No job is secure, so it is up to you to ensure that you are marketable, not your employer. Hard hitting fact but true. In todays world each person can be seen as a brand in themselves with their own unique selling points, that can be taken with them no matter where they go. Thankfully whether you are in or out of work you can choose to take your career into our own hands through developing your skills.
As a rule every year you should do something to either develop a new skill or hone your current skills further whatever your profession. At least every five years you should also look at completing a recognised qualification.
When thinking about what courses to do it is helpful to first answer the following questions:
• What are my future career goals?
• What attributes/skills does someone who is successful in my ideal role have?
• What skills do I enjoy using?
• What skills do I want to build on?
• What skills are valuable in the workplace?
• What skills am I afraid of using and need support mastering?
• What challenge am I facing at work that could be helped through upskilling?
• What sacrifices am I willing to make?
Thankfully for those who do not enjoy classroom learning environments upskilling is not restricted to the conventional classroom. With the internet learning new skills couldn’t be easier, there are more and more courses streaming online and many for free through sites such as www.alison.com.
Volunteering is also an attractive way to upskill. Search online to see if there is a central volunteer centre in your area or find a local charity or community service that is of interest to you. Research the volunteer options to see which ones tie in with the skills you would like to develop. For example if you want to develop your public speaking skills, you may find a volunteer role where you will need to present information to a group regularly. The added advantages of upskilling through volunteering is that you can gain real work experience that can be added to your CV at no extra cost while building your network. It can also help you examine if you like using a particular skill or working in a particular area before changing your day job or investing in further education.
Another option is to take on more responsibility at work. If there is a particular skill you would like to develop further, look for ways to use these skills in your department. For example suggest a project or get involved in one that would allow you to utilise and develop your skills further. Through making yourself available to take on extra work you are showing that you are able to take more responsibility, which can help raise your profile internally and could lead to further promotion or open up a new job opportunity externally.
The benefits to upskilling are numerous and will change throughout your life depending on your current circumstance, for example upskilling can help you to:
• Stand out from other candidates when searching for work
• Get called for interview
• Win internal promotions
• Change careers
• Increase earnings
• Show that you are really interested in a particular area of work
• Show your willingness to learn
• Show your adaptability
• Gain mastery
• Examine if you like a particular area of work
• Gain a role you would enjoy
• Expand your network
• Increase self-awareness
• Experience something new
• Get out of your comfort zone
• Increase your intelligence
• Enjoy life to the full
So what are you waiting for…