How to upskill outside of the office?

Today’s working world requires continuous learning and upskilling to be successful in your career. It has also become evident that new skills need to be acquired faster to continue growing within your organisation and the industry. Working professionals either invest their own time or get permission from their HR department to take external courses or upskill from company experts. Regardless of carving out your path, it is critical to know factors on how you can continue building on your existing skill set. Here are some tips on how you can upskill outside the office:

1. Networking

Networking is a critical part of any job hunt. Many people find their next job through networking. Many job seekers mistakenly believe that the only way to network is to attend job fairs or put their resumes on job boards. This is a passive approach and is a numbers game. You are hoping that someone will respond if you reach out to enough people. An active approach to networking is to create relationships. The more people you know, the more likely you will find someone who can help you in hiring.

2. Conferences and workshops

Conferences and workshops can be a great way to develop your skills, network with peers and experts in your field and gain new insights from industry thought leaders. It would be best to be careful when picking your conferences and panels. You may also want to consider organising your conference. It might sound like a lot of work, but it can be a great way for you to meet people in your industry. It can also be a great way to show off your skills, get publicity and make connections that can help you advance your career.

3. Certifications

Depending on where you want to go with your career and the type of job that you have, you may want to take a certification exam. As employees, certification exams are a way to prove that you have mastered a skill or subject that you need to advance in your career or get promoted. Certifications can also be among factors helpful if you are looking for a new job. While hiring, some employers require their employees to be certified to show they are trained and qualified for their jobs. If you want to go this route, picking a certification in high demand in your industry is important. This way, you’ll have an easier time finding work.

4. Online courses

Another way to upskill is to find online courses. You can visit online course platforms like edX, Coursera, and Udemy. You can also use sites like Skillshare, Lynda or TED-Ed to find online courses. These sites let you learn about new skills, including those you can use at work and others that help you relax and de-stress. Many of these sites will let you audit the course for free. They also often let you pay what you want for a paid course. You can usually find online courses, from programming to marketing to photography. Several online communities let you connect with like-minded people and learn from one another as you upskill.

5. Books

Finally, you can also upskill by reading books. You might have a lot of free time, or you might not have easy access to online courses. You can build your knowledge in a multitude of topics by reading books. It’s easy to do and a low-cost way to upskill. You can find books in your local library, bookstore (or even online). You can also join a reading challenge like the Reading Challenge hosted by the Reading Challenge Network or #ReadDnD hosted by the Dungeons and Dragons Academy. These challenges encourage you to read more and can help you build your skills. Reading books is one of the factors to upskill because you can choose the topics that interest you.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see people attending a lecture or reading a book while waiting at a doctor’s office. It is not because they have nothing to do but because everyone is trying to learn something new. You are doing a great job if you always look for new ways to upskill and keep your mind engaged. And with the numerous options for upskilling outside the office, there is no excuse for not keeping your mind engaged and building on your existing skill set.

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