Fashion is such a fast and tech-driven industry that it can be hard to understand how to meet the challenges of employment. As students often access the fashion industry through higher education institutions it can be challenging to understand what should be the focus of your studies, as the pace of the industry is so fast that in 5 years’ time employers may be looking for skills that schools don’t even teach yet.
For those who are already employed, choosing the right opportunities to grow professionally can be difficult, as it’s never easy to assess new opportunities and where they could lead us in the future. With so many uncertainties and variables at play, one may risk being overwhelmed, not knowing what to do, when it comes to planning your career, over the medium term.
In this post, we’re going to share 3 pieces of advice on how to make sure that you are future-proofing your professional career to meet the demands of future employment and growing every step of the way. To help you navigate the post we’re providing a short index to get you to identify the advice that is best suited to you. Enjoy!
- Are You Already Future Proofed? Design Your Career from Day 1.
- Always Keep Learning, Take Jobs that Teach You Something New.
- Network all the Time, Relationships Matter.
1. Are You Already Future Proofed? Design Your Career from Day 1.
The starting point is a little bit of self-awareness. How future-proof are you at the moment? To answer this question you may have to look into a variety of matters. Some of these matters are connected with where you are right now and where you want to be in the future.
It’s very important to spend time designing the work and lifestyle we are pursuing, as career choices need to be made with a clear understanding of what types of goals we want to achieve. If we want to build a strong career we can’t be limited to learning only operational skills, but also need to gain managerial expertise and have chances to display leadership traits.
In this sense, it can be a great idea to answer – in the comfort of your home – a typical interview question: where do you see yourself in 5 years? And in 10? This is the starting point of our journey, as a job nowadays is not a set of tasks, but more of a platform designed to help us grow and move on to our next stage. Paradoxically then, we can’t really choose a job if don’t know what the next step will be. Only when our career choices point towards a direction we’re comfortable or even excited about, then we know that that’s the right opportunity for us.
Only when you are able to picture your end goal, you are then much better able to backtrack the rest of the decisions and answer questions such as:
- What type of school type of degree should I go for?
- What kind of skills do I need to develop to aim for my dream job?
- What internship-jobs-career opportunities should I look for to get a fighting chance for my dream company?
In hindsight, it’s much easier to connect the dots and figure out what is the right first step towards achieving your goals. So that’s why our advice is to start from the finish line and move backward, it may help you highlight some of the characteristics you are missing or need to work on, starting from right now.
Great, now that we’ve set up the right mindset it’s time to move to the next step which is focusing on the key to future-proofing: learning.
2. Always Keep Learning, Take Jobs that Teach You Something New.
In the past work and education were considered two completely different dimensions of life.
We would complete our degrees first and then move on to a career. This is not the world we live in anymore. We don’t have to figure out everything by the time we pick our college degree.
Studies show that we are going to change jobs at least 6 to 8 times on average during our professional life. Every time we change jobs, we will be exposed to a brand new learning curve connected to developing new skills and embracing the culture of new organizations. In this context learning is the glue that connects all of the steps from entry-level employee to CEO.
Especially at the beginning of one’s career, choosing those jobs that allow for the maximum learning potential is key to approaching the industry with a long-term plan in mind.
If you think that pursuing a life-long learning approach can be an economical burden, think again. There is so much that can be learned at practically no cost that in a long-term perspective it is essential to make learning a habit to become able to seize new opportunities both within your own organization or across multiple companies. Online learning is now considered a very effective learning approach, and online degrees, online certifications and courses can be a very good option, capable of competing with even the most prestigious institutions. But one may then ask: if learning is something so accessible and inexpensive, why should one then invest in traditional education or even in jobs which have a steep learning curve?
Simple! To build your network. That’s what we are going to talk about next.
3. Network all the Time, Relationships Matter.
Aside from setting your long-term goals, pursuing a learning-oriented mindset, the third element to consider is networking.
Building strong professional relationships is essential to future-proofing your career. In industries such as the fashion industry.
This is when formal education has a strong advantage against online learning or on-the-job learning. Attending formal education as well as experiencing the life of corporations and established businesses allows you to be with people with who you have things in common, people you share your passion with, and who understand the commitment and dedication your career requires.
This is actually a great feature of institutional education, and one of the reasons why fashion business schools are a really great investment to not only get your ‘foot in the industry’ through career services but to meet so many people that are alike you.
This also applies to your life at the workplace. In a company, no matter how amazing the company is, there will always be some turnaround. In the fashion industry, there are many reasons why people change employers and even if you share the same company for some time, it will be likely that soon you may be employed by completely different brands.
As a result, always invest time in building great professional relationships, that can give you an opportunity to leverage your network when you see an opportunity come up, not to ask for any recommendation – which can easily backfire and play against you – but to be better informed about what jobs, opportunities, and skills are in increasing demand.
That’s it! These are some of our simple pieces of advice to help you future-proof your career. Let’s now move towards drawing a few conclusive remarks.
There you go. In this post we’ve shared three tips to help you think about your career in the right perspective, playing your choices in a long-term strategy.
It’s really important to set the right goals to make sure your career plan is heading in the right direction. By focusing on long-term goals, you will better assess learning opportunities and by fostering networking relationships you will always be up-to-date with the fast pace of the fashion industry. By following these tips you are going to build a lot of very valuable assets that in time will provide you with great professional opportunities.
If you are interested in exploring additional posts on overcoming the challenges of a career in fashion look below, we’ve got a lot of resources for you to explore.