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The job market is constantly evolving. Pixabay

By Melinda Smith

Leech collectors, alchemists, ten-pin bowling pinsetters, toad doctors, clock keepers, street lantern lighters, and town criers. These are all professions that were once commonplace and today either don’t exist at all or have almost completely faded from existence.


They’ve been replaced by other professions, such as car mechanic, skyscraper window cleaner, digital marketer, computer programmer, astronaut, airline pilot, and wind turbine engineer.

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If you’re older than around 40, you probably also remember a time when offices weren’t filled with desks lined with computers. Instead, having letters printed would require you to take your handwritten scribbles to a “typing pool” or if you wanted to do some research on the internet, you’d have to book time on the single networked machine.

While you may not realize it, the job market is constantly evolving. Although we may start our working lives with one career, the chances are, we’ll finish it by doing something completely different. In fact, the average person has more than 12 jobs in their lifetime and switches careers several times too. There isn’t just one reason for switching either; in fact, there are many.

With this in mind, it’s important to keep up with the changing job market. It’s possible that the job you have when you retire may not have even been created yet, so we must find ways to adapt.


Some skills can be transferred from job to job. Unsplash

Find Transferable Skills

Whenever you’re applying for jobs, you’ll likely see the term “transferable skills” thrown around quite a bit. These are skills that you may have learned in one job but can apply in a completely different role too, even if the context or industry has changed.

So if you currently work as a waiter in a restaurant, you’ll likely have developed strong people skills that allow you to create a warm and welcoming environment so that your customers enjoy their time there. These could just as easily be applied to a care job where you’re looking after elderly people or a nursing role were making people feel supported and comforted is just as important.

Similarly, careers that require you to develop skills to understand and assess risk can set you up for many other jobs. One surprisingly common crossover is between poker players and those that work in the financial industry. Alexis Zervos was a professional poker player between 2009 and 2012, a job that helped him learn to calculate odds and assess risks. After that he left the sport to work as a macro hedge fund manager in London, using the same analytical skills in a different way. Since spending time working in finance, Zervos has moved back into poker, using his transferable skills to help him become a SCOOP champion.

You likely already have plenty of transferable skills like this already, so you probably don’t need to learn anything new. Instead, just spend some time considering how you could apply them to another field of work.


Learn new skills every month. Pixabay

Learn New Skills

While some skills can be transferred from job to job, it’s often necessary to learn new ones to either progress in the role we have or to find a new one elsewhere. Thankfully, technology makes this much easier than it once was.

There are plenty of places you can go on the internet to learn new skills, from developing digital marketing skills through Grow with Google or the Hubspot Academy to leadership and management skills through platforms like Skillshare.

Understanding leadership and management can be important if you want to progress from technical roles to managerial positions that often come with higher salaries and more responsibility.

If you’re going to spend several more decades working for a living, you will likely need to stay on top of new skills, software, tools, and systems as they get rolled out.


Keep on building a professional network. Unsplash

Network

While we like to think that the world is a meritocracy, the reality is that the old adage “it’s not what you know, but who” remains as relevant as ever. Knowing someone in a different industry or at a different company could help you to open doors to new career opportunities later on in life.

ALSO READ: Startups Can Boost The Job Market

Formal networking events, professional social networks like LinkedIn, and even meeting people in your personal life can all help to build your professional network.

The important thing to remember is that a skill or a connection that seems irrelevant now may not be in the future, so it helps to remain open-minded and to go through your career burning as few bridges as possible.


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