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Quick Ways to Upskill and Elevate Your Career Goals

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As a fresh college graduate, you need to upskill yourself and prepare for the future in advance. While India has the most educated population ever, degrees earned by freshers like you, are hardly offering any practical work skills. Not every college degree / diploma program can keep up with the pace of technological change faced by Indian and global workforces. Also, candidates like you need to prepare for jobs of the future instead of for jobs of the past, which hardly exist today. It’s time to develop the right set of skills for jobs you can contribute to and you can do so by reducing your widening skill gap.

Whether you like it or not, work & tasks of the future are largely going to be automated. Such automation would require college graduates or freshers like you to do higher-value work at the very beginning of your careers, because artificial intelligence and machines would take care of mundane or repetitive jobs. You need to be better prepared for what lies ahead.

So what is the solution? Its simple! Just upskill and reskill yourself starting today! You are already home due to the India-wide lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of sulking and wasting your time away, you can use this situation to your advantage. So get creative! Here are some quick tips to help you upskill and make the most of social isolation.

Upskill and Elevate Your Career Goals

Upskill and Elevate Your Career Goals

Right after the lockdown gets lifted, employers would be, as they always are, on the lookout for freshers with good knowledge of things and exceptional soft skills. Soft skill essentially means the ability to write, listen, and communicate very effectively. So upskill and reskill as much as you can, and as soon as possible. Only then you will be able to add relevance to your fresher resume. Here are some crucial tips to help you in upskilling and reskilling yourself as a fresher.

Set Achievable Goals: For instance, learn a new language in 30 days

Poorly defined goals may lead to the formation of weak intentions and procrastination. To avoid that, set an achievable goal. For example, learn a new foreign language in 30 days!

The job market is increasingly becoming more globalized day by day. If you are fluent in another language say French, German, Japanese, Italian or Spanish, you would be able to open yourself up to new opportunities out there.

Being multilingual in India and overseas will add new stars to your resume. Speaking, reading and writing in any other language apart from English is also a specialist skill which can attract employers and increase your demand in the market. It will also lay the foundation for a higher salary for you during salary negotiation discussion rounds.

Some apps like Duolingo are free and help you pick new language skills in a gamified format. Download such an app in your phone so that you can learn the language anywhere, even during a spare five minute break!

In case you are already at a certain level and you are planning to reach an advanced level, check out online language certification tests. Below is a list of language proficiency tests.

1. French Proficiency Test
A) DELF and DALF B) TEF and TCF
2. Spanish Proficiency Test
A) DELE B) SIELE
3. German — Zertifikat Deutsch, TestDaF, & More
4. Chinese Mandarin — HSK
5. Korean —TOPIK
6. Japanese — JLPT
7. Russian — TORFL
8. Arabic — ALPT
9. Portuguese — CAPLE
10. Italian — CILS, CELI, PLIDA, CIC, IT
11. Dutch — CNaVT & NT2

Volunteer: For instance, contribute to a greater cause

NCC cadets in Kerala college allege harassment, caning by officers

PC: India Today
Volunteering allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and adapt to unfamiliar environments. It is also a good way to meet new people, pick up new skills, learn new approaches and gain new insights. You also get to give something back to your country. One example is shown below.

National Cadet Corps (NCC) has offered a helping hand to civilian authorities in the country’s fight against COVID-19 by extending the services of cadets under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’. It has issued guidelines for temporary employment of its cadets to augment relief efforts and functioning of various agencies involved in battling the pandemic. The tasks envisaged for NCC cadets include, manning of helpline/call centres; distribution of relief materials/medicines/ food/essential commodities; community assistance; data management and queue & traffic management.  According to the guidelines, cadets should not be employed in handling of law and order situation or for active military duties or at hot spots. Only Senior Division volunteer cadets above 18 years of age will be employed. They should be employed in small cohesive groups of eight to 20 under the supervision of Permanent Instructor Staff or/and an Associate NCC Officer. (For complete article, visit this source.)

If you are an ex or a current NCC / NSS cadet, or for that matter even a Bharat Scout / Guide,  adding this point to your CV would speak volumes about your attitude as a candidate.

Have a mentor? If not, get one now!

