With hundreds of millions of Americans staying home due to the Coronavirus, and with millions currently also furloughed or recently laid off, many of us have more free time than ever before. While it is tempting to fill that time with the latest binge-worthy show on streaming (and we do recommend this in moderation), another option is to “upskill.”
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is learning new skills or technology that add to your value as an employee. Depending on your field, the skills will vary significantly, but any time you’re learning something new that will help you in your career, you’re upskilling.
What is the value in upskilling?
Upskilling is valuable for many reasons. Upskilling can:
- Help you fill employment gaps.
- Keep you on top of your skills while you are between jobs.
- Make you more competitive than other candidates.
- Allow you to apply for positions you didn’t previously have the skills and experience to apply for.
- Show employers that you value learning and take initiative.
What are some skills that are valuable across different industries?
While “hard skills” will vary significantly by industry or position, there are some “soft skills” that hiring managers have identified as the most important traits they’re looking for in a candidate.
These valuable soft skills, according to The Muse, include drive, self-awareness, accountability, tenacity, empathy, authenticity, ingenuity, being a fast learner, and having a positive attitude.
Where do I go in my industry to upskill?
The first place to start when looking to upskill is any organizations that exist in your space. For example, if you are someone working in a retail store, you would want to start with the National Retail Federation. Currently, the foundation is offering a free course to upskill retail workers and help skill workers looking to get into the retail industry.
Whether you’re in the trucking industry, customer service, manufacturing, etc. there are national organizations in your space with webinars, courses, and more you can take advantage of. Also consider checking out the website of other workplace organizations like unions, human resource organizations, and more general websites like Fairygodboss or The Balance Careers.
And if you can think of a skill that you’d like to learn off the top of your head, just type it into Google and hit search. You’re more than likely to find someone offering a course or blog post with free or low-cost information.
Resources worth a look for upskilling
Google offers various certifications and trainings on their online tools and platforms available in their Skillshop.
Udemy offers a course in just about anything from business, to technology, to personal development, and more. Most courses have a fee; however, those fees are relatively low cost starting at $13.
Similar to Udemy, Skillshare offers courses in almost anything, however they do not charge per course and instead charge a monthly membership after a 14-day free trial.
If you’re looking for more academic, computing, or finance courses, check out Khan Academy. Their courses are completely free and taught by some of the top educators in their fields.
Dig into slideshows and recorded lectures on LinkedIn Slideshare. People upload and share their presentations and make them available for public viewing, and just about any topic is available. Start with the featured presentations for a more relevant selection of courses.
These are just a few places that provide resources for upskilling for a broad audience. As mentioned previously, for skills specific to your industry, visit websites of organizations, companies, and unions relevant in your space.
I’ve learned a new skill, what next?
Okay, so you’ve taken the time to learn a new skill. Congrats! Now you need to update your resume to add the new skill. If you don’t already have a skills section, consider adding one to highlight these new skills. If you’re active on LinkedIn or have profiles on job search sites like ZipRecruiter, you’ll want to update those profiles to reflect your new skills as well.