If you take a good look around, you may find that the landscape of your workplace is entirely different than it was even just 10 years ago. These observations can be overwhelming, but if you’re both proactive and reactive, you won’t get left behind. In fact, you may be able to establish yourself as even more of a powerhouse.
1.- Job hunt
No, I’m not suggesting you go out right now and find a new company to work for, especially if you’re happy where you are. What I am saying is that you should periodically peruse job listings in your field to see what employers are looking for in their new hires. If you can’t do the things they need new employees in your position to be able to do, now’s the time to learn.
2.- Continue your education
The most obvious way to stay current is to continue learning new things. You don’t have to go so far as to obtain a degree or certificate (though if you want to, more power to you), but taking enrichment or continued education courses online or locally can help you learn or master some of the skills and concepts that are being used in your field today, that weren’t in the beginning of your career.
Staying in touch with old contacts and making new ones is invaluable in most fields of work. In-person chats and even brief email and text exchanges can clue you into what’s going on in your industry at large and help you bring new information and ideas to your company.
4.- Embrace change
Do not be slow to change. I repeat, do not be slow to change. One of the fastest ways to be written off by your younger colleagues is to resist change and innovation too hard for too long. It’s always important to be discerning, but you should never write off an idea or way of doing things because it’s different from what you’re used to or because you think the old way works “just fine.” You have to be willing to learn and accept new things. Bonus points if you do a bit of brainstorming and bring some fresh ideas to the table yourself.
Also read: Going back to school in midlife; my story
5.- Delve into social media
There’s tons to learn about nearly any industry via social media and most companies have their own social media presence or are actively working on building one, and need employees who can help. In most fields, you won’t need to be a prolific Instagrammer, but I guarantee that if you’re looking for a new job, at some point in the hiring process someone will search for your online presence, and if they don’t find one, it will be a turn off. It’s fine if you have no interest personally, but you should at least have a professional presence so that you can connect with coworkers and make new contacts via online networking sites like Linked In.
6.- Keep up with technology
On the same note, it’s crucial that you keep up with technological advances. Technology has extended the workplace to home and the work week to all week, and while that may not be the most pleasant thought, it’s a reality. Most people have smartphones and/or tablets that make them accessible at all times, so if there’s an after-hours issue, superiors expect to be able to reach out to their people. If you don’t make yourself available—at least to respond to an email or quick text—it’ll be one tick against you and one tick in favor of the twenty something that responded right away.