Many of us have recently found ourselves housebound, with our lives on hold due to the current COVID19 pandemic. As the economy stalls and businesses are forced to close their doors to the public, many people feel that they need to place their job search on hold. This isn’t necessarily true, as many employers are still hiring, and some have even increased hiring. However, even if your field is one that has seen a slow-down, you don’t have to just sit back and wait for the storm to pass! There are numerous free or low-cost online resources that you can use to pass the time, while improving your skills and making yourself more marketable to employers in the future!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can now access any number of professional courses. Websites like Khan Academy, Coursera, and Alison offer courses on a vast variety of topics, the majority of which are free. Coursera and Alison also offer access to paid content, which can be used to obtain certifications or even degrees! In addition to being convenient, particularly at this time, the courses also tend to be more affordable than traditional college courses.
There are also various educational resources available offering content in more specialized fields. For example, Microsoft offers online instruction for both Microsoft Office users, as well as for information technology professionals. Udacity and Cybary course offerings also tend to be lean heavily towards the information technology fields, while Skillshare veers towards creative endeavors. LinkedIn Learning offers courses in creative fields, technology, and business, as well as an impressive selection of courses in career development. While LinkedIn Learning does require a Premium LinkedIn membership, they are currently offering the first month for free- which would be a great way to take a few courses.
There are also options for learning to speak an additional language or brushing up on existing language skills. Rosetta Stone and Babbel are well-known and reputable, but also come with a price-tag. Duolingo is a free service offering education in 40+ languages. The website Open Culture has also compiled a helpful list of online language courses available from sources around the world, including universities and governments.
Another skill you can improve upon while at home is typing. Many, maybe even most, jobs will require at least some use of a computer- the ability to type is no longer solely for clerical workers. Fortunately, there are an abundance of free typing courses and tests. Typingclub.com offers tests, practice and course, as well as saves progress and tracks improvements. Keybr.com is a great option for free practice.
Though you may find your field has slowed in hiring right now, there are plenty of ways to stay busy and improve your skills to give yourself a leg-up for when hiring resumes in the future!