Robots are taking over the world! Or are they...?
Ask yourself these three questions to identify the “jobs of tomorrow” worth applying to, and future-proof your career.
1) What are the new roles in my area of interest?
Innovations in technology are driving the creation of new jobs. To figure out what roles you may want to pursue, you first need to understand what is happening in your area of interest. Do a simple Google search. Include the name of your industry plus key phrases like 'future of work', or 'job trends in [industry]'. For example, you might search, 'HR future of work', 'digital marketing trends', or 'banking in 2025'.
The Jobs of Tomorrow
New technologies, products, and services are driving greater demand for new jobs across a whole range of industries.
For example, did you study marketing? Your search may teach you that companies are hiring new roles, like Digital Marketing Specialist — a position tasked with making data-driven decisions to ensure campaigns are successful — that can be filled by employees at any level. Is your passion HR? Scouring the internet will tell you that Information Technology Recruiter and HR Analyst are two jobs expected to pop up in the next few years. Both roles are responsible for collecting and analysing people data to help companies make better choices.
On LinkedIn, I’d recommend researching people who may already be in the roles that interest you. Follow them, react to their posts, and join the virtual events where they are presenting — but don’t just message them out of the blue. Only reach out directly when you are able to clearly share how their work or ideas have impacted you. From my experience, people are more likely to respond when you show you have put in the time to do your homework.
In your message, you can explain that, as someone who is just entering the workforce, you’re curious to learn more about their journey. If you reach out to enough people, a few will respond, especially if you are authentic and approach them with a personalised note.
Ask to schedule a virtual coffee and use that time to learn more about what their job entails, how they came into the position, and what skills you may need to sharpen to stand out as a candidate for a similar role. This will give you a better idea of what companies are hiring for right now, and the level of experience you need to be considered for those positions.
The connections you make may even end up getting you a referral down the line.
2) Which new skills do I need to master and how?
Most people graduate college with a solid foundation in the area of their degree. Decades ago, this was enough to get you hired. But today, that foundation is only a starting point.
Technologies are moving so fast that to be a competitive candidate, you will need to learn the latest tools and digital trends in your industry.
For example, you may have studied marketing in college, but by the time you graduate new social media channels and publishing tools will have emerged. You may have got your law degree, but the same year you apply to your first job, you could learn that law firms have started digitizing contracts and are now prioritising entry-level roles to help their clients maintain data privacy or conduct internet transactions. You may have graduated with a major in economics, but were digital trading and cryptocurrency management covered in your coursework?
This is where upskilling comes in. Upskilling is all about gaining knowledge to accelerate your career by closing skill gaps that can help you advance in your industry. If you’re the marketing major, it’s about mastering those new social media channels. If you’re the law student, it’s about studying data protection. And if you’re the economics wiz, it’s about educating yourself on digital trading trends.
How do you start?
List the skills related to the role (or roles) you are most interested in applying for. You can find these within job descriptions, or through the connections you make and research you conduct on sites like LinkedIn.
What skills are required for your dream role that you don’t yet have? What training or certifications have other professionals in these positions acquired? For example, if you are searching for digital marketing positions, you may find that many open roles require 'hands-on experience with Google Analytics' or 'expertise in paid search'.
Many digital tools can be learned online for free through YouTube tutorials. Even more can be mastered if you invest in taking online courses. Platforms like Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning are great places to start, and some tech companies, like Amazon, offer free training too.
Don’t forget to add your newly acquired skills to your CV. Online course certificates prove not only that you are up to date with the latest trends, but also that you are willing to keep learning and adapt.
What else can you offer?
What makes you unique? It could be that you are fluent in multiples languages, that you have exceptional creative writing skills, that you are a master networker, or even that you grew up in a different country to the one in which you are applying, and therefore, have a deeper understanding of international markets or cultures.
Throughout my career, I have seen junior colleagues given more responsibilities faster for using the qualities that set them apart to get ahead on their teams or in their industries. Ask yourself: What skills have I acquired over the years because of who I am, where I am from, or what I am passionate about? Maybe you organised several clubs throughout your university years and have exceptional organisation and leadership skills. Or maybe you’ve developed an exceptional work ethic through your background as an athlete.
If you are not sure about what unique qualities you have to offer (sometimes it can be hard to take a step back and analyse ourselves in this way), try sending an email to your fellow students, colleagues, friends, or family members asking what differentiates you from other people in their eyes. Many times, others see our strengths before we do.
The ability to combine the new tools you learn through upskilling with what makes you unique will help you to build a resume that stands out. And if you can provide specific examples of situations in which you used this combination of skills to accomplish a task or goal, it will give you a leg up during screenings and interviews.
Machines may be disrupting the entry-level jobs market, but as a young professional, remember that technology is here to help you. Most companies worth applying to are looking for different people, with different interests and experiences, who can add new perspectives to their teams. Robots may have a smaller margin of technical error, but they lack your humanity, your quirks, and the rare and distinctive qualities that make you who you are. Blend those qualities with the technical skills required for the exciting roles coming your way, and you will be setting yourself up for success both now, and in the future.