Written by Tahira Majothi, Careers Consultant at the Careers Service
How to navigate the (uncertain) road ahead – the importance of upskilling
The unprecedented times we are currently going through, affect all facets of our lives. Your individual circumstances may vary and I am sure there must be questions around the current hold on activities around studies, placements, study/work abroad as well as employment. I hope I can provide some practical tips on how to make use of the time away from university or work.
There is some small comfort in knowing that many people are in the same predicament and are all hoping to get back to their regular routines as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, it has been amazing to see a strong sense of community online and locally to help vulnerable groups. This is great for wellbeing all round. So let us look at a few things you could do to help enhance your skills, to help bolster your employability prospects and give you confidence to manage your career.
Self-care and routine can be beneficial to your wellbeing
If you would like advice on common student concerns and wellbeing support, please look at our student support pages, and feel free to pass it onto your peers. Try our Wellbeing calendar tips and use the weekly planner to create a routine for yourself that incorporates professional and personal wellbeing activities.
Access careers advice and support
If you are unsure of career options or typical employers and vacancy sources, take look at our ‘Which careers?’ resources. The Careers Service is providing support online. Careers appointments are available via Skype and Zoom plus you can still access LiveChat and email in CVs and applications.
Research employers/sectors/labour market information
Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until you need to know it! Stay one-step ahead by looking at our resources on how to research employers. If you have companies in mind, or your current application is on hold, be sure to follow the organisation on their social media channels.
Update your CV and LinkedIn profiles
Periodically updating your CV and LinkedIn profile is good practice. Have you evidenced examples, used positive phrases to describe your responsibilities and ordered the information so that the most relevant takes precedence? Here are our CV resources to help you get started.
LinkedIn is increasingly a necessity for students, graduates and recruitment professionals alike. If utilised properly it can allow you to document your key achievements across your studies and extra-curricular activities.
In addition you can contact people you have previously worked for and ask them to write you a recommendation. This will come in handy if, for example, you decide you would like to work overseas.
Familiarise yourself with psychometric tests and assessment centres
You will be aware that a lot of recruitment has moved online, this can be anything from video interviews to psychometric tests. Now’s an opportune time to practice!
Make use of free courses to learn new skills
The wonders of technology make the current situation a little more bearable by allowing us to stay connected online. The web can also be useful to allow you to undertake courses. A variety of courses are available on Future Learn, edX offers free courses from MIT and Harvard amongst others and the Open University has some free courses available too.
Start a blog! Useful if you are interested in writing, journalism or science communication
Establishing a blog is a great way to convey what matters to you in your own inimitable style. You can use free platforms such as Blogger, WordPress or Medium to hone your written communication skills. You can reference this on your CV and at interview to convey your passion and enthusiasm.
Undertake micro or virtual volunteering
If you would like to stay engaged in a meaningful way, whilst giving back to peers or the community, why not look at opportunities to engage with volunteering online. Some sites include Help from Home, Skill for Change, Citizen Science, www.do.it.org. At present, the UK Government is also recruiting UK wide for NHS Volunteer Responders.
Upskilling can be very beneficial to your wellbeing and your personal and professional development. Take the TikTok stair challenge as an example, it might not always be right on the first attempt, but persevere. Upskilling can be fun and certainly affects your employability for the better.