There has been a ton of buzz about reskilling and upskilling in the professional world recently. For anyone who might be confused as to the difference between the two, here it is short and sweet:
Reskilling is when you obtain new skills to make a change into a new field. For example, I’ve read plenty of posts from teachers looking to transition from a career in teaching to the field of instructional design. While some aspects overlap because they are both all about learning, they are different ends of the spectrum and someone looking to transition needs to learn a new set of skills, tools, and methodologies.
However, Upskilling is when you learn new skills to further you in a field you’re already involved in. Like a talent development specialist that endeavors to learn more about coaching or conflict resolution. Those skills will enhance their current position and help them operate more effectively in their role.
If you are considering whether you need to reskill or upskill, here are five things for you to think about:
- Identify your strengths and acknowledge your deficiencies. Take the first step to personal and professional development. Create a roadmap of crucial capabilities that you want to keep or start developing. Spend time enriching yourself with the appropriate knowledge and information to ascertain a more robust skill set.
- Recognize that you need guidance. If you don’t already have one, find a mentor who might be an expert you want to follow, maybe a professor, supervisor, a knowledgeable peer, or someone in a leadership position at an organization where you are a member. Your mentor can help you evaluate your interests and capabilities, expand your perspectives, and suggest skills or development programs to help you achieve your goals.
- Nowadays there are many paid and free courses available to you, from soft skills to more technical areas. Enroll in a program or course that will benefit your personal and professional ambitions. Create a list of skills or digital competencies that you want to master or become knowledgeable in.
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals with a realistic timeline to learn a particular skill or complete a specific task. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. When you don’t have specific goals in mind, it may lead to procrastination because you lack accountability. Set small, incremental goals on the path to accomplishing your ultimate goal, and celebrate each milestone achieved. This strategy will help keep you motivated.
- Embrace the value of learning, verbalize the short-term and long-term benefits (If I learn more about project management, I will be able to organize this project’s workflow better, and I may even get promoted to project manager for the next one). Put a value on your learning experience that surpasses the possible financial gain, even though there may be one on the horizon. The opportunity to learn supersedes the monetary benefits, because knowledge lasts, but money comes and it goes.
When we think about change most of us experience an adverse reaction, because most people don’t like change. But if what you’ve been doing is no longer working for you, it’s time to make a change. Whether it is a drastic change like a career switch or something less dramatic like learning a new skill or technology to keep yourself relevant in your current industry, EMBRACE the CHANGE and go for it!
Remember, learning is a journey. So, whether you decide to Reskill or Upskill,
Take it one day at a time, and one goal at a time. Before you know it, your outlook will be much more promising, and you will be CONFIDENT and CAPABLE!