How to Advance Your Career By Upskilling in Just 6 Steps

career advice Feb 19, 2021
Black woman studying

In today’s ever-changing job landscape, it’s important to secure your spot in the workplace of the future. A recent report found that 74% of hiring managers believe that a skills gap exists in the labor market, making finding top talent more challenging. You can help bridge the skills gap and become the sought-after talent that companies want by upskilling yourself. 

Upskilling is the process of building on your current skill set with education or training, and it can help you propel your professional development and future-proof your career.  Learn how to upskill with these six steps!

1. Know Your Goals

The first step toward upskilling yourself is to set some goals. Ask yourself where you want to end up in your career. Are you looking to earn that big promotion, or are you interested in lateral movement? Identify your career goal and use it to motivate yourself as you start to upskill. 

2. Identify Your Gaps

Once you know your career goal, the next step is to figure out what skills or knowledge gaps you have that may prevent you from reaching your goal. Find job listings for your desired position and compare the job description to your qualifications. Whatever skills you don’t currently have but are required for that position will be the ones you should upskill in. 

3. Make a Plan

After identifying your gaps, you will need to explore how to fill them. This can be done through training, mentorship, or education. Explore different ways of learning, like through books, boot camps, or taking a class. Remember that you don’t have to blow your budget to learn a new skill. There are many free online resources to upskill with, such as Khan Academy or Udemy.

Once you have settled on how you will learn, make a S.M.A.R.T. plan to actually get the learning done. Set multiple objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. See the examples below:

I will spend 2 hours every week for the next 3 months watching instructional videos on how to use Photoshop.


I will spend 3 hours every week for the next 3 months working on a portfolio to showcase my Photoshop skills.


4. Start Learning

Now that you have a plan, you can start learning! Try out different techniques to help you retain information, like microlearning. Remember to be patient while you are learning because developing new skills takes time and practice. Keep your goals in the back of your mind to motivate yourself to stick to your plan. If you are diligent, you will succeed and learn a new skill!

5. Use Your New Skills

Once you have followed your plan and learned your new skills, you can finally use them. For instance, if you have developed new Photoshop skills, put them into practice by leveling up some of your current projects at work. Or if you don’t have any tasks that use your skill, offer to help someone out that does or brainstorm ways for you to start introducing them into your responsibilities. By doing this, you will show how much more valuable you have become and position yourself for that promotion or raise.

6. Keep Learning

It’s important to know that upskilling isn’t a one-time process. Upskilling should happen as often as your industry and the skills required to perform your job evolve. Adopt a mindset of constant learning, and you will be ready to adapt to any task or situation. Your adaptability will help you continue to advance your career as your goals change over time. 

Need some ideas for what to upskill in? Check out the infographic from Mint below for important areas to upskill in, as well as the benefits of upskilling! 

Need help creating a strategic plan that will point you in the right direction for your career? Let's connect!!



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