How To Upgrade Your Skills (Plus Definition, Types and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 November 2022

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A skill set is a collection of personal qualities, inherent abilities, interests and experiences that can affect your work performance and professional development. Cultivating your skill set can help you grow in competence, maturity, prosperity and satisfaction. Understanding the different types of skills can help you identify your current skill set and determine the areas for improvement. In this article, we outline how to upgrade your skills, discuss what a skill set is, show what the different types are and explain how to determine your current skill set.

Related: How To Develop Skill Sets in 9 Steps

How to upgrade your skills

Discussed below are some tips and guidelines you can follow to enhance and upgrade your skills:

1. Set comprehensive goals and targets

Before you can begin improving your talents, be sure to set some goals and objectives. Setting clear goals to advance your profession can help you remain on track. You can consider using the SMART framework to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Establishing SMART objectives allows you to clarify your thoughts, focus your efforts, make better use of your time and resources and enhance your chances of accomplishing your goals.

Setting clear goals to advance your profession may help you remain on track. The process of goal setting also enables you to evaluate the relevance of each goal thoroughly and makes it more meaningful to you. Then, consider creating a schedule to attain your objective by establishing start and finish dates and minor tasks to accomplish along the way.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition, Template and Examples

2. Find a mentor

Look for a mentor with specialisation and expertise in the skill you wish to learn. Having a mentor can help you better identify and achieve your goals, determine the gaps in your current skill sets, enhance your confidence and empower you. Mentors may provide guidance, point you in the correct direction, offer comments on your performance and suggest tips for improvement. You may also follow your mentor at work to learn about how they handle their everyday tasks and responsibilities.

3. Take online courses

Expand your skill set with marketable talents that you can use to increase your value in your present work. Enrolling in online workshops and courses is an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn new skills. There are various course providers online that allow you to access a broad selection of courses that fit your interests for reasonable costs. You can browse through the courses available online and choose to pursue those that fit your career aspirations. Many employers promote this type of learning, and some even give financial assistance to professionals.

4. Solicit and gather feedback

Feedback makes up a critical aspect of effective learning. Feedback can substantially enhance your confidence, increase your motivation and encourage personal development. It's important that you receive and gather honest feedback from those witnessing your growth, such as your family, friends, mentors, coworkers or superiors. Soliciting feedback can help you see if you're on the right track and acquire new abilities. Feedback allows you to track your personal development and progress.

5. Take part in professional organisations

There are various professional organisations specialising in different subjects and industries. Participating in activities hosted by professional organisations is another method to learn about new talents and how to improve them. Joining such associations can help you remain updated on the latest practices and knowledge. When joining a professional association, you may enhance your business ties while making new contacts. You can form long-term relationships with other experts in your industry who have comparable interests. The majority of the connections are deep and serve as a constant supply of inspiration and ideas.

Related: Why Is Networking Important and How To Start Networking

6. Participate in organisational training

Employers often conduct on-the-job training and induction to educate professionals on the skills they require to perform their duties. Taking advantage of these training sessions might aid in the development of your skill set. Usually, you can expect these training programmes to lead to improved productivity, boosted morale and progression opportunities. Inquire with your manager or seasoned specialists about future training programmes and opportunities.

What is a skill set?

A skill set is essentially a set of information, abilities, talents and personal characteristics. Each person has a unique skill set based on their natural abilities, personal characteristics, hobbies and technical abilities. Skills may broaden your professional capability and enable you to do an excellent job. Education and experience can help you develop and enhance your skill set, which may help you acquire a job, become skilled in a specific subject and execute duties successfully.

Skills may fall into the following classifications:

  • Hybrid talents: Hybrid skills are a combination of hard and soft abilities. Using hybrid talents depends on the work and the needs of the employing business.

  • Transferable skills: These are abilities you can employ in any position in any industry. Excellent verbal and nonverbal communication and strong attention to detail are examples of transferable skills.

  • Job-specific abilities: Your employer may demand certain soft or hard skills necessary to perform your job successfully. For instance, proficiency in programming language and strong problem-solving abilities are necessary for a software development role.

Types of skills

Discussed below are the two main types of skill sets:

Soft skills

Soft skills entail the abilities that enable you to operate successfully with others. Soft skills are a collection of social skills, career attributes, people skills, character or personality traits, attitudes and social and emotional intelligence that allow you to navigate and manage your environment, connect with others, perform well, solve difficulties and achieve your goals. Soft skills are crucial in resume writing, job interviews, work performance and connecting with people at work and in other aspects of your life. Listed below are some examples of soft skills you can cultivate:

  • Communication and people skills

  • Collaboration and teamwork

  • Creativity

  • Empathy

  • Willingness to learn

  • Social and emotional intelligence

  • Integrity

  • Leadership

  • Work ethic

  • Adaptability

  • Organisational abilities

  • Dependability

  • Conflict resolution

  • Critical thinking

Employers often seek soft skills in applicants because they're difficult to teach and are critical for the long-term success of an organisation. Soft talents are frequently transferable between jobs and sectors. Even if you don't fit the precise profile in a job description, you may find that you possess many of the essential qualities. When looking for work, pay extra attention to positions that require soft talents that you possess. Be mindful to keep your resume up-to-date in your job search process to represent the soft skills that are most relevant to the positions you're looking for.

Related: Soft Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

Hard skills

Often known as technical skills, hard skills are essentially the skills you've learned and gain from life experience, either through practice, experience, vocational training or education. Hard skills are especially important to employers as they play a major role in producing outputs, maximising efficiency and delivering results. Virtually every job requires a certain degree of hard skills and technical knowledge specific to that field. Listed below are some examples of hard skills you may cultivate depending on your passion and career aspirations:

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing

  • Data mining

  • Website development

  • Computer skills and programming languages

  • Graphic design

  • Language proficiency

  • Marketing and social media management

  • Photography skills

  • Copywriting and blogging skills

  • Project management

  • Presentation skills

  • Data visualisation

  • Email marketing

  • Prototyping

  • Database administration

  • Research skills

  • Budgeting and forecasting

  • Lean manufacturing

  • Web troubleshooting

Job advertisements nearly always incorporate hard talents. When applying for a job, make sure you demonstrate that you've got the necessary hard skills. Prospective employers frequently require industry exams, certificates and prior experience with such abilities. Some employers offer on-the-job training to train team members in certain technical knowledge necessary to carry out their daily duties.

Related: Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Tips to identify your current skill set

Identifying your talents can help you realise what you can work on and how to build an intriguing resume. To learn better about your current abilities, you can consider these methods:

  • Determine duties you like completing. Hobbies and other things that occupy your complete attention might reveal what skills you already possess. For instance, if you enjoy designing artwork, you may find that you possess creative abilities.

  • Think about your prior achievements. Consider a circumstance in which you earned an award or received a certificate and the talents you employed. For instance, a recognition as the top-performing salesperson in a company can reveal that you possess excellent sales, negotiation and interpersonal skills.

  • Recognise your own talents. Consider projects for which you've received praise and analyse your past positions. These chores often take minimal effort from you.

  • Make use of a talent evaluation tool. An online tool can assist you in determining your hard and soft talents. You can, for instance, take a personality assessment or a programming test.

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