Upskilling refers to building your skills for work through formal training or informal learning. Often, this can mean taking a class through a training provider where you learn new “hard skills,” or those things you need to perform the more technical aspects of your job. You can also upskill by developing or enhancing your “soft skills” (many prefer the term “people skills” or “personal skills”).
Employers look for people who are trained to do the jobs they need to be done. They also want employees to be adaptable thinkers, problem solvers, communicators, and leaders. In some cases, employers know and expect that they’ll have to train employees on the specific technical skills of the job but believe that the personal and communication skills are ultimately the best predictor of success on the job.
Reasons to consider upskilling?
- Get better at specific skills for your current job
- Advance more quickly at your company or in your industry with a broader knowledge base
- Build your resume
- Develop a habit of lifelong learning and constant improvement
- Demonstrate leadership, drive, and a commitment to growth by taking the initiative to gain new skills and knowledge
- Make connections and prepare for your future—you never know when you’ll meet someone who can help you take the next step in your career
What can I do to upskill my career?
- Offer to take on a new project at work. Through this process, you’ll likely have the opportunity to learn something new.
- Attend industry workshops and panel discussions and read trade publications.
- Talk to your employer about the kind of training that might be available at or through work, and may even be paid for.
- Receive formal training through an industry training partner (might be a vendor, an Idaho Workforce Training Center, community college, or online provider)
- Consider taking a college class. Hundreds of colleges and universities offer versions of classes offered on their campuses, also known as Massive Open Online Courses or MOOC’s, often at no cost, through websites like Coursera or EdX.