Changing your career trajectory in a digital economy

How do you alter your career journey without starting from scratch, and without investing in significant formal education?

A common question for many people in their career is "How do I change my career trajectory?"

We all sometimes feel locked in to a specific path, and for many it's not what they envisaged, or has stopped being exciting.

But how do you alter your career journey without starting from scratch, and without investing in significant formal education?

It's clear that company-focused and structured career paths are dead.

The way we work is more fluid than ever, and the way companies operate in changing markets evolves every day.

The average lifespan of a company used to surpass the average human lifespan significantly; now, our life expectancy is double that of the average company, which according to the Boston Consulting Group, has halved over the last 40 years.

As a result, our working lives will be longer than before, and won’t be tied to one company.

Connectivity and careers

Increasing connectivity and better integration of technology into professional and personal life continues to fuel innovation and disruption across all business sectors.

This has resulted in innumerable benefits in workplace evolution, flexible working, equality across geographical regions, global collaboration and sharing of ideas – and driven new innovative products and services into key market positions.

However in this new corporate environment, taking control of your career trajectory is more important than ever.

Watch how a Brisbane dad is achieving work-life balance by embracing remote working, thanks to connectivity over the nbn™ network

Setting a career strategy with clear goals that maximise your strengths and opportunities, while plugging your weaknesses with new experiences, can prepare you to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

After all, your career is your life’s work, which only you get to drive and take pride in.

In many cases careers no longer rely on vertical growth within a narrow pipeline of skills and roles; many times they are broad and involve multiple lateral moves, as you collect a portfolio of experiences.  

This also offers you the chance to take on new challenges and change your career direction.

So how can you make this work for you?

Current learning and development trends focus on a 70/20/10 split, with 70 per cent of development learned on the job, 20 per cent via work-based coaching and mentoring, and 10 per cent reserved for formal education.

This means that a significant proportion of career development can be facilitated in your current job and workplace. One of the best ways to do this is via job crafting.

In many roles, it’s possible to deliver on the outcomes of your role in a number of ways – which can either play to your strengths, or help you develop new skills without having to change roles.

Innovate, innovate, innovate

Just as technology has changed how companies operate, it has also opened up the opportunity to develop skills in new areas. No longer do all jobs need to be performed in exactly the same way, all the time.

Instead, innovation rules; and in many roles, it’s possible to deliver on the outcomes of your role in a number of ways – which can either play to your strengths, or help you develop new skills without having to change roles.

How does this work in practice? Imagine you’re in sales operations, and your job is to track sales figures, identify problems, and put in place strategies to help increase sales.

There are many ways to go about this. If your passion is data analysis and insights, you could build comprehensive reporting dashboards which provide in depth insights into sales history and trends, to help spot problem areas, and track successful products.

On the other hand, if your focus is marketing, you might identify a product that isn’t selling as well as it could be, and put together a new product marketing strategy targeting a particular underperforming segment of the market, using a range a digital and social channels.

While both of these take initiative, they could take you in vastly different career directions if you were able to leverage your new skills into your next role.

They also offer opportunities to partner more closely with parts of your business outside your current area, which can be a great way to show proficiency in your newly developed skills to the right people.

What will you do today to control your career path? If your career strategy involves exploring a role at nbn, we have plenty of new positions every week. Click here to check out our current roles.