In the past, advancing your career has typically involved networking — i.e., who you know — and demonstrating a strong work ethic. Nowadays, both of those elements still play a part, but so too does increasing the skillset you hold going beyond your current position. Below is a brief exploration into how important upskilling is in today’s aggressive job market and ways employees can make themselves more marketable.

Why Upskilling Is Becoming a Necessity

As technology rapidly advances, it can have ­at times dramatic effects on how an organization operates. Whether it’s a new form of automation software revolutionizing food manufacturing processes or an updated version of task management software necessary for assistant project manager jobs, these developments are continuously being implemented by companies across industries in an effort to stay competitive.

Consequently, employees must adapt to these technological modernizations by gaining the required technical knowledge and skills to operate or properly utilize them. If unable to keep pace with the changes, employers may be forced to find new talent or otherwise fill the gap by offering upskilling opportunities.

More and more companies are realizing the benefit of opting for the latter option as hiring, onboarding and retaining talent becomes increasingly detrimental to the bottom line. There are other benefits for companies as well. For instance, when an organization offers upskilling opportunities, employees feel valued and more assured of their place in the future of the company. Increased employee engagement, motivation, morale, retention and even customer satisfaction have also been reported as a result of investing in the growth of employees.

Upskilling Strategies to Advance Your Career

If you want to stay relevant in your industry, remain a valuable asset within a company and grow your career, upskilling may be just the ticket. As fortune would have it, there are plenty of routes you can take to do just that.

One common approach to enhancing a skillset is to enroll in a credential program or take job-specific courses online. Available for a wide variety of topics or even for specialty software, these coaching sessions are often affordable or could even be eligible for reimbursement through a company’s benefits program. What’s more, such online training platforms offer the convenience of learning at your own pace and at a time which works for you. Many find this accessibility preferable to on-site development sessions scheduled at specific times.

Another approach is through mentoring. Learning from the experts at your place of work or a mentor you have connections to is a great way to gain practical, real-world insight. If you’re serious about upskilling, enquire with the higher ups in your company about such mentorship opportunities. The advice and experience you stand to gain could be much more impactful than what is found in a classroom setting.

If there isn’t enough time in your workday or the company doesn’t provide job shadowing, you could opt for “lunch-and-learn” sessions. Held over your lunch breaks, this type of upskilling opportunity places an emphasis on training in short bursts and typically involves guidance from an expert outside of the company. While microlearning sessions such as these can be demanding, they give you the chance to gain knowledge on a specific subject without sacrificing too much free time.

Does this seem too much to take on at the moment? That’s okay. The key is to take steps when and where you can to improve upon your current skill set. One of the first steps you can do now is to create your own personal development plan. Start by identifying the abilities you wish to cultivate or skills you wish to gain. Then, lay out a timeframe for achieving these goals with a preferred method of learning. You may also want to consider running the plan by others in your desired position or from career development professionals to gain further insight and enrich the strategy where you can.

For further information on the rise of upskilling as well as what employers and workers can do to upskill effectively, please see the accompanying resource.

This infographic was created by Michael Page, an employment agency for assistant project manager jobs

Author bio: Nicole Marie is Senior Content Executive at Michael Page, an international recruiting firm. Before joining the recruitment industry, she worked in media and journalism. She now covers employment trends and insights in a variety of industries such as construction, technology and marketing.

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