Like Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
This quote still rings true today, especially since the world is changing at such a fast speed.
In the workplace, it’s also safe to say that it’s not the most qualified nor the most skilled of the species that will survive. It is the one who is best able to deal with change that will thrive, and this is an increasingly important trait as digitalisation and disruptive technology change the way businesses operate.
Stay active and continue learning
As the world continues to rapidly digitise, Singaporeans also need to evolve and upskill themselves in order to stay relevant. While many companies are now actively sending their employees for retraining, learning and development are also every individual’s responsibility.
The workforce landscape in Singapore is very competitive, so learning skills that are high in demand is a good start. By acquiring new skills, you are increasing your potential income and also improving your marketability in years to come.
But how do you get started?
Start off by finding credible training programmes. Ideally, one that awards you with a professional certification and will serve as a testament to your newfound skills and knowledge and will help to increase your worth as a valuable worker.
The good news is that there is a wide array of affordable training programmes in Singapore, most of which are funded by the Government. You can check out Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ), and you can also use your SkillsFuture credit to offset the course fees.
Beyond acquiring hard skills, you can also work on your soft skills — these are the only things with an infinite shelf life. Some examples of these skills include sales, negotiation, conflict management, communication and presentation, which can help groom you into becoming an effective leader or manager.
Moreover, studies have shown that when employers must choose between two similarly skilled candidates, the one with better soft skills is more favourable.
Be an ambassador and mentor for your organisation
Bosses love it when workers are passionate about their job, and one way to convey this is your ability to drive the company’s mission and vision forward in your day to day tasks. As an employee of the company, it is expected of you to be an ambassador for the company.
This means that you have to actively advocate for the company, such as speaking to others about your company’s values and the work it does.
Your passion should also be reflected in your own work — ask yourself if you have made any significant contributions to the company. Did you create something that helped streamline a process? Or has your work helped to increase sales for the company?
Whatever your contribution may be, your goal should impact your company’s business objective in a positive way. Your contribution to the company can also be in the form of ‘culture adding’.
For instance, you can help challenge the status quo by bringing your unique perspectives and experience through the ideas you bring to the table.
For mature PMETs, you can also serve as a mentor to younger colleagues in the workplace. As professionals who have worked in the industry for many years, you can impart your experience, knowledge, best practices, and industry insights to your coworkers, which have proven to be invaluable through time.
Gain exposure and build a professional network
If you’re already excelling at work, go ahead and step out of your comfort zone to take up new challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities.
Be more willing to take up overseas work postings and venture to places others may be less willing to go to, in order to gain international exposure. Big multinational corporations and startups are looking for people who understand not just the Singapore market, but the regional and global markets as well.
By taking on leadership roles for various projects, you also get a chance to showcase your leadership skills and explore working on something new with people from different departments.
Such opportunities offer greater visibility of your capabilities and can help you to progress faster in your organisation.
Furthermore, meeting new people — be it within and outside of your organisation — allows you to gain useful connections that can be invaluable as the landscape of work changes.
Networking is also essential to developing your career. A wide and diverse network allows you to understand the industry better, generate new ideas, and gain industry knowledge ahead of your peers.
Take charge of your own future today
No one knows what the future holds, so this means that your job description could be very different — or even irrelevant — in the years to come.
While that may be true, you can ensure that the skills that you bring to the table remain relevant so it’s best to keep your skills ‘fresh’ to the best of your ability. According to experts, a learned skill loses half its value every five years so you should assess your own skills every two or three years; and get started on learning new skills sooner than later to stay ahead of the curve.
Keep in mind that it’s not about learning a set of skills and then being ‘prepared’ for life.
It’s about learning to continuously learn over the course of your whole career, so you need to live and breathe the mantra of upskilling, re-skilling, and deep-skilling to enhance your employability.