How To Build A Skill Set While Job Hunting

Job hunting can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Whether you’re looking for your first job or next career move, it can be daunting to see jobs that list numerous skills that a company wants from a prospective employee. This finding may leave you feeling overwhelmed or with the feeling of needing to catch up. Or perhaps, you’re not job hunting and you just want to expand your professional capabilities. It doesn’t hurt your resume at all to add new skills to it each year.

While businesses want their employees to be well-rounded and knowledgeable about many things, you as a job seeker might not have the full picture. Never fear, there are ways to increase your skillset while seeking your next position. Below are a few options available to you.

Online Classes

Going back to a physical school might be a requirement for some positions. For instance, a Ph.D. or doctorate degree are things that aren’t achievable by watching YouTube videos. However, not every individual needs to head back to school to increase their skills. Sometimes there are cheaper and less time-consuming options available.

There are many online educational sites that cover a wide variety of topics. You can find anything from learning Adobe basics to improving your writing skills. An added benefit is that these are also places to refer to for resume and cover letter assistance. Resources such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare are great starting points for your skill search. Some online courses and subscriptions may have a small fee but remember it is an investment in your future.

Visit the Library

A local library is a plethora of free information available to you. These institutions provide a wide variety of job searching resources that can help you learn something new. Yes, they have a lot of books, but beyond that, they also have subscriptions. Whether you’re looking for business magazines or educational platforms, your library has it. If you’re unsure where to start, ask a librarian or consult their website for information. 

Make sure to take a look at your library’s event calendar. They may host their own classes or bring in outside educators for workshops. If you have difficulties finding a quiet space to polish your skills, the library is an ideal study space. Additionally, if you don’t have a computer at home or access to the internet, you can find both at your local library. If you can’t find exactly what you need at your library, consider asking the librarian for help. They may know of partnerships with other libraries or nearby branches that they can contact to see if they have what you need.  

Shadow People

If you haven’t left your current position yet, and if your schedules allow, see if you can shadow a co-worker for a day. Maybe you’re thinking about switching to a different department, orr perhaps you want to see what a job actually entails. Shadowing someone for the day will give you a clearer idea of what goes on for that position. Also, see if your company offers a mentoring program that you can join. This option will pair you with a colleague to help expand not only your skills but set goals for your career.

Reach out to friends or network connections to see if they can meet for coffee to talk about their jobs. Have a list of questions ready or ask how they continue to learn new skills while in their current position. Everyone has their own style of learning, and your connections may have helpful resources you weren’t aware of.

Attend Events

There are many virtual or in-person educational events happening in the world every day. Start with a simple online search, and once you find some options, attend them to give yourself the opportunity to connect with others on a professional level. Most likely there will be multiple panels to choose from, all hosted by experts that know what they’re talking about. Take notes, ask questions, and connect with other people during the event. You’ll take away a lot of good information by the end of the day.

Seminars are not only a way to build your connections and skillset. They might also lead to an announcement about job openings at the speaker’s company. A word of caution for the employed, be careful with attending these seminars as colleagues may be attending the event as well. If you are not employed, don’t be afraid to ask during conversations if anyone is hiring or has an upcoming job fair. Collecting business cards and names will help you build a network of connections. Not only will these connections help you in a job search, but in future endeavors as well.

Closing Thoughts

Regardless of whether you’re job hunting or not, building your skillset is important for you to stay competitive and relevant. There are countless ways to gain new hard and soft skills. You just need to find the right fit for you and your schedule. Remember the time and money you invest in yourself now will help your future self in the long run.

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