Thanks to Covid-19, workers across the globe have had to get used to doing their jobs differently. It hasn’t been easy for everyone, but it has led many to reassess their priorities and consider possible new career paths. In fact, research from jobs board Totaljobs in December 2020 showed that more than 8 out of 10 workers were actively looking for new roles. If you’re one of them, now is a good time to identify new skills to help you get where you’d like to go. Read on for some ideas for upskilling from home.
Expanding your skillset
‘Upskilling’ means adding relevant competencies to your existing skillset to help you reach the next step in your career. You might want to sidestep into a related role or change direction entirely.
Firstly, find out which skills you will need for the future you want. Talk to people in the know to find out more. Do you know someone who could act as your mentor or coach? Find out through friends or colleagues if they have any contacts who can spare a bit of time with you over Zoom, phone or email to share some advice about the area you’re interested in. If that’s tricky, try broadening your online network and asking questions on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other forums. Also think about signing up for online lectures and other events (many of which are free) led by people with relevant expertise.
With a large portion of the workforce operating remotely, it’s become clear that there’s a particular need to bridge the digital skills gap between employees. If you’re feeling left behind by tech, digital upskilling will help you navigate the world of remote work with more confidence, giving you the same recruitment prospects as others when the time comes to apply for new positions.
Think about the areas where you need some support, for example: virtual meeting and event platforms (Zoom, GotoWebinar, etc), analytics, basic coding, touch typing, social media training, project management software, or something else. Your employer may offer training on digital tools. If not, look up the relevant help content online and give yourself a crash course.
Using company training
If you’re employed, talk to your manager or HR department about the kind of skills you’d like to get and whether there is an existing company e-learning programme you can tap into. Alternatively, there might be a suitable mentor in the form of a coworker, or a training budget to pay for relevant external courses. Any training you get on the job is brilliant, as it can help you in your current role, future roles within the same organisation, and external roles when it’s time to move on.
Accessing independent learning
If there are no relevant upskilling opportunities in your current role, or if you’re between jobs, you’ll need to research further training independently. There are lots of options for distance learning online, through paid for and free courses. LinkedIn Learning has a good suite of materials (free to access for a month), and there are plenty of other providers, such as Coursera and Open University, offering a range of paid and free courses.
Adding skill-building to your schedule
When you’ve chosen your subject area and materials, it’s time to make space in your working week. If you’re new to home working, you could designate a portion of your former commuting time for upskilling. Whether it’s something you do once a week early in the morning, fortnightly in the evening, or daily in your lunch breaks, add dedicated learning slots to your schedule to make sure you fit it in. Decide how long you’re going to spend on each session and set a timer to take breaks, if necessary.
Sharing your new skills
Make sure you add any new certificates or completed course names to your CV and LinkedIn profile. This shows that you’re interested in learning and developing new skills, and may also help you appear in more recruiter searches.
Following your interests
Upskilling doesn’t always have to be career related. You might want to give your brain a lockdown workout by trying a new language, taking up a creative hobby or learning something new as part of a volunteer placement. You’ll find all sorts of ideas for upskilling online to help you broaden your general skills and find out more about something that truly interests you.