According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 74% of hiring managers are experiencing a skills gap in the workforce, which makes hiring top talent a challenge. This means that there is an abundance of opportunity for skilled job seekers right now.
For those who find themselves with the right set of skills, 2022 is the right time to make a professional move.
This is why upskilling – increasing your skill levels – is so important.
So, how should you go about upskilling in order to best position yourself in the market?
Identify the Right Areas
The first step is to target the skillset you wish to expand. These individual areas of focus will depend on your industry and specific expertise, but there are categories of skills to help point you in the right direction:
- Soft Skills: These are typically interpersonal, or communication based. Soft skills include emotional intelligence, teamwork, time management, flexibility, and conflict resolution. They are sought-after in nearly every industry.
- Data/Technical Skills: As technology becomes integral to most industries, these are more essential than ever. They include analytics, software development, programming, data visualization, digital marketing, and social media.
- Leadership: Many leadership skills are also soft skills, but they become more important as you advance in your career. This category includes decision-making, honesty, resilience, empathy, motivation, delegation, and ability to deliver feedback.
- Industry-Specific Skills: As the title suggests, these will be dependent on your specific industry. For someone in construction, this could mean getting a specific accreditation. On the other hand, a lawyer may need to brush up on their research or reading comprehension. Targeting these skills will take some time, analysis, and industry knowledge.
Develop a Plan
Once you’ve identified the right targets, you’ll want to develop an upskilling plan. Set your goals, ensuring they’re achievable and realistic. Then, chart a course that will allow you to reach those goals by choosing learning opportunities that fit with your schedule.
This can take the form of a traditional class or online course, which will be useful for data/technical skills and industry-specific skills. If these aren’t flexible enough for you, look into video content on a platform such as YouTube. You can watch these lessons on-demand, learning in chunks at a time. You can also find a mentor in your specific field to help you learn through their experience.
For soft and leadership skills, coaching or volunteer work could be extremely beneficial. This is especially true for parents, as it offers an opportunity to hone your skills while also spending quality time with your family.
Find what will work best for you and your schedule and dive in.
Hold Yourself Accountable and Record Progress
Accountability is key, as it will ensure you reach your upskilling goals within your desired timeframe. Assess progress on a regular basis and take note of milestones. This will not only show you how far you’ve come, but also give you examples to point to in job interviews. It will also boost your confidence.
If you think you need some extra motivation, ask loved ones to check in, as well. This is where positive peer pressure can come into play.
Don’t forget to reward yourself, too. That way, you can properly celebrate your achievements and motivate yourself to keep going on your upskilling journey.
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