5 Ways to Strengthen Your Career Online

Sure you can search for a new job online, but how do you beef up your skills for that new job?

There are lots of great resources to amp up your skills, see what different fields are all about and even earn a certification or two. All from home. All online. Check these out, and see how far they take you.

1) Attend a Virtual Event

Attending events and building your network of connections strengthens your career prospects down the line. Many live events have moved to a virtual environment, with breakout sessions built into the schedule.

Where to look: Eventbrite features an updated list of free virtual events that you can sort by focus area. There are events in food and drink, science and technology, film and media, health and more. You can also search for virtual events on LinkedIn by engaging with groups you may belong to in your industry, or by following industry leaders, as it’s a great way to find an event that matches your specific career interests. 

Costs: Most events on Eventbrite are free to attend, but read the fine print before you sign up. LinkedIn events are often free, but may charge a fee depending on the organizer. 

2) Attend a Webinar

Typically one-hour, webinars are compact and get right to the point. The cozy format also allows you more direct interaction with industry experts who often provide recommendations for further learning and an understanding of how peers are tackling and solving the work challenges you face. You can attend webinars live, which allows you to participate in Q&A sessions, or watch recorded sessions on your own schedule.

Where to look:

  • Career Contessa: Site with  many free webinars that relate to career challenges and tips for navigating them. You can also access tips on how to find a job abroad, ways to prevent burnout and financial planning.
  • Hubspot: Featuresfree webinars related to marketing, advertising and analytics that can be launching pads for further discussions.
  • Groups and publications you currently follow for industry-specific webinars – Industry Week, for example, hosts webinars for the manufacturing industry on a regular basis.

Costs: Free to attend. Industry-specific events might have a fee or require proof of industry affiliation to register.

3) Earn a Digital Certification

If you’re looking to expand your skillset either for a current or future job, there are a variety of resources available online for you to explore. While these online learning programs require a longer time commitment, they can be tailored around your schedule, and you can take things at your own pace.

Where to look:

Costs: Both Google Analytics and Hubspot certification are free, and many outlets offer paid coaching services to help you pass the exams. 

4) Take a Course or Enroll in a Degree Program

It could be time to go all in for a degree program, whether you are interested in an online bachelor’s degree, or in furthering your studies with a graduate degree. Most master’s degrees can be completed in a year or two, or pick free online courses about topics that you want to learn more about. Invest in a degree that will add to your resume and give you more workplace skills.

Where to look: EdX is a great resource that partners with universities like MIT, Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas system for short courses and degree programs. Coursera offers courses and degree programs in areas like AI/machine learning, blockchain, data science, business analytics, and more. Check out Udemy for courses in development, business, marketing, design, music, IT, and others. Or take a course that feeds your soul like learning how to play the guitar with a course from Berklee College of Music, or explore the science of wellbeing from this famous Yale University class. Your local university’s continuing education extension would also make a great resource for degree programs.

Cost: Most courses from online outlets such as EdX, Coursera and Udemy are free. Courses that lead to a certificate or work up to a graduate program are not.

5) Strengthen Trade Skills

Whether you’re looking to sharpen your skills in carpentry, plumbing, car repair or other practical tasks, you can find online outlets that walk you through the basics and onto more advanced topics.

Where to look: Alison offers a variety of courses in construction, masonry, plumbing and more. Penn Foster offers certification and associate degree programs in a number of trades including in manufacturing.

Cost: Costs vary depending on the length and type of program. An associate degree in manufacturing from Penn Foster for example, requires a few courses spread over four semesters, although you can set the pace you want with the self-guided courses. Each semester costs about $1000 in tuition.

If you’re wondering what’s next in your career, now might be the perfect time to invest in the future. You’ll need a good internet connection and enthusiasm to get up to speed.

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