Building recession-proof skills in the new normal
It is official! COVID-19 has overstayed its welcome. If economies do not get back on their feet in coming months, 2021 may very well be a recession year. As months rollover, job security is turning into a myth. Every professional today, whether employed or in-between jobs is investing in upgrading their skills. It is the only way to gain an advantage over the competition. While there is no evidence of a certain skill guaranteeing a 100% recession-proof job, one can develop their profiles through a combination of skills relevant to their near-term goals.
Over the past couple of decades, successful professionals have created what we can term as ‘cross-functional profiles’ or ‘hybrid profiles’. Such profiles have a strong expertise in their core subject matter. Additionally, they strengthen their knowledge of a secondary field - more often related to their core expertise or current industry. This approach has paid rich dividends in not only climbing up the hierarchy but also while switching jobs. While there is a multitude of online courses, one must relate them to the logical progression of their careers. This will help optimize valuable time and money.
People Skills / Soft skills / Interpersonal skills: They are under-estimated yet difficult to cultivate among professionals. Unlike technical skills which come with an expiry date, gaining expertise in soft skills is a journey in self-discovery. Not surprisingly, most successful managers have mastered this art. Though we are working virtually, building strong interpersonal skills should remain a key agenda for all professionals whether mature or freshers. A great starting point could be to improve one’s Listening skills. More often than not, we listen to reciprocate rather than to analyze/understand the other party’s point of view. Unlike the former where we may come out looking judgmental, by practicing the latter we develop the patience to extract requisite information and offer practical solutions. It also provides an opportunity to display one’s expertise of the subject matter. Another key soft skill one can develop is story-telling. A customer-facing professional who can backup key product details with first-hand experience of other users will be able to close deals more regularly. It also helps professionals explain their achievements better. These two skills can set the precedent to further develop other skills like time-management, team-building, leadership, adaptability etc.
Technical / Functional / Hard-skills: These practical skills taught as part of a curriculum or project requirement. In current times, companies are looking for profiles with a mix of functional and technical knowledge. One can strengthen their expertise by taking up training in any of the below mentioned profiles:
Digital Marketing: Covid19 has orchestrated a huge slump in print media. As people remain locked up in their homes companies are forced to seek digital avenues for marketing their products. Digital Marketing has seen a boom thanks to eCommerce gaining traction in these times. Applications of digital marketing on social media has become a quintessential aspect of one’s profile. Social Media marketing, Google AdWords, SEO etc. are some functions that have seen huge interest.
Data Analytics & Big Data: Normalization of mobile data charges has brought a windfall of raw customer data for organizations. The success of key business decisions depend on how well companies extract, analyze and execute intelligence on a real-time basis. Already companies are showing heightened interest in application of Big Data, IoT & Artificial Intelligence within their fields. Learning languages like R, Python can be a good start towards creating a relative profile in this field.
Finance: Most Finance professionals are fluent in programming languages. However, many non-finance managers and technical professionals improve their finance literacy only late in their careers. Return on Investment is a key aspect in any decision making. It is never too late to learn the basics of accounting, stock trading, M&A etc. In fact, senior managements show confidence in profiles that have a strong finance-background.
As you see, one must develop skills in accordance to the progression of their careers. Building a cross-functional profile shall remain a key learning from this pandemic.
Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2020 coming to your screens from 21st-22nd October. Click here to register