It’s common for people to engage in self-reflection at the end of December. 2019 is a big year because it marks the end of the decade.* There have been unprecedented changes over the last 10 years in how we live and work, and most of these shifts have to do with the technology that you’re using to read this blog.
Big tech and big data have fostered global changes as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This digital transformation is reshaping every human being. The World Economic Forum says this time period “is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”
At Artisan Talent, we pay attention to how these changes affect the talent we send into the work world. The impact of technology over the past decade has been pervasive in the creative fields. With 2020 on the horizon, you may wonder whether you have the skills you need for the jobs of the future.
Here’s how to get ready for what’s ahead and reposition your hirability for 2020 and beyond.
*Editor Note: There’s debate on whether the decade technically ends in 2019 or 2020. But seriously, writing a check with 2020 on it feels significant, so we’re running with 2020 as the milestone. Also, who still writes checks?
Get Ready for the Roaring 20s
Next year, it will be exactly 100 years since the Roaring (19)20s, a time of great political and social change. Women were granted the right to vote and Henry Ford’s Model T started us on a transportation revolution that will likely continue beyond the autonomous vehicle.
2020 looks to be just as interesting, with climate change and a U.S. election likely to generate lots of headline material. But it is technology that will continue to impact human existence in new and unprecedented ways in the New Year. Forget linear advancement, the World Economic Forum says we should expect exponential breakthroughs in:
- Artificial intelligence
- The Internet of Things
- 3D printing
- Autonomous vehicles
- Quantum computing
All of these areas will have an impact on human beings in 2020. Less than a decade ago, the processes for ordering a cab (or a Christmas present), making a payment, or working at your job were all very different. In these next Roaring 20s, the typical workplace will be anything but typical and workers will have hybrid skills to handle technology, people, and processes faster and more efficiently.
If the idea of these changes and their impact on your career worries you, we have some things you can do to prepare yourself for the 2020 job market. The end of the year is looming, so take the time now to position yourself for the changes ahead.
Identifying Trends and Skills for 2020
There may be a time when you wish you had a crystal ball to help you make the right career choices. You may look back and wish you’d finished your college degree or that you hadn’t taken on the debt to get those credentials. You may have a work passion that you never found a way to pursue. It’s human nature to wonder about the “what-ifs” in life. That includes wondering what kinds of skills you’ll need for the jobs of the future.
There are predictors available to help you reflect on how you can build your future job skills. Top 10 Online Colleges says some of the trends affecting the work world include:
- Americans are living and working longer
- Smart machine are extending our skills
- Automation is making us more efficient
- Remote sensors allow better connectivity
- Communication is growing more visual
- We are globally connected
These changes will shift the job skills we’ll need for the digital future:
- Virtual collaboration skills to work on remote teams
- Cognitive load management skills to sift through all the data at your fingertips
- Design mindset for a visual world
- Multi-disciplinary or hybrid skills that span computers, design, data, and much more
- Cross-cultural competence with the ability to work in diverse locations with a wide variety of people
- Computational thinking that can translate data into insight
- Literacy and communication skills in new media
- Social intelligence to collaborate on dispersed teams
- Creative and adaptive thinking skills
IBM says as many as 375 million people globally will need to update their skills and change roles by 2030 to respond to the technology disruptions ahead. They report, “Tomorrow’s workforce needs to be equipped to navigate technologies like AI, blockchain, automation, and new innovations on the horizon.”
Understanding what’s in store for the future state of work and the skills that will be necessary to stay ahead is just the first step. As you look toward 2020, it’s time to respond to any perceived gaps in your skills by creating a plan for personal and career growth.
Fill Skills Gaps
Skills development is an ongoing process and one that you must own for yourself. While it’s great if your employer offers tuition reimbursement or some kind of additional skills training, staying on track with your career path requires that you take the initiative to keep learning.
Now here’s some really good news for 2020: Employers are stepping away from the idea that you must have a degree to get your foot in the door. Companies that now place less emphasis on a degree include:
- Bank of America
- Costco Wholesale
- Home Depot
- Whole Foods
And we’re not just talking about unloading trucks at these places. Department managers, programmers, and sales managers are just some of the open jobs these companies are trying to fill.
There is evidence that college graduates in middle-skill positions have higher turnover, are less engaged, and cost more to employ than high school graduates doing the same job. That might make employers select experienced workers with no degree over new college graduates.
This might be hard to hear if you just graduated with four years worth of debt. But it should be good news if you can achieve the skills you need to land your next job without acquiring a loan. To help you, there are free online courses from a variety of resources out there, including Harvard and IBM.
