We all know that in most cases, the broader our skillset the greater our value in the job market. But the idea of learning new skills can be daunting, because who has time or money for that?
Here are eight skills you can learn in a month or less, for free or cheap, that will increase your appeal to potential employers.
Basic coding. Some of us have been wanting to learn to code for, like, a decade, and are never going to actually do so. But even basic coding will help you along in many jobs. It means that when something goes wrong with a CMS you don’t have to call the fire department (or a co-worker) and can just fix it yourself. It means you can make basic alterations to web pages, and more. And if you realize you’re great at it, then you can go on and become an expert. Learn basic coding online with Codecademy, and at many other places.
Conversational basics of a new language. Adding another language to your skills arsenal not only increases your value, it helps to keep your brain nubile and increases its efficiency. Not sure where to start? Duolingo is an amazing app through which to learn new languages. Its fun and easy – and free. Choose a language that’s related to your mother tongue and see if you can develop basic conversational skills quickly.
Photo editing. Photo editing is a lot easier than it looks. And it can be super useful when it comes to corporate communications, marketing, and anything design related, including making funny memes to amuse your coworkers, or when you’re bored. Adobe offers Photoshop tutorials for free online. Photoshop Essentials is another option. There are many, so just start Googling and see what you can find.
Public speaking. Public speaking can be a really cool skill to have if someone is ever needed to represent your organization at a conference or seminar. It will also help you ace presentations and interviews, and give you the courage to speak up in meetings if that’s something you have trouble with. Public speaking skills will also put you at ease in professional networking and social situations. Seek out your local Toastmasters club, and see if you can get your hands on Dale Carnegie’s The Art of Public Speaking.
Social media. You’ve probably got a Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram account. But do you know how to really use them? Social media isn’t just for memes, political scandals, and wasting time. It’s a powerful networking tool that can help advance your career. Social media skills also make your resume more attractive because more and more companies are expecting employees to take part in the sharing and creation of company content. Learn the basics with simple online tutorials, or develop more advanced skills in social media marketing with something like Social Media Explorer.
Writing. Writing is one of the most in-demand skills for job seekers and will increase your value immensely for almost any position. Writing skills are required for both external and internal communications, including reports, presentations, blogs, web content, white papers, and more. Even if you’re pretty good at it, you could probably get better. We can always improve. Read William Zinsser’s On Writing Well, and try something like this online Academic and Business Writing course from the University of California Berkeley. https://www.edx.org/course/academic-and-business-writing
Website Building. Building websites is a valuable skill. Having your own website is a useful way to showcase your portfolio, application materials, writing, and more. And the ability to build sites will make you more attractive to managers in many industries. There are many website builders online, such as WordPress, through which you can teach yourself the basics for free – you can build a basic site in about an hour. Or you can learn to code one yourself step by step through Codecademy. This takes a little longer.
SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is one of the most important ways through which businesses market themselves. Essentially, it’s exactly what it sounds like, optimizing your web pages to appear in Google searches so that people find you. Start with something like the MOZ SEO Learning Center.
Do you know of a skill that will increase value in the job market, and where we can learn about it? Let us know!