“Work to become, not to acquire.”
– Elbert Hubbard (American philosopher)
Surging ahead in your career with the ship in full steam mode is a dream that many of you may harbour as college students during the times that you contemplate of having a career after college.
However, it is not always a smooth sea for the newbies, and that is why you need to be prepared to face a lot of storms in the initial days of starting your career.
Let that not deter you from having dreams of making it big someday, in whatever profession that you wish to excel.
Always remember that all that you dream of acquiring in the course of your career are achievable with the right amount of determination and deliberation. One such suave method that is making the rounds among the college students and new employees at multinational firms is the effective use of upskilling.
The competitive and disruptive backdrop in almost every industry paints a gloomy picture for the ones about to venture into the new world of unprecedented challenges and uphill tasks in their jobs.
The uncertainty looming around the private sector jobs can always be frightening for the ones just about to start their careers, so it is best to come prepared for they are about to face, and upskilling is one of the most effective ways to go about it.
So, what is the upskilling all about, then?
Simply put, it is acquiring new sets of skills to keep yourself updated to the increasing and evolving demands of the industry.
Especially helpful for college-goers who have the time to sign up for new courses, upskilling is a habit that you can benefit from throughout the entire course of your career.
Why is upskilling important?
You may be wondering about whether there is anything wrong with your current set of skills or whether you know enough to venture into the tricky waters of a new job life. Put those worries to rest, for upskilling is not about nullifying the skills and knowledge that you have.
It is more of an enriching experience where you add on to your long list of things you are an ‘expert’ at or have received ‘certifications’ for. However, upskilling is not only about fancy online courses or about attending series of career workshops. It also includes developing your personality and soft skills that help you become a more complete human being in all aspects.
The bigwigs in almost every industry nowadays follow the current human resource development trend in hiring employees who show a lot of promise in their personal as well as professional realms.
Keeping their requirements in mind, putting an effective upskilling mainframe to use that is suited to your career goals is the need of the day.
1. Enhance your professional credibility by upskilling
With the professional sphere changing and evolving rapidly to keep pace with the super-fast digital era, the need to upskill to increase your professional value is undeniable.
Upskilling aids you to stay updated to the latest trends in the work sphere so you can be prepared or a step ahead of the changing work sector at all times. Industry trends and requirements, with their constant need for innovation, thus values employees with an excellent track record of upskilling throughout their academic and professional careers. Do not become redundant in what you do so you are handed over the pink slip.
Instead, look for ingenious ways that you can upskill and prove to be a useful employee to your organisation. Honing your functional and business skills can work wonders to improve your performance and productivity at work, so upskill all you can to move up the ladder in your career.
2. Bring about a breath of fresh air in your work
Upskilling provides you with the scope of exploring new career options. With a lot of new skills in your kitty, you can always respond to the one that calls out to you.
The digital age with its host of automation and mechanised systems of work nowadays call for professionals who are updated about the latest technological trends, and a course on, say, digital marketing, increases your employability by several notches.
Acquiring emerging skills throughout your academic and professional career thus provides you with the opportunity of opting for a change in the career if and when you feel the need.
Since your professional career thrives on creating opportunities and not being shy of exploring newer avenues, it is best to upskill with a variety of professional and personal skill sets combined to suit the requirements of the industries on which you wish to focus.
3. Explore professional networking through upskilling
Perhaps one of the best benefits of upskilling is the numerous opportunities that you get for professional networking. Meeting new people, whether in person or through social media websites for professionals, always has a positive impact.
Staying connected to the people in your professional realm has its own set of benefits that are known to all. However, why upskilling is the way to go to achieve that is because you will develop as a better conversationalist and be a part of active communities dealing with the current trends in your domain.
Providing you with a world of possibilities through effective networking strategies that you pick up along the way, upskilling is beneficial for linking you to the right people at the right time that holds the opportunities of taking your career forward by many miles.
How can you upskill?
Upskilling is not too troubling a task if you have your priorities and plans sorted. With a well planned out roadmap, achieving your upskilling goals is going to be a walk in the park if you are intent on collecting accolades as you proceed in your profession.
