How To Keep Your Skills Sharp In A Skills Shortage
If employers are having difficulties filling positions with the right talent, they will often cite a “skills shortage,” or a situation where most candidates don’t have the required competencies for the job.
Believe it or not, this notion is supported by data released in a survey by ManpowerGroup that reports that 34 percent of employers around the globe have trouble filling jobs because of a lack of available talent. The top reasons for not finding the right candidates include too few hard skills and a lack of experience.
Those job seekers who are unemployed will face a much harder challenge to prove their skills are intact and sharp. To ensure that your skills stay up to date, here are some things you can do in between your job search:
Find Opportunities To Learn. Socrates once said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Learning should be ongoing, rather than a means to reach a certain threshold. There are many resources available both online and in-person to keep your skills and knowledge expanding.
For in-person education, consider joining a professional organization for your field. Oftentimes those organizations will hold meetings, conventions, speakers, and workshops that are beneficial and easy to access as a member. Other learning opportunities include taking classes at a local college or throughout the community. One website, called Skillshare, makes finding specific and relevant courses in your current location easy.
Online resources for learning are vast and can be much more cost-effective (free in some cases). Find websites and blogs that are skill or industry-oriented and see if there are tutorials, newsletters, videos, or any sort of content that can be accessed regularly and easily to stay up to date on trends. By bookmarking these resource you won’t have to cram learning the material into one day and can instead use it as a reference when needed. Other sites offer virtual classes or videos that can be free or at a reduced cost for certain skills, like web programming or content marketing.
Taking the initiative to continue learning will not only you benefit in finding a job, but for keeping it as well.
Find Opportunities To Teach. Believe it or not, teaching is one of the easiest and best ways to absorb and retain information. With teaching, you become more self-aware of what you know and are forced to find the best way to break it down and simplify it for others.
You don’t have to be in a classroom to be a teacher. You can strengthen your skills through a mentorship or by contributing your own expertise to a wider audience (like through a guest post on a industry blog, on your own blog, or even as a speaker!).
Doing this will also help you assess which skills you can improve upon.
Volunteer. With volunteering, you get the best of both worlds – a way to learn new things and a challenge to use what you already know in a real setting. Nonprofits are a good place to start because they are easy to find and have a structured and managed workload. If you’re looking for something a little less structured and more like freelance work, consider volunteering at a startup or for a small independent project, like a website or a concert. You can find these opportunities online or through your own network. Volunteering often can result in landing a full-time position at the organization or at least establishing a direct connection that can refer you to another opportunity.
What do you think? What are some other ways to keep your skills sharp? Share with us!