Today, we live in a world where information is mostly free, and all over the internet, yet people still lack the knowledge and skills to land their dream job and really accelerate their careers. Many people are learning that they have to invest in themselves to keep learning new skills, to stay in the game of work and careers, with competition fiercer than ever for the best jobs out there. Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity, as well as VIPKid, are all multi-million or even billion-dollar businesses because people are all trying to upskill to compete in a fast-changing Digital Economy. And if everyone is upskilling then, what really makes someone unique and special that they should be the chosen one to hire into that next best job? Are there any skills that work like power-ups that you can use to gain an advantage in the ‘game of careers’? The answer is yes, so what are these Gamification Power-Up Skills that accelerate careers?
All jobs and careers will come to an end in one way or another from disruption. We’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (also called the Second Digital Revolution) and new technologies will keep making old jobs and hence old skills redundant or irrelevant, while new jobs which require new skills become that next latest craze, that form the latest buzzwords for your CVs.
So how do you stop the endless cycle of career disruption? Do you want to stop it? Or actually, do you want to learn the four (4) Gamification Power-Up Skills that will enable you to gamify your career and win the strategy journey that is your career.
Most people already have these four skills, but they don’t know how to harness them and use them at the right time in the right game. This means that they are investing in time and effort to learn new skills that are then wasted, when not put to use properly. Using these four skills as part of the career gamification process will really set you up for success and also apart from any competition.
4 Gamification Power-Up Skills you need to learn and harness to accelerate your career journey
These 4 Gamification Power-Up Skills provide a competitive advantage as follows:
1. Working With Data & Information – how to find or capture and then leverage data and information to provide intel and insights that others don’t have, to help make better decisions faster and hence choose better actions to complete. Data that doesn’t tell you anything of value is useless BUT data that provides you with intelligence is golden. It’s not just about big data, but also being smart with data.
2. Technology Application – how to use technology or apply it to do things functionally better and faster, without degradation in quality, and to improve the service that you are providing. There are lots of useful tools powered by some of the latest technology out there. Some of them appear as shiny objects that grab your attention but then they become useless because they don’t serve a purpose or they are difficult to use and you start to look elsewhere. For example, Blockchain technology has been used in some cases to scam investors, when the business use case or the application it was supposed to power didn’t really provide any value. Find out how to use blockchain for good and not evil from this blog I posted on LinkedIn.
3. Creative Problem Solving – how to solve the most challenging of problems better and faster, to achieve both outputs and outcomes that really add value to customers and users, in a way that no one else has thought of. You don’t need experience in any specific field or domain or industry to be a great problem solver for those problems that have never been solved before. Yeap, that’s my biggest tip. Experience or skills in relation to any industry or field don’t matter if the problem hasn’t been solved before, or it has been semi-solved poorly. It’s your ability to solve the problem or your skill in problem-solving the unknown that matters. And there is actually no risk in this situation, as if you try and fail, or only partially solve the problem, you will still have achieved more than anyone else before you and you are also respected for taking a risk, which others were not prepared to take for fear of failure.
4. Know Your Customers – how to treat everyone whom you have to work with as customers and users and serve them in a way that provides just the right amount of value based on their problems and customer journey, so they become sticky loyal fans and followers of your work. This is about providing the right engagement and interactions that provide value and make others dependent on you and your services, so much so they can’t live without it. You can do this with a new hiring manager, your existing boss, your boss’s boss, your teammates, your children, and other family members, friends and even your enemies, who will become frienemies. And of course, you should do this with real end-customers, to innovate sticky services that they will adopt and love.
