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Upskill your way to your dream job

The what, why and how of upskilling to find the job you want.

The world is ever evolving, which means jobs that exist now weren’t even imaginable 30 years ago (we’re looking at you social media content creators). It also means that there is a whole new set of valuable skills you can explore to expand your opportunities and get the role you want.

We’ve previously highlighted some of the amazing transferable skills  you might have. So if you want to take the next step and upskill in a new area or explore a new industry, then this article can help get you started.

While we might focus on more formal jobs, upskilling can look different to different people. It really depends on what you’re interested in and what you would like to achieve in life and work.

What Is Upskilling?

Before we get started talking about why and how to upskill, let’s first define it. To upskill is just a fancy way of saying learn something new. For example, you might want to learn a new skill to have a better chance of getting the job you want. 

Upskilling can come in many different sizes and forms. It could be taking a new course in anything from social media management to something smaller like learning more about Microsoft Excel. Maybe it’s taking a leadership role at a local sport club to improve your people management skills, or learning a new language. Upskilling looks different to everyone and how you should go about it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Do I Need To Upskill?

Knowing whether to upskill can be a difficult question to answer. Depending on what you’re looking for and what your budget is, it’s important to think about how, where and why you’re looking to upskill.

If you’re not sure whether you need (or want) to upskill when applying for a particular job, it can help to ask yourself questions such as:

  • What kind of job am I interested in now, and what job would I like to be prepared for in the future?
  • Do I have the skills and/or qualifications listed in job descriptions for the role I want?
  • Are there areas I could use some help to improve, which would make my application stick out from the crowd?
  • Do I have skills that set me apart from the other applicants that might apply for this kind of job?
  • Do I have experience in the role I want, or skills that can be transferred from another job?
  • Am I interested in transitioning to a job in another industry, which might need some specialist knowledge or skills?
 
Take some time to think about the job you’re after, how you might get the job and whether learning new skills will help you get there. It should make deciding whether to upskill a bit easier.
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I know I want to upskill, where do I start?

Knowing where to start is a real challenge when the opportunities seem endless. Start by narrowing down the skills that are relevant to the job you want, and what you’re interested in. Upskilling comes easier to all of us when we’re excited to learn. You might be wondering, “how do I know which skills are needed for the job I want?”.

A great way to answer this question is to look at job ads for the role or industry you want to work in. Often at the bottom of a job ad, employers will list two sets of skills:

  1. Required: these are the skills and experience you must have to do the job
  2. Desired: these are skills that can set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of getting the job.

Read through and identify which skills, experience and qualifications you have, and where you could grow or improve.

Another way to identify areas where you can upskill is to reflect internally. Ask yourself what skills you’re most interested in, or even which day to day activities you enjoy could transfer into a job. Maybe you love social media and want to look at upskilling in social media management. Or maybe you love trucks and want to learn more about mechanics or logistics. By doing this, you might also find that you’re interested in a change of role or industry.

Where can I upskill?

There are nearly an infinite number of places where you can upskill. Picking the right place for you will depend on the type of skill you’re looking to improve, and whether you want to earn a recognised credential, or simply gain skills.

If the job requires a specific skill, then you may need to undergo a formal form of education or training. If a degree is needed, it is usually stated within the job description. You can always call the hiring manager of a job to ask for clarification.

You may want to brush up on some transferable skills or add some skills to your resume that will make you stick out from other applicants. Maybe you prefer self guided learning via YouTube videos, books or online courses. It’s important to remember that there are a lot of self-proclaimed experts out there, so the main thing is to make sure you get your information from a trusted source. Spend some time researching to make sure any course you take is credible and will help you build the skills you’re after, particularly before you commit financially. Many respected organisations also have resources to get you started. Find out who the experts are in the industry you want to work in, and see if they can point you in the right direction.

 

Whether you want to change jobs or industries, add value to your current job or just want to learn something new, there are opportunities for everyone to upskill. If you’re ready to find a new job, search via the Field today!

Check out some of our other blogs for some more Job Seeker tips:

  1.  Job Seeker profile: put your best self forward
  2.  5 transferable work skills to consider
  3.  Should I disclose my disability to employers?
  4. Fantastic resumes: Get noticed by Employers

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