December is traditionally the season where people tend to wind down and enjoy the festive season, for others, it’s not just the bright lights, thoughts of overindulging and gifts that stop them focussing on work, 60% of British workers (IIP 2020 survey) dislike their current job and the dawning of a new year could focus them thinking about a new one. At this very moment, the UK is experiencing a booming candidate-driven job market, meaning that there are more jobs advertised than there are the number of available candidates. This could be good news for job seekers, however, at Bond Williams we are seeing that candidates who are looking for new jobs are experiencing fierce competition for the roles they are applying for, be it the number of applications for roles (with competition from candidates applying out of the area due to increased flexibility in home working), companies being very rigid in their job specifications and candidate requirements and candidates lacking skills required by employers or even candidates being very rigid in their requirements. With people having well-earned time booked off during December, this could be the perfect opportunity to get ahead in your search and scrub up on those key skills you could be missing.
The great news is that with the rapid expansion in access to online learning over the past 18 months and constant information superhighway anyone with an internet connection can learn something new for free or at little cost without leaving the comfort of their sofa or Christmas selection box.
Here are just a few skills you can learn online to boost your career prospects in 2022
1. Software skills
It is unlikely you have not come across a Microsoft programme in your career to date, and if you have only recently finished studying, then you could be somewhat of an expert already. However, for those used to more manual work or not used to working with computers, entering any 21st century workplace can be daunting. Microsoft Word experience is usually essential in most office-based roles, and there are free courses online. Microsoft even have their own resources sections. Even if you have grown up using Microsoft, there are advanced skills you can learn to improve your work quality and assist you with other tasks such as data analysis. Check out Udemy and YouTube for affordable and low cost video-based courses, or try a simple online search. Be sure to read reviews where available.
2. Digital Marketing
Whether you work in marketing or an administrative role, employers are increasingly looking for candidates with digital skills. These could include social media management, email marketing, basic coding, website analytics, documentation/presentation design, image, and video editing. Those that require specialist programmes and platforms such as Adobe or Mailchimp usually offer free trials and the number of online resources available are endless. If you are required to communicate in any way with customers or clients, then digital skills will come in useful.
Effective communication skills are essential if you want to get on in the workplace, whether you are applying for a role in writing, going for job interviews, working within, or leading a team. If you battle to communicate clearly and express yourself, use this time to improve your communication skills. There are on online training courses and coaches available for written and verbal communication so research and find one that will be relevant to you now and help you on your journey, your time will be spent well.
English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, which is probably why three-quarters of British adults cannot speak a foreign language. But being able to speak a foreign language is becoming increasingly attractive, especially as the barriers to international trading is continuously eroding with the explosion of the internet. Try swapping your Smart Phone game for a language App or try websites such as Duolingo.
For those working in or aspiring to work in an accounting and finance role, there are tonnes of online options for improving your skills. Courses range from hours to days per week. You can learn anything from the basics of bookkeeping to advanced financial accounting. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants offer free and affordable online courses, with globally recognised qualifications.
6. Information Technology
If you are looking to further your career in the fast-moving Information Technology market, there are online forums to develop your skills, network with likeminded individuals, investigate specific technology with globally recognised qualifications, or even reach out to people in those roles and ask them for their advice on how to get onto that career path.
7. Volunteering work
Rarely does anyone want to work for free, however sometimes relevant volunteering work could be just that boost your application form needs, giving you additional skills or industry experience, opening doors that you were not previously able to open giving you that competitive edge that you were lacking for future employers. A quick search on the internet for local charities or volunteering work will produce a good list of worthy causes.
8. Ask for Help
We all have networks we can tap into for help and advice, be it colleagues, family, friends, friends of friends or social media, do not be afraid to ask for help and advice. From advice on improving performance in your current role, to advice from friends working for companies you would like to work for, to feedback from your family so you can improve your communication and focus your attention. There is information and help available, just ask!!
9. Mental Health
You may find that by even focusing on improving your mental health and wellbeing alone this could give you a new perspective when looking for work, be it improving your mental state at work or home, this could help improve a range of things from productivity at work, dealing with rejected job applications or even general overall happiness and wellbeing. It can be as simple as not taking our phone to bed and getting more sleep, planning your food and eating more healthily, to building time in your day to exercise or meditate. Do not underestimate how much taking care of your own mental health can help you deal with multiple situations and put you in the right frame of mind, you will soon start to feel the effects and reap the rewards for years to come. Headspace.com is a great app.
10. Contract or Temporary work
If you have only been looking at permanent roles, you could also consider contract or temporary work to add additional skills and industry experience to your CV that you might not normally have had an opportunity to gain, further increasing your chances of future employment. Contracting can offer you experience of different industries, job roles, and use your transferable skills within roles that you might not considered or even knew existed. Contracting could help plug a gap for the moment or indeed give you an opportunity to work only when it suits you. And do not think temporary or contract work does not pay well, as your career progresses and appointments become more senior, Interim roles often pay very well for specific expertise.