Upgrading Your Skills

  • Sari Friedman
  • May 2, 2020
Upgrade Skills

At this time of isolation, for many there is no shortage of things to do – procuring groceries and household items, taking care of children and perhaps checking in on elderly relatives. In terms of your job, unless you perform an essential service it is likely you are not currently working. It is a good idea to spend some of this time upgrading your skills to support your career development or at the very least your employability.

Which Skills?

Review postings you would be interested in or if those are currently hard to come by, then review people's job descriptions on LinkedIn that interest you. See which skills and qualifications incumbents of roles you would consider possess and then research how to close that skills gap. Some of it may be achievable through online learning during this time of transition. Other skills are ones you may need to acquire on the job once you return to work, but at least you can start a career development plan and have something to work towards to support your career growth. You should reach out to your manager for a career development conversation – they may have some insights into which skills to focus on.

Technical Skills

Have you ever applied for a role and they're looking for 'advanced' MS Office skills and you think, well mine are more basic or at best intermediate? Consider doing an online course in Excel, Word or PowerPoint. If money is an issue and you don't want to spend it on a formal course, there are a lot of free resources to support upgrading technical skills. Set aside some time to develop more evolved technical skills, even the basic ones, and you will feel more confident when you apply for that next internal or external role.

Subject Matter Expertise

Increase your expertise. Follow thought leaders – many of them are continuing to post about their area of focus, and there is a lot to gain from reviewing earlier material. If you are a member of an association, review their resources to upgrade your knowledge. It may not be a good time to join associations as the costs may be prohibitive, but you can review the free resources on their sites. A very simple approach is to read articles and information related to what you do – and it's a nice break from the news.


There are roles that require certifications. You may have had to put these on the back burner because life and work were busy enough. If you are thinking about moving the pursuit of a certification to the front burner, LinkedIn has a variety of certification prep courses. As well, the organizations that oversee the certifications have extensive information on how to complete their requirements including timelines and costs.

If you find yourself thinking about upgrading your skills, at the very least take some time to review what might be involved and invest some effort into your career development – you deserve it.