Using your Power-Up Skills to gamify interviews
Personally, I have always possessed these skills but it was when I learned to use them and then harnessed them that my career really changed. I found out just how powerful they are when I realized I was using them to gamify my job interviews before I started to get headhunted and today I use them in everything that I do. Most people are petrified by these interview techniques call ‘Case Interviews’ where you are given some random problem and you have to solve it during the interview. I relish at the chance to play this game, now that I have harnessed my four Gamification Power-Up Skills. Now, of course, its tougher for new graduates who can really get stressed in the ‘Case Interview’, because there’s a hiring manager who has actually been given a ready-made answer, to a problem that has already been solved before by someone else, and not them, so they may be testing how the candidate is scoring against this ready-made answer, when in fact their job is to see if the candidate can handle the pressure and work through the steps to demonstrate how they solve problems. My advice here is just to stick to the problem-solving process, and if this person can’t see your talent and abilities to solve problems differently, then you probably don’t want to work with them anyway, as they are really being mean because you are competition and a threat to them.
I used these skills in and for all my job interviews or consulting gigs that I get hired for and they really have served me well. I changed the interview situation (that is the game) by understanding what is the problem that needs solving for the hiring manager or my client. And then I work out how to solve their problem creatively during the interview, by gathering the data and information to truly understand the problem and I show how I break down the problem into steps, apply or recommend the necessary technology to support the solution and to show how much I know or can do, as well as highlighting how I will validate my solution proposal with more data and information to really deliver the value for the end customers and users too. I demonstrate all four skills during the interview by showing how I would work with data, apply technology, how much I know the end customers or the company, and finally I show how I would solve their problem. I treat the hiring manager like a customer and my job during the interview is to make them realize that they need and want me to solve their problems because only I can solve it like no one else, and I would demonstrate how I would go about solving their problem live in the interview.
That is the art and science of mastering interviews and always gets the job – and it is part of the process to gamify your career. Remember, deep down hiring managers are looking for someone whom they can trust to do the hard work that they can’t do themselves. So if you can demonstrate that you understand the problem and you know how to solve their problems better than them (in a humble way, of course – don’t ever get arrogant, no one likes a know it all), then the job is yours usually by the end of the interview and you are on to talking money already, when the hiring manager is so worried you’ll take another job and not his or hers.
I’ve just given the secret to gamifying every interview out there. It doesn’t always work of course, when you’re beaten by someone else who demonstrates that they can solve the problem better than you, or unfortunately, the hiring manager isn’t actually the decision-maker and the decision to hire was made before you even walked into the interview – so thanks hiring manager and company for wasting your time, except the good interview practice it provided of course. But, this is where you can change their minds to show them what you’re made of, and how they will be foolish to go elsewhere or with anyone else (again just through demonstration and humbly). Actions do really speak louder than words – there are lots of people who talk the talk, but they can’t walk the walk.
Applying your Gamification Power-Up Skills to different industries, fields, and domains
These skills don’t just work for career interviews. By learning and mastering these 4 Gamification Power-Up Skills, not only will you be able to overcome any form of career disruption, BUT you will have the skills to become the disruptor – and thus change the game in anything. You’ll become that go-to problem solver in your field of expertise, and you’ll know the formula to become an expert in any field. Of course, some fields or domains will still take more time to master than others. You’re not going to become a brain surgeon just like that.
The 4 Gamification Power-Up Skills are completely transferable across industries, fields, and domains. They are the most sought after skills in every industry, field or domain, and what every hiring manager really looks for in every cover letter and CV. They work for both employees and entrepreneurs, especially those who sell their services and time. Put these skills on display, and demonstrate them live, and you’ll get hired immediately. You can do that now with YouTube and Facebook or any other platform where you can go live. Use them in your interviews as I have, and openly show other people what you’re made of, through sharing your case studies. This is how you get headhunted and completely future-proof your career from any possible disruption.
Julie Choo is lead author of THE STRATEGY JOURNEY book (Coming in June/July 2019) and the founder of STRATABILITY ACADEMY. She speaks regularly at numerous tech, careers and entrepreneur events globally. Julie continues to consult at large Fortune 500 companies, Global Banks and tech start-ups. As a lover of all things strategic, she is a keen Formula One fan who named her dog, Kimi (after Raikkonnen), and follows football – favourite club changes based on where she calls home.