How to upskill yourself into a future proof role at your current company

by | Oct 18, 2022

When your career prospects do not speak to your ambitions, chances are that you lack the skills to advance to the next stage or that your skills are outdated. This happens because the global career landscape constantly shifts to reflect the current market needs. And in fact, this changing environment usually means that people with current skills get priority on opportunities to move up the career ladder. 

In the modern, digital, fast-paced, and competitive work environment, upskilling and getting these in-demand skills enables you to grow within and outside your current company. 

According to 74% of hiring managers, a massive digital skills gap exists in the market. This means that plenty of new, hidden, and missed opportunities are waiting for people with the right skills to fill them up. It also means you can advance your career by learning how to use new in-demand software through upskilling. You don’t need decades of experience either; there are plenty of opportunities to gain new digital skills. For example, taking online courses allows you to build experience by working on hands-on projects. You can improve your resume and interviews by working with a career coach to identify your transferable skills and meaningful professional experiences. 

All you need is motivation and ambition. We can help you identify ways to upskill to grow within your current organization. 

Our guide on upskilling yourself into better roles at your current organization below will help you get a start: 

 

Reskilling versus upskilling

According to the World Economic Forum, the pace of technological advancement and automation is projected to create more than 97 million new jobs by 2025. At the same time, the skills gap is no closer to being closed and we’ll face an even greater skills shortage. 

Reskilling and upskilling will become the go-to strategies for employers to combat this perennial skills shortage. Collectively, reskilling and upskilling can allow an organization to develop and hone the skills necessary to remain competitive. 

They can also help employees and job seekers gain credibility and increase their chances of getting new and better roles. However, while they share a common goal, upskilling and reskilling have varying contexts.

 

What is upskilling?

Upskilling refers to the process of employees learning new skills or getting new experiences that optimize their performance and facilitate their progression up the career ladder. Employees also upskill to help close existing talent gaps. Generally, upskilling involves continuous education and enables you to advance along your current career path. 

 

What is reskilling?

Also known as professional recycling, reskilling is the concept of employees training or learning to adapt to new roles within the same organization. Reskilling provides a lateral learning experience and makes you better equipped to handle new challenges or a role that requires a different skill set than what you currently possess.

Upskilling and reskilling are prerequisites for organizational success and can be done through certifications, on-job training, mentorship, formal training, or secondments. It is estimated that nearly half of the current workforce will require reskilling by 2025. In this case, self-motivated individuals who go out of their way to learn new skills and become early adopters stand to gain more. They will first impress their employers and get promoted within the current company or stand out enough to attract the attention of other skills-short companies. 

Likewise, organizations that invest in upskilling and reskilling will likely drive their success by filling in the skills gap and motivating the existing workforce to embrace new skills.  

Benefits of upskilling

Below are the benefits of upskilling yourself and advancing your career.

  • Make career changes

Upskilling can help you land a coveted promotion or another better role at a different organization. 

  • Get a higher pay

Upskilling grants you the leverage you need to be entitled to higher pay or benefits. The general assumption is that the more skilled and top talent you are, the more an organization will invest in you.

  • Keeps you updated with market trends

Upskilling introduces you to new people, concepts, places, etc., giving you valuable exposure and essential connections. Staying updated gives you a competitive edge and a chance to consider different paths.

  • Strengthens job security

Since upskilling increases your competitive advantage, it also increases your job security. You’re more likely to retain your job as a valuable, highly-skilled employee. 

  • Upskilling improves employee engagement

Do you get tired of the same daily motions at work? Picking up new skills can help you change gears. Upskilling can improve your work life by making you productive, engaged, and satisfied. 

Upskilling can satisfy an employee’s and employer’s needs simultaneously. Employers who invest in their employees’ upskilling and reskilling can fill massive skills gaps and retain employees longer. 

94% of employees are willing to stick to employers who invest in their careers. As a job seeker, it is advisable to check for upskilling opportunities within a potential hiring organization.

 

How to upskill yourself

Below are ways to upskill yourself and advance your career.

Set goals

Setting and understanding your goals is essential before you know what you should learn. Consider careers attractive to you and the requisite skills to distinguish you from other prospective candidates.

