Upgrade your skills for employment during a Pandemic

Upgrade skills for employment Corridor Careers fall grasses in breeze

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COVID-19 has caused many people to begin working from home creating an opportunity to upgrade your skills for employment. Whether you work from home, or you go to work at a physical location each day, you may be contemplating changing jobs or careers.

With employers realizing employees can work from home and still be productive, it seems like this may be the new normal that many will have the option to work from home or work from an office when the pandemic ends.

It makes sense that you may be considering a new job or career, and what better time?  The Coronavirus has created a shift, and perhaps it’s time for you to consider the same.  A shift to upgrading your skills for employment can have so many options for online and remote learning, so why not explore it?

What skills for employment are worth having?

O*Net, the nation’s primary resource for occupational information. It may look like something out of the 90’s but I assure you it is, by law, always being updated. You can use the user-friendly ‘My Next Move’ tool to explore different career options, or dig deep into a job title of interest to see how your skills compare to what is typically required. Special resources are available for veterans, and the tool is available en Español.


What’s really great about this tool is the ability to find out everything you want about a job title – typical job description, typical skills required, certifications needed, pay, occupational outlook (how much growth in the field is expected).

Education & Certifications

Once you are clear on what skills you need to transition to your next job, you may need a few certifications.

Right here in Eastern Iowa, Kirkwood Community College offers many continuous learning classes plus many two year degrees that are available to get you on the career path to success.  Including several 12 month certificate options including Medical Assistant, Business, Information Technology, and Paraeducator. Some even qualify for ‘Earn While you Learn’ or tuition assistance.

You are a busy working professional with responsibilities and a family to worry about.  You don’t have much time for anything extra in your life right now.  However, working from home also gives you more flexibility in working toward your next degree.  perhaps you are able to use your lunch break to study, or instead of commuting across town you can now use that extra time to work toward your next degree.  Right now is the right time.

A simple search of online degree’s reveal that there is a plethora of opportunities – but how to choose? All three regent universities (Iowa, Iowa State, UNI) in Iowa offer excellent online options. In addition, Mount Mercy and Clarke University offer a private university experience.  Nationally, it’s hard to beat Arizona State University  with over 200 programs specifically built to be taught online.  They are known for their cutting edge technology and excellent teaching staff.

Not looking for a full degree?

I’m glad you asked.  There are many good options for increasing your knowledge and upgrading your skill set on your own terms.  Udemy offers a wide variety of courses and their motto is “Study any topic, anytime.”  I have personally went through a couple courses on Udemy and thought it was useful to learn more on a certain subject of choice.  Most classes on Udemy do have a charge, however, if you are looking for free classes to upgrade your skills there are some other good options.

Have a Metro Library card?  With your library card you also get free access to Lynda.com, which is now LinkedIn Learning.  LinkedIn Learning offers learning paths for Business, Government, and Higher Education fields.  With access to so many courses for free with your library card, why not use this resource to upgrade your knowledge and skill set?

It’s time to level up

Does your current organization support you along your journey to increase your skill set?  According to Valamis.com, creating a learning culture within the organization is an effective way to improve performance and innovation, and also employee leads to satisfaction and retention. Perhaps an upgrade of your skills for employment will allow you to move up, rather than out.

If you have an employer who assists employees continuing their education, it’s possible that they may help cover the costs, especially if the advanced degree or certificate aligns with the goals of your current job or business.  If this is the case, make sure to contact your Human Resources department to find out what could be covered.

Right now is a perfect time to increase your skill set.  Employers are always looking for ambitious individuals to join their team.  Or if you are looking to switch careers, employers are optimistic about the coming 6 months in Eastern Iowa. You got this.

Job Search and Job Success