10 ways to upskill in your current role

By Hannah Kingston

Friday September 11, 2020

team-meeting

With the unemployment rate currently sitting at 7.4% and high competition for jobs forecasted to continue on a steady trajectory upwards, there has never been a more crucial time to upskill within your current role while also taking a broader look at your career goals.

Whether or not you are stressed about job stability, it is always a good idea to broaden your horizons. 2020 and the challenges that have come with it could be the ultimate motivation to get you focused.

10 ways to upskill in your current role:

  1. Look out for new learning opportunities in and outside the office
  2. Consider completing a course relevant to your interest area
  3. Identify and ask for stretch opportunities at work
  4. Advocate for lunchtime workshops at work
  5. Stay tuned into industry updates
  6. Join a professional society or organization
  7. Become a mentor or mentee
  8. Network!
  9. Complete some career mapping
  10. Consider consulting or freelancing

Look out for new learning opportunities in and outside the office

There so many opportunities to learn on a daily basis, both in and outside the workplace.

Within your workplace, you could try:

  • To sit in on meetings and better understand other department’s roles and processes,
  • Set up lunches with people in different departments to get a better understanding of how they work; and
  • Put your hand up to offer assistance on tasks that are usually not associated with your skillset.

Outside of your workplace, you could try:

  • Sign up to free events and webinars regarding the subject you would like to upskill in,
  • Gather reading materials to learn more about a subject matter; and
  • See if there are any free online certifications you can gain on a subject matter.

Consider completing a course relevant to your interest area

Once you have either gained some experience or have done enough research to convince yourself that upskilling in this particular subject areas is a worthy time investment, you should consider completing a part-time course to formalize your education on that topic area.

Depending on your employer, you may be able to get your course funded, if you sell the idea to them. Instead of focusing on what the course will do for you, instead, hone in on what it will do for the organization at large. Your business knowledge coupled with new skills should feel like a no brainer to your employer if you pitch it to them correctly.

Identify and ask for stretch opportunities at work

Stretch opportunities are defined as tasks or projects that go beyond your current knowledge or skill level. Stretch opportunities don’t always come about and often they are not given away easily but when you do have the chance, you should put your hand up.

Few employers will turn down well-placed enthusiasm if you are hoping to upskill, getting hands-on experience, as well as tangible results, will help you to build up your portfolio.

Advocate for lunchtime workshops at work

There are plenty of ways that you can make work a place for deeper learning. Workshops are one of them. For example, if you work in marketing but would like to gain skills in graphic design, it would be a much smarter use of your time to see what the career looks like for someone who has been doing it for years.

Lunchtime workshops allow for better visibility across the team, but also allow you to continuously build out your upskilling research and implementation. Two for the price of one – result!

Stay tuned into industry updates

The world is moving faster than ever. If you want to continue to progress within your role, and indeed within your industry, you need to be tuned into the latest developments, even if that means becoming a pro in the hardware and software that the company uses, forecasting competitor’s behaviours or being able to predict and quickly analyze movements in your environment at large.

This helps you to stay competitive, whether you are the employer or employee.

Join a professional society or organization

Joining a professional society or organisation offers you the unique opportunity to better understand your industry from both internal and external team members.

Joining a professional association or industry group can help you to continuously upskill. According to a survey carried out by Hays, 22% of respondents were members of a professional organisation.

Joining a professional society or organization gives you the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and gather new insights which will help you to grow and develop within your role.

Become a mentor or mentee

Becoming a mentor or mentee, while they are both two different activities, can provide equally beneficial dividends. If you become a mentor, you are upskilling in leadership skills, as well as other soft skills such as teaching, communications and team building.

If you become the mentee, you have the opportunity to learn from someone who has more experience than you, this also gives you the opportunity to network and build a relationship with someone who can open doors and vouch for you.

Network!

On that note of developing interpersonal skills, network! 85% of positions are filled through networking, 70% of people found a job through connections in a company, and 95% of professionals consider face to face communication vital for long term business according to data released by Review42.

Networking infinitely broadens your horizons, whether you are on the lookout for new learning opportunities or you are looking for a new job. Staying connected with the people you work with and those in your industry will pay off in the future if you ever need to call in a favour.

Complete some career mapping

Mapping out your future will help you to stay on top of your efforts as you continuously progress in your career.

To stay on path, try career mapping in which you connect the dots of what you are currently doing in the present and where you want your career to go in the future.  Connecting with a career counsellor may help you on this one.

Consider consulting or freelancing

Once you have built up your new skills, why not consider turning it into a side hustle? If there are roadblocks currently in your way for flexing your new skills at work, you should still try to put your new expertise to the test. Try to gain feedback via consulting or freelancing. As you build up a portfolio of work and clients, you will learn and improve via the practical hands-on work.

Share your upskill experiences in the comments below!

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