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Whether you’re working in isolation, or you find yourself out of work during this pandemic, this time is the perfect time to focus on professional development. Here are 10 ways to upgrade your skills.
As the coronavirus pandemic has brought our lives to a standstill, staying at home can often prove to be the most difficult thing that we have done in a very long time. Our generation is used to living their lives in the outdoors but the outbreak has confined all of us within the walls of our homes. It is very easy to lose track of time and get bored while at home for a continuous stretch of time that seems endless.
Once the lockdown ends, competition is bound to get even fiercer than it was before due to the state of the economy. Hence, we have listed 9 ways to upgrade your skills while at home so that you can get an edge over your contemporaries.
There is actually no better place than the comfort of your own home to learn everything that you always wanted to, but couldn’t due to time constraints. Moreover, there is no end to everything that you could actually learn without having to spend time and money on commuting.
1. CONDUCT RESEARCH
The first step to building your skillset to enter the job market is to understand what it is that the employers in the current job scenario want apart from a specialized degree qualification - what the labour market demands, and then work accordingly for the industry you wish to be recruited into. It is important to be clear about your goals as that will help you focus on your ideas instead of wandering about aimlessly.
Conducting proper research helps you stay in touch with the latest trends and upgrades. Proper information about the current scenario will help you determine what you already have and what you don’t, and then plan the rest of your journey accordingly.
2. TAKE A SELF-ASSESSMENT TEST
Once you are done understanding how the demand and supply forces of the labour market function, you now need to take a self-assessment test to determine what skills you already have and those that need further development.
This is an important point as it helps you assess yourself and understand your professional self-better. A self-assessment test is all bound to make you more self-aware, understand your strengths and weaknesses better, and how to work on them.
3. TAKE UP AN ONLINE COURSE
In this day and age, when the majority of the world population has access to high-speed internet, there is no need for classroom teaching when you can learn all your favourite subjects and courses from the comfort of your own bedroom.
Online classes are the latest trends for the latest generation who are reaping the true benefits of the internet and taking up new courses at the world’s topmost universities and from the best professors.
Organizations like the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund also offer several courses for skill development on online platforms such as EdX, Coursera, Udemy, etc.
These online classes can help you acquire the knowledge of that particular subject or course that you wish to study but do not have the time to go to class for. The best part about these classes is that you can take them anytime, anywhere, and whenever you feel like.
For example, if you wish to learn about computer coding and know nothing about it in the beginning, you can take the CODING FOR BEGINNERS class offered by Harvard University on EdX.
4. VOLUNTEER FOR A CAUSE
Volunteering not only looks good in your CV but can also be a truly wholesome experience. When you volunteer for a cause that you care about, be it helping the poor, education for all children, or helping women from marginalized communities make a living for themselves, you shall feel a sense of satisfaction like no other.
There are several communities and organizations that recruit volunteers for their virtual campaigns which gives you the liberty to stay at home and volunteer. Volunteering shows your employer that you not only take from society but also believe in giving back and becoming a valuable member.
United Nations runs an online volunteering program called United Nations Online Volunteers where you can find an organization anywhere across the world to work with, for a cause that you believe in.
5. FIND YOURSELF A MENTOR
A good mentor can change your life in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. From showing you the right way to do things to keep you disciplined, they can help you succeed in life. A good mentor is invaluable and there are very few people in life who actually are lucky enough to find such a teacher.
You can look for people among your connections and within your network who you think can teach you everything you need to know in life. This doesn’t mean that they will teach you how to code or how to build a political opinion. A mentor will impart life lessons and teach you where to find all the things that you need in life.
6. LEARN A SECOND LANGUAGE
Learning a second language, or a third, or a fourth is an extremely important skill to have in the 21st century. With the world becoming more and more well-connected every day, we are all truly becoming a global community. People are becoming global citizens and traveling to various countries on a daily basis.
These days, you can easily be an Indian who went to college in Singapore but now works in Sweden. Because of all this travel, it is important to learn a few extra languages outside of English and your mother tongue. Sometimes people lose out on their dream jobs due to the lack of their knowledge regarding a language.
Again, organizations such as the United Nations recruits people largely on the basis of their knowledge of its seven working languages. There are several online applications that can help you pick up a new language. One of the most popular ones is Duolingo where you can learn almost any language of your choice and as per your need.
7. READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
Reading is a habit that will truly take you a long way in life. The more you read, the more you shall expand your knowledge. It doesn’t matter which book you read, whether it’s a fictional story or an autobiography, reading anything, even the dictionary for that matter, will always teach you a thing or two.
Staying at home and reading is one of the best ways to develop a strong critical thinking process - an invaluable skill in today’s times. It helps you build your creativity and opens your mind to new possibilities that you hadn’t considered before. Reading makes one smarter and also increases their brain power. Exercising is to our body what reading is to our mind.
8. REACH OUT TO YOUR CONNECTIONS
Another great way to build your networking skills, in this case, is to reach out to your connections via various social media platforms and enhance your relationship with them. This can prove to be extremely beneficial for you in the future because you never know when you will need somebody to help you.
This will also help you build a diplomatic outlook towards situations and people. You will understand what to say when talking to somebody, how to put your opinions forward without being disrespectful, and how to ask people for what you want and what you need without sounding needy or desperate.
9. FOCUS ON IMPROVING YOUR SOFT SKILLS
With the growing advancements in technology, Artificial Intelligence is all set to replace humans in almost all avenues of work. However certain things that AI can never learn but the humans are best at including their feelings and emotions.
Be it creativity, empathy, communication, sympathy, or critical thinking, when it comes to soft skills, humans will always win against machines. In today’s world, everyone is qualified and talented so what can you do to ensure that you stand out among a pool of other candidates?
While at home, you can work to improve your soft skills and grooming yourself so that your employer is charmed by you at your very first meeting. There is a popular saying that your degrees and qualifications are only necessary to get you an interview, what happens after that depends completely on you and how you present yourself.
10. SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTERS
Newsletters are an amazing way to constantly be in touch with the things that interest you. It can be stocks, health updates, books, TV shows, business ideas, digital marketing, and just about anything else. Newsletters always keep you in the loop with the latest updates and trends. You also get discounts and several other benefits from your favourite sources.
There are innumerable ways to improve yourself if you are really somebody who is willing to grow. We have only listed a few. The most important thing that you need to do is be determined enough to learn something new. Once that is achieved and you find the right source for continuous motivation, half the battle is won.
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