As a fresher, you can skip a number of wrong steps and avoid mistakes if you are advised by a mentor or someone who is already where you want to be. Talking to a mentor like a senior or a cousin, on how they got to where they are and what they learned along the way, can always help. This will let you gain plenty of professional insight, as you will learn from their experiences. You can also clarify which skills you still need to develop by talking to them.

In case you do not have a cousin / friend with relevant experience in your circle, approach a professional career coach or a professional mentor. For a bare minimum sum, these guides will offer you the right advice to kick-start your career. You can also visit our Learn from Leaders section to pick up crucial interview preparation tips, placement advice and industry knowledge from leaders who head organizations like GreyOrange, Quadrangle, Yamaha India and Firstnaukri.

Visit our Youtube channel & watch industry leaders talk to freshers such as you. These videos cover topics like placement preparation, company work culture, training and development programs for freshers, so on and so forth. 

Train or be a guide to your juniors

Nobody else has had the same journey as you. Even as a fresher, you have your own story to tell to the world. Your life lessons also have the potential to offer a lot to somebody as their mentor. In addition, you will find yourself learning just as much during this process.

Tell your story to the world! Contribute your job interview / internship interview experience here! 

You will most likely learn something from the mentee, particularly about their experiences and approaches to working in life. Mentoring will also boost your coaching and leadership skills as you grow confident in teaching others.

Moreover, explaining something to someone else can really solidify how much you know in your own mind, and show you where the gaps are in your knowledge.

Network aggressively

Talk to others in and out of your domain or circle. Talk both online and offline. Try to connect with people from a wide range of experience levels, age groups and educational backgrounds.

If you do this, your mind set will broaden, your circle of connections will expand and your interpersonal skills will improve drastically! You will also learn what life might be like as a professional in the future.

Attend free webinars, recorded or live podcasts and job-related events

Webinars and podcasts are great knowledge dumps as the recordings are available afterwards. Tune in at your convenience and learn! You’ll be absolutely spoilt for choices on pretty much any subject you can think of. Do a Google search and narrow your choices down by asking what your mentors / seniors / friends recommend.

Attending live events is not easy. You would be required to travel and spend some money, but there’s a benefit of face-to-face interactions with new people! Carry a notepad to these events and list ideas that you want to follow up on. This is a good way to learn from the experts and build your own know-how. In case you are not comfortable with spending too much, check out relevant events on MeetUp. These are pocket-friendly events where you can interact with a small group of relevant people from the industry you are interested in.

Start a blog of your own!

Research your area of interest. Read opinion pieces on Medium, Pulse and other good sources. Follow thought-leaders and bloggers on your chosen topic. Also, start writing pieces on what your understanding of a topic is. Publish your blog on WordPress / Blogger / Medium etc. and see how your content gets noticed. This is your chance to build upon your existing knowledge. Try to develop a keyword-rich online portfolio and impress anyone who might be looking to hire you!

Read a new book every month

Flipkart and Amazon are teeming with paperback books and e-books on all types of subjects. This is a great way to expand your awareness. You may even find the biographies or autobiographies of some of the leaders in your field. If buying books seems expensive, do a google search for free PDFs and start skimming through them!

Become social media savvy

Not on social media yet? O boy, you are missing out on a lot! Everything from job vacancies to thought leadership pieces and networking opportunities are on social media handles. Be it  Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, your social media profile must be carefully built. Show off your knowledge on forums like Reddit and in FB groups on your subject. This will let you build a presence to be proud of. Once again, this is a way to keep your finger on the pulse within your area of interest. This tactic will also promote yourself to prospective employers. While you’re doing all that learning, don’t forget to document stuff to present in front of your current or future businesses. Also, update your CV and social profiles with any new skills you have learned.

To be precise, whether you are looking for a new job as a fresher or you want to make a complete change of career, your chances of success are much higher if you follow these steps. Strive to succeed and continuously develop yourself throughout your career and not just now. The good news is that new graduates like you are already well-qualified to bridge your own skill gaps. You are known to be more demanding and anxious as well as curious and focused on purpose, self-direction, and self-development. You are aware that your careers will ramble through multiple roles, industries, and company sizes. And you are already motivated to keep moving forward and succeeding.

As the saying goes,

You are your best judge. No one knows you better. – Vijaya Gowrisankar.

So prepare well and start upskilling yourself today.

All the best.

 

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