Upskilling could be a means for you to develop your career and, crucially, increase your earning power in the long term. But what does ‘upskilling’ mean, and how can it help you earn more money? Let’s break it down.
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What upskilling means
Basically, upskilling means teaching yourself new competencies and skills. It’s how you grow your own knowledge base and acquire the abilities you need to get your first job, progress your career or find a new job. Examples of upskilling include:
- attending conferences
- enrolling in a part-time college class
- signing up for free online courses
- volunteering at a local company
- reading self-improvement books
- listening to podcasts
What’s important is that you’re developing an ability you can transfer to your job in some way, whether it’s learning how to navigate Microsoft Excel or improving your presentation skills. Unless you’re learning something new, it’s probably not upskilling.
Why upskilling is worth it
Is it worth spending time developing new skills? Probably, and here’s why.
Improve your CV
Work experience, qualifications and transferable skills look great on your CV. They tell employers that you’re serious about expanding your knowledge and performing any job to the best of your ability.
By upskilling, you’ll boost your CV, look more employable and improve your chances of catching a recruiter’s eye.
Build your network
If you attend conferences, sign up for courses or volunteer in the community, you’ll meet new contacts who could possibly help you find new jobs in the future. You never know, you could even meet a future employer this way!
Negotiate a better salary
Think of it this way: the more employable you are, the easier it is for you to find jobs and seek out better-paying opportunities. And, in turn, if there’s a demand for your particular skill set, you might be able to negotiate a better salary when you’re applying for jobs.
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4 ways to earn more money by upskilling
Want to earn more money by boosting your skill set? Here are four tips to help you get on the right track.
1. Set a plan
First, you need a strategy. To get started, you should identify:
- what your goal is (e.g. getting a promotion)
- what you need to reach your goal (e.g. a qualification)
- how you plan to reach the goal (e.g. enrolling on an online course)
To help you stay focused, write your goal down and return to it regularly.
2. Learn new skills
Next, you need to actually develop the new skills required to reach your goal. Remember, you’re trying to earn more money while spending as little as possible, so here are some suggestions for acquiring new skills without breaking the bank:
- Look for free courses online.
- Ask senior members of your team if you can shadow them.
- Check with management to see if they ever offer mentoring opportunities.
- If you’re a student looking for a first job, send out speculative letters asking for work experience.
3. Look for new opportunities
Okay, so now you’ve got new skills and you’re ready to use them. How do you get started? Here are some ideas:
- Make sure that your employer knows what progress you’ve made.
- Offer to help more senior team members to showcase your new abilities.
- If you have the right skills, ask for more responsibility on key projects.
Remember, upskilling is all about increasing your earning power, so once you’ve successfully demonstrated your new skills to the team, you could potentially negotiate a pay rise in the future.
4. Stay adaptable
The more skills you have, the better, so remember to assess your skill set at regular intervals and look for ways you can improve.
Also, remember that technology is constantly evolving, so be sure to keep your skills up to date. Keep an eye on what’s changing in your industry, and identify what skills you’ll need to stay ahead. Adaptability is key!
Upskilling is crucial to help you stand out in a competitive job market. However, it can also help you earn more money and negotiate a raise in the longer term, so this year, consider investing in yourself and building your knowledge base.
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