I have to open this article with a question – is there any such thing as a “career” anymore?
“Of course,” I can hear you the way and “What about doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professions such as architects and surveyors?”
If we went back thirty years, the question would have been answered with a resounding “yes;” the “careers” that many people would have paid small fortunes to embark on are now in the hands of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
An artificial intelligence team beat fifteen doctors, 2-0, in two rounds of a competition that looked at the ability to diagnose brain tumors and predict the expansion of brain hematomas.
‘The AI system BioMind displayed eighty-seven percent accuracy in diagnosing brain tumors in fifteen minutes’, according to a report from China Daily. The doctors, from various hospitals located throughout China, displayed sixty-six percent accuracy in thirty minutes.
The legal profession is also being disrupted by the same technology and the current view is that around twenty percent of a lawyer’s job will be automated.
So we all face a future with robots and automation then?
There are many things that robots are not very good a doing…at least today and these revolve around emotion and Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
EQ – The Future
It would be extremely easy to imagine a totally automated world and many movies have almost taken us there.
But I cannot imagine taking my children to a Saturday afternoon football match played by two teams of robots!
Or I could not imagine going to watch a classical music concert played by robot musicians and this is where the human factor comes into play.
As a former recruiter, who has run a global recruiting company for many years I have interviewed and “placed” as we say in the trade, my fair share of candidates into some of the world’s leading corporations.
Fifty percent of what I did was to ascertain the technical skills or “hard” skills that each candidate possessed relevant to the role they were applying to.
The other half of the equation was to look at their personal skills or “soft” skills.
What I was trying to do here was to discover “who” the person was and there is an old saying in the business of recruiting:
You hire someone for what they know and fire them for who they are.
I had learned over the years when recruiting senior executives, to find out the “who” part at an early stage – one example involved myself and a couple of members of the Executive Leadership team of the company I was recruiting for and we had progressed through the technical stages with ease; now it was time to find out more about the person.
We had arranged a dinner; preceded by a few cocktails at a local bar near to the very nice restaurant the company had booked a table at.
Things were going well as we breezed through a couple of very nice Martinis and then “bang.”
The candidate fell to the floor and that was it – interview terminated with a very drunk person who we had to put into a taxi!
So a quick piece of interview advice – make sure you can handle your alcohol if you are in a similar situation and the temptation is for people to say that it is better not to drink.
Another piece of advice – unless you genuinely don’t drink, I would personally show that you could keep things sensible with say, one drink, as it is more natural.
The “secret” to a career in today’s world is to focus on EQ and let the technical side take care of itself, because either you have the skills, or you don’t. EQ will allow you to “sell yourself” and convince a potential hiring company that you are able and willing to learn new skills if necessary.
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter.
I am not going into detail here about the history of the Internet as it is well documented and I have covered it in other articles.
Save to say that the Internet has been a game-changer.
So what about careers and the Internet?
If you want to work in a technology sector, then you cannot go wrong with working in, or with Internet-based technologies and this is simply due to the fact that the Internet has taken over the way we communicate.
Don’t think about smartphones, computers, and devices of any sort…think about connectivity and it is that ability to connect that will make the difference.
Back in the “good old days” we never thought about “connecting” in the way we do today – a recommendation, “word of mouth” was all it took to potentially secure and also destroy a career.
Today, you have the potential opportunity to connect with anyone and in any part of the world.
A guy in India can easily see the value of someone in Scandinavia, for example, simply by looking at a profile or website or even just finding a recommendation on a Social Media platform.
Here is something more important to think about – smart marketers are learning how to connect with children. They are seeing how young children are seamlessly interconnecting with each other through, for example, playing online games.
They have the perfect target market to push their goods and services through as well as to build brand awareness.
Some people will call this exploitation and for the right reasons, but we have to “get over it” and simply understand that this is the way of the future.
Let’s embrace it!
The Internet is an extremely powerful platform and you know that! But for now, let’s get very specific and look at careers.
The Enterprise of You
You are the greatest single enterprise of all and let nobody tell you anything different.
I truly believe that we will undergo a “career revolution” and the “tide will turn” as they say.
