The world of work is ever evolving and the digital speed with which jobs are being transformed is a rapid area of change. Time does not stand still but by upskilling and keeping abreast of changes in the external environment you can ensure that you are as valuable to your current employer, or future ones, as ever.
Digitalise your skills: There’s no hiding from tech. Even in horticultural roles that are practical and outdoors based, you will most likely find an element of digitalisation involved, whether that’s being able to navigate the job boards for your latest roles, pitching to a client with a PowerPoint presentation or navigating machinery that is powered by artificial intelligence. What is certain is that it’s a direction that is only going one way, so keeping up to date is important if you want to compete as a candidate and employee.
Seize development opportunities: Being open to new experiences, projects or the chance to gain qualifications can open doors for your career. Even if your employer is not offering you the next steps to gain that all important certificate then you need to start the conversation to put your name forward. It may not even be a formal qualification that will put your CV ahead of others, it could be the experience of being part of a new project, exposure to a client or the notoriety of putting your head above the parapet and leading in a presentation, keynote speech or pitch. These are all ways of developing your wider skills, be they leadership, technical, practical or communication based.
Expand your contacts: Forging business relations and networking to boost your contacts is invaluable. Getting the first information on the possibility of a new deal or job means you may be first in line. You can also absorb a sense of what is trending in the sector, how competitors have the edge and what the latest thinking is. It’s always going to be beneficial to meet with others that work in your industry and connect with them. Emotional intelligence is a key skill in business and developing your people skills in this area will add to your impressive technical repertoire.
Log your successes: Maintaining a ‘show and tell’ regarding your professional accomplishments ensures that when an opportunity arises for expanding your skills, taking on a promotion or moving to another business, you can detail your capabilities and experiences accurately. It may not come as easily to some to be ‘out and proud’ about what you have achieved but you need to stand out as the talent that you are. Learning to own your PR brand is important if you are to survive a downturn or competition for the next rung on the ladder.
Acquire transferable skills: As a horticulturist you may feel that you are labelled as a ‘one trick pony’ but within every role there are hidden transferable skills. Whether it is being adept at using a virtual whiteboard, navigating Slack, utilising Instagram for sales or growing your network with your outstanding interpersonal skills, you will have a plethora of transferable skills that you can take with you to a role that may be completely at odds with the one you have now. Hand in hand with logging your successes this will ensure you have the necessary skills to future-proof your employability whatever the role.
Show flexibility: Employees that fail to demonstrate flexibility or are willing to do what is required for the business will soon find their appeal wanes. When times change and the business requirements set new objectives it’s important to adopt a mindset that can match that. It’s not enough to continue with the status quo, reading the business environment accurately will always ensure that you can respond in an appropriate and timely fashion.