Keep the "Fresh" in Refresh and Level Up
I live in California which has been placed on another stay-at-home order until the end of this month. As this quarantine continues to drag on, I have been faced with several challenges and uncertainties just like everyone else. I know that I am not alone in this. The situation has tested my faith, confidence, and even sanity. Thank goodness for the little voice inside of me that nudged me to stay relevant by seeking learning opportunities that companies and universities are making available to help professionals sharpen their existing skills and even learn new skills.
Google is offering career certificates in UX Design, Data Analytics and Project Management and the cool thing about this is that it is FREE99! On the Google website, it states that these certificates will allow the person to "become job-ready in about six months, no prior experience required."
Cornell University's online education department (e-Cornell) offers 120+ online award-winning certificate programs for professional development in areas such as healthcare, project management, technology, hospitality, and more.
There are other professional development opportunities called Massive Open Online Courses such as Coursera and Udemy that provide free job training and courses from well-respected colleges and universities on almost any subject matter.
Of course, there are also online certificate programs and courses available just for the fun of it. Here is where I have a confession to make: I signed up to take an online incense crafting course to explore the use of traditional aromatherapy to improve overall well-being and to learn how to make my own incense cones, sticks, and loose blends. Don't judge me!
Since the "lockdown" I have taken advantage of a few of these opportunities for my own professional development. I earned a certification in Social Media Marketing from HubSpot Academy and received a certificate for completing the “Fundamentals of Media Relations" from Muck Rack Academy. I have committed myself to “leveling up" during this time.
As an experienced public relations professional, I am reminded that it is always a good idea to refresh your skillset and even learn something new in the process.
One thing I do know is that you MUST stay relevant in order to thrive and survive. The PR industry has changed a lot since I started as a fresh-faced college grad working for the feds as a Public Affairs Specialist. Luckily, I have always adapted and embraced change along my career path and I do not fear technology. In fact, I get excited when I learn about new and effective ways to share and access news and information. This is the excitement that pulled me into wanting to become a PR professional.
Circling back around, I do want to mention that being highly productive when it comes to professional development during a pandemic should not be expected. There are many aspects vying for our attention: WFH (work from home) obligations, home-schooling responsibilities, isolation, exhaustion, stress, anxiety and more. For some of us, it's a personal victory just to survive the daily monotony. You don't have to be highly productive every single moment of every single day. It is okay to take care of yourself FIRST. Just know that when you are ready to pursue online learning that can help advance your career, or brush up on your existing skills, or just for personal development, there are many resources available literally right at your fingertips.
NOTE: None of the companies mentioned in this blog sponsored this post.