When a lockdown was announced last year over concerns of COVID-19, many believed that the work-from-home orders wouldn’t extend beyond a month. Over a year later, large swathes of the formal workforce have still not returned to the workplaces.
While working from home allows for more flexibility, less commute time and more time to spend with family, it also comes with its own set of downsides. Reduced communication between colleagues, lack of proper work-life boundaries and increased workload are some of the complaints that employees have faced over the past year. A sense of disconnection from your team, having fewer training sessions and receiving fewer opportunities to grow in your role can leave many people feeling stagnated in their careers.
Understand the ‘why’
Lohan stresses on the importance of taking time to understand why you want to upskill. The reasons could range from wanting to land a new job or even to just learn something new.
For professional skill-building, he recommends prioritizing official university courses that are available online. of free courses, Coursera also offers paid courses that you can explore depending on your field of interest. Lohan reveals that if the fee is a concern, Coursera will allow you to write a short paragraph about your financial situation and waive off the fee.
For learning something casually as a hobby, resources like YouTube and SkillShare can come in handy.
Where to begin?
Going down the rabbit hole of finding useful resources on the internet can be an overwhelming task. “It’s usually not the lack of resources that is the problem, it is the lack of structure that eventually starts impacting the motivation,” says Lohan. He suggests starting off by identifying what the need is.
“For example, I want to build a career in digital marketing. My next step should be identifying an expert authority, who would know the most about digital marketing.” Lohan remarks. Google would naturally be the answer and those interested can then head to , which is a resource that can help you pick up essential digital marketing skills, he shares.
Whichever field you may be in, don’t forget to do your research and see how the time you’re spending on the course or skill could add value to your profile.
Do remember to add these licenses and certifications to your LinkedIn profile and update your resume when you’re done.
Furthermore, if you’re not looking to acquire technical skills, many websites also offer soft skills that you can pick up including public speaking, presentation skills, and negotiation.
Check your resources
If you’re employed with a big organization, they might have a partnership with companies like LinkedIn Learning which will allow you to pursue premium courses for free. Lohan adds that some organizations will also pay for any third-party skill building courses that they deem relevant for your work. He suggests checking with your HR to learn more about these opportunities in your workplace.
Collaborate with strangers
“Despite what we have all learnt throughout our childhood, talking to strangers is not always bad,” Lohan remarks. He opines that LinkedIn, Twitter and Reddit are amazing social networks for learning and forging meaningful professional relationships.
If you are upskilling to fulfill professional goals, take the time out to talk to new people. He recommends talking to people who are already working in your dream roles, in your dream companies, in your ideal industry. By networking in this manner, you are building the inroads towards getting advice, insights, and offers to collaborate on projects.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)