tourism industry; the advent of streaming music and video content replacing DVD/CD purchase and rental; the creation of Uber as an alternative to traditional taxis; and online shopping replacing traditional retail shopping for many consumers.

For the foreseeable future at least, there are some areas that will not succumb to technological replacement. So where should we be looking?

  • Healthcare & Aged Care – our ageing population will place demand on healthcare workers of all kinds – including nurses, doctors, physical therapists, home care aids, and other medical professionals.
  • IT – so much technology that we use every day did not exist 20 or even 10 years ago. Computers, the Internet, and Smartphones have changed much of our daily lives. As technology continues to develop, so too will the demand for professionals to leverage it.
  • Data Analysts – companies are collecting information at a rate never before seen. Computers can only do so much with the data – large corporations need people to conduct complex analysis and conceive innovative ideas to drive business growth.
  • Marketing – increasing competition particularly from global competitors as a result of the Internet will drive demand for smart, innovative and creative marketing people that understand digital and social media. The use of predictive analytics to predict trends and customer needs will also increase – driving demand for marketing people with strong IT and technical skills.
  • Content Creators – as a result of increasing global competition and a focus on ‘educating’ customers rather than simply ‘selling’ to them – content is king. People who can write compelling and engaging content for use on websites, blogs, newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, and special reports will be in demand.
  • Financial Planners – unsettled economic times and reducing government budgets for pensions and other support means individuals and businesses need sound financial advice to secure their futures.

These are just some of the many areas of growth that we can expect in the coming years. As a job seeker, or someone whose industry is already declining, it is important to remain flexible and optimistic. Industries, careers and jobs can change rapidly but by embracing this changing world and constantly learning new skills, you will survive.

Are you constantly listening, learning and planning? Would you like career advice to better understand what you should be doing to plan for the future? If so, see our career counselling services.

Why transferable skills matter

Article by Belinda Fuller

Soft skills concept on white

It may come as a surprise to some, but employers don’t just look for education and work experience. In order to achieve a viable long term employee, they also consider a range of skills that go beyond relevant technical requirements. Obviously you need to suit the role and possess all the minimum requirements, but so called transferable (or soft) skills can increase your chances of standing out in your next application.

If you’re like most candidates, the first thing you think about when applying for a new role is education and experience. However, this is often not the most important area. Many times, the skills you have acquired outside of your area of expertise can provide the key to achieving your new role.

No matter how experienced you are or how many different roles you have held, identifying and clearly articulating your transferable skills to a potential employer is very important. These transferable skills can be referred to as ‘soft’ skills and are key to achieving some roles – particularly if you are changing direction or careers – even if only slightly.

These skills matter because they can help you make a smooth and successful transition to a new role. They make you a valuable and contributing employee from your very first day in the role. While your specific area of expertise might be highly technical or specialised, transferable skills ensure you achieve a long term career.

How can they be acquired? Transferable skills are acquired by everyone starting from when you are born – they come from day to day interactions with family, formal schooling, university education, social interaction with friends, sporting activities, day to day work activities, workplace interactions, and throughout the course of life in general.

How do you identify them? Think about your areas of strength and weakness or use a formal self-assessment tool. Enlisting the help of a colleague or superior can help or alternatively try an online assessment tool – simply google ‘transferable skills assessment’. Your formal annual performance review process can also be a great place to make this happen. It’s simply a process of identifying a list of skills and going through and checking off all those that you feel you possess.

What are they? The areas to think about are broad, but generally cover some key areas:

  • People skills – communication, interpersonal/influencing, delegating, diplomacy, coaching/mentoring, leadership, presentation, tact and empathy, collaboration, customer service, negotiation, listening
  • Analytical skills – problem solving, research, data analysis, risk management, financial analysis, budgeting
  • Organisational skills – time management, prioritisation, resource management, project coordination, efficiency, productivity
  • Creativity & commercial acumen – the ability to solve problems with creative but viable solutions, thinking outside the box, and adapting to changing environments, market situations and company strategy are huge assets in today’s competitive world. Likewise understanding how your work fits into the bigger picture or broader company strategy is important.

