5 free ways to learn new skills during the COVID-19 pandemic

You and I both know that things will probably never go back to the way they once were pre-pandemic.


With lockdown restrictions coming and going into effect, it's just regularly sending everyone inside. So... you're probably wondering what you should be doing with the abundance of extra time that you have on your hands.

You could be tempted to hop onto social media and scroll your time away reading fear-inducing pandemic content or just checking out other people's profiles and activities.


Or...


You could focus on learning new skills during this pandemic by getting back into a growth mindset when it comes to your picking up new professional skills.


Many live events have now switched into going digital which is a convenient opportunity that you can take advantage of now online. There is a huge amount of resources available online already to sift through at your disposal. Another upside is that your extra downtime gets you some headway in vamping up your resume.


This is a short guideline to show you how to jumpstart your skills or learn new ones for no cost whatsoever!


1) Attend Virtual Events


Lockdowns and quarantines have become normal events in our lives now. We have to consider that this pandemic has changed some things for the better! With all honesty. The end result of attending virtual events is to expand your professional network.

Instead of worrying about travel costs, you can literally be anywhere in the world as long as there is an available and steady internet connection. You are able to talk with others in breakout rooms who are from all professional walks of life and can swap advice, tips, stories of failures as well as share strategies of success.


Many events that normally wouldn't have been offered virtually, now are. Very large events such as the Adobe Submit ( April 13-15th, 2021) and the CanadianSME Small Business (June 21-22nd, 2021) that are both virtual and FREE. This means that no matter where you are or what your budget is they are accessible to you!


It's important to treat each virtual event as you would in-person by remembering to:


a) Initiate connections with other attendees before, during and after the event

b) Use event hashtags to post on social media

c) Read the schedule before attending so that you can choose the workshops and talks that capture your interest



2) Co-work Virtually


What is co-work virtually you ask? Virtual co-work is the term for completing your work with another person while gaining an accountability partner in the process. This is a great opportunity to cross-train and learn from others, as well.


The benefits of having an accountability partner is that they hold you to your word when you say that you will complete x,y and/or z. That could look like completing a course, taking time out to plan out your content calendar or updating your resume with the newest certifications you've earned during the lockdown.

"Get you an accountability partner. Someone who isn't scared of you … Or your antics. But cares enough about you to tell you the truth...and will push you when you don't want to be pushed"


A tip is to look for strong individuals in industries outside of your own because they will be able to see your blind spots and weaknesses in your vision.


I used to participate in many study groups throughout college and it was an excellent way to carve out a consistent time, location and workflow in the company of others who are also working on their own tasks and projects.


Most of the time in study groups you can bump out 1.5-2 hours of high-level productivity that leaves you with a deep feeling of accomplishment.


Ask a friend (or two) to support and encourage one another to maximize the productivity of everybody's time.


Share ideas, learn from one another and complete your work so that you are always ready for the next level in your career.


3) View & fully participate in webinars


You definitely don't want to miss out on webinars because they are an easy way to learn about specific topics in a very short amount of time. They usually are around 45 - 60 minutes in length with room for a Q & A session.


Another highlight is that the speaker usually presents in real-time which means you can ask your questions and participate in a classroom type setting - virtually!


Many organizations offer in-house training and development to their employees, while hundreds of companies and brands offer external training options. If you are ready to participate in webinars here are a few free options to start with:


a) Eventbrite


"is a global self-service ticketing platform for live experiences that allows anyone to create, share, find and attend events that fuel their passions and enrich lives. From music festivals, marathons, conferences, community rallies, and fundraisers, to gaming competitions and air guitar contests. Our mission is to bring the world together live experiences"


b) Mobilize


is a leading events management and volunteer recruitment platform. It is considered the leading competitor to Eventbrite and caters more so to mission-driven organizations. They're known for their easy event creation and customization. Communication via email or text is automated. They are more focused on generating more value for your organization over time versus one-time event registration sites. This choice will help you strengthen and connect with event attendees, supporters and volunteers.


Other Candidates:


c) Fonteva Events

d) Soapbox Engage

e)Snowball

e) Doubleknot

g) Regpack

h) Ticketbud

i) Eventbee

j) Gather

k) ZapEvent

l) FUndy CRM

m) Picatic

4) Earn new certifications


You can elevate your learning by taking it up a notch and walking away with a certification when you've completed the required learning!


So what does certification mean? Getting certified means that you've passed a final exam with at least their minimum passing score given by a certifying body/organization.


Thanks to testing after learning is completed, you then are able to leverage that certificate when job hunting or asking for a promotion.


Recently I completed Google's Digital Garage which allows for you to "brush up your digital skills to grow your business, your career, or just your confidence. The everyday experts at Google Digital Garage will help you succeed online. Anyone can benefit, regardless of their skill level, goals or background". Everyone gets a chance at being certified as long as you pass their 40 question exam with a minimum passing mark of 80% or higher.


You can also use their free live training on topics like " YouTube for Your Brand", "Digital Marketing Strategy" or "Get Your Business Visible on Google". I have included the link (here) so that you too could get started with free live webinar training to upgrade your skills.


5) Take a free digital class


Joining Convertkit also has been a game-changer for me really. Their trainings such as "Deliverability", "E-mail marketing Pep Talk" and other live and on-demand content aids in your marketing, social and business growth.


It's easier now more than ever to further your education and professional skills with the fountain of courses available for your consumption. Sites like Shareskill, Udemy, Lynda, and others are thankfully hosting courses that are easily accessible once you set time aside for starting and completing it.


Besides the free versions, more courses are offering discounts to make learning more accessible to everyone during lockdowns and quarantines.


…not sure which skill(s) to focus on?


Read job ads to see what skills are needed for the position that you want to get. Job ads usually specify requirements or preferred certifications.



Another place to start is completing a personal skills inventory to see what skills you're lacking.


Lacking marketing skills? Check out certifications with Google Analytics, Google Ads, Salesforce, Hubspot and Facebook.


Lacking IT skills? Check out certifications in PM (project management), risk, routing or design.


Lacking sales skills? Become a Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP), Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP).


How are you taking care of your professional skill development during this pandemic?


Leave a comment below and let the rest of the community know!


- Thank you always for reading and I hope that you apply these strategies into your life


Articulate Tee


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