People will be the most important aspect of the “new economy” – whilst automation and AI take over and dominate everything that is “repeatable” in a job sense, the “human element” will thrive.
Those people who are in the top twenty percent of talent will command the highest salaries and take over the job world.
Let’s take, for example, the world of Internet Marketing and it is easy to see why this is one of the hottest industries on this planet today.
Most people are intimidated by this world and they should be – there is nothing new here other than a means to deliver a message in today’s economic world.
Large companies are fighting for market share on Social Media as an example, whereas before, they would be paying people millions of dollars to build and solidify a brand.
Let’s get back to children for a moment and how they fearlessly produce video after video on YouTube without thinking of anything more than in the corporate marketing terms sense of getting out their message.
Are they perfect?
No of course not and that is if you want to use the benchmark of traditional marketing and for me – they are more than perfect as they are communicating from their hearts, their inner beliefs.
They are building their own enterprises – without any formal training or education on the subject, so we should all take a step back and learn.
You have to stay marketable and it is as simple as that.
As a recruiter, I can say that the Internet has made gaining access to the top candidates in the world so much easier and something that I welcome.
So how will the Internet change your career?
The answer is simple and it is a “yes” thanks to the word – “connectivity.”
You are now able to connect with the world and that connection will not be limited to simply saying “hello” to someone across the other side of the world. It will enable you to market and sell your services and that is extremely powerful.
Think about the automation and human factors for a moment.
How important do you think the “human element” will be?
If you are familiar with Internet Marketing, then you will have heard of the term, Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
There are huge opportunities for SEO experts as you can imagine and with the fact that the Internet is growing massively – it is estimated that ninety percent of the population will be online by 2030, so SEO will be an in-demand skill, right?
In my opinion, it is a big “no!”
But I am talking about how SEO is done today.
SEO will be automated, as well as website design and many other components of Internet Marketing.
But what you cannot automate (at least not today and in the immediate future) is human thinking.
This is why my friend and Internet Marketing mentor Fernando Raymond has the edge.
His SEO courses are a part of his futuristic thinking – yes, they will teach you how to master the art of SEO today, but they will also prepare you for the SEO market in the future.
Staying with our SEO example for the moment, we all want our websites to go to the top of Google and rank.
But what factors do you think to drive the intent to click on the site and stay there?
You now have to jump into the mind of the person who is searching and this is where EQ comes into play.
Machines can learn trends and of course, they can analyze, but what about the emotion behind the search? This is where machines are struggling tremendously and will they get there – probably!
But let’s worry about today.
Back to your career – you will use the Internet to search for jobs, find many vacancies and then you will probably find a lot of them are registered with recruiting/staffing agencies just like one I used to own.
Once you have established an interest in a vacancy, you will make contact with a recruiter and begin the process of applying for the job. Now you will be in someone else’s hand and rely upon that person to represent you to the company that is hiring.
There’s nothing wrong with that you might think, but you only have to Google recruiting agencies to find out all sorts of good, bad and ugly, so wouldn’t it make sense to place the control back in your hands?
“But I simply don’t have the time,” I can hear you scream and it would be lovely to assume that each recruiter (in this example) would be diligent in their approach and follow the correct practices to land you your dream career.
Go back to your Google search!
In an ideal world, you would love a company to contact you and state their interest in having you “consider” working for them – internal recruiters take note!
Wouldn’t it be ideal if this were the case for every job – companies would use the Internet to find candidates and simply ask the question “would you consider bringing your skills to your organization,” rather than making you feel you are doing them a favor by simply filling out an application form.
So the intent of an internal recruiter who is tasked with finding x amount of people for x amount of jobs within say, a year is simply to make life easier and get as many candidates as possible to put in front of their co-workers and fill the jobs.
Your intent is to make sure that whatever happens in this world, that you are able to keep working and it is as simple as that.
You only have to “test” Google to see what problems you can solve online and without having to pay someone and this is where the Internet is so disruptive.
Not too long ago, many medical professionals for example, would always tell you not to use the Internet as a source of medical information and now they will be the first people to shout about the latest articles they have published and also to recommend fellow professionals.
