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Refresh your skills and secure an income

Published Jun 16, 2020


LIFESTYLE - Revitalise your skills to stay relevant amid the Covid-19 job crisis.

The latest statistics on the work crisis brought on by Covid-19 predicts that nearly half of the global workforce risk job losses.

This pandemic has accelerated shifts that were being made by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where the technological gap challenged workers at various levels.

If you have faced the prospect of possible unemployment due to Covid-19, you might be grappling with how to shift from traditional work models to the emerging alternative workforce.

This developing sector of the workforce is talent that is employed on a short-term basis for a specific project or task and takes the form of:

- Contractors/temporary workers.

- Freelance/independent workers.

- Gig workers.

- Crowd workers.

It is possible to find ways to adapt to the changing environment by refreshing your skills set so you can continue to earn an income.

1. Review your work history to conduct a skills audit:

To understand how you can expand your skills set so you can offer value to the market, you need a clear picture of what you currently have to offer and then identify possible gaps that you need to fill.

To do this, use your CV as a guide and with each job, list the hard skills and soft skills that you have gained at that specific organisation.

This will help you to identify the range of sellable skills that you have gained during your career that you can group into subsets and match to alternate work opportunities.

- Hard skills: if you were responsible for payroll, for example, list the software systems that you are familiar with, managing of timesheets and issuing of salaries, etc.

- Soft skills: list interpersonal communication, teamwork, empathy, leadership, etc.

Determine your sellable skills:

This part of the skills audit will require creativity. You need to think about how you can repackage these skills for possible short-term work assignments.

Managing of timesheets for employees may no longer be relevant, so you would need to adjust your CV and motivation letters according to the job requirements.

On the soft skills side, your ability to work well with others can translate into team leader capabilities, for example.

2. Identify whether you need to up-skill, cross-skill, or re-skill:

Now that you have a list of sellable skills, think about how your current skills set can be leveraged in industries you have never worked in before.

If you decide to stay within your current field, you will need to up-skill (increase the level of your current skills).

You will need to cross-skill if you want to translate your current skills to be relatable to a different industry. For example, you might want to explore how your ability to work with software programs can be adapted to learning new software tools that will be valuable in the information technology industry.

Or you might decide that this is the perfect time to pursue a professional field that you did not get the chance to do when you were younger.

In this case, you will need to re-skill. You will probably need to do this part-time as you continue to work.

3. Take control of your professional life:

The marketplace will only become increasingly competitive, so it is your responsibility to make yourself more marketable.

There are a plethora of online courses you can take that will help you address any skills gaps that you have identified.

Lockdown restrictions have resulted in an emergence of mastermind groups on WhatsApp that you can join.

These will help you connect with professionals who have similar goals and interests. The resources that are shared are invaluable.

Podcasts are also a great source of learning (and are free).

The key to expanding your skills set is to apply what you learn and not being afraid to fail while you are doing it.

There are four levels of learning any new skill: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and unconscious competence.

This is the process you went through to learn how to ride a bike and how you earned your driving licence.

There is no end to learning in the new world - we need to be willing to look like a fool in order to gain the wisdom we need to excel.

4. Embrace side hustles as the new job security:

It is probably time to make peace with the fact that relying on a single source of income such as a salary is no longer an option.

As you explore new ways of working, you will also need to consider how you can build multiple streams of income to strengthen financial security.

Your new work life might look like juggling multiple clients across various industries that pay you for tasks performed and projects completed instead of aligning to a single job description.

This new way of working will take some time to adjust to, but you have to believe that you have what it takes to succeed.

*Benadie is the managing director of

the Whole Person Academy.


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