In our rapidly-changing world, how can young people best position themselves for success in the job market? What impact will technologies like artificial intelligence have on established career paths? And how can you make yourself stand out from the crowd?

If you’re a young person, you might be feeling overwhelmed about the state of the job market. There are lots of decisions to make: which career path to follow, how to position yourself, and how to remain calm and resilient alongside it all. This article compiles advice from individuals at the leading edge of their fields to help you navigate today’s job market with a sense of confidence and perspective. 

How can you choose a secure yet fulfilling job? 

It’s important to consider prevailing global trends when choosing your career path. Certain skills will be especially important as technologies like artificial intelligence increasingly shape workplaces of the future. 

In an episode of Careers of the Future on The Ismaili TV, Zabeen Hirji, former Chief Human Resources Officer at the Royal Bank of Canada, explained how the future of work will be characterised by “human-machine collaboration.” To position oneself for success amidst these trends, she suggested developing two sets of skills:

  1. Digital skills: As a digital native, you are well-equipped to use technology to enhance productivity and enable collaboration in the workplace. By considering how technology can be applied to your profession to transform the way you work, you can position yourself to be a future leader of technological change within your industry. 

  2. Human skills: Technology applications are expected to remove repetitive, mundane tasks from many workplaces. It will therefore be important to enhance your distinctly human skills like adaptability, communication, creativity, and empathy. As contexts change, having the ability to influence those around you can add significant value to organisations. 

Zabeen also emphasised that many traditional career paths — such as the teaching and medical professions — will remain relevant for many years to come, even as they continue to change. Think about whether your industry is helping society or not. Choosing the right career requires finding the connection between your passions, strengths, and aspirations. 

How can you position yourself for success?

When applying for jobs, Zabeen suggests that you “create a narrative that brings together your different job, school, and volunteer experiences to amplify your skills.” Once you have created this narrative, you can share it with prospective employers through your resume, cover letter, and networking activities. This narrative can be formed from a variety of sources. For instance, internships offer valuable opportunities to develop skills and practice skills, while obtaining feedback from managers and colleagues. 

Our Jamat’s tradition of voluntary service can also yield a benefit for students entering the job market. 

“What you learn from engaging in community teaches you important human skills,” says Zabeen. “It also provides you with connections and can open up career opportunities.”

In an episode of Navigating Today’s Economy on The Ismaili TV, Riaz Ahmed, CEO of TD Securities, encourages young people to focus on three areas to maximise career success during the current economic environment.

  1. Flexibility: Take a long-term approach to your career and, in some cases, be willing to say “this is not what I’d love to be doing, but I’ll do it because I have to for a short period of time.” 

  2. Networking: Think of networking as being deliberate about both who you know and what you are known for. “You want everybody around you to think that, when they need something, you’re the person they want,” says Riaz. While networking can seem intimidating, a great way to start is by reaching out to friends and family first. These conversations can be used to learn about their journeys and to seek advice about goal setting. You can find people relevant to your career path through the Jamat, your school, or networking websites like LinkedIn.

  3. Continuous learning: “Ask yourself if you are learning something new everyday, every month, and every year,” says Riaz. Gaps in knowledge can be filled through taking extra courses or seeking out others to learn from. 

Take care of yourself 

The work of searching for a job, and receiving multiple rejections in the process, can be overwhelming. It is therefore important to allow yourself to be vulnerable and reach out for help when you need it. Don’t forget about self-care routines to safeguard your mental health. 

“Life is full of challenges and life is full of opportunities,” says Zabeen, “but to be at your best, we have to take care of ourselves.”