Some of the best websites for free online classes include:
- Alison: 13 million people annually take advantage of these business-centric classes ranging from Six Sigma to food safety in catering.
- Codecademy: Since coding is working its way into just about every job description, CodeAcademy is standing by to teach you what you need to know.
- Coursera: There are free and pay-to-play opportunities on this site, along with certifications and degrees. You can type “free” in the search bar and some intriguing resume builders pop up. How about “Data Analysis and Presentation Skills: the PwC Approach”?
- EdX: In the search bar, type “free” to see a variety of classes from “Delivering a Data Warehouse in the Cloud” to “Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving.”
- HubSpot Academy: Content is still king, and if you want to hone your writing skills, HubSpot has a slew of free classes on everything from SEO to using business emails.
- MITOpenCourseware: If you want bragging rights for taking a calculus class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you can do it for free.
For 2020, it seems that skills are in and degrees are out. A degree always makes you more marketable to employers, but if you lack the credentials or skills for a job, you can snag them online for little to no cost.
HuffPost reported on the importance of our continual learning and the ease with which we can pursue new skills:
“Anyone with some time on their hands and a willingness to learn new skills can find helpful learning tools to unlock their latent talents. This is especially true for our new generations of digital natives, who will be born with free resources at their fingertips that their parents couldn’t have imagined.”
Now that we’ve mapped some of the skills you need for the new year, let’s determine the top tasks you need to handle in order to get your credentials ready to share. If you’ve decided 2020 is the right time to start a new career, take the break between Christmas and the new year to kick your job search into high gear.
Do These Things Now for Your 2020 Career Search
We’re in the home stretch for the New Year, and there’s no time like the present to make your goals and resolutions. If you’re in the market for a new job or just trying to improve your skills for the future, your goals should include some—or all of the following:
1. Make Your Resume All Sparkly
The Ladders says you should create a “High Score Resume,” where each bullet leads with a success verb and a number that quantifies your achievement. It leads with your most current role and emphasizes the skills your future bosses will value. To get you started, here are some of our favorite success verbs:
If you have a professional summary at the top of the resume, make sure it’s a concise statement about where you want to be, not where you’ve been. And always make your resume SEO/keyword friendly with searchable language that makes it easy for recruiters to find you in a resume database.
2. Work on Your LinkedIn Profile
The best place to nurture business relationships is on social media platforms like LinkedIn. If you’ve been keeping up with the business contacts you’ve made this year, you’ll have a solid network of professionals to reach out to when you’re looking for a new job. Because all relationships atrophy, it’s vital to use this platform by posting regularly, using the publishing feature, and commenting on other posts.
But don’t ignore the basics like a smart-looking headshot, a professional banner, and a great profile headline. The headline is at the top of your profile and it lets you describe yourself in 120 characters or less. It’s a sometimes-neglected part of the LinkedIn profile but it’s another way to show your skills and share the value you bring to potential employers. It should also include a keyword for the type of job you’re seeking. Once you’ve followed these few guidelines, you can write your headline to be about anything that’s cleverly impressive. The Undercover Recruiter found some of the most intriguing headlines out there:
- A brain ambidextrous innovation director
- Cut me and I bleed content
- Call and ask how I can help you with social media and PR
- Head honcho, headhunter, sometimes head-shrinker and living proof that the only good recruiter is NOT a dead recruiter
3. Create a Portfolio for 2020
Creating a portfolio should be nothing new if you work in the creative fields. This includes Developers who often house their pet projects, along with the accompanying code, on sites like GitHub. But for Art Directors, Copywriters, Packaging Designers, or anyone else in the creative fields, having an online portfolio that showcases your style and skills is imperative. Some of the innovations to consider for 2020 include:
- Attention-grabbing image transitions that make the standard screen shot pop
- Portfolios with a pitch that put your hirability on the page
- Scrolling text that makes your site look like a news channel feed
- Animated cursors to show off your coding expertise
- Lighthearted gamification fun that goes above and beyond to engage the reader
While you can pay some big dollars to create and house your portfolio, there are also free sites out there. Some of the best free and paid sites include:
- Adobe Portfolio
- Journo Portfolio
- Muck Rack
Looking ahead to 2020, do you see yourself staying in the same job? Are there opportunities to advance? To stay ahead of all of the changes coming in the next few years, you should be zealous about your professional growth. Your company should invest in your future, but if they don’t, maybe it’s time to talk to Artisan Talent.