According to data from April 16, more than 20 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. If your company has been hit by layoffs; has pivoted to a new product, service, or strategy to serve customers; or has simply begun to discuss possible paths forward, it simply doesn’t make sense to sit back, relax, and limit your activity level to what you were hired to do.
It’s time to prove you’re an indispensable employee by acquiring valuable new skills you can use right away. Need some ideas? Start with these three boons to your skill set and résumé.
1. Dive into social media.
For large swaths of the global population, time spent at home is increasing—and time spent on social media is increasing along with it. This is a great opportunity to learn more of the ins and outs of social media marketing to help promote your brand to potential customers using the platforms they already frequent. Employee advocacy, or workers promoting the organizations that employ them, is a social media strategy that can improve a brand’s reputation among customers and talent alike.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or building on some existing social media marketing knowledge, you have resources at your disposal ranging from blogs to guides to certification courses. Use what you learn from these and other resources to start promoting your company on your own social channels. Better yet, team up with leadership to spearhead a companywide employee advocacy strategy.
2. Learn to code.
Coding is another vital piece of the puzzle for many businesses, and now is the perfect time to take a course in a language your company uses. Some tech experts recommend that employees in non-tech roles learn at least the basics of coding because it will help them better collaborate with IT professionals, understand what goes on behind the scenes of their website or product, and optimize their use of tech tools or programs to do high-quality work.
“Learning a programming language can actually rewire your brain, increasing cognitive ability in areas like problem-solving, planning, and pattern recognition,” says Chris Bay, VP of education and technology for LaunchCode. “Also, more and more nonprogrammers know some basic coding, and this trend will only accelerate; these skills are necessary well beyond the technical sphere. If you want to stay competitive in a tech-fueled economy, you need to speak the language.”
3. Pursue a certification.
Do you work in a specialized field? Are you looking to make an impact on your specific department? Then a certification course may be the right place to focus your professional development efforts over the next few weeks or months. Certifications are a middle ground between one-off webinars and full-fledged degree programs. They’re training modules that often include graded exams over the material covered throughout the course.
Choosing to pursue a certification in a subject that your industry needs is a surefire way to prove to your manager that you have what it takes to help out in a crisis and beyond. And according to Glassdoor, role-specific certifications in areas like HR or project management as well as certifications for specific software like Salesforce or HubSpot would be particularly valuable in impressing recruiters as you grow your career.
We are living in historic times, and around the world, professionals are stepping up their game in response. Join their ranks by building your social media skills, learning a new coding language, or getting certified in an area relevant to your role. By taking these steps, you’ll prove your worth at your current organization and show future employers that amid uncertainty, you’re a team player who can thrive under pressure.