Professional Development

4 Creative Ways to Advance Your Career

Written by Joanna Hughes

There’s no worse feeling in the world for a job hunter than finding the perfect position but being eliminated from consideration simply because you fail to meet one requirement. There may be some ways around these “must-haves,” but in most cases failure to meet the job description — or even one small component of it — can remove you from the running. Instead of taking a chance on it happening again, cover your bases by padding your resume with one or more of these four sought-after skills.

1. Basic Coding

While a weekend-long program in basic coding won’t land you a job as a software engineer, it will round out your resume. Sites like Codeacademy offer free lessons in a range of programming languages, including PHP, HTML, Python, Javascript, CSS and others. Each lesson is short, powerful, and delivers just what you need to add “Programming” to the “Skills” section of your resume.

2. Public Speaking

Ten percent of people love public speaking, 10 percent are terrified of it, and the remaining 80 percent are somewhere in the middle — they know it’s not going to be very fun, but they also know they’ll survive the experience.

Aside from helping you pass the “good communication skills” requirement part of a job description requirement, there’s another important reason the majority of people should work on this skill: why would you want a job when you can merely tolerate a major aspect of it? Comfort with public speaking won’t just land you a job; rather, it will continue to be a useful skill throughout your life.

Coursera’s “Introduction to Public Speaking” course is free, always open, and delivers useful instruction and plenty of opportunities for practice through its public speaking curriculum, including a series of videos totaling 18 hours, videos, and peer assessments.

3. Graphic Design

Graphic design skills are highly desirable for a wide range of positions, particularly with the growth of social media, digital technology, and ever-popular infographics. While fudging knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator on your resume can lead to catastrophic results — particularly if you’re called upon to demonstrate your knowledge or experience — it is possible to learn the basics on your own.

For example, Adobe offers tutorials designed to help everyone from novices to experts expand their skill set, while online education website Lynda’s “Photoshop CC Essential Training” offers the training you need to feel comfortable working with Photoshop.

4. Website Building

An increasing number of employers are requesting that candidates include links to personal websites along with their application materials. Don’t have one of your own? Unfortunately, this may indicate a lack of initiative and/or the inability to keep up with 21st century expectations.

Rather than risking coming off as unmotivated, take advantage of classes aimed at helping beginners acquire the knowledge they need to build their own websites. The Muse’s “Your Guide to Building a Personal Website That’ll Land You a Job,” offers the perfect starting point.

The best part of many of these web courses and tutorials? Many are taught during a single day or weekend so you can increase your job marketability without investing significant additional time or expense. Your resume will thank you for it.

About the author

Joanna Hughes

Joanna Hughes is a freelance writer who specializes in business, human resources and the job market. She lives with her family in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire.