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Six ways to boost your work skills (your career and maybe your pay packet too)

People sitting around a table discussing colours for design
Move up in your career

You like your job, you reckon you’ve chosen a career that’s right for you, right now. But what about the future?

Where do you see yourself in a few years’ time? Still in the same field, but maybe a little higher up the ranks? Or in a sideways move – into something similar, but different enough?

You can set yourself on the path to those goals now, by upskilling.  Upskilling simply means learning new skills or improving. And the first place to start is right where you are. Here’s how:

 Switch on

You can keep up with the latest news and views in your industry by following the leaders. You’ll find them on TED Talks, podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels. Also, some industries have print publications you can borrow or subscribe to.

Get connected

Talk to people. Simply asking someone you admire who is ahead of you on the career ladder about how they got there can give you a wealth of information. It also lets them know you are interested in moving up. Contact people via social media, view and comment on content they recommend, or join a Facebook or LinkedIn industry group.

Join in

Sign up for an industry or professional association and, if you can, go to their conferences, seminars, networking events or webinars. It may offer members mentorship or training programs, and some offer reduced rates to students and those just starting out in the industry.

Ask for more

Tell your employer you want to work on a ‘stretch’ project, that is one that will extend your experience and push you to learn new skills. You may connect with colleagues in other departments too, boosting your collaboration, teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Learn at work

Your employer may offer training schemes specific to your workplace, such as self-paced online learning modules, or look into professional development seminars, or industry association training courses that may be done in-house.

Go back to school

Melbourne Polytechnic offers several levels of vocational qualification. If you have a Certificate IV in your field, maybe a Diploma will get you to where you want to be. Remember industry currency is crucial, if your qualification is from a few years ago it’s a good idea to look into further study.

So why should you be thinking about upskilling? There are multiple benefits, such as:

  • It gives you a feeling of control, that you are taking action and making choices for yourself rather than just drifting along and possibly ending up in a job you don’t really want. It’s more than just picking up things as you go, but actively pursuing higher level skills and experience.
  • You can boost your value, if you want to change jobs you’ve already done the training employers are looking for, making you a more attractive option than another candidate they would need to train.
  • Similarly, you boost your bargaining power, you will be able to ask for a raise and have the evidence to show that you have the required skills for the higher wage. It shows you are taking charge of your own growth.
  • And it’s not all about money, upskilling could send you off in a different path, you may learn about new opportunities that hadn’t occurred to you before and find a job that suits you better.