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How to upskill and get a better job

18th August 2021

Whether you’re currently employed and looking for a new (better) job, re-joining the workforce, or just starting out on your career journey, upskilling is a great way to stand out from the pack. 

What are hard skills? 

Hard skills are quantifiable abilities or skill sets that you have learnt in a classroom, through books or other training materials, or on the job. These skills can include things like: 

  • A college or university qualification 
  • An industry-specific certification 
  • Proficiency in a foreign language 
  • Typing speed 
  • Bookkeeping 
  • Computer skills

What are soft skills? 

Soft skills are the emotional and interpersonal skills that enable you to navigate your work environment, interact with others, perform well and achieve your goals.  

They include a combination of people and social skills, communication skills, character or personality traits, attitudes, social intelligence, and emotional maturity.  

Jobs in sales, customer service, community, and personal care, and hospitality all require these types of skills.  

Benefits of upskilling 

  • Improves job prospects 
  • Helps you stay relevant in the ever-changing work environment 
  • Shows potential (and current) employers that you are motivated 
  • Improves self-confidence  
  • Provides insights into changes in your industry 
  • Identifies potential new areas of interest for your career path 

Ways to stay relevant  

  • Ask for stretch opportunities in your current workplace 
  • Stay plugged into social media platforms such as LinkedIn to find out what’s happening in your industry or area of interest 
  • Talk to successful people you admire, and ask for their opinion on what skills are in demand 
  • Join industry and professional associations – many have ongoing learning and networking opportunities that can be incredibly beneficial 

How do you upskill?  

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to undertake training, further your education, develop more confidence, and grow your personal and professional network.   


When looking at study/training options, be sure to choose courses that are relevant to your industry and/or profession.  

There is no end to the number of courses and training opportunities available, both online and face-to-face.   

Online courses and training is particularly popular – it is easy to access, often free, and you can complete them in your own time and pace. Examples of online learning include: 

  • University or college degrees. Given the current situation with many regions facing lockdowns and various restrictions, more and more universities are offering full university degrees – undergraduate and post-graduate – online. 
  • Free online tutorials. If you can imagine it, it’s fairly likely that you’ll be able to find a free tutorial on how to do it. Simply do an online search for what you’d like to learn, and there’s bound to be a free tutorial.  
  • Short courses. From building a website and learning digital marketing, to applying make-up and building a personal brand, influencers and industry professionals alike offer a selection of short online courses to help improve (or develop) your soft and hard skills.  

If you’re ready to start retraining and upskilling, HELP has a range of training courses available, or you can check out My Skills - a national online directory of vocational educational and training (VET) organisations and courses that are free or low-fee.  


Networking events are extremely popular, and provide a great opportunity to meet new people, discover new and interesting job possibilities, and gain first-hand industry knowledge. You can find these networking opportunities all around you, including: 

  • Local Chamber of Commerce events 
  • Meetups in your area 
  • Virtual/online groups  

Career mapping 

Begin with a plan in mind. Work out exactly what it is you’d like to achieve in terms of employment, and start mapping your way towards it. Write down a list of your existing skills, knowledge, and contacts. Write a second list of the skills, knowledge, and contacts you need. Then map out the steps it will take to obtain them, and ultimately get you started in your dream career.  


If you want to talk to someone about upskilling or retraining to improve your employability, contact Help Employment and Training today. Our staff can answer your questions and give you information about our own training courses.