Determine where you need to improve

Once you know and have set your goals, discover what will stop you from achieving them. This is a knowledge gap and can enlighten you on how to proceed. Consult with individuals who’ve undertaken the same path and learn more about their training. This way, you can determine the knowledge gap to help you know where to focus on. 

Work on soft skills

Soft skills are just as essential as technical skills training. These skills can help you elevate your performance in different ways. Types of soft skills include:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Persuasive skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Self-management
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management. 

Soft skills can make you more marketable and give you a competitive advantage. The benefits of acquiring soft skills include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved customer service
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Great ability to adapt
  • Improved team dynamics.

While technical skills are in high demand, career growth is especially strong for individuals with a good balance of hard and soft skills. 

According to a Harvard research report, jobs requiring high social skills scaled by 12% while fewer social job opportunities dropped. As such, while upskilling, especially gaining new technical skills, ensure you also focus on soft skills. These give employers the impression that you’re a team player and can work well with others to achieve higher productivity levels.

Establish a strategy for learning and training

Once you’ve set your goals and identified the knowledge gap, it’s time to design a learning and training strategy. Various strategies exist depending on personal situations and preferences. Some of the common methods you can copy for learning and training include:

  • Take Upskill Courses Virtually. Fortunately, you don’t have to visit a classroom, spend time commuting or schedule physical classes to perfect your soft and hard skills.
  • Consider Microlearning During Your Free Time. Microlearning is the process of learning in small, manageable bits. The learning is conveniently broken down into several most minor possible parts that are easy to learn and digest. This way, you won’t have to overwhelm your daily schedule.
  • Find A Mentor to Share New Skills with You. With a mentor, you can shadow them to understand how they do things and interact with their colleagues. This also means you are taught and mentored in the environment where the skills will be utilized.

 

Enroll in training programs offered by your employer

Organizations currently understand the value of investing in their employees. Employers understand the growing need for employees to desire personal and professional growth. Most employers now provide learning opportunities such as online or in-house training courses. 

As a job seeker or employer seeking better jobs, it is vital to check whether the target employer provides training programs and opportunities to help you grow professionally and personally. This is often an essential part of employers’ retention strategies. Therefore, organizations focused on growth offer world-class faculty and are constantly involved in these personal or professional development programs. 

Report back to your team on your learnings

Once you have acquired new skills, you can consider sharing them with your colleagues. This is a good form of accountability and allows you to educate the rest of the team on key things you’ve learned or acquired during the learning and training process. 

In most cases, the organization is in charge of the upskilling learning and development programs. Since they outsource their upskilling needs to reliable industry leaders such as Pathstream, it is only befitting that you report your progress, review, and feedback on the learning process.

Bonus tips

Still, looking for ways to upskill yourself in a new role? Extra tips when it comes to effective upskilling include:

  • Practice your newly acquired skills. Once you learn a skill, you need to practice it. The more confidence you gain, the easier it becomes to discover how to maximize your new skills fully. You can test out the skills in a low-risk manner. Then, once you’ve impressed yourself and your employers, you can request more opportunities to practice and hone your skills. 
  • Keep learning. Technological advancement and massive digital growth are constantly evolving. This means that new information will come up that will need to be practically interpreted by human labor. As such, you can take the initiative and chase more knowledge. Upskilling is a continuous form of learning. You can develop a proper learning strategy to help you accommodate your time once you choose to pursue subsequent training and upskilling opportunities. 

 

Key takeaways

Upskilling is a broadly embraced concept that involves individuals (employed or not) learning new relevant skills to give them a competitive advantage in their current or prospective job positions. Upskilling can benefit both employers and employees. 

For starters, upskilling can help you as an employer to make a career change, negotiate higher pay, and improve your productivity. Upskilling helps employers maintain or increase their employee retention rates. It also allows employers to attract top talent with the right skill set. 

However, upskilling still requires you to understand what you want before beginning. Therefore, ensure you set goals, understand the knowledge gap, and establish a proper strategy for learning and training. 

Are you looking for upskilling opportunities? At Pathstream, our mission is to help equip modern employees with highly relevant and productive skills such as digital marketing, project management, etc. We provide top-of-the-line upskilling opportunities aligned with your personal and professional goals. Check out our programs to learn more

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