The one thing that is constant is change. This has been especially true this past year with a global pandemic disrupting many norms. But even in its absence, progress and new innovations would be occurring. This is especially true in areas like technology, where keeping up-to-date is essential. For this reason, it’s important that your career strategies for success include “upskilling” as a regular activity. In order to be competitive and to advance in your career field, constantly seeking new skills and knowledge is imperative.
Upskilling can be defined as ongoing investment in your knowledge, talents, experience, and attitude. These career strategies involve a commitment to lifelong learning in an effort to move toward your ultimate career goals. As you might imagine, the bolder your career goals, the more assertive you need to be in your upskilling pursuits. And luckily, there are a variety of ways you can easily attain more advanced skills within your career. By knowing where the best resources lie, you can create your own personalized plan for ongoing success.
Knowing Where to Start
Before jumping into the variety of different upskilling opportunities, it’s first important to identify your specific needs. Learning for the sake of learning is great, but without focus, it may not take you where you want. Therefore, there are a few questions you’ll want to explore. The first naturally involves the direction you want your career to go. If the advancement demands skills and knowledge you currently don’t possess, then acquiring those will be a priority. The same applies to specific certifications, degrees, or other acknowledgements as well. Not all upskilling opportunities provide such documentation. So, make sure your career strategies in this regard match your long-term goals.
If your career strategies involve staying with the same employer, then there are few additional considerations. Specifically, are the upskilling activities you’re thinking about of value to the company? Will they allow you to perform key tasks or explore new opportunities that aligns with the company’s vision? Likewise, it’s also important to consider the quality of the training and education being offered. Like anything, some upskilling activities are better than others. And since time is a valuable resource, you certainly don’t want to waste your time on those of poor quality.
Four Great Career Strategies for Upskilling
Today, individuals no longer stay with a single organization throughout their career. In fact, many change professions along the way and explore different career opportunities over time. (For more on exploring different opportunities and carving out new careers, check out this Project Bold Life story.) Understanding this, upskilling plays a much larger role in your own personal brand development. The more skills and knowledge you acquire, the more attractive you’ll be to potential employers. With this in mind, the following are 4 important areas to explore in your upskilling pursuits.
- Taking Advantage of In-House Training Resources – Last year, Amazon announced it would be spending $700 million on its Upskilling 2025 The year before, AT&T committed $1 billion for employee training. Many companies today realize the need to keep their workforce current in terms of the skills they need. And this works out well for employees who want to include lifelong learning as one of the ongoing career strategies. Before you look elsewhere, see what upskilling and training opportunities exist at your current job. Not only will this likely be a free resource, but also one that shows others your commitment to improvement.
- Enrolling in Online and Local Educational Courses – In addition to job-related upskilling opportunities, there are also thousands of online resources as well. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) offer a vast array of continuing education courses from top universities. (Read more about continuing education courses in this Project Bold Life story.) Many of these are free while others may require a fee for certificates or more formal coursework documentation. Also, companies like Coursera, Udacity, edX and many others can provide additional educational options. Many in the workforce routines enroll in these programs as part of their ongoing career strategies for advancement. These are also great for any type of educational interests that aren’t necessarily career-related.
- Identifying Quality Mentors and Guides – Of all the career strategies related to upskilling, this one is perhaps the least utilized. Not all companies have mentoring programs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue them. Identifying key role models in your profession expands options for acquiring important knowledge. Insights gained from mentors are not always the same gained from other upskilling pursuits. Their implicit knowledge can complement other educational activities that can help you excel. For these reasons, try to target key individuals who you believe can help you and ask for their guidance. This might be one of the most rewarding career strategies you end up choosing.
- Exploring New Opportunities and Responsibilities – Another excellent upskilling strategy is to be consider taking on new responsibilities in your current position. Being assertive and proactive demonstrates a willingness to learn and advance. Likewise, identifying areas where improvements are needed show initiative. Both tend to be appealing traits that employers appreciate. At the same time, these activities will offer great learning experiences to enhance your talents. The key is to avoid being overly aggressive in your pursuits and to make sure suggestions align with company goals. With these caveats, these career strategies can also help you become a more attractive prospect for advancement.
Embracing a Change Mindset
One of the most important things we can do to enhance our upskilling abilities is to simply be more flexible. All too often, we become comfortable with the status quo and resist opportunities for change. When that happens, however, we don’t learn at the necessary pace to advance our careers as well. We tend to stagnate or allow others who include upskilling in their career strategies to surpass us. Given how rapid change occurs in today’s world, developing a change mindset is essential. This combined with the upskilling activities above can go a long want in helping you attain bold career success.
Want to make 2021 a better year than 2020? Then check out PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success.