What if your new or chosen career requires that you have certain experience or skills you don’t have already, it’s okay – don’t panic! There are many ways for you to gain or learn new skills and experience. While learning these new skills, or gaining that extra experience, think of it as a way to find out if you will actually like your new career path, you may decided it’s not for you, or you may find a whole new passion for the work
Here are a few tips on ways you can gain new career skills
#1 – Make the most of where you are now. Are there any extra *on the job* training opportunities that you can take advantage of? Perhaps your employer can help cover costs of a course that can advance your position. Be sure to get your hands on as much information as you can about new courses, see what they involve and if they are right for you. If attending a course is awkward to fit in around your current work commitments, see if you can take the course online.
#2 – If you are currently out of work and you are looking for new employment have a look around your local community. Your local library or community college often offer low cost or free classes and courses to learn new skills or strengthen current skills such as basic accounting, computer skills or how to start your own business.
#3 – Volunteer work is also a way to gain some new skills while still looking for employment, from helping out at a hospital to working in a charity shop. While some employers won’t take that into account, many will and even though you haven’t been paid for the work, you have now gained new skills and experience! If you volunteer at the R.S.P.C.A for example – you’ll be able to make contacts, learn *on the job*, gain hands on experience and still be able to do your course or study. When you are ready to enter your career you have laid some groundwork already.
#4 – Take classes – while some careers need you to have specific qualifications or skills – such as a degree or specific training – never rule out more study! Education isn’t impossible you may be able to attend night classes or do your study part time. If you already have some skills you may be able to skip parts of the course anyway. Some companies may even help you with the cost of your course if you agree to stay in your job with them when you finish.
#5 – Remember that skills and experience don’t have to be just from the job – you can have gained skills from other sources. When applying for new employment make note of your relevant skills on your resume. For example – A career you are applying for requires writing skills, while you may not have completed a course that gives you a certificate, you can always point out that at University you wrote your dissertation, wrote for the student newspaper, helped with advertising a fund raiser. If you needed skills for working well with others, point out things like you were on a sporting team, worked a lot on group projects, maybe you played in the school orchestra or band, or helped out with some general clerical work.
Skills and experience aren’t just what was learnt at University, T.A.F.E or at school, when looking at a new career or applying for employment; you need to give as much information about yourself as possible.
Do you include things from outside when applying for a job? Do you think simple skills learnt at home or from part time jobs can still be useful? Has volunteering helped you land a job? We’d love to hear more about what you have found helpful.