Your 2021 digital career toolbox needs these tools
It’s to nobody’s surprise that the past few years have felt like a major limbo. Every day on the social feed is filled with an abundance of variety.
Whilst some of our friends and family are busy grinding toward success and posting about it each day, others are just patiently waiting it out and taking this time to reflect.
The impacts have moved well beyond our daily tasks or social activities, now finding a place to settle in the realm of our career journeys.
Change has become the norm (and that is okay!) but what this means for each of us means that we are constantly re-evaluating our priorities and needs across many life aspects. Some career related questions you might currently be asking yourself include:
- “Do I find a new job or do I stay?”
- “Is this even something I want to do for the rest of my life?”
- “What do I even need to be doing right now?”
With online opportunities being presented at every corner and the Zoom fatigue starting to become real, now is the time to reflect on your skill set before plotting any future moves you would like to make. Before even asking these questions, it is most important to ask:
Do I have everything I need in my toolbox to keep progressing?
Whether you plan on taking things slow this year or simply want to plan your next steps, reflect on the tools that you have in your digital careers toolbox and add any of the four below that might be missing to ensure you remain competitive in one of the toughest job markets in recent history.
The Screwdriver – Digital Communication Skills
Screwdrivers are the most important tool in any toolbox just as digital communication is key to succeeding in the digital career realm. For this reason, it is extremely important to practise your digital communication skills in order to display your confidence, business acumen and working style.
Digital communication skills include proficiency in email, zoom and/or digital calls, digital etiquette and also answering phone calls. These can all be developed by communicating with family and friends each day or by organising social events that incorporate each type, for example an online trivia night hosted on Zoom.
Once you feel ready and are applying for your next career step, be sure to practise your video interview skills using the UTS Careers Video Interview Practice Tool. You will receive feedback from the UTS Careers team whilst developing your interview responses in a pressured environment.
Some extra screwdriver bits to include:
- Make sure that you know how to use Zoom functions effectively and are able to troubleshoot your presentations.
- Learn to over-communicate your point and express your point through email and instant messaging to maximise your impact.
- Be sure to always thank people for all of their hard work.
The Spanner – Mentoring
Once your digital communication skills have been tightened up, you can secure your next steps by accessing the assistance of a mentor. Just as a spanner can be used to tighten up bolts on your latest Ikea flatpack, it is important to ensure that your vision is airtight and locked in place.
Finding a mentor is a great way to discover the experiences of others who have worked in your areas of interest and also uncover next steps in potentially making a pivot towards a similar role.
A good mentor will be able to assist in identifying any key skill gaps or suggesting any methodologies and frameworks that you may need to know before moving through to the interview stage.
When you approach a mentor, be sure to let them know if you’re looking for any long-term commitment or a flash commitment (once off informational interview) and do not approach them expecting to be presented with a job opportunity.
If you’re looking to add a spanner to your career toolbox, sign up to the UTS Professional Mentoring Platform when you feel ready.
The Measuring Tape – Reflection
During this period of rapid change, reflecting on your current position and all of the things that have happened along the way will help you achieve clarity and calm your mind.
Anxiety and self-doubt are very normal along all career journeys but just like a measuring tape, be sure you know the distance you have come or need to go before taking any further action.
During any personal projects, be sure to also set points along the journey in which you reflect on the progress made and can identify successes and weaknesses of any actions along the way.
If you’re looking to assess your career skills and build an understanding of your motivations or work personality, access a 10 to 15 minute tailored self-assessment on UTS Abintegro. Each assessment will assist you in discovering recommendations you can apply to your career and studies.
The Spirit Level – Memes
Saving the most important for last. No project is constructed correctly without the help of a spirit level (or that thing with the bubble you probably spent lots of time with when you were younger and your parents were trying to complete their DIY projects).
Right now, it is extremely easy to slip into an all work-no play mode without taking a break. Some individuals really enjoy continuing to show project progress and whilst this is okay, be sure to take time out for some memes or brighten up your day by using gifs in your daily communications.
Memes are a great way to break down barriers with colleagues or friends and can make conversations less monotonous. They are a great way to connect with people no matter what age and my personal advice is to always include one during any presentation you put together.
Whether it be the greatness of success kid, a change my mind meme, a gif of your favourite show or a Philip J. Fry “shut up and take my money” creation, that’s none of my business.
So, what are you waiting for? Find some spare time over the coming few months to begin retooling toward a new career step, grab yourself a sausage sizzle and make it as rewarding as a weekend trip to Bunnings Warehouse.
Brett Neilson is the Systems Coordinator within the UTS Careers Team. His experience varies widely across the arts, events and tertiary education spaces with experience in systems, operations, digital marketing, business development and sales. Brett has a passion for helping people develop their skillset and reach key goals.