The future holds tremendous growth opportunities. Although, only those who adapt and adopt the upcoming technological drift will prosper. But how do we prepare for it? As job markets shift and conventional roles retire with automation, what do we bring to the table? The answer lies in upskilling.
A single most potent tool like it can flip the entire career, add value to it, and expand job prospects. Stick till the very end to know-how.
What is Upskilling?
To upskill means to add value to your existing skills or learn additional new skills. This is the simplest upskilling definition.
Technically speaking, it is the relevant skills acquired by future-oriented people.
This learning or knowledge addition is the best way to survive the complete digital transformation forecasted at workplaces. It massively benefits your career by broadening employment opportunities. Moreover, you remain competitive in a fluctuating market.
Companies have redirected their focus to dedicate ample funds for rigorous employee training, considering the value addition by upskilling. Along with such on-the-job training facilities, learning skills on your own and gaining formal qualifications are ways to upskill yourself. Depending on your time and resource allocation, you can learn anything in a budget-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient manner. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and digital skills learning platforms are now more preferred than formal education and official training. But first, you have to identify the areas you need to upskill.
Areas to Upskill Yourself
If you have decided to gain a professional competitive edge, begin by tracing all skills in demand. The best upskilling strategy is to start niche-specific research. It will firstly highlight your skill gap and then provides you with a list of skills to acquire. Apart from this, here are some general methods that help upskill your career quickly.
#1 Work on Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are your interpersonal qualities and character traits that influence relationships in the workplace. Their significance has scaled over the years as LinkedIn Global Talent Report 2019 identifies it crucial for a successful career.
This is because rapid workplace automation demands people with:
- nifty emotional intelligence
- good communication
- sound leadership
- peer interaction
- quick decision making
- problem solving
To satisfy this need, you can improve your soft skills in the following ways:
- Be mindful of your behaviour at work.
- Try to incorporate an optimistic and likeable workplace attitude.
- Influence people through your actions.
- Take responsibility for all your decisions.
- Gain managerial and leadership qualities.
- Analyze your relationship with co-workers.
- Seek mentorship from a skilled professional at the workplace or outside.
- Participate in active networking to build connections. This also gives you a chance to experiment and put freshly acquired interpersonal skills to use.
Since soft skill training is likely to be imparted in a conventional setting, you can sharpen them with practice. The most logical way is to develop Emotional Intelligence (EQ). It is highly significant to upskilling. As machines lack emotional maturity and understanding, people with an impressive EQ will forever be in-demand.
#2 Develop Creative Thinking
While analytical thinking is the mechanics behind hard skills, employers actively seek creative problem-solvers. These people can bring innovative solutions, productivity, and freshness to operations at workplaces. For this reason, creativity has become the number one soft skill today. Since it is irrespective of niche or verticals, creative thinking is central to all careers.
Consequently, it is a heavily contributing factor to upskill yourself for the future.
If you are not much of a creative thinker, adopt these effective ways to unlock your creative powers.
#3 Upskill All Your Hard Skills
Learning a skill is not a one time process. It requires regular upkeep and up-gradation. Be it soft or hard skills, both have to be polished from time to time. Thus, making them current and impactful.
Unlike soft skills, you can conventionally improve your technical skills. Training, certificate programs, online and degree courses, internships are practical ways to do so.
Here are a few additional tips to upgrade your hard skills:
- Research and try to stay involved in your industry. Track all its latest developments and upcoming opportunities.
- Try to predict development patterns to stay ahead in the skills game.
- Find credible sources to gain rich knowledge and become an avid reader.
- Follow your passions to develop interests into expertise.
- Put new learning to practice.
These are the three broad domains that demand regular upskilling. But since their mere identification is not enough, learn practical methods to get upskilled.
10 Ways to Upskill Successfully
The World Economic Forum report, Towards a Reskilling Revolution, suggests that the Fourth Industrial Revolution demands re-skill and upskilling of the workforce. This is to safeguard them against workplace automation. Here, upskilling and reskilling are two suggested pathways. Many of us, however, use them interchangeably.
But there lies a big difference between upskilling and reskilling.
Here, upskilling refers to adding new skills to the existing ones, and reskilling is about learning new skills.
This difference between reskilling and upskilling is necessary to know where you or your employees stand in a gradually automating market. After understanding this difference, the real question arises - how to upskill yourself to own your future? The answer lies in the steps below:
#1 Become a Forever Learner
Adding skills is all about new learning. Moreover, it fosters a cultural shift in the current digitally advanced age. This implies that you become a forever learner. Please do not shy away from learning and step into it with open arms. Harbouring such a mindset will enable you to transform into a flexible, agile, aware, and culturally diverse professional.
#2 Embrace Technology
High-tech engineering and the emergence of disruptive technology is your anchor to survive in a tech-savvy world. The faster you adapt to it, the better. Technological advancement has taken learning to the next level. Texting, audio, and video conferencing are various ways in which technology helps you to upskill.
If you wish to survive the onset of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the corporate realm, tap into these most-demanded 10 skillsets to develop to compete with AI.
#3 Identify and Set a Realistic Target
Every pre-learning ritual involves two steps:
- Taking credibility of your learning
- Setting realistic learning goals
They are one of the many appreciable qualities of all successful people. This is because they make learning easy by diverting focus to a clear target. You should follow the same. Visualize your goal with skills acquisition and formulate a proactive approach.
#4 Use Your Free Time Wisely
Looking for the best way to manage time? Sit down and curate a practical upskilling strategy. The way you regulate your time speaks a lot about your attitude towards life and learning. Good time management not only improves your productivity but is also crucial to your skills development.
Skilful time management is one of the 12 most powerful learning practices used by professionals to upskill continuously.
Therefore, attribute ample time, at least 30-40 minutes every day for training.
