What is Skillsharing and How it Can Help Your Career
Tips for Improving Your Skill Set
Thanks to the Internet, skillsharing is increasingly popular. It allows people to connect online or in their communities and exchange tips, information, and knowledge. In an ever-competitive, ever-changing job market, your skill set is more important than ever. Here's more information on how skillsharing works, and most importantly, how it can benefit your career.
What Is Skillsharing?
Skillsharing is when people share their skills with others. While it can happen in a formal setting – like a clasroom – it can also occur casually at meetups, community centers, and even in people's homes.
For example, if you are a freelance graphic designer who wants to learn social media marketing, you might agree to exchange design lessons for a tutorial in online marketing strategy. Or, if you are a project manager looking to increase your web knowledge, you might take an online or in-person coding course.
The Benefits of Skillsharing
How can skillsharing help you? As a job candidate, it can make you stand out – for the better. Let's take, for example, a news organization deciding between two candidates who have similar academic backgrounds and parallel work experience. If one person lists on their resume, “experienced with shooting video and highly skilled in Final Cut Pro,” and the other writes, “familiar with digital media,” who do you think will get the job?
Chances are, it’s the person who demonstrates – and can back up – a specific ability. Not only is this considered an asset by a hiring manager, but, it saves the company the time and money it would take to train a new employee.
All in all, the more marketable skills you have, the higher your chances of landing a job and getting promoted. That's especially true as more and more employees are becoming “multitaskers” responsible for a myriad of different job aspects. Growing and expanding your skills looks good to potential employers, too, even if it isn't a specific skill they require. It shows that you're willing and eager to learn, have a sense of curiosity, and are engaged in keeping your skills current.
There are several ways to engage in skillsharing. If you’re strictly looking to add to your own skillset and don’t mind paying for classes, a website like Skillshare is your best bet. There are classes in everything from typography to improving workflow productivity to video editing, and you can submit a proposition to sell your own skills.
Since skillsharing is a relatively new phenomenon, there aren’t yet skillsharing groups in every part of the country. But, many major cities are organizing skillsharing exchanges. Search Google for "skillsharing" and the name of your city or town to find classes and events you can participate in, and people you can swap skills with.
You can also consider doing a casual exchange with a friend or acquaintance, where you both swap a how-to of your skill.
How Much Does It Cost?
Skillsharing compensation depends entirely on the terms of agreement between two individuals or groups. Through a formal skillshare website, you might pay a fixed price for a set of online lessons or personalized coaching.
On the other hand, through a community skillshare forum, you might agree to a one-for-one skill swap; for example, you’d exchange a guitar lesson for an introduction to mobile app coding.
How to Get Started
Wondering where you can get involved in skillsharing in your own community? MeetUp provides a good list of skillsharing groups around the country. Skillstreet is a free app you can download to use to connect with people to share your knowledge with and learn from.
What Skill Should You Learn?
The answer depends on your current knowledge, your interests, and your industry. A few ideas for how to determine which skills to focus on:
Look at job postings: Scan through the job postings and look for skills that are mentioned frequently that you do not possess. Prioritize learning those.
Manager/evaluation feedback: Are there any things that your colleagues or manager mentioned would be helpful? Consider adding those skills.
Make your job easier: If you had stronger Excel skills or database knowledge, would your monthly accounting task go faster? If there's something you struggle with, from leading a meeting to figuring out Excel formulas, there's likely a class you can take to refine your knowledge and ability.