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve identified your skills, you need to prove them and articulate the ‘how’. It’s not enough to just say ‘I’m a great communicator’ you need to prove why you are a great communicator with examples. We always recommend an overview or profile and key capabilities section in your resume where you highlight some of these transferable skills together with an explanation of ‘how’ the skills were acquired. Likewise, in an interview, be prepared to articulate where you gained your skills with specific examples that demonstrate how they have contributed to past successes.

Would you like help identifying and articulating your transferable skills? Does your Resume need updating with some proof on how you obtained these transferable skills. If you would like assistance with your job applications and job search, please see our Resume Services and Job Search Coaching Services.

7 habits of highly effective employees

Article by Belinda Fuller

TeacherIn his #1 bestseller, Stephen R. Covey presented a framework for personal effectiveness through his definition of the 7 habits of highly effective people. His premise centred on our character being a collection of our habits, and habits having a powerful role in our lives. But what about habits in the workplace? Most successful people (the ones who get the promotions, raises and opportunities) have common habits that can be mimicked.

So what is it that makes one person more likely to get promoted than another? For some people, it can seem like others get all the opportunities and promotions handed to them on a silver platter. Are they just lucky or were they simply ‘in the right place at the right time?’ We don’t believe so. There are common themes amongst highly successful individuals and how they deal with their day to day working lives. The good news for everyone else is that these habits are things anyone can do. So what are they?

  1. Think About Your Next Move – constantly thinking about the skills you should be developing in order to succeed in your next role is a good start. It doesn’t mean ignoring your current responsibilities, but try to develop new skills and when you do achieve a promotion, see it as a stepping stone to your next career move. Constantly learn – about your company, the industry, and your general area of expertise. Ask questions and participate in formal learning and professional development opportunities by attending seminars, conferences and training. Successful people think about where their career is headed and what they need to do to get there.
  1. Network – get to know your colleagues and superiors – both within and outside of your company and area of expertise. People who get ahead develop and foster networks throughout their careers. This is especially important if you want to achieve promotion within your own company. It’s pretty hard to achieve that if your boss doesn’t know you are or the value that you offer. Successful people aren’t intimidated to speak up in meetings, offer their opinion or contribute to ideas. Even if you don’t have an original idea, there might be an opportunity to support someone else’s idea or point of view, or ask an insightful question. Be careful not to limit your networks to superiors – successful people need a great team of people around them to succeed, so keep this in mind.
  1. Get Stuff Done – understand what’s important and don’t say yes to everything. Ensure you know exactly what you need to be working on to succeed in your role. Understand that everyone works in different ways – figure out how you work best – do you need to get to the office an hour early to clear your inbox, do you need to ask for help, or schedule a day a week with no meetings? Successful people are results focused and productive – they know what needs to they be done and how they can best achieve it.
  1. Be Professional – meet deadlines, answer emails, respond to telephone messages, show up on time to the office and to meetings, don’t participate in office gossip, dress well, and interact with others in a consistent and professional way. Successful people always maintain a high level of professionalism.
  1. Take Advantage of Opportunities – put yourself out there and regularly volunteer to take on tasks that may not be part of your job description. Offer to lead a project or train a new team member. Successful people offer themselves for other opportunities. Don’t wait to be asked – just pitch in and get it done.
  1. Be Proactive and Strategic – managers think about what needs to be done and make sure it gets done by engaging and supporting a broader team to achieve results. They also don’t (usually) complain about problems or inefficiencies – they identify the issue and suggest solutions. Being a strategic problem solver shows you understand the ‘big picture’ of the business. Successful people act proactively to ensure things get done and they work as part of (or leading) the team to make sure everybody succeeds.
  1. Blow Your Own Trumpet – even if you do an amazing job, you should keep track of your achievements and successes and communicate them to people that matter. Nobody else will do that for you. Focus on results – it’s not just about how busy you are ticking off your day to day to-do list. Keep an ongoing record of achievements, savings, changes, accolades and recommendations so when the time comes you have it at hand.

There may also be politics involved in who gets promoted so understanding these unofficial rules is often crucial to long term success. Learning how power, communication and influence is managed within your company will help you thrive – and while these words can carry negative connotations – it is not necessarily the case.

Are you struggling to achieve the success you know you deserve? Would you like career advice to help maximise your experience and qualifications to give yourself a better chance at your dream job? If so, please see our Career Counselling Services for specific advice on how to get ahead in your career.