Top Tips: Tip #2 – Upskilling

Please take a survey at the end of this blog so that we can better understand your experience with job transition.

The Time is Now to Close the Gaps in Your Professional “Skills” Profile

Maintaining a competitive career skills profile can be challenging. It’s very easy to become complacent with your self-development plan while sitting comfortably employed in a stable work environment.

Now that you’re out of work, you’ve learned that the market requires a 4.0 skill set for the same job you did before. But your skills are at a 2.0 level. Ouch! How can that be? I have twenty years of experience doing my job. I guess the company I worked for wasn’t as progressive and cutting edge as I had thought. Maybe that’s the reason my team was laid off. We were outdated and didn’t know it. What should I do?

It’s common for a recruiter or hiring manager to pose the question, “What have you been doing during your transition?” The obvious answer is to impress them with your ambitious get-back-to-work plan, which is fantastic. Letting them know that there’s no daylight between you and the next job opportunity is good, right? That’s only part of the story. I suggest that you include a conversation about your rigorous development plan. This will differentiate you from the competition vying for the same job.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

How can a discussion about an upskilling or development plan give you a position of strength in the interview? Isn’t it a sign of weakness to admit that you have gaps in your skills profile? On the contrary!

Everyone has gaps in their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) relative to their vocation. But few take the necessary steps to assess those gaps and do something about it. Market requirements move fast due to new technologies, customers, competition, laws, policies, etc. Therefore, KSA’s become dated and sometimes obsolete. Employers want to know that you’re agile with your career, a self-starter, and resilient to threats and downturns in the marketplace. These abilities come from being a rigorous life-long learner. You may have twenty years of experience, but what if that experience only reflects one year of good experience twenty times over. Don’t laugh, this happens.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:15, “Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” Heed this great biblical advice and start acting.

What Should You Do?

Network with people from benchmark companies in your industry. This is the quickest channel to understanding market dynamics and requirements. Interview these professionals, with curious ambition, about their company’s business operation, markets, and required KSA’s of the workers. Don’t make any assumptions about what you know. Ask questions and listen intently to what they have to say. Take notes! Focus your discovery around one or more of the following categories: People, Technology, Process, and data.

Write down market requirements and related KSA’s that are new to you. Map them to skills building courses, books, and seminars and start learning. Your best friend to find resources is your local reference librarian. They’ll be able to point you to free (yes free) online learning resources and publications that map to your plan.

Read Marshall Goldsmiths book, What got you here won’t get you there. Marshall will give you all the rationale and motivation you need to start planning and learning.

Don’t forget about “Professors” YouTube and Google. They’ll be your best bet for quick knowledge checks about any topic related to your job search.

Paying Forward and Serving Others

To those of you who have struggled with unemployment recently, we ask if you could help us better understand the difficulties and rewards of your experiences so that we could better help others. It’s a chance to pay back by paying forward and serving others. The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians to be appreciative of all those who have helped us in our time of need by paying forward and blessing those in need.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2: 3-4

Regardless of our circumstances, we trust God to carry us through difficult times. He relies on us to be his hands and feet of caring for others. I have found in my own job transitions that the more I focused on the needs of others, the more I felt God’s peaceful presence and comfort.

And Now for the Survey

Thank you in advance for taking our survey. All participants and responses are confidential. The results will be complied and ultimately help others be more effective in their job search journey.

Link to survey:

Qualtrics Survey | Job Search Experiences 2022

Richard Braden currently serves as a volunteer in the Minnesota Crossroads Career ministry located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He is the Managing Director of Technology Apprenticeships for CompTIA. In this role, Rich enables people to improve their lives through employment in the IT industry. Braden has a passion for developing workforce partnerships and employment opportunities in IT on behalf of underserved communities. Rich joined CompTIA in March 2021. Prior to joining CompTIA, Rich was an executive leader for several leading companies within the software industrials, medical device, legal publishing, and pharmaceutical industries. Most recently, he was the global leader of training and education sales at Honeywell Building Technologies.


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