If your resume feels a little thin or you can't seem to fill up the Skills & Expertise section of your LinkedIn profile, then it's time to do something about it. There are countless free educational tools on the Web that make it easier than ever to teach yourself valuable skills that will help to create a robust resume.
Your resume is more than a summary of your past experience. It's a tool that can help propel your career growth—that is, if you highlight skills, language, and the context of the job you want, rather than regurgitating your past experience.
Consider boosting your skills in the following:
Many job-seekers list Excel as one of their skills, even if they only have a mastery of the basics. Set aside some time this evening or weekend to learn some new features.
Excel is valuable because it offers some essential ways to analyze a lot of info in the least amount of time. Go beyond the basics of formulas and equations and learn about features like Excel's PivotCharts, custom functions, Visual Basics for Applications, and more. Search for free tutorials online; you'll be bombarded with resources and videos.
2. Web Development (Java, HTML, SQL)
Many experts agree that having knowledge of computer languages is particularly appealing to today's employers. Learning Web development isn't just applicable for IT professionals. Whether you're a new business grad or a seasoned professional looking to brush up on the latest in-demand skills, learning the basics may make you more relevant.
All you have to do is start. Free tutorials from W3Schools.com, Code Academy, and other coding resources will give you step-by-step instructions on the basics.
3. Adobe Creative Suite
Practicing creative web tools is a great way to develop some basic graphic design skills. Adobe is very widely used for just this—so if you can get your hands on the software, then you can choose your favorite application and begin learning.
The suite includes various creative applications, including InDesign, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver—all programs that companies rely on to create engaging Web designs and layouts. You never know when you might be able to lend a hand in a new project that requires proficiency in using one of these apps.
Start now by taking advantage of Adobe's How-To Channel, which hosts videos for beginners.
4. Foreign Language
Learning a new language can open up a lot of doors for you as a professional. In fact, becoming fluent in a second language could even offer you the opportunity to work in another country.
The most popular language-learning courses are effective, but they can also be costly. Instead, teach yourself at home by taking advantage of a free online course. In fact, free online courses are growing in popularity. Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of California, Berkeley are some colleges that are sharing courses online.
If, for instance, you decide to learn Mandarin, check out MIT's OpenCourseWare. You'll find course material, audio demonstrations, study groups, and more for beginning to intermediate levels of Mandarin.
5. Google Analytics
Web 2.0 is centered on Google. The ability to track and analyze how Google ranks and organizes information can be invaluable both personally and professionally. Google Analytics can help job-seekers manage their online presence (LinkedIn profile, Twitter, personal website, etc.) to enhance their marketability to potential employers. To start, type "Google Analytics IQ Online Course" in Google and watch one of the training videos.
Ritika Trikha is a junior copywriter for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, salary information, and a free career happiness assessment.