Want to learn how to code, use Microsoft Office productivity tools like a pro, or invest successfully in the stock market?
There’s an online class for that!
Online classes and e-learning are booming. In fact, online learning is an industry that’s expected to grow from $1.83 billion in 2015 to $8.50 billion in 2020.
And, the industry covers just about any skill, subject, or discipline one can think of: from business management, language acquisition, engineering, to health and medicine.
Millions of students have signed up for online classes, and for good reason:
- You can learn from the comfort of your own home.
- It’s affordable (no need for a “ramen diet”).
- You can forget having to commute (at least, to class).
But, there’s another big reason why learning via the web is all the rage right now: to boost your resume for career and professional advancement.
Why Study Online?
To learn something new, of course!
But, read on – and you’ll see there’s even more to online classes than satisfying a quench for lifelong learning. When it comes to career advancement, online courses are helping students everywhere become top job candidates.
Online Classes Show Your Dedication To Professional Improvement
Signing up and taking a web-based course is easy. No special qualifications to meet. No entrance exams to take. And no hefty student loans.
Completing an online class, however, is a different animal. Most online classes are self-paced. It’s not uncommon for a student to lose the motivation and self-discipline after only a few weeks or even days, leaving the learning material they paid $30 to $100 for to gather cyber dust!
When you take an online class, you show you’re curious (which is great!). But when you complete one, you exhibit qualities important to every employer: you show you’re highly motivated, disciplined, driven, and dedicated to professional improvement.
Online Classes Help You Better Prepare For The Interview
The addition of online classes to resumes is slowly becoming the norm. However, it’s not an everyday sight for recruiters and interviewers, and you’re almost guaranteed to get quizzed.
With a bit of preparation, you can turn the interview to a pleasant conversation that showcases your strengths. You’ll get questions like:
- Why did you take this course?
- What knowledge have you gained or skills have you developed thanks to it?
- How did your new skills and knowledge affect your work?
So, sit down and prepare detailed answers to these questions (maybe even bring visual aids as proof), and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
How To Learn New Skills Online (And Boost Your Competitiveness And Credibility At The Same Time)
Gaining knowledge is one of the reasons we use the internet, and maybe you’ve taken a web-based course before. However, boosting your competitiveness at work and your resume’s credibility with online classes require a different approach. Here are 3 steps you must follow:
Take The Right Online Classes
Not all online courses are created equal.
Sure, a course on speed reading or meditation is interesting. But do you really want to add them to your resume when you’re up for a job in app development? Probably not.
If you’re looking to boost your resume, take an online class that will equip you with the skills needed for the job you’re eyeing.
Going back to our app development example, web-based courses on how to create mobile apps and games from scratch using Android, Swift 3, or iOS are fantastic additions to your resume.
Furthermore, you want to choose a course that’s not only relevant to your current (or future) job, but also delivered by a qualified expert.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re in the UK and want to learn advanced Excel techniques for bookkeeping and financial reporting. A course delivered by a teacher with a “Master of Science” degree in business and investment management and a member of the “Association of Accounting Technicians” (FMAAT) is hard to top!
Go Beyond The Basics
When recruiters and employers examine a candidate, the biggest question they’re asking is: “Can this candidate add more value to our organization?”
They’re looking for experts who can do the work. Your resume should say: “Yes! I’m the person for the job.” Introductory-level courses or 101s won’t go far in conveying your level of expertise.
If you’re an interviewer looking for a web development team leader, how would you feel about a candidate who has an otherwise great resume, but listed a basic course on building websites with WordPress?
You’d probably get skeptical and look at other candidates! So, start with the 101 class, but don’t stop there.
Format Your Resume the Right Way
You’ve taken the right courses from certified experts. Your skill-set just got a huge boost, and so did your confidence! All that’s left for you to do now is to “up” your resume by listing your online coursework at the right sections.
The cover letter is the perfect place to start. That’s where you will:
- Introduce yourself.
- Build a personal connection with the recruiter.
- Explain why you’re submitting your resume.
- Highlight your expertise and professional experience.
You can add a short paragraph or two to your cover letter and briefly discuss the online classes you took and the certifications you earned – and, more importantly, how your coursework relates to the open position.
You’ll definitely want to add your online coursework to the “Education” section of your resume (this is especially helpful if you’re applying for a job that’s unrelated to your University degree).
Alternatively, you can create an entirely new section in your resume (ex: “Professional Training”) dedicated to online classes. And, don’t forget to include a line or two about how your newfound skills improved your performance at work.
Online Classes are the Future
Online classes are the future of continuous learning, and with advances in technology and communication, they’ll only continue to improve and gain credibility.
Currently, however, they make for an excellent skill and resume enhancement tool by helping you better prepare for interview questions, show your dedication to improvement, and boost your professional skills. In this job market, you want to be competitive.
Which classes are you currently interested in? Do you think they’ll help your goals?