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Do this now if you fear robots are coming for your job

How do you compete against a robot?

Studies have suggested that millions of jobs could be lost to
automation over the next decade and that up to 50% of jobs currently in existence
could be affected. “Companies aren’t asking the question, ‘How
do we hire more people now?’” said Brian Kropp, the human
resources practice leader at advisory firm CEB. “They’re
asking, ‘How can we hire the best people, and what can we
automate?’”

The occupations most at-risk because of automation range from
retail salespersons and fast food workers to administrative
assistants and accountants. Meanwhile, people working in fields
like nursing or education will have a better shot at staying
employed as software becomes more prevalent in the workplace.

The specter of automation is so great that it’s even becoming a
talking point in commencement speeches. During his remarks to
Harvard University’s graduating class, Facebook

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 CEO Mark Zuckerberg advised graduates to be ambitious in
their future careers. “Our generation will have to deal with
tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like
self-driving cars and trucks,” Zuckerberg said. “When our
parents graduated, purpose reliably came from your job, your
church, your community. But today, technology and automation
are eliminating many jobs.”

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to their employees

This is also a good moment to consider the broader picture. Are
you happy in your job? In some cases, robots might be doing you
a favor. Lynn Berger, a career coach and consultant based in
New York City, recommends people considering a career change
ask themselves three questions: “What skills do they have that
they like to use? What are their interests? And what’s going to
work for them based upon their personality style and values?”

Brush up the resume

First off, workers in this position need to revamp their
resumes. Luckily, writing a good resume today is about doing
more than just listing day-to-day responsibilities, said Dana
Leavy-Detrick, founder of the Brooklyn Resume Studio. “The
resume now really functions as a narrative that tells the story
of your career,” Leavy-Detrick said.

To start, job-seekers changing professions should identify
skills they have gained that would be transferable to their new
line of work. Then it’s a matter of placing these skills in
both the context that you performed them in and in the context
of the new job. In particular, job-seekers should highlight any
digital skills they hold, since they can double the number of openings an
applicant qualifies for. People also should be careful about
how much experience they list — having too much on a resume
could make an applicant appear old or out-of-touch.

Also, applicants should include an opening summary. While not
recommended for everyone, these summaries can help frame a
job-hunter’s experience more effectively. “It really sets that
first impression,” Leavy-Detrick said. “You can also change
that up really easily, which makes it easier to tailor the
resume effectively.”

Someone working in retail, for example, could use the opening
summary to highlight their experience serving customers and
meeting sales goals if they were aiming to get a job with a
real estate firm.

Acquire new skills

It’s better to go about this proactively — before a potential
job loss — when more financial resources and time can be
devoted to it. Seek out new training, certification or course
work, Berger said. For instance, a paralegal, who whose job is
at increasing risk due to automated software, may be able to
put their legal know-how to use as a lawyer by attending law
school.

Those concerned about the cost of going back to school don’t
necessarily need to fret. Many employers offer tuition
reimbursement for college or continuing education course work
in related fields of study. Kropp said some companies are even
paying workers to go back to school if they identify ways their
roles can be automated. If tuition reimbursement isn’t an
option, online classes and tutorials can be a more
cost-effective (or free) way to develop new capabilities.
(Though people considering web-based course work should make
sure they can muster enough self-motivation to ensure
they get the most out of it.)

But acquiring new skills isn’t just about attending classes.
Volunteering is one way of getting experience in a different
line of work to pad that resume. Another option: Joining
professional organizations in the preferred line of work and
attending meetings or networking on LinkedIn

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See also: The Surprising Threat to the
American Economy

Financially prepare for impact

Most financial advisers generally advise saving up the
equivalent of four to six months’ worth of expenses, but when
it comes to situations where a worker fears unemployment at the
hands of automation the typical rules of thumb may not cut it.

For starters, workers who lost their job in such a scenario may
not find work as easily. Even when they do, there’s a strong
chance they won’t make as much — researchers have estimated
that the wage gap for those who went through a period of
unemployment
rose more than 12% in 2016. And from paying
for classes to investing in outfits for job interviews, getting
a job comes with its own costs.

Plus a new career in a different field could come with
potential trade-offs in terms of salary and benefits.
“Financially, it’s probably a backwards step in the short-run,”
Kropp said. “But in the long run, it’s a safer career place to
be.”

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