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5 Free Courses to Boost Your CV-Worthy Skills

With competition rife in most career sectors, it’s getting more and more difficult to show you have an edge over other candidates.

When everyone has a university degree or college diploma, employers start to look at other skills and experience to choose the right person for their role. Building up career-based skills outside of standard education is a brilliant way of adding to your value as an employee, or getting yourself well-equipped to branch out on your own.

While you may not have the time for a ten-week long evening course, or enough arms and legs to fund a weekend retreat, there are tonnes of online courses that will offer up new skills to learn at your leisure and really shift your CV up a gear. Computer-based skills are having a real moment and will be exceptionally useful in today’s job market where everything is moving online, but there’s a growing demand for more traditional skills that can be used across all sorts of different roles too.

And the best bit of all? Many of them are available for free! (Yes, free!)

To save you having to trawl the internet, here are our favourite free courses to try today:
1. Coding with Codecademy

Started by two friends – one a coding novice and one an expert – eager to find an enjoyable way to learn a skill that plays a vital role in modern working life. Coding is the new touch-typing, and it’s something a lot of employers will jump on if you’ve got it to offer. The course starts at the most basic level, so you’ll learn gradually and in your own time. You have a little taste of the theory with all the techy terms explained, and then get to have a go at it yourself. Errors will be flagged up as you go, so it’s as close to having a teacher right there with you without having to leave your bedroom.

2. Create a Website with Alison

Alison is a bit of a revolution in online learning. It offers courses in anything from home-growing vegetables to app development, including a host of certified diplomas. They are run by various experts or bodies like Harvard and MIT and they are all free to learn – although you’ll need to pay for the diploma certificate. The website building course is a practical day-by-day video run-through starting with the very basics, building up to a working website that you can use for business. It probably won’t be the prettiest thing you’ve ever made but understanding how it all works is key before diving into web design.

3. Creative Leadership with Open Learning

Similar to Alison, this site offers courses in almost anything you can imagine. A selection of weekly videos and tasks gives you plenty to get on with, and the option of certification at the end is a great motivator to complete it. This course is a good introduction for people who run a team and are looking for ideas and guidance to give their leadership skills a real boost. You’ll need to put some work in, but practical tasks will easily slip into your working day, making this a good course to complement your current job.

4. Starting a Business with Future Learn

Future Learn will pique your interest with the more niche courses it offers. Global Food Security and Maths Puzzles are just two of the hundreds available at the moment. Each one is easy to whizz through at your own pace, and the more unusual subject matter will certainly expand your knowledge. The Starting a Business courses are a series that cover individual aspects of entering the world of entrepreneurship. They make a gentle introduction if you’re considering taking the leap from employee to self-employment, and will cover the steps you need to take to help everything run more smoothly.

5. Beginners Spanish with DuoLingo

Duolingo is probably the most convenient course of all: an app that you can listen to on your commute. There’s speaking, reading, writing, and listening tasks that you can clock in each day. Although it won’t walk you through the theory or grammar in the same way a teacher or textbook might, it gives you daily practise of the language, and the short tasks mean you can add in a learning session even if you’re short on time. There’s an enormous selection on the app, but with Spanish being one of the most widely spoken languages and hailed as a ‘language of the future’ by the British Council, it’s probably a good place to start.

Topping up all of the skills you built at university and in previous jobs will help set you apart in the workplace. After all, it is this additional knowledge and experience that can help you to grow within your organisation – and beyond!

Written by:

Katie Hopkins lives amongst piles of books and pug memorabilia. As a copy-editor and freelance writer, she is always immersed in words, and is captivated by the world of careers and the pursuit of happiness, alongside a little fascination with true crime. She tweets as @katie_louh.

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