As businesses worldwide struggle to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of employees are finding themselves with more free time due to furlough or reduced hours. If you are one of the millions of workers with extra time on your hands, this could be a golden opportunity to invest in new skills and personal growth.

Taking this time to improve upon, or learn, essential skills can ease the transition of returning to work while potentially paving the way for new opportunities. Consider honing these 4 transferable skills while you are at home.

Excel Proficiency

Spreadsheets are commonly used in both professional and personal life. Microsoft Excel is one of the most universally used spreadsheet programs. Many of us have wished for stronger Excel skills at some point in our lives.

Microsoft’s Excel Training Center is a great place to start as it offers free tutorials, videos and guides. YouTube also has a number of free options ranging from beginning tutorials to tips on how to prepare for Excel assessments for job applications. Still not sure where to begin? We found more than 20 options here. Regardless of the industry in which you work, proficiency in Excel is an attractive skill. It may stand out on your resume, get you noticed at work and will most likely make your calculations in life easier.

Basic Programming

You don’t need to be in IT for basic programming skills to be a significant asset to your career. If you are really interested in building out your programming skills, consider learning VBA (Visual Basic). It is one the easiest coding languages to learn without a computer science background.

VBA is used to program macros. Macros are rules created for your computer to follow that streamline everyday tasks. Often, people who create macros are not IT — they’re accountants, analysts, traders or scientists; people who are leveraging automation to increase productivity and reduce wasted time. We uncovered dozens of free tutorials for learning VBA and how to program macros.

Building Your Network

Creating a dynamic LinkedInprofile is another way to catch a potential employer’s eye. With more than 600 million professionals on the social platform LinkedIn is a great place build your network, connect with other professionals in your industry and to stay informed about relevant business topics. If you need help getting started, look at these 10 ways to make your profile stand out.

Additionally, this is a great time to reach out to professional contacts and former colleagues to reconnect. Select a handful of people each week with whom you don’t regularly communicate. Sending a quick e-mail or text to inquire how they are faring is a nice way to reopen the lines of communication.

Soft Skills

Technical skills are incredibly valuable to employers and may help advance your career, but strong soft skills will insure you excel. Increasingly, employers rate soft skills as a critical priority. Soft skills include:

• Interpersonal and communication skills
• Adaptability
• Problem solving
• The ability to manage and control emotions

Soft skills are not necessarily innate. They can be improved upon and learned. Developing soft skills begins with self-reflection. It’s important to understand which skills you already have and which you could improve. There are several on-line options for improving soft skills; CourseraUdemyedX and to name a few.

Whether you would like to take your career to the next level or branch out in an entirely new direction, view this unplanned time off as an opportunity to develop skills and relationships that will position you to move in the direction you desire.

Call To Action

Do you think my tips were helpful in re-directing your focus and goals? Please share the article and shout out to me on Twitter!

You can also check out my firm, LexION Capital, for more tips on how to grow your wealth and become financially secure.

Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City, serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha.

Originally published on Medium.

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