It’s always a good idea to look for ways to increase your marketability and make yourself more appealing to prospective employers. The more you bring to the table, the greater your chances for landing the job or earning a promotion. In fact, many employers are less concerned about whether you have a higher degree, and more interested in the skills you possess. Acquiring new talents and abilities doesn’t have to clean out your bank account or leave you drowning in debt.
The web is a fantastic resource for low-cost learning. You can find courses on just about any subject; software and web development, business courses, CAD, marketing, general education courses, and a myriad of other topics. Sites like SkilledUp.com and Udemy.com offer free and paid courses, some for as little as $5. Other websites such as Lynda.com charge a monthly fee for unlimited access to a plethora of courses. Remember, depending on the type of course you’d like to take, you may have to purchase the necessary software, if for example, you’re interested in learning Microsoft Excel or Adobe Photoshop.
The good old public library is an often overlooked skill-building resource. Many libraries offer writing workshops, as well as courses in computer skills and career readiness. You may also be able to learn a new language, which is always a desirable asset sought by employers. As an added bonus, many public libraries offer online classes from popular e-learning sites, free of charge for cardholders. So check with your local library before you shell out any money for an e-learning site.
Join a Club, Organization, or Group
No matter what you’d like to learn, there’s probably a group in your area that shares your interests. Sites like Meetup.com connect you with groups in your area that share a similar interest. From coding to cooking, public speaking to mobile app development, the list is practically endless. Most group meetings are face-to-face gatherings at a public place. There may be dues or a fee required to attend a meeting, but the cost, if any, will be listed on the event’s page.
Compared with the cost of a college or university education, career tech can be a real bargain. Career tech tuition costs nearly $5,500 less per year than the average four-year college. Plus you’ll be ready to begin your career and earn an income in two years. Career tech touts itself as providing education in a wide variety of high-paying, in-demand jobs. Career path options will vary according to the campus near you, but expect to find a wide range of choices including mechanical drafter, welder, IT technician, physical therapist assistant, biomedical equipment technician, legal secretary, aircraft mechanic, and real estate appraiser just to name a few. To find out more, do an internet search for “career tech” and your city in the search field.
The U.S. Department of Labor offers CareerOneStop.org as a source for “career exploration, training and jobs.” The site can help you explore careers, find training, and guide you to local resources via links to one of the more than 2,500 American Job Centers across the country.
You may be able to locate free computer classes, career counseling, apprentice programs, and more resources to help build your skills and prepare for a better job. Because it’s a government site, there is a vast amount of information on a wide variety of topics. So be prepared to spend some time wading through the wealth of information.
Do you have any great tips on low-cost ways to develop skills? Share your knowledge in the comments section!