Filling out numerous job applications with little success may leave you wondering, “What kind of applicants am I competing with?” While it is sometimes hard to know exactly what the competition is, one thing is for sure: your resume should stand out from the rest.
If several applications have been sent out with little or no return, maybe it is time to consider taking the initiative to learn some new skills to add to your resume.
Take a course
Skill courses may be completed in as little as four weeks using online education companies such as Coursera, Khan Academy, or Udemy. Options range from shorter, free courses to more in-depth courses that require a fee.
When choosing a course, try to think outside the box of your field. For example, learning simple computer programming or HTML may not seem directly related to your desired profession. However, if you consider how electronics inundates every job site, a programming course would be more closely linked than you might think, and fewer applicants would offer this skill.
Completing a brief course covering IT troubleshooting skills would also be advantageous. Just about any workplace faces IT issues from time to time, and most employers would welcome an employee who can solve simple troubleshooting issues on their own.
If you hold a business degree from a university, consider adding a business skill different from your major to provide a well-rounded base of knowledge. Taking a course about hot business topics such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and data science would prove dedication to learning more about other business avenues, setting you apart from other applicants.
Acquire new skills through volunteering
Volunteering not only benefits the community but also provides a safe place for developing aptitudes useful for the workforce. Different types of people rally around various causes, so take the opportunity to get used to working with a diverse crowd. Volunteers are usually readily given tasks to accomplish on their own, so leadership skills may be developed without having to work your way up a corporate ladder. Other skills that may be advanced are effective communication, analytic abilities, problem-solving, and event management.
Opportunities for volunteering can be found in local newspapers, county offices, or other websites like Linkedin’s new volunteer site. While scrolling down the list, consider the opportunities for skill development for each one, and commit to a project for a certain length of time.
Learn new computer skills
It’s nearly impossible to complete high school or college without using Microsoft Word extensively, but what about other programs? Select a communication platform or software program you’ve rarely or never used, invest some time in familiarizing yourself with the way it works, and add it to your resume.
• Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, and Google Calendar
• Photoshop, Gimp, and other image editing software
• Microsoft Excel
Pick up a couple books on personal development and leadership While listing leadership books on your resume might not be practical, the knowledge acquired through reading them will help you present yourself and the skills you possess impressively in your cover letter and in an interview. Employers aren’t just looking for a body with skill sets; they want a resourceful person capable of solving multifaceted problems and someone who can bring a positive perspective to the workplace. In order for an employee to bring these values to the workplace, the values must be evident in their own lives first.
Don’t stop learning
While immersed in the job search process, it can be easy to get bogged down in scrolling through job listings and submitting applications. Take a different approach: recognize this time as an opportunity to keep learning new things for career preparation and personal improvement, and let your resume continue to grow throughout the job search process!