Updating your skills to achieve career success


road signs skills and trainingNo matter where you are in your career, updating your skills and expertise can be extremely beneficial. Have a think about what you have done until now and where you are heading. It can be useful to do this every 6 months to a year to ensure you are on the right track.
Here are some ideas to assist you in your own career development and tips on how you can upskill whilst working without having to go back into formal education or pay large course fees.

Develop a career plan

A career plan helps you determine your skills and interests, what career best suits your talents, and what skills and training you need for your chosen career. By developing a career plan, you can focus on what you want to do and how to get there.

In deciding where you want to be, make sure it is somewhere that will hold your interest long-term and suit your preferred life style. Some questions to consider are:

What topics do you get passionate about?

What are the most important things in your next role? (e.g. salary, location, culture, challenge, working hours)

What did you like about your previous roles?

Research skills and required qualifications

Research basic information on career paths that interest you. If there are any skills or qualifications you are lacking there are a number of ways you can develop these:
Do your own research e.g. reading books and through the internet

Attend courses - online courses are usually cheaper or even free in some cases

Volunteer for extra responsibility at work, think about how you can learn new skills within your current organisation

There are a variety of time and cost effective ways for you to learn, whether it’s at home, or during your commute and around working hours.

MOOCs (Massive online open courses) offer university-level courses without the need to complete an entire programme of studies, and are becoming increasingly popular.  You can study high quality courses online and at no cost, and although MOOCs don’t always lead to formal qualifications they can be a great way to upskill and expand your knowledge in particular areas of interest. It’s a great way to carry out independent study, however, most will have a peer group forum for people studying the course to interact with each other and a course leader/tutor.

The Open University launched FutureLearn in 2012. Take a look at their courses by visiting their site www.futurelearn.com

Other useful websites include:





It is important to remember that the courses may not carry formal qualifications, but can be a great way to expand on knowledge and skills to increase your employability to organisations who need people with these skills and knowledge.

Utilise your network and find a mentor

Do you know someone who is doing the job you want to do? Think about questions you could ask them in order to get a sense of how they achieved their goals and the methods they used to land their role.
What job search methods did they use to source opportunities in your area

What qualifications did they obtain in order to assist them in securing their role?

Is there a demand for more of X positions in their current organisation?

Who hires people in these types of roles?

Who is their company’s main competition?

Advise that you would value their feedback on your CV, can they suggest improvements or changes for you to make?

Finding a mentor has a number of benefits. A mentor can give you feedback in key areas, for example, transferrable skills such as communication, relationship building, and then more specific skills such as technical ability. They can assist you with expanding your network and introduce you to key people in key organisations. Building a trusted relationship with your mentor means you can share frustrations and challenges as well as successes with them.

Look for opportunities in your current organisation

If you are currently in a role and you like your organisation, but you want to be considered for promotion or a different position, you may not have to look externally. You may already have a good reputation in your current company and most employers will be focussed on retaining their staff and supporting them in developing their careers internally. This could include funding training for you or providing internal opportunities to expand upon your skills and knowledge.
If you want to change departments and need new skills, think about ways in which you can network with the head of that department or speak with your current manager about how you envisage your career progressing within the company to identify training opportunities. Being honest will ensure that they can support you in your career goals and help you to achieve them, it will feel like a positive transition if you can get your manager on side to help you.

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.co.uk

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