Upskilling and reskilling in our changing career market

Posted on May 25, 2023

By Michael van Olm

In our changing job market, your skills and experience will be paramount to your ability for promotions or standing out from the crowd when searching for new jobs. Do you have the right skills for the job or career you want?

As an executive recruiter, I get asked this question all the time, “Should I go back to school before reentering the job market?” Even the best recruiters in the biz can’t answer this for you. But they can help you determine if you are best suited to upskill or reskill:

  • Upskilling” is about learning to move forward on your current path (e.g., to get a promotion in your current company)

  • Reskilling” is about learning something new to start a new path. (e.g., to learn a new skill or career to get a new job.)

5 ways learning can help your career

Whether you’re looking to up-skill for a promotion at work or reskill to learn a new vocation or specialty, here are some skills you’ll likely want a refresher on in our evolving job market:

1. People Skills: The time of not wearing pants to a work meeting (because they were on Zoom and you were at your home kitchen table) are over! As we progress back into a world of working in the office and meeting clients or coworkers for a coffee or lunch meeting, now might be a good time to refresh your people skills.

Practice your people skills by attending local in-person networking events and socials (and also buy some pants!).

2. Technology and video skills: Having a good grasp of technology in your industry will continue to be essential, so keep your skills up to date in this area. This includes knowing how to use video conferencing software (like Zoom and Microsoft Teams) by knowing where all the buttons and features are. This means you can be more productive and professional in meetings and minimize people saying, “You’re on mute again!”

3. Upskill your resume: Your resume is still an essential part of your job search and should be done with special attention. Now is the time to ensure your resume matches today’s best practices, especially if you haven’t updated it in a while. I always tell candidates to think of their resume like a foot in the door; it does not get you the job, but a good resume will get you an invitation for an interview (where you’ll sell yourself and share more of your experience and story).

4. Set milestones and take courses to match: When upgrading your skills, having a plan can help you choose the right programs and better understand your timeline for growth. For example, if you’re a new sales rep with a few business and sales courses under your belt but one day you want to own the company (or open your own), look at what programs and education you’ll need and how long it will take to earn that knowledge.

5. Don’t discount the value of education: Street smarts are important, but so is more formal education and training. Any education, directly or indirectly related to your career goal, will help you build a more well-rounded experience. For example, what’s the harm in taking an accounting course if you're in sales now? That could come in handy when you’re running the company one day!

More resources for upskilling or reskilling

Your industry will likely have specific courses, programs, certifications, and training that can be helpful in upskilling and reskilling your experience. For more inspiration, coaching, or ideas for upgrading your skills, check out these links: