Being a lifelong learner is one of the best ways to stay engaged in your profession no matter what field you are in.
There are many ways to demonstrate curiosity and a preference for learning new skills: meet regularly with your boss, attend professional development days, and take courses to improve your professional skills.
It’s more accessible and easier than ever to take courses to expand your expertise. There are endless resources to browse online, so it helps to be careful before diving in.
Julia Quirk, SPHR, a 10 year veteran of the HR industry and Senior HR Manager at TriSalus, recommends practically and strategically improving your professional talents.
“Look at the skills your industry needs and the jobs you are interested in,” Quirk said. “I recommend doing some research first into what will actually be impressive for people in your field and then looking for professional training opportunities from there.”
Quirk noted that digital courses and certifications are some of the best ways to improve your resume and grow in your current position. Here are some of their online learning platform topics.
Coursera works with over 200 leading institutions and companies worldwide to offer courses on topics ranging from data science to personal improvement. Partners such as Yale University, IBM and Google provide outlines for more than 3,900 courses.
Coursera is free to attend and almost all courses are free to access. The catch is that you use the “Audit” function for a free course. This means no grade and sometimes no official certificate is offered – but all knowledge and coursework is present. Some courses on Coursera are paid and typically return you around $ 50 a month.
Coursera also gives you the opportunity to see how a particular course has benefited other students and to break down the percentage of previous students who have either started a new career or gained specific career advantage after taking a course.
2. Google Skillshop
Google Skillshop is one of the classic online learning platforms. The technology behind Google Ads, Google Analytics, and more is powerful, and mastering it can benefit nearly any industry.
Google Skillshop offers courses to learn at your own pace that can help you become an expert on Google Ads, Google Analytics, the Google Marketing Platform, Google My Business, the Google Ad Manager, Google AdMob, Authorized Buyers, and Waze. All courses in the skill shop are free.
Most of the options are videos, slides, and quick tests that go into a final assessment. A certificate is given to passing students and is usually valid for 12 months.
3. LinkedIn learning
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) offers a free one-month trial before being charged $ 30 per month as part of a larger LinkedIn Premium subscription.
LinkedIn Learning offers thousands of programs on topics such as marketing tactics, mobile app development, and using Photoshop. The courses usually take place at your own pace. Upon completion, a LinkedIn Learning Certificate will be issued, which you can view on your LinkedIn profile.
And with LinkedIn Learning, the courses are taught by top executives from different backgrounds: Guy Kawasaki, Ben Long and David Rivers are just some of the highlights.
4. Online college courses
One of the good things about 2020 was the abundance of college courses that were made available online for free. While some universities have only ever offered a few courses for free online access, institutions like Yale and MIT have expanded their libraries over the past year.
MIT offers free online programming not just for computer science, but also for biology, race and ethics, accounting, and more.
Yale also makes numerous introductory courses available to anyone with an Internet connection. Last year, Yale made one of its most famous courses, The Science of Wellbeing, available for free on Coursera. This class deals with the importance of happiness.
Stanford is another university that offers public access to many of its courses for free. The university divides its offerings into four main categories: health and medicine, education, engineering, and arts and humanities.
It’s important to note that very few of these courses offer an official certificate of completion or degree, but are still impressive to take and make a strong addition to a resume. Other reputable institutions such as Harvard and Dartmouth also offer free online courses.
Udemy is an online learning platform specially designed to improve your professional skills. Although Udemy courses can cost anywhere from $ 10 to $ 200, you can access these classes through your public library.
Hundreds of public libraries across the country offer Udemy courses for free with just a library card. And if your public library isn’t affiliated with Udemy, you might be able to get a digital library badge elsewhere and still take part in all that Udemy has to offer.
Udemy offers more than 130,000 courses (with the largest selection of courses in the world) on topics such as Python coding, piano playing, and digital marketing.
Upon completing a course, the student will receive a digital badge and certificate that they can attach to their LinkedIn profile (and that should be included on their hardcopy resume too).
Bring your new skills into the spotlight
Quirk gave some final advice on positioning these certificates and course completions on your resume: “Recruiters scan very quickly,” she said. “Make it as easy as possible for recruiters to identify your skills so they can align them with the job description.”
Make sure you use keywords on your resume so that the review software doesn’t hand you over.
Quirk recommended placing the skills you acquire through a course at the top of your resume, but placing the actual course certifications below along with other educational achievements.