2020 has taught us that life can be unpredictable. Whether you find yourself laid off, furloughed or just anxious about the future, upskilling can help you. We are going to explore how you can stay professionally relevant and use this time to better yourself as a prospective candidate or employee.

 Upskill is defined as; to learn additional skills.

Here are some ways you can upskill as an employee.

Prepare: It’s better to be over prepared than underprepared. If you are currently out of work, you should have an answer prepared before anyone asks you about it. Your answer should be well articulated and include what you have been doing with yourself in regard to work in the meantime. For example, “ I was laid off because… In the meantime I have been taking an online course about…”.

Research: Data from May, 2020 shows a 100% increase in directors and a 104% increase in executives joining sales conversations compared to pre-covid levels (Co-Schedule). Doing research on industry trends will give you a better understanding of how COVID-19 has affected the processes and regulations we knew prior to the pandemic. Research processes, compare companies that are thriving to those that are suffering, and look at the overall market. 

Educate: One way to put yourself at an advantage is by educating yourself further in your industry. This can include enrolling in courses, getting further certifications and even finding a mentor. If these options are too expensive for you, keep up to date with industry news and trends or pick one topic to research weekly. Join Facebook or LinkedIn groups that relate to your industry, position or professional interests.  

Master: Mastering a new technology is a great way to use your down time. If you are in the technology field, this can be learning to better use a certain software or application. If you are in sales, this can involve becoming familiar with more Customer Relationship Management tools. Are there any contract positions you can take on to keep your skills sharp? The more technological skills you can add to your skill set, the more qualified you will be for opportunities that arise.

All of these actions can put you ahead and help you stay on top as a professional in your industry. If you are looking for employment opportunities, these steps will prepare you and connect you with other professionals who may be able to help you. Even if you are not currently seeking employment, these tools can help you sharpen your skills and be prepared for the future.