How to Upskill Yourself in an Uncertain Job Market

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We’re all seeing the impact of COVID-19 – whether it’s in our workplace, in school, or out in the world. With recent changes and uncertainties in the job market, it’s more important than ever to upskill ourselves so we can adapt to this dynamic environment. Here are some tips on how to upskill yourself in a challenging job market.

 

Build Your Network

Did you know that employee referrals are 4 times more likely to be hired? It’s no surprise that a solid network is an important part of our professional (and personal) lives. Here are some ways to expand your network during physical distancing.

Social Media

LinkedIn is your go-to for all things professional networking. If you haven’t already, check out our article on how to leverage your LinkedIn to learn how you can maximize your profile and online brand. You can also check out our webinar Leveraging Your LinkedIn in Times of Physical Distancing to learn tips and tricks for using LinkedIn to network and search for jobs.

LinkedIn, as well as other social media channels, is great for connecting with professionals in your desired career field. Follow influential leaders, connect with like-minded professionals, and join groups and online communities. You can also follow specific hashtags, like #hiringnow, and get more of the content you want in your newsfeed.

Portfolio Websites

There are tons of online websites that you can join to connect with professionals in your field. Dribbble and Behance are online communities for designers of all kinds. Medium and Writers Digest are online writing communities for aspiring (and seasoned) writers. No matter your field or industry, you can find online communities tailored to your interests by searching for “online communities in [insert industry here]”.

Your Current Network

Build your network virtually by asking advocates to help you expand your network in a personalized message. Reach out to latent connections in a way that matches your relationship with the person. If you’re friends on Facebook, send a message. If you have their email address, send an email. And if you’re connected on LinkedIn, send an InMail message. Here is an example:

Hi Janet,

Long time no talk! How are you? I hope you and your family are doing well amidst all the uncertainty in the world right now. 

I wanted to reach out because I just graduated from college and am looking for a job in public relations. I would love to find time to chat to learn more about your career journey and what you’re experiencing in the industry right now.

Would you be open to scheduling a 20-minute call in the next week? Let me know a date and time that work for you. Looking forward!

Best,

Eduardo

 

Find a Mentor

Mentors can be invaluable to your career, especially early on. They provide you with honest feedback, important connections, and potential opportunities. But how do you expand your network and find the right mentor for you?

First, identify someone based on what you need most in your career right now. How can a mentor benefit you and what will you gain from this type of relationship? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can reach out.

Instead of outright asking someone to be your mentor, we recommend developing a relationship first by connecting with them and seeking advice based on their professional experience. If their advice resonates with you and they seem invested in you, ask to continue the conversation on a somewhat regular basis–whether that’s once a month or once a quarter. If all goes well, you may even get a referral for your dream job!

If you are a Braven Fellow, we recommend maintaining a relationship with your Leadership Coach after the Accelerator course ends. It is also important to network with professionals in your desired industry. Reach out to people in your dream role or at your desired company and start a conversation. You never know what opportunities may come out of it!

 

Take Online Courses

You may be wondering “Why would I take an online course after just completing a gazillion in college?” Here’s the thing: there’s more than one answer to that question. Continuing education is actually required for certain roles, especially if you need to get certified in Salesforce, social media marketing tools, CRM platforms, etc. Even if your role doesn’t require you to take continuing education courses, online courses can increase your ability to make a career transition, improve your marketability when applying for jobs, keep you up-to-date on the most recent trends, and provide you with new skills.

Luckily for you, there are plenty of companies offering free online courses (for students and full-time working professionals) during this time:

If you haven’t already, you can also sign up for LinkedIn Premium and get the first month for free. Premium offers a multitude of perks including free LinkedIn Learning access. With more than 5,000 courses, you’ll find videos on business, technology, and creative skills.

Pro Tip: Search “Free [insert desired topic here] online courses” to find even more free resources!

 

Brush Up on Interview Skills

With a current unemployment rate of 6.8%, it may feel like the odds aren’t in your favor when applying for jobs. Certain industries have been highly impacted by COVID-19, making it more difficult to get hired. This is why it’s more important than ever to brush up on your interview skills. 

Mock Interviews

Practice interviewing with friends, family, or your Braven cohort! Now that everything has become digital, you’ll want to brush up on your phone interview skills for that first screening in the job application process. We also highly recommend having mock interviews over Zoom so you can familiarize yourself with video conferencing.

Practice Storytelling

Just like you’ll use storytelling in your cover letter, you’ll want to wow a hiring manager with an authentic story tailored to your desired role. We recommend following the PAR format:

P = problem
A = action
R = result

Say a recruiter asks you to share a time that you exceeded expectations and went above and beyond in your role. Here is an example of how you could answer, using the PAR format:

Problem – I was working at an agency and was supposed to present a slide deck to one of our clients. The day before the presentation, our client changed the meeting from one hour to 30 minutes and switched the location.

Action – I stayed late with my team the night before to make sure the presentation was prepared and ready for the next day. From cutting extra slides to practicing until I didn’t exceed the 30 minutes, I was prepared to succeed and wow our client. I also arrived early that morning to set everything up and make sure there were no technical issues.

Result – Our presentation went smoothly and our clients were very impressed with what we pulled off in such a short amount of time. My team thanked me for my dedication and hard work on the account. 

Research

One of the most important ways you can brush up your interview skills is to improve your research skills. Practice researching your desired industry, companies in that space, and roles you’re interested in. Important items to take notes on are company vision, mission, values, culture, leadership, and current news. And don’t forget: draft a list of questions to ask at the end of your interview. This shows you’re prepared, eager, and have done your research!

For more tips on interviewing, check out our Ultimate Interview Guide!

 

Here at Braven, we’re strongly dedicated to supporting you on your journey. We hope you enjoy these tips and can’t wait to hear what you learn!