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Level Up Your Skills: Working Through Covid-19 – Part 1

Level up your skills working through covid-19 part 1
By Michelle Sciarrotta

It’s been a crazy and difficult time for those in the entertainment industry; working through Covid-19 has changed us all considerably as we wait to find out if and when things might resume again. Faced with the prospect of previous work cancelled into 2021, some people have taken on roles outside of the industry, while others have branched out into other areas, making sideways moves. While there’s no right or wrong way to get through this time, there are a few thinking points and resources to help people find paid work in these changing times.

Transferable Skills


Sometimes we get so used to our own industry that we don’t appreciate which skills we have that could be applied to other areas of work. These can be role-related, technical, or general skills that translate across lots of different industries.

Transferable skills could also include logistics, leading and managing, holding responsibilities, interpersonal skills and conflict de-escalation to name but a few. One striking piece of good advice is that different fields always use their own acronyms, key words and phrases, so you might already meet an industry’s criteria for a role but just not realise it because of their specialist language barrier.

Google is your friend here, and can help you research and translate different meanings across different industries and quickly decipher terminology.

Some skills are highly desirable because of their elasticity and ability to be applied to different industries easily. These can include proficiency in numeracy and literacy, IT skills, and fluency in other languages. Project management, research, and communications are other areas that frequently cross over and are still highly sought after. These also have potential for remote working through Covid-19.

Broadening Your Skill Set


Technology moves at lightning speed nowadays, and it’s easy to get left behind on some things that we feel ‘out of touch’ with. While nobody is up-to-date with everything all of the time, it’s good to make sure you have a moderate level of technical proficiency with frequently used programmes, and that you make an effort to fill in any gaps in your knowledge.

A good place to start is by familiarising yourself with office packages such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If these updated versions look all new and different since you last used them, simply hop onto YouTube to find a tutorial or two, or if you need a real in-depth course, you can check out a variety of longer and more detailed help here.

There’s no getting away from it, video chats and social media are here to stay. While you don’t need the skills of a viral TikTok teen to get by, there’s a level of having the correct ‘image’ and ‘online presence’ when using video and social media.

Ensuring you understand how to use video chat apps and software, (i.e. access to the microphone and camera) and have a professional enough background and appearance when taking video calls is all that’s needed. Nobody expects a perfect show home background, but keeping your area tidy and being well prepared with the software prior to a video interview will go a long way to mentally reassuring you of your readiness to bag your new role.

It doesn’t hurt to spring clean your social media presence, or create one from scratch. LinkedIn is the standard for most industries, and can really make a positive difference to your networking – especially while real life networking is non-existent for many of us. Remember to expand on those transferable skills rather than titles, and keep it professional.

LinkedIn provide some great advice on getting your profile set up and looking and sounding great here.

Online Learning


Finally, if you feel drawn to retrain or build on your education and training, there’s a plethora of great resources available for online learning. Many places are offering free or low-cost programmes during this time of crisis, and this can be an excellent way to move into another industry as a new way of working through Covid-19.

The OU is offering a huge catalogue of free courses across the topics of Health, Sports & Psychology, Education & Development, History & The Arts, Languages, Money & Business, Nature & Environment, Science, Maths & Technology, and Society, Politics & Law here.

LinkedIn are offering LinkedIn Learning, which offers another broad selection of diverse and useful courses that can be completed with certificates that you can add to your LinkedIn profile.

Coursera is another provider, and their USP is that they verify their courses through the American Ivy League colleges, and other respected institutions. Find out more about free courses from Coursera.

Udemy is another online learning platform that holds the world’s largest selection of courses – they have over 100,000 online video courses including MBAs, Digital Marketing, Programming to name but a few! While they are a low-cost provider usually, they have currently been offering further discounts on their courses while we are working through Covid-19 and are well worth checking out. You can find more about Udemy here.

Next time in Part 2 we will look at writing CVs and covering letters, and finding a job in a new sector.

Also by Michelle Sciarrotta:

Women’s Audio Mission: Free Online Learning Resources

Sophia Dalton: Interview with a London based Stage Manager

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