Looking for ways to boost your career, switch careers, or gain that promotion you’ve been eyeing? It pays to develop new skills and grow what you know — especially if those skills are tech-related, which is what so many employers are seeking these days.
In fact, some technical skill sets are so in demand that many companies will gladly hire work-from-home talent who have what it takes to succeed on the job. If you don’t currently have the skills for the job you want, you can go after them. Yes — even while working from home. These tips will help you do that.
Expanding Your Current Career Path
When you’re interested in ways to earn a promotion or advance your existing career, it pays to be strategic about how you interact as a team member. And you can definitely do this effectively, even when working remotely. You simply have to make the most of every opportunity to learn.
Talk with your manager
If you have a goal of leveling up at your existing job, make time to communicate your aspirations with your manager. This can happen during your annual review, but you can do it anytime it’s on your mind. Set up a call with your supervisor and ask them for input. Find out what it will take to progress to where you want to be. What do they consider next-level growth for you? Their answers will direct to what you need to learn.
Show up for planned training
If your company has shifted to a work from home model or is growing its team by bringing on remote workers, then there may be times that your manager offers online training opportunities. Even if the training is optional, consider attending, because you may be able to improve soft skills and also get better at hard skills that position you for a promotion.
Volunteer for projects
When you’re not physically in the office with your coworkers, it can be tempting to coast and take the path of least resistance. But that won’t work for leveling up your career. So, get proactive and volunteer for projects and activities that give you a chance to learn new skills. What you learn, together with your team spirit, looks good when you’re building your case for a promotion or salary increase.
Keep chat channels open
Even though you’re working from home, you can still leverage the collective smarts and skills of your coworkers by staying available for chats. Leaving Slack or other chat apps open during your workday allows you to stay in touch with others, ask for input, and learn better ways of doing your work, just as you would through casual conversation around the coffee maker.
Ask for training
Consider what you need to make your career growth happen, and then pitch taking a course or two in that skill area to your manager. Most companies have training included somewhere in their budget, and your department might have funds that could go toward covering all or part of the cost of the coursework you’d like to take.
Changing to a New Career
If you’re looking to move into a new type of work, you’re not alone. These days, as the demand grows for greater tech skills in the workplace, it’s smart to look for careers that leverage technological know-how. You can study tech or other career paths even as you’re working from home.
Do some research
If you want to advance your career or change career paths (remember, tech skills are super popular these days!), do the research needed to lay the groundwork for your growth. Look at job descriptions for the job you want, and notice the skills you need (yet currently don’t have). Concentrate on finding ways to learn those skills. Sign up for online courses that can help you build skills in hot tech skills right now, like coding, chatbot development, app creation, UX design, and more.
Make a lateral move
Career growth is often like playing chess. If you need to make two or three moves to get where you’re going, why not do it? Remote work may have helped you build soft skills — like exceptional communication, or superb time management — that may allow you move laterally into another department, where you can then gain the hard skills you’ve been seeking to make further career moves.
Coworking spaces, community colleges and libraries near you may offer activities such as lunch and learns, meet and greets, and classes that cover skills you want to grow in. When possible, take advantage of the fact that you work remotely to spend the day at these spaces, stepping away from your work to attend the class, and then getting back to your job as soon as the class ends.
Leverage your time wisely
If you used to travel to work but now work from home, how much time are you saving because you no longer commute? That time can easily be assigned to time for study. Whatever you want to learn, set aside that former commute time as something that is specifically delegated to your career growth strategies. Even just a little bit of dedicated daily time can really make a difference — and if you use what would otherwise be commuting time, it won’t feel like it eats into the rest of your day.
Build on existing skills
Take advantage of what you already know to create a foundation for further skill-building. This is an effective tactic even if you don’t use these skills in your current job. For example, maybe you currently do accounting for your paid job, but you love shooting videos with your smartphone. Video production is a popular career path these days because it is a great tool for social media marketing and SEO. So, why not take what you enjoy doing and study how to get better at it? Build skills you don’t yet have, in an area that you like working in anyway. Your studies will feel a lot more fun—and open up new career paths too.
Summing It All Up
Building your skills for career growth is something you should always be doing. Whether your goal is to uplevel your current career or make a career change, gaining new skills — especially tech-related ones — is vital to creating paths for promotion, leadership and salary increases. Fortunately, growing your skill set can be done at home, while working remotely, not just at the office. Use these tips, add to your skills, and leverage what you’ve learned to make your next career move a success.