You went through a job advert and you discovered you are not anywhere near the required qualifications; yet, this is an organization or role you desire so much. Be at peace! That is not the end of the road or a time to be dismayed, you can upgrade yourself to meet up. You need to be intentional about this. So many people desire to learn one skill or the other but lack the discipline to start and/or to bring it to fruition. Set a goal for yourself and pursue it. You will be fine if you can adhere to the goal.

Below are some ways to upgrade yourself:

Connect with professionals who have the skills: Whilst it is good to study and learn on your own, another viable way to learn is to connect with professionals that possess the skill(s) you desire to acquire. You can attend events where the professionals will be present. If you can’t have access to the building, stick around and approach the professional once he/she comes out. Prepare an elevator pitch because you might only have a minute to get the professional’s attention. Be strategic, be deliberate. Go online and check people who have the skills on sites like LinkedIn. Connect with them and ask to be mentored. You might even be surprised you will get more than you bargained for – who knows, you might get a job offer later on.

Take courses online: There are several free courses online that you can benefit from. These are courses designed by reputable organizations and institutions. Some courses do not have certificates while some do. Some certificates are free while some are not. There is what is called “verified certificate” – where you have to pay some amount of money. The verified certificate will serve as a proof that you successfully completed the course. This certificate can be included in online profiles like LinkedIn. Whatever the case – certificate or no certificate – the knowledge to be gained is the most important thing to consider when upskilling yourself. Once the online course is completed, you should include it in your CV immediately.

Prepare an elevator pitch because you might only have a minute to get the professional’s attention.

Offer to volunteer:This is also a good way to gain practical hands-on experience on the skills you want to acquire. You will be assigned to a supervisor who will mentor you thereby giving you access to learn on the job. You will be involved in carrying out duties and responsibilities like a paid staff would. Depending on the specific task at hand, you might be involved in meetings where decision making will be done.

Volunteering might not sound good to your ears because you might not be paid at all; in fact, you shouldn’t expect to be paid. However, some organizations do give their volunteers stipends and depending on the type of industry, you might be privileged to embark on official trips that will fetch you some money (daily subsistence allowance). For example, in the development sector, you might be included in trips to carry out monitoring and evaluation activities or supportive supervision in project states.

Read books: The importance of reading books cannot be over-emphasized; whether it’s an e-book or hard copy book, go online, visit a store and get yourself one. Read, digest, and give yourself quizzes. This will give you confidence in the topic and you will be able to demonstrate or talk about it when required.

Volunteering might not sound good to your ears because you might not be paid at all; in fact, you shouldn’t expect to be paid.

Apart from the guides stated above, if you come across a job application you are not qualified for, apply still. Take the chance. After all, what have you got to loose, there might just be something in your cover letter that will get the attention of the recruiter and you might end up getting the job.

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