#5 Look for Learning Opportunities
Learning new skills will not become an expensive affair if you play your cards right. As mentioned earlier, you can freely access tons of online courses on digital platforms. For instance, learning a new language, improving calligraphy, data analysis, mathematical and STEM education is highly streamlined through digital portals. Here, social learning is yet another popular route to take. Our app, Kool Stories, promotes upskilling and reskilling in a warm, interactive social environment with like-minded people. Thus, knowledge sharing becomes unobstructed and free for all.
Register now to get exclusive access to the app!
Besides these general methods, you can also upskill yourself at home. Empowering. Isn’t it? Here are our tips on how everyone can boost skills remotely:
#6 Sign Up for Training Programs Offered by Your Employer
Today, almost all companies recognize the value of an upskilling workforce. To facilitate the same, they have curated learning opportunities like in-house or virtual training courses. Since this is a part of their retention strategy, companies provide world-class faculty and take a keen interest in such development programs. Enquire if your workplace offers the same and enrol for virtual training quickly.
#7 Have Access to Good Reading Material
Reading is a great way to obtain knowledge. Be it industry-specific information or news on upcoming trends, access to good books or magazines makes a considerable difference. You can also use free audiobooks available online to upskill anytime.
#8 Try Listening to Podcasts
Podcasts, radio, and audiobooks are your valuable companions on this journey of self-improvement. They are a rich source to gain priceless information on an array of topics. Moreover, they save time as you can plug in any time and listen to them.
#9 Find a Virtual Mentor
A mentor plays a crucial role in shaping skills. Therefore, you must choose your mentor carefully and try to contact him/her virtually, if possible. This way, you can build your relationship and continue learning via text messages, audio, and video calling.
#10 Attend Virtual Events, Workshops, and Conferences
Digital learning and social media platforms have witnessed an increased likeability for online events. Because they are convenient, people can chime in from any part of the world and take advantage of virtual learning. Such virtual spaces have emerged as new hotspots for networking and collaborating opportunities.
Before implementing the ways mentioned above to add skills, you must know the effects of upskilling on your future.
What are the Major Upskilling Benefits?
Tracking all the buzz that surrounds upskilling, it is necessary to understand why it is needed in the first place. Before adopting a carefully curated pathway of adding skills, know all these benefits of upskilling on your career:
#1 Makes You Versatile and More Employable
Having useful, extra, and related skills is an asset. For example, a professional writer with exemplary digital marketing expertise will be preferred over others with vanilla writing knowledge. This is because employers look for talent that is versatile, trained, and eager to learn. Hence, adding new skills will always work in your favour.
#2 Enhances Your CV
Skills make your resume outshine. Upgrading your expertise and adding them to your CV casts a good impression on potential employers. The more you learn, the more credible you become, your CV gets a boost, and your chances of getting hired increase. Furthermore, it reflects your appetite for learning.
#3 Keeps You Up-to-date With Market Trends
A freshly brushed up skill set keeps you relevant and abreast with market trends. You meet new people, gain valuable exposure, and make connections. Moreover, it is a gateway to explore new career prospects. Following a passion or pursuing interests gives you room to consider career paths never thought of before.
#4 Improves Your Work Quality and Leads to Satisfaction
Your inclination towards learning is indicative of your desire to improve. This is something employers look for in their workers. Hence, you must undergo training and gain exposure and knowledge to transform into a valuable asset for your company. In the end, superior work quality leads to appreciation, which eventually brings satisfaction. This is the principal benefit of upskilling yourself. Since acquiring related skills is the ultimate way to produce quality work, companies impart skills training facilities to employees that augments their productivity.
#5 Adds to Job Security
Nothing is inevitable in the current job market. It is predicted that many positions in the present climate job market will be undertaken by technology in the future. Since upskilling makes you golden, it increases your job security too. You will gain an edge over others who are less skilled than you. For this, you need to understand development patterns, know all the latest changes, and adopt a learning path accordingly.
It can be clearly identified that upskilling is the best way to future-proof your career. This process of adding to your skillset comes with a bunch of professional and personal gains. It is an essential developmental task that all career-oriented individuals necessarily execute. With the shifting market dynamics, it has become mandatory more than ever. Nowadays, companies take a sincere interest to add value to their workforce by providing skills training and development opportunities. On a more personal level, upskilling yourself should be a top priority. Online social learning and digital skills exchange platforms must be judiciously used for the same.
Q1. Why should you upskill yourself?
Upskilling helps add new skills and improve the existing ones. Therefore, you should upskill yourself to boost your skillset and add to your versatility, discover new career options, polish and upgrade the current skills to stay relevant.
Q2. How often should I Upskill?
Upskilling is not time-bound but situational. If you feel that there are recent developments in your industry, trends or processes that require you to gain knowledge and keep up, it is essential to pay attention to upskilling for personal and professional growth.
Q3. What is the difference between reskilling and upskilling?
Reskilling refers to learning new skills, and upskilling is all about enhancing the current skills and capabilities.
Q4. Why is it important for a worker to engage in upskilling?
Upskilling is necessary to achieve a competitive advantage over your colleagues and progress in your career. Upskilling also becomes essential if you are looking for a career change, adapting to changes in your industry, or adding new skills to your CV.
Q5. How do I upskill myself if I get a job?
Most employers run upskilling training programs to keep their employees updated. If there is no such provision at your current job, you can upskill yourself at home through blogs, social learning platforms, social media, online courses, and podcasts.
Q6. How can I upskill myself for free?
There are several free courses to join where you can learn and upskill yourself. Just keep exploring the online resources.
Q7. How can I upskill my team?
By identifying the skills, you need to push your business forward; you can implement the right strategies. Understanding which people in your team are capable and willing to learn, you can ensure that your company is well ahead of the curve.