How To 'Future-Proof' Your Career For Long-Term Success

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Are you anxious that you cannot foresee how to sustain career and job security moving forward in this time of great upheaval? If so, you're not alone in wanting to future-proof your career.

The pandemic has heightened uncertainty and anxiety around jobs, relationships, and finances.

While it's normal to be worried, these feelings can hinder you from moving forward in navigating your career.

It's best to plan for agility with purpose. You can resolutely build an informed intuition on not only coping but thriving.

Approach your future-proofing by expanding your skills and experience.

Consider how you would better qualify for a job in another part of your company, different roles, different industries, and even different work environments that may suit you.

Position yourself to be successful in future employment by getting the experience and expertise in your current job, so you can be more adaptable and nimbly fit into future assignments.

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Here are 10 practical ways to future-proof your career for long-term success. 

1. Align your passions.

Identify those aspects of work that satisfy you and make you feel energized, valued, and productive.

You can simply list the ways you work best by pinpointing the kinds of projects, skillsets, and collaborative culture that you most resonate with.

2. Choose a purpose as your personal mission statement.

You build a reputation and legacy from the first day you begin work and to the last day you no longer can.

Too many discover late in life that they did not see meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in what they did or accomplished.

You can start constructing your purpose by answering these questions: What would you like your work to do for you? How do you want to feel about yourself?

How do you want to work with others? What are your goals and ways to cohere the different activities into a congruent career path?

To illustrate, here's mine: "I’m dedicated to helping people achieve greater happiness through professional work, relationships, and education."

This statement helps focus my confidence to coach, teach, mentor, write, and engage in meaningful conversations and projects all in line with my vision.

3. Create statements of work.

Break it down into small parts so you can build on completion and extend your perceived worth. Look at your work as a service system with component parts and then upskill so you can obtain greater proficiency.

How well do you run meetings and effectively guide projects? These are components of almost any work that involves people and concepts.

Learn how and when a project or assignment has reached a successful conclusion. Be specific in knowing when done is done!

4. Be adaptable.

You can get comfortable in your work. Once you reach a competence level it is reassuring to assume that you will be able to continue in your roles and functions.

This comfort zone can become where you're stuck like a crab on a rock who cannot move when the tide goes in or out.

You should enable yourself to succeed in your discomfort zone by taking on assignments outside your expertise, expanding your circle of colleagues, and utilizing new expertise to broaden your competencies.

5. Keep learning.

You should be in partnership with others to help you grow, making you more market-ready so you're better prepared for whatever comes.

Make learning a part of your job by taking online courses, getting certifications, and joining communities of interest to engage with other professionals to share resources and advice.

RELATED: 6 Signs That It's Time For You To Change Your Career

6. Maintain professional relationships — they matter!

Your active cultivation of those relationships through your career may be the most important strategy.

It ensures that you can thrive through the uncertainty of fluctuating organizational work structures and changing circumstances.

7. Seek good associates who can help you grow.

There are whole industries and careers built around proprietary information. So, sharing of knowledge and the sharing of how to do something is perceived as a threat, not an opportunity.

You should seek those who want to share their knowledge and expertise, so they help you benefit and become more proficient.

Identify those facets that you can outshine and develop to create greater satisfaction and to increase the value for your perceived worth.

8. Embrace good bosses, mentors, and sponsors.

If you know yourself and what you want to do with your life and are prepared to help others, you may be surprised to learn there are others who will want to help you.

Seek people who can play these important roles in your life. A boss who cultivates and helps you to grow into more responsibility.

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A mentor who has been successful and is open to help you by sharing their experience and providing guidance on questions you raise.

A sponsor with power in the organization or in the field who is willing to commit relationship capital and their reputation to support and recommend you.

Your supervisor should be asking, "How is your job satisfying you and how could it be better?" They should introduce you to new concepts or practices to improve your understanding and performance.

9. Know how to give and receive help and support.

The best way to ask for help is to first give it. People want to help those who they believe will help others in turn.

If you generously offer to help first, then others will reciprocate and open references and contacts to you.

Focus on listening actively, sending and receiving signals, asking good questions, and making good comments. Being a good communicator is a life-long skill set that enables careers.

10. Create your career plan.

In our current work environment, career planning presumes uncertainty and unanticipated circumstances that can be initiated either by others or you.

If you want to begin a career plan to both understand and activate effective professional relationship strategies check out Reid Hoffman’s book, The Start-Up Of You.

He provides short- and long-term activities that can increase your effectiveness to develop those relationships that will most matter to successfully navigating your career.

Decrease career anxiety by being prepared for anything.

Don't expect your plan to accurately predict and prescribe the future, but rather to enable you to be prepared and ready for emergent possibilities.

Know and build on your own strengths, purpose, professional contacts, ways to ask for and give help, and improve your communication skills.

You can decrease anxiety by getting ready with an entrepreneurial mindset to see opportunities that will be a better match for you.

RELATED: A 10-Step Guide To Finding A Career You Love Right Now

Jeff Saperstein is a career transition coach. For more information on how he can help you land your dream job, visit his website.