While our nation continues to experience high unemployment, many job openings go unfilled due to an incorrect match between employer needs and potential employee skill sets. The very nature of employment is changing and it’s important to understand that it’s never going back.

Looking for an advantage? Whether your ‘job’ is working for someone else or in your own endeavor, the following article presents what you need to do in order to become and remain in demand.

Expertise Drives the Future of Employment – By Bill Ryan

Everybody wants a job. You want to go out, get hired by somebody, perform some pre-determined tasks, get paid, and go home. Simple, right? It’s the way it has always been. But hold on a moment. The news is that working at a job won’t be the same for much longer. The nature of the job is undergoing a radical shift as we become more of a knowledge-based economy. And those who don’t keep up with how employment is changing will be at a disadvantage in the employment marketplace going forward.

Because American workers are having to engage much more directly with global competitors, companies are required to shift the way they structure operations and employees are being forced to face a new definition of what being successful means. The knowledge-based organization and its talent force must be more agile to meet growing business demands. They need to learn fast, communicate clearly, and adapt to change. The old method of presenting a long list of past experiences on your resume as evidence that you have current value is giving way to demonstrating that you have just-in-time needed expertise that can be applied from day one.

It is expertise more than experience that is separating the future oriented worker from the old fashioned one. If you can link your past experience to applicable expertise that is desired now, then great. You are ready to move forward. But if you think that just having a long history of meeting the same type of responsibilities in a similar manner over time is going to separate you from the pack, then think again. Legacy skills are taking a back seat to specialized skills. Preparing for a world that honors creative and deep specializations expressed within cross-functional teams that are not limited by borders and silos is the future for the successful worker.

Becoming specialized is not anything new, but it is becoming increasingly important. Traditionally we have looked at our interests and early skills, matched them up with a pre-existing list of career options, and made a choice about what we would do for work. But increasingly it is too hard to fix on a list of stable careers. Technology is generating new specialties both directly or indirectly all of the time. From mobile branding experts to global collaboration facilitators the brave new world is characterized by more speed, more innovation, and greater challenges requiring novel solutions. And don’t resist blending your skills into new and valuable hybrids that reflect both your interests and what sells.

Refining a set of skills, collecting quantifiable and qualitative data as evidence of proficiency and continuously scanning the employment horizon for companies coveting your expertise is the strategy to best position yourself for opportunity. This strategy is helped enormously by logging your accomplishments. Each professional should have a portfolio or running record of their achievements, summarized in a resume, telling the story of how expertise has and is developing. There is a big difference between telling what your expertise is and presenting confirmation of what it is.

Much is said about the importance of well-functioning teams in the workplace and with good reason. Shared and collaborative expertise enhances the strength and competitiveness of organizations. Merging common and related spheres of expertise not only benefits companies, but each of the internal players as well. Organizations that encourage continuous learning, a culture of agility, and hire for innate potential over raw experience increase their chances of attracting and retaining a high level of expertise in their workforce.

So, instead of everybody wanting a job we may soon see everybody wanting a project requiring their specialty. Adjusting your perspective now on what a job means will help your upcoming employment prospects.

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