Upskilling starts with awareness and the intent to develop oneself into a better and evolved person and professional. A professional who is up to date with the latest trends that are ruling the industry at current times is highly valued for employers.
That is why stepping out of your comfort zone and trying out an innovative approach towards upskilling is the need of the day. Here are a few expert suggestions that you can keep in mind while planning to upskill.
a) Embrace a regular reading habit
Acquiring a habit for reading comes in handy at any age, and if you wish to upskill, then reading some great books in your spare time is the first step towards achieving it.
You can choose from a wide variety of books, journals, magazines or blogs that pique your interest, gradually making your way through the dosage of inspiration and magic that words can bring into your life.
Upskilling starts with learning, and what better way to learn than leafing through pages of a classic that’s acclaimed worldwide, or being moved by the inspirational tale of how an established entrepreneur of today made his way up the corporate ladder overcoming all difficulties.
b) Learn the basics of SEO and digital marketing
The digital age is here to stay, so the best we can do is adapt ourselves to the changes that it has brought on to every sphere of our lives, including the realm of careers and profession.
Learning the basics of digital marketing and fundamental SEO tricks is thus a skill that many employers look for in their potential employees. Having an SEO trick or two up your sleeve will thus help you add to the long list of existing skills and keep you updated about the latest marketing trends in the industry.
With increased telecommunication and advertisement tactics through the Internet and social media platforms, it is important to have some SEO and digital marketing skills in your kitty to make yourself more employable in the fast-paced digital age.
c) Start blogging
If you are someone with a passion for writing, then you can start a blog on any of the blogging platforms and write about things that interest you, or use the platform for your daily musings. Starting a blog has multifaceted benefits – from providing a space to jot down your feelings and thoughts to establishing a robust thread of resources to highlight your set of skills to future employers – which you can tap into for building a great upskill strategy for the times that lay ahead in your career.
d) Put your networking skills to use
Make deft use of your networking skills through upskilling. Establishing contacts and following up on those acquaintances that you make through networking is a great way to upskill your career for the future.
Giving you a world of possibilities and opportunities, learning how to network like a pro is also a skill that is valued by many employers, especially in the service industries that thrive on the success of human relationships.
Attending conferences, getting in touch with old colleagues or industry bigwigs through networking on LinkedIn and other virtual platforms in case you cannot spare the time to be present at the conferences or trade shows.
e) Make time for “you time” – every day
This is perhaps one aspect of upskilling that not many keep in mind but is imperative if you wish to attain newer heights of success and prosperity in your professional life and beyond. Set aside some time away for yourself every day without fail when you can pause and take a breather from the daily activities and responsibilities.
Use this time to complete that unfinished chapter from the book you were reading the previous night, or simply take a power nap to rejuvenate yourself.
Whatever it is that you choose to do during this time, be careful not to include work or any other responsibility that you may have. Keeping aside some “you time” for every day is thus very important if you wish to develop as a career professional and as a person.
f) Learn a new language
In an increasingly globalised job market, the need to have multilingual skills is gradually on the rise. Picking up a new language to add to your set of existing skills can thus be a fun way to upskill yourself in your pastime. In case you cannot spare the time to enrol for regular classes at a language school, make good use of the digital resources at your disposal.
Download language apps like Duolingo that will help you learn a language in your spare time with flash cards and quirky exercises for honing your linguistic skills to perfection.
g) Attend webinars and podcasts
Google can be your best friend for this one, for there is a world of webinars and podcasts that are available for the ones who can keep some time aside every day or week to attend some.
Webinars and podcasts, along with the live screening of conferences and events relevant to your industry, are bountiful sources of knowledge and learning opportunities for those who know how to use them to enhance and hone their existing set of skills.
More than picking up a new skill, attending webinars and podcasts from the bigwigs of your industry can help you have in-depth knowledge of the multiple specialities of your area of expertise.
Upskilling can be a fabulous way that you can bring in a fresh start in your career or simply go about collecting laurels that help you increase your employability and credibility quotient needed for professional growth and prosperity.
In an increasingly interconnected world, upskilling takes your career a long way, and often down roads that await growth and prosperity for your profession in the days to come. Go ahead and start planning your upskill phase before it is too late!