Were they wrong in the first part?
Of course not because there was a huge amount of misinformation, just as there is in my industry or business coaching, but over time, quality information rises to the top and it is not difficult to “weed out” bad information in today’s world.
Your goal in the career world today is to stay marketable and it is as simple as that.
There is no such thing as a “job for life” anymore and you have to focus intently on the skills you have and specifically the EQ component.
It is vital for you to both discover and present “who you are” as opposed to what you know.
Robots and automation may take the place of the “what” aspects, but as I have said earlier, they are not so good at the “who” part.
The first thing I would recommend to you is to set up your own website and build your personal brand – you never know who might look at it and connect with you.
We are living in an Internet dominated world and you absolutely must take full advantage of it and it amazes me as to how many people are not building their personal brands.
I don’t care if you are the owner of a hugely successful business or a graduate – you need to be visible and think about leaving your own legacy to the world.
I have given all of my children their own personal websites and encourage them to build their own brands right now – they range from nine to fifteen, so they are young enough to start the journey.
My 9-year-old has over fifty videos on YouTube!
Once you have bought your site, then it is time to create your message and it is beyond the scope of this article to go into greater detail, but you need to tell your story to the world, as the world might just want to hear your story and engage with you!
Just think of a few best-selling authors who have come from obscurity!
I tell people I coach career-wise, to build what I term their “Master Resume/C.V” and this is their mini life story. It forms the basis of every C.V/Resume relating to job applications and when most people construct this, they realize they have a huge amount of “untapped,” and uncovered value.
What’s more important is that potential employers will see this and look at you in a different light, rather than just your technical skills.
Over the years I have spent countless hours with people uncovering their true value and when I go back through their lives, I can see many aspects of their lives that would be of interest to a future employer – I have literally created jobs out of thin air using this method, where companies have looked at my candidates and have stated that they must hire this person!
Once you have created this document, you need to get out there and market yourself, but not to any specific company at this stage, rather the Internet itself!
What I mean here is that you must learn the art of SEO today to “push” your message out to the Internet and that will make yourself marketable and allow you at the very least to be “found.”
The Internet will change your career and for the better!
But you must know how to use and take advantage of it.
You are a human being and it is the very “human factors” that will dominate employment in the future as the gap between automation and performing human tasks will need to be bridged.
Take your first step today and get yourself online – I wrote a book about this concept alone and I suggest you look at it.
The Internet is the source of information and you might as well use it as the same source for helping people to find out information about you personally.
I cannot predict the future career-wise as you know, but what I can tell you is that the way we work, will change dramatically – we will, in my opinion, become a world of “virtual workers” and I predicted this twenty years ago in my own industry sector which was in mobile technology – companies would be reliant upon what I termed a “virtual workforce” and that meant people who could travel to a country at the drop of a hat, to solve a problem.
Companies who are going to survive in today’s and indeed tomorrow’s economies are going to have to be leaner, more agile and responsive than ever – we are in a world of “hyper competition” and it will not go away.
And part of “leaning out” an organization is to make sure the people employed are highly valuable and return a profit – but that also means that highly valuable and profitable people will demand top salaries and also, in my opinion, will demand their own ideal working conditions and that will be saying “goodbye” to the daily commute!
The Internet has created a new economic landscape and we should welcome it. But it means that we have to also develop a new attitude to how we work.
Finally, we cannot overlook the fact that the Internet has enabled so many people to break free of their employers and start brand-new careers when only say twenty or so years ago, this was relatively impossible.
Employers beware – you are in some cases demanding that your workers “fit into the culture of your company,” in the future it is my belief that you will have to fit your company to the culture of the people you would once have termed “employees” and who now you will refer to as your “associates!”
Neil Franklin is an award-winning entrepreneur in the United Kingdom. “Neil is a twice winner of the Sunday Times “Virgin Atlantic” Fast Track 100, fastest growing UK businesses in 2000 and 2001. To date, Neil is the only person to achieve this “double.” Neil is also a High-Performance Business And Career Coach, helping new business startups grow fast profitably.