Consider Upskilling as an Alternative to a Complete Career Change

Success in one’s career is very much geared around continuous learning and improvement. Upskilling is a great way to explore change in your working life, without taking the more dramatic step of actually changing companies or industries completely. It is also something which many organisations actively encourage and may even be prepared to support financially. It’s always worth asking whether there is a budget for training and development, even if it is not something which is formally offered. Showing your employer that you are willing to learn new skills is a great way of demonstrating that you are ready for the next step in your career and that you are engaged, not just with your own role, but also engaged with the organisation and it’s long term goals and objectives.

Ongoing development is important in all aspects of work and can be an effective way of moving up or even moving laterally within an organisation or industry. Often those courses are outside of work and when they are, it can help to have your employer on board with your development plan so that they might allow greater flexibility if necessary to attend classes and complete course work. Of course, it is important to ensure that the course you plan to take is something which will facilitate the move you want to make so try and get advice or guidance to ensure that it will in fact help you reach the position you are aiming for.

If possible, work with your manager on a career development plan and map out the best course of action to take. Upskilling need not only mean academic qualifications. It can also include development of ‘soft skills’ such as self-awareness, leadership skills and relationship building techniques. All of these are vital in terms of progressing your career to the next level. A leader needs to be able to inspire, motivate and develop their team and this takes an entirely different skill set to those required to become the best in a particular field. Executive coaching can also be invaluable in this regard and can help build a road map for how best to progress your career and develop the leadership or other interpersonal skills you may require to move to the next stage. If upskilling is not something your organisation actively supports, consider making an investment in yourself and taking on a course independently.

If there appears to be no path for upskilling within your organisation, there are a number of things you can do independently. The first step to take is to look around you – who are the people you admire in the company, whose role do you find interesting? What path did they take to reach that position? Find out if that person might be prepared to mentor or coach you. Observe the behaviours of successful co-workers and see what it is that they do to achieve their success and emulate those behaviours if possible. This does not mean that you need to adopt a false persona, but identifying the behaviours which led to their success can help you develop them also and hopefully lead you to a similar outcome. Finally, consider looking for opportunities outside of the organisation, such as free courses or consider financing a course yourself, which would equip you for the role you are aiming for.