How To Boost Your Professional Skills During Lockdown

candidate, Career advice, Career development...

As we all settle into new ways of remote working and collaborating, now is a good time to take stock of which professional skills you have that increase your value as an employee, and which skills may need to be updated to meet changing demands. While some of the more traditional professional development opportunities, such as workshops, conventions and conferences, have been cancelled or postponed, you can still use this time effectively to build and hone your skills. ‘If you’re not earning, use this time to be learning,’ Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America, recently said in an interview with Cheddar. “The economy will come back and you can position yourself now to ensure that you have the right skills and capabilities.”

Here are a few options for virtual learning that can be done anywhere, anytime.  

Webinars and online training 
Many conferences that have been forced to cancel in-person events have provided alternatives through webinars and virtual forums, often at reduced prices or no cost. Even if you weren’t planning on attending any upcoming events, the abundance of affordable and accessible webinars that provide star power and high talent is worth considering.

Online learning is another option, through platforms such as LinkedIn Learning and Percipio. Currently, Skillsoft is offering 60 days of free access to Percipio, for those interested in online learning.

Listen to podcasts 
In podcasts you’ll find authors talking about their books, researchers expounding on their discoveries and experts discussing techniques to improve any professional field. Search in Google Play or Apple’s iTunes for keywords related to what you’re interested in learning for work, such as public speaking tips, advice for management or productivity hacks. To make sure you’re hearing from an authority on your chosen topic, look for podcasts that are hosted by someone with credentials that you trust.  

Virtual networking 
Coffee meetings don’t need to stop just because you can’t physically meet for coffee. In fact, there are more possibilities available if you open yourself up to virtual coffee meetings with people across the country or world. Reach out to mentors or colleagues to ask questions, learn from someone more experienced and keep your networking skills sharp with virtual coffee. 

Re-read classic business books 
Libraries and bookstores are closed in the UK. And yes, you can still order new business books online or access them on an e-reader. But you can also use this time to re-read (or finish) older business books that you have on your shelves gathering dust. Consider what lessons you learned in the past, and if you have been following or have absorbed them over time. 

With the rapid pace of change, it can sometimes feel like getting through each day is enough. But there has never been a greater need to pursue continuous professional education. There has also never been a better time to learn for those who want to develop their skills and keep growing.