Career adaptability is incredibly important at the moment and increasingly so for the foreseeable future.

It is wise to have a Career plan ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ – one of the recommendations in the Book: The Start-up of you by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

Lynda Gratton author of ‘The shift’ (2011), ‘The 100 year life’ (2016) and ‘The new longer life’ (2020), written by her and Andrea Scott, recommends developing a career mastery area, 5 different work strands that you can flex at different times in your career, a large high quality diverse network and a personal brand.

Achieving this requires a certain mind set and competencies.

5 career adaptability competencies 

  • Control – being proactive, decisive & taking responsibility for your career;
  • Curiosity – broadening your horizons by seeking options, possibilities and knowledge;
  • Commitment – passionately pursuing & taking action to move to the career horizon of your choosing;
  • Confidence – belief in yourself & that you can achieve your goal;
  • Concern – having a positive & philosophical attitude to mistakes or rejection.

In a nutshell, it helps to have a proactive personality, to be investigative, always looking to overcome challenges, be willing to seek out new contexts and opportunities and be resilient to rejection.

How would you score yourself out of 100% against these 5 career adaptability competencies?

Some people are naturally adaptable and embrace change, but the competencies can be learned or improved via personal and/or professional development.

Below are some tips to begin improving your career adaptability. This is important for the V.U.C.A. world in which we live.

V = volatile
U = uncertain
C = complex
A = ambiguous

7 tips for career adaptability in a V.U.C.A. world 

  1. Experiment– push out your comfort zone & take on a new project to learn a new skill.
  2. Portfolio career– build 5 different work strands.
  3. Self-invest– define learning goals and block out time & put aside budget for your own continual professional development.
  4. Get a coach – time in your diary with a career coach ensures you do not leave your future security to chance.
  5. Plan B & C– define what you would do for plan B & C if your current Plan A reached a ‘cul de sac’.
  6. Trends– research skill and job trends – tomorrow’s not yesterday’s.
  7. Career strategy– define your career strategy and career key performance indicators (KPIs) so that you take responsibility for your career and can measure success – on your terms.

Rachel Brushfield About The Author

Rachel Brushfield is The Talent Liberator at Energise – The Talent Liberation Company, founded in 1997. She is a career strategist, coach and published author, with a career heritage in marketing and brand strategy and communications who helps her clients enjoy uplifting breakthroughs at major career crossroads. Rachel’s career coaching specialisms are helping women professionals and executives to gain more career fulfilment and comfortably and competently market themselves, and creating, editing and marketing portfolio careers for a future proof and sustainable career. Rachel co-runs the network PWHub with CPD style quarterly events for senior employed women in Oxfordshire.

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