Toyota executive and Boys & Girls Club alum shares the future job skills needed to be successful in a rapidly-changing workforce.
It may sound hard to believe, but 85% of jobs that will be available in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet1. So, how can young people prepare for a career that doesn’t exist today? Anthony Allen, Boys & Girls Club alumnus and human resources executive for Toyota North America, knows a thing or two about job readiness skills for the future. As senior director of talent acquisition, he has a daily pulse on the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly-changing workforce.
Anthony, who was the first to go to college in his family, credits the Boys & Girls Club for helping him see different career paths and who he could become. Now, he’s sharing his expert advice to prepare today’s teens for tomorrow’s careers.
While we can’t predict the future, today’s young people can begin preparing for it. Here are five future-proof skills Anthony recommends today’s young people develop to succeed in work and life.
Focus on building relationships.
Anthony says the ability to build relationships, communicate with others, understand people and show empathy are important today, but he believes they will be even more critical in the future. “Even if you are the best at what you do, you will only be successful if you can authentically connect with others, lead with integrity and honesty, communicate effectively, problem-solve and negotiate,” Anthony says. “While much is changing, these essential skills are not going anywhere.”
Stay curious and connected.
One of the best ways to prepare for what’s next is to stay abreast of current trends and news.
“I encourage young people to tune into what's happening in business and technology,” Anthony says. “While no companies expect you to be an expert in any one area, understanding at a high level what's going on in different industries is the best way to prepare for what might come next. Read industry articles and follow experts and companies on social media to keep a pulse on what’s happening. Be sure to consume content and opinions from a variety of sources to get a balanced view of information.”
While Anthony believes young people should have an idea of what they want to do, he encourages them to be open to the unexpected.
“One of the biggest problems we have in life is not that doors don't open for us; it's that we don't recognize the door. When we create stringent visions of our futures, we think that future only looks a certain way, like all the doors are red. If we only look for a red door, we could miss a line of open blue doors along the way. Being flexible may open doors you never thought were possible. Be open to the unexpected and where it might take you.”
Many of the world’s greatest inventors and visionaries failed thousands of times before experiencing success. People told them they were crazy. People said their ideas would never work. But that didn’t stop them from pursuing what they believed in.
“Don't be scared to think differently, challenge the status quo and take chances in your thought process,” Anthony recommends. “The most successful people at Toyota are those who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and think and act innovatively or outside the box. Have the courage and commitment to pursue an idea that could be the next one to change the world.”
Make your lived experience part of your story.
Because young people just starting out in their career haven’t had many work experiences yet, Anthony suggests using transferable life experiences to demonstrate your skills.
“Don’t be afraid to make your lived experiences or life challenges part of your story when interviewing with potential companies,” Anthony recommends. “Grit is unmeasurable.”
“For example, if you’re someone from humble beginnings or a first generation college student who had to work full-time to support yourself, talk about being able to do that while maintaining excellent grades and navigating obstacles. These experiences show determination, resilience, creativity, problem-solving and working under pressure — all important employability skills for the leaders of tomorrow.”
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Research shows that when we introduce young children to the world of work, they're more likely to dream big and connect what they're learning to future career opportunities. Starting as early as age 6, Boys & Girls Clubs help young people explore their passions and interests, develop employability skills, and apply knowledge in real-world settings thanks to partners like Toyota.
Learn more about all the ways Clubs and our Workforce Readiness partners are preparing young people to meet the challenges of employers who are reimagining the future of jobs in America.
1 The Next Era of Human-Machine Partnerships: Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society & Work In 2030, 2017 | Institute for the Future for Dell Technologies