4 ways to increase employability in uncertain times
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4 ways to increase employability in uncertain times

17 days ago · 3 min read · AICPA Insights Blog

Most accountants have no problem finding a good job in today’s employee-driven marketplace, but with so many things changing both within and outside the profession, it’s hard to know which skills will be most marketable in tomorrow’s workplace.

Accountants can thrive in unsettled times by adopting a growth mindset, learning to pivot, thinking big-picture and consistently building and strengthening connections.

Adopt a growth mindset

Uncertain times are less stressful when you approach them with a growth mindset, the belief that skills and intelligence can be improved through effort. So when something unexpected happens, consider what you can learn from it and how you can apply the lesson to other aspects of your life.

The shift to remote work — for some of us, an abrupt shift — and its accompanying rise in the use of cloud technology and automation tools have transformed the way many of us work. Rather than resisting (or resenting) these changes, consider how they could enrich your career. Embracing new tools might, for instance, allow you to spend more time with clients or, by freeing up mental bandwidth, spark new ideas and insights.

Adopting a growth mindset can also help you anticipate future events. By continuously learning, speaking with people within and outside the profession and keeping up with developments within your specialty, you may spot trends that help you develop a better sense of the profession’s future.

Learn to pivot

The past few years have provided a crash course on adapting to change. Organizations had to pivot overnight from working in person to operating remotely, while also adjusting to a flurry of unexpected financial changes.

Accounting firms and professionals who met the challenge emerged with increased agility and a reputation for handling crises with grace. Clients lean on CPAs as trusted advisers during times of change, which is why it’s so important to develop agility and critical thinking skills.

Accountants and finance professionals can hone these skills during periods of relative calm by scenario planning. You can conduct thought exercises or hypothetical projects to prepare for both negative and positive outcomes. For example, how would you pivot if half of your clients chose another adviser out of the blue? Or how would you make the most of a windfall?

Although many don’t want to even consider worst-case scenarios, doing so can alleviate anxiety — if the worst comes to pass, you’ll have a plan in place.

Map out your career

When planning for an uncertain future, it helps to think big but start small. In other words, pinpoint the skills essential to your long-term career goals and form a realistic plan to gradually develop and implement them.

Unless you’re planning an immediate career change, it could be a waste of time to learn skills tied to a specific role you may want to land in the future. In ten years, that role could have completely transformed or might no longer exist.

Instead, consider your desired career trajectory more broadly and define the skills that would help you achieve it. For example, if you know you want to lead a team at some point, it makes sense to develop skills related to leadership and communication. And if you want to become more familiar with emerging technologies, you might earn a data analytics certificate.

Once you have selected a skill to focus on, develop a feasible plan and find ways to deploy those skills in your current role. If you want to develop your leadership skills, for example, you could start by taking an online course and reading top books on management. You could then seek to lead a small project that puts your skills to work.

Always be networking

Surveys suggest that around 85% of critical jobs are found through networking. Everyone knows the importance of networking but not everyone is intentional about doing it.

Networking will feel less like a chore if you approach it with genuine curiosity. Put yourself in a situation (an industry conference, for instance) where you will meet new people; set a goal to connect with five new people over the course of the event.

Of course, you don’t even have to leave your desk to form and strengthen connections. Schedule networking into your workweek by setting up calls or virtual coffee breaks with one new and one existing connection each month.

Among those you connect with you might find a new friend, a new client or a valued mentor. And they could be the key to your dream job.

For more ways to make yourself employable in any job market, visit our store and earn a certificate to amplify your expertise.

Hannah Pitstick, B.A.

Hannah Pitstick is a content writer at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA.

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