Upskilling for promotion

5 minutes

Upskilling for promotion

Feeling stuck? Looking for promotion but don’t seem to fulfil the criteria? Then it’s a good idea to take a look at where you need to add more skills to your CV. Upskilling is one of the best things you can do to move your career forward, and you can do this with a combination of training and development from your existing organisation, and devoting some time outside work to acquire the skills you need.

Identifying your skills gap

Before you start learning something new, you need to know what’s missing from your skill set. The best way to do that is to sit down, look at the opportunities you want to pursue, and compare the skills required with the skills you have. This will give you a ‘skills gap’ – a list of what you need to add to your CV. This might include:

  • A professional qualification
  • Some additional work experience
  • Knowledge of certain software packages
  • Evidence of Continual Professional Development
  • Team leader or management training

Look for opportunities to learn

Once you know what you have to do, look for opportunities to add these skills to your repertoire. For example, you could talk to your employer about funding a part-time degree or qualification. Or you could ask them about specific learning and development opportunities at your regular personal review meeting.

If there’s nothing suitable happening at your employer, you need to find it for yourself. Employers like to see this – it’s evidence of intent and adaptability. The fact that you are prepared to go out of your way to find ways to add to your skills will always be in your favour.

Be creative

Do you know someone who can offer you some work experience? Even if you have a full-time job, perhaps there’s something you can do in the evening or at weekends that will help you to reach your goal. Or look for funding support to help you take night classes or particular qualifications. There are plenty of ways to access good quality training. You can also sign up for e-learning, so you don’t even have to leave home to get started.

Talk about it

There’s no point making a lot of effort to increase your skill base if you don’t let anyone know you’re doing it. Expanding your skills may just give you more visibility in your current organisation, leading to you being more likely to be included on lists for promotion or for further training. If you’re thinking of trying for new roles elsewhere, make sure your CV highlights the efforts you have made. Hiring managers will be impressed with your initiative and drive to succeed.

Don’t stop

There’s always something new to learn. Your next job is just another set of skills away. If you’re focused on making the most of your career, you should always be on the lookout for development and upskilling opportunities to help you make it to the next level. In fact, a key question for you to ask future employers is what type of training and development opportunities they offer, and how they manage their routes to promotion. The more you know, the better prepared you are to keep adding new skills and proving your worth as a valuable team member.

Now is a great time to start thinking about where your skill gaps are and how you can fill them. Why not make a start today?

You need to make the most of the interview process. The questions you ask will elicit answers that show you what kind of person your candidate is. They will show you their strengths and the areas where they might need support or improvement. Critically, they can also show you if a candidate definitely isn’t right for your business – saving you the time and cost implications of a poor hire.

Most leaders never have interview training, and that’s a shame because interviewing is a real skill. Knowing how to approach your candidate – when to push for answers, when to move on and when to expand the question – will give you better quality information for making your hiring decision. So here are our key steps to becoming a better interviewer.

Read the job description

Sounds simple, but many interviewers don’t prepare enough, and that means questions can be unfocused and not relevant to the role. By refreshing your memory, you’ll be able to focus on the skills and attitudes you’ve asked for, and be able to ask your candidate how they will fulfil those requirements.

Be prepared to sell your company

Candidates are in a strong position at the moment, so an interview is an important opportunity to sell your company. A candidate who is interviewing for multiple roles will use the interview to make their minds up, so the way you present yourself and your business could make all the difference. Take the time at the beginning of the interview to talk about culture, benefits and work environment, so your candidates have a heads-up of what to expect.

Use CVs as talking points

CVs hold a lot of information, and some of that can be turned into interview questions. This is particularly useful because you are making the question personal to the candidate, and this encourages them to give a more complete answer. So, for example, if a candidate has talked about a time they achieved a certain goal, ask them to explain that in more detail and talk about the challenges and successes.

Be ready to expand questions

We’d always suggest that you go into the interview with a standard list of questions. This ensures that each candidate at interview gets pretty much the same experience. You can go a little off-piste though, if you think there’s a story worth exploring, or more to their example than meets the eye. Make sure you get through all the questions on your list though, so that you have complete information to work from.

Make notes or recordings

When you have a string of interviews to run, it can be easy to get confused about which candidate said or did what. Taking notes will help you to organise your thoughts and feedback once the process is over, and give you the fullest amount of information to work with. You may also choose to record the interview – but you must get permission from the candidate first and you must delete the recording once you have made an offer.

Think about unconscious bias training

This is obviously wider than the interview itself, but it is an important point. We all have unconscious bias in one form or another. And because it’s unconscious, we are not aware of the way it influences our thoughts, reactions, judgements or questions. It’s worth investing in bias training for hiring managers to help put all candidates on an equal footing at interview.

Unless your organisation has a culture of combative interviews, make an effort to help your candidate relax and feel comfortable. You will get far more information this way and it will help to make the interview a more enjoyable process from both sides of the table.

There are lots of people who offer one-to-one mentoring schemes. It’s worth taking the time to look around carefully at what’s on offer – not every mentor is going to be right for you. Look for someone who has the experience, skills and approach that will fit best with your plans and your way of working. For example, some mentors might want to meet weekly, whilst others will do a monthly meet with catch-ups or check-ins the rest of the time. The type of mentor you choose is very important – you need someone who is going to understand the way you do things, hold you to account and give you the support you need.

Peer-to-peer mentoring

This type of scheme allows you to share your strengths and skills with someone at a similar level to you. So this might be someone in a different organisation but in a similar role, or someone who is doing a completely different job and has unique experiences to share with you. This is a good way to expand your horizons, understand the scope, challenges and highlights of other roles and environments and broaden your own experience.

Online mentoring

In a work environment where much of what we do has moved online, it’s not a huge step to look at online mentoring. This might be on an individual basis or as part of a group. It’s often offered as part of a wider training scheme – so if you are taking professional qualifications, for example, you might also have access to a mentoring scheme run by the qualification body. This allows you to share thoughts, insights and questions with people following the same career path without having to attend meetings or take too much time out of your day.

It’s widely agreed that mentoring is an excellent way of developing new skills and knowledge, sharing best practice, opening up opportunities for promotion and career advancement and helping you to set clear goals and take measurable actions. Why not take a look at the mentoring opportunities available to you?