A college degree is a valuable asset to your career. However, more and more graduates are obtaining degrees each year, making it harder to stand out from the mortarboard-wearing crowd.
Adding skills to your resume is a great way to increase your value to employers without adding to your debt. Here are a few of our favorite free learning tools to enhance your education and your resume.
Coursera offers thousands of free courses from top universities, including the Ivy Leagues. There are paid options to get certificates, but the free options are an open invitation to learn more about a different career field or to sharpen your skills in your current one.
Addicted to phone games? Why not learn while you play? DuoLingo gamifies the learning of more than 20 different languages. The app specializes in appealing to the many ways we learn—speaking, hearing, seeing, writing—to make adopting a new language easier. Their manifesto states, “We believe true equity is when spending more can’t buy you a better education.” We love that.
Codecademy is on a mission to build a new kind of education system. And in a world where advanced computer skills are increasingly career-valuable, it’s a great system to use. Take a Codecademy course to learn to code in a variety of computer languages for free.
MeetUp.com is a site that brings together groups of people with similar interests—everything from books to wine to pets to business—for planned events. Career-wise, you can use MeetUp to find people in your field and attend professional development and networking events.
Idealist is a search site for volunteer and job opportunities in the nonprofit sector. Gaining some volunteer experience can help you in several ways. First, volunteering for skill-building positions such as board membership, creating an organization’s website, or helping with marketing efforts is an excellent free way to earn experience. Second, it’s a networking opportunity to meet like-minded people who may be of value to your career goals. And last, it feels good to do good. People who volunteer are less stressed and overall more satisfied with their work lives.
6. DrawSpace & Instructables
Learning new skills doesn’t always have to be about the left side of your brain. Get your creative side flowing with sites like DrawSpace, which has free drawing classes, and Instructable, which has crafts of all kinds. You can also check with your local library for free classes if in-person learning is more your speed.
Not all education has to come at a cost. Building new skills for free is an excellent way to make your resume stand out—not only because of the gained experience, but because employers love to see candidates who are committed to personal growth.