Knowledge workers are emerging as a hiring ‘hotspot’ thanks to the growing number of knowledge-intensive jobs that require suitably skilled, experienced and educated candidates to perform non-routine tasks.
While that’s good news for professionals such as analysts, architects, engineers, teachers, marketers, nurses and lawyers, who all require a large amount of knowledge to succeed in their role, it’s another death toll for jobs involving routine tasks, which are already under threat from automation.
So how can you become a valued knowledge worker?
Gain the expertise employers need
A growing number of diverse, progressive and fascinating courses are now available through universities and training institutions. But before you enrol consider the future employment or promotional opportunities that the successful completion of your selected course could provide. Look at the skills and knowledge in demand and consider how you can combine your passion for a particular subject with long-term employment prospects.
Gain relevant experience
Employers today rate relevant experience as an unnegotiable pre-requisite in candidates – they want knowledge workers who’ve not only read the latest text books but have applied their expertise in a real-world environment.
For seasoned professionals, this means matching your knowledge, skills and experience with the job requirements, and using specific examples in your CV or interview to demonstrate your suitability for the role. For example:
• I successfully designed and delivered a new online sales booking system which in the first 6 months increased sales by 20 per cent.
• I implemented a new HR strategy which reduced staff attrition by 13%.
• I’m a team player and worked with our international and local marketing teams to implement a global rebrand across 12 countries.
For graduates, it means gaining relevant industry experience through volunteer work experience or a study placement. Contact organisations you are interested in working for once you graduate or in your ideal industry or sector and ask about work experience opportunities. Even a few weeks gives a graduate an advantage over others who lack such experience.
Be digitally literate
Of course in today’s digitally and rapidly evolving world of work, digital literacy is also necessary for any knowledge worker. That’s one big plus that today’s graduates have going for them – they are tech-savvy, with an understanding of computational thinking, app building and the user experience.
Up-skill if necessary and look for opportunities to incorporate new digital skills or technology into your job. Don’t forget to give your CV a digital makeover.
Develop your soft skills
Today’s knowledge workers also possess strong soft skills. Communication and people skills top the list of those valued by employers and can differentiate one candidate from another. So look for opportunities to develop and display your communication and people skills and share real-life examples in your CV and interview.
For example, an accountant could build trust with other departments and learn how to explain the meaning behind numbers in non-technical language. They could also view accountancy in the wider business picture in order to liaise with colleagues effectively and add value.
While you are still studying you can also look for opportunities to develop and demonstrate such skills, such as by organising a meeting on MeetUp or Eventbrite for people with shared interests.
A final piece of advice
My last tip is to stay on top of new trends, mobile phone applications and technologies relevant to the world of work. Consider if gaining experience or working knowledge in each would enhance your employability. Even if you only experience a new technology once, such as by visiting a store where you can try a pair of VR goggles, it gives you the opportunity to be able to discuss them from your own experience – which for emerging trends is often more than the colleague sitting next to you can do.