Do you find yourself comfortable and confident in your current job? I don’t mean to be the barrier of bad news but… in this job climate, you need to constantly upskill or reskill to have job security. This is exactly why you need to constantly update and upgrade your skillset to be relevant in your industry.
My Communications Industry Journey
I learnt this the hard way. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a writer or a journalist. Thus, I chose an education route that would land me a career in this field. I took up a diploma in mass communications and landed my first writing job in 2018. The gig consisted of me freelancing as a writer for an established media agency in Singapore.
Landing this gig gave me even more motivation to become a writer so I decided to pursue a degree in English to refine and hone my writing skills. Through the course, I became very well versed in writing for academic papers and short-form articles. At this stage in my life, I heavily prioritized working and gaining experience on my writing skills because I felt that it would make me a good candidate for my dream job – I soon realized that I was very wrong.
Generalist vs Specialist
I tried applying for copywriting/media-related positions during one of my summer holidays and found that I was failing to make it past the interview stage. At first, I could not understand why I kept getting rejected but I finally realized that it was because I was only advanced in one skillset. Employers would rather hire someone who is multitalented as compared to me, someone who is extremely refined in only one skill.
To tackle this issue, I signed up for an internship that allowed me to pick up skills in production, social media managing and writing for social media platforms. With this upgraded skillset, I started applying for media-related jobs again and found myself getting several offers! I was even able to pick and choose the opportunities I wanted to follow through with.
The whole experience taught me the importance of having a relevant and multifaceted skillset. To value add to yourself in today’s job market, you have to stand out from the crowd. Having just one talent will not cut it nowadays; you need to be adapting to new changes and knowledgeable with current market trends.
If you still need some motivation to upgrade your skillset, here’s a few reasons why you should start working on it now.
1. To Earn a Promotion
As you rake up new certifications and skills, you will be able to take on more responsibilities at work and be able to ask for a higher salary or a promotion. By upgrading your skillset, you are displaying that you have knowledge on the most relevant and new industry trends, making you a valuable asset to your company.
In my case, picking up several media-related skills helped me increase my income and gigs as a freelancer. Instead of solely working for writing related gigs, I am also able to land social media managing and production projects – allowing me to raise my rates and take on more substantial roles.
Many companies still use qualifications as a benchmark for salaries. So, if you find yourself wanting to rise up the career ladder, you should start by gaining a few more certificates or qualifications.
2. Try out a New Career Profession
Upgrading your skills could give you an opportunity to try out a new profession! If you find yourself too comfortable in your job or that you’re lacking motivation, it might be time to upgrade your skillset and possibly widen your career prospects.
I had a friend who earned a diploma in the hospitality field. She secured her first job in customer service and found herself in a stable job for about 3 years. However, after some time, she felt like she was lacking career progression and that her job no longer challenged her. She then decided to pursue a degree in marketing. This upgrade in her skillset allowed her to pursue a career in a different industry. The best part? She found herself rising up the career ladder and having more job satisfaction.
Updating your skillset opens up doors for new job opportunities. Who knows, it could be the first step towards landing your dream job!
3. Competency as an Employee
Every company wants the best and most competent employee. This means you have to be constantly improving and becoming the best version of yourself to maintain your position as a valuable asset to the company.
My best advice would be to adopt the mindset of learning, relearning and learning again. Education and self-improvement should be a continual process. Continue to work on your strengths and refine the areas that you are weak in.
Take up a night class or a new education certificate to highlight your capabilities to adapt in a constantly evolving work environment. This will help you to benchmark yourself as a knowledgeable and skillful asset to any company.