5 Ways to Upskill Yourself While Working Remotely
Summertime in the UK has certainly given many of us a reason to be positive. As we slowly emerge from a period of economic turmoil furlough is ending and there are far more jobs on the market. The pandemic may have given you a chance to consider what’s important to you when it comes to work. Some people are keen to change sectors, others are looking for greater flexibility, and many want to upskill themselves in readiness for a new challenge.
Has ongoing remote work given you a surplus of time that you could devote to developing your skills? We take a look at the five top ways in which charity workers can boost their skills while working remotely.
Listen to Charity Podcasts
To advance your charity career you have to build a solid understanding of the sector. One way to do this is by spending a great deal of time networking with others to tap into their experience and perspectives. But that’s not the only way. You can also subscribe and listen to some high-quality charity podcasts that will give you an insight into current sector developments and challenges.
A great place to start is with Charity Chat which features big names in charity, includes learning tools and sparks commentary. Third Sector covers news and information about charity-focused issues all around the UK. There’s a podcast for almost every part of the charity ecosystem and they’re a great way to immerse yourself in the industry and learn what it takes to thrive in it.
Create a Non-Profit Reading List
Another excellent way you can use your time to learn more about the charity sector is to create a non-profit-focused reading list. There are some insightful books available on the subject, many of which are written by some of the sector’s most successful people. Some are inspiring and will help you to maintain your motivation while others offer an insider’s perspective on the day-to-day struggles of others in the industry. Below are just a few titles that you might consider when you’re looking to upskill yourself:
- Managing without profit by Mike Hudson–this book can help with navigating the minefields of charity governance
- The Networked Non-Profit by Beth Kanter–this book shows how charities can use social media to drive growth and change
- Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Practices and Principles–this book covers, through interviews and writing, marketing, mission and managing yourself.
Meet Virtually with Your Mentor
If you’ve been working for a charity for a while you’re no doubt already aware that having a mentor is one of the keys to career growth. They function as a valuable resource that can help you to navigate the complexities of the industry, introduce you to important contacts, and even advise you on how to achieve your goals.
And while you’re working remotely, you should build some time into your schedule to connect with your mentor as often as practical. Keeping in touch via Zoom or even on the phone is an excellent use of the time you’ve gained by not having to travel to work. And if you don’t already have a mentor, you can use the time to network and find one willing to help you advance your career.
Take Advantage of Employer-Provided Training
In many cases charities offer training and development opportunities to their staff. This is done to help build relevant skill sets in-house rather than having to find them on the open market. And one of the most common reasons that employees don’t take advantage of those opportunities is a lack of time. This is especially true for organisations that only provide unpaid time off for employees wishing to take part in the training.
But in an all-remote setting you might find that you have enough extra time to take your employer up on their training offers without sacrificing your personal time. Chances are they’ll be happy to hear of your interest and you’ll gain valuable skills at no additional cost. And even if your employer doesn’t offer any training and development, you can build your own training program through available online courses that suit your own career goals.
Work Toward a Degree
Since many people come into the charity sector with no industry-specific schooling to speak of, one of the best ways to take advantage of your newfound spare time is to work toward earning a charity-specific degree. There are plenty of learning paths available to fit many of the sector’s most common roles. Adding a bachelor’s or master’s in your chosen field to your CV will open up new doors that can help you advance your career.
If you already have a charity-specific degree to your credit you might consider working toward an MBA or other management degree instead. There are plenty of great resources to help you choose an MBA that’s right for your circumstance. An advanced degree can help you to move into more advanced charity roles you might otherwise not be considered for. Any way you look at it, adding additional credentials to your CV is a great way to advance your career, and now might be the perfect time to do so.
Make the Most of This Chance
It’s impossible to tell how long charities will stick with their remote working policies but odds are they’re not going away anytime soon. And that means you should make the most of this chance and spend your surplus time wisely. There’s no better way to do that than to build new skills and create opportunities for career growth.