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Here Are Online Courses To Upgrade Your Career—Most of Them Are Free

Expand your skill set and increase your job prospects. These handy online courses are sure to boost your career in more ways than one

Gone are the days when acquiring new skills would only mean being physically present in a classroom setting. It’s great if you can take actual classes, but when you have limited time and have to juggle learning with tending to your family’s needs, doing so becomes quite an impossible endeavor.


Thanks to technology, you can do more and be more. There are lots of online courses for you to pick from, to enhance your skills and teach you more practical and relevant ones you can apply to your current job or even pave way to a new career path. And the best thing about them is that you can take them at your own pace. All you really need to step up your game is the willingness to learn. Here are 10 surefire ways to boost your career, and the corresponding online courses you can take to achieve them: 

1. Get better communication skills. 

Having effective communication skills is a definite bonus in any workplace, and are essential ingredients for career success. When you can communicate your thoughts clearly and concisely, you get your ideas across better. Sometimes this is all it takes to ace your business presentation, and seal those business deals. This free course on alison.com, “Diploma in Business Communication Skills,” only requires 10-15 hours of your time, and it includes certification. The course includes the following modules: Fundamentals of Business Writing, Managing Successful Team Meetings, Developing Effective Business Presentation Skills, and Cross-Cultural Business Communication Skills. The “Build Your English Skills for Business” course on coursera.org, which you can also take for free, likewise promises to “improve your ability to speak, write, and understand English in professional settings.” The Business English courses under this offering address Networking, Meetings, Planning and Negotiating, Making Presentations, and the Capstone Project (which gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your competence in the areas of learning in this course). 


2. Market yourself more effectively. 

Don’t sell yourself short. Branding oneself these days is key to success. And there are strategic ways to promote your professional image. You can learn those via the “Strategic Self-Marketing and Personal Branding” paid course on coursera.org. The 4-week course includes topics on Marketing and Branding the Skilled Self, Self-Marketing Strategies and Tactics, and Personal Branding Strategies and Tactics. 


3. Take advantage of social media. 

These days, social media doesn’t only serve personal purposes, it could also be utilized for career-related opportunities. Take your understanding of the digital landscape to the next level, and equip yourself with the know-how on making social media a profitable platform. Facebook has the so-called Facebook Blueprint which teaches you how to use Facebook Business page to your advantage, and maximize its potential to the hilt. It offers free, self-paced classes that show the best practices of big brands. The topics under this course include a basic backgrounder on Facebook Terminology and Know- How, Best Practices for Facebook and Instagram Posting, Optimizing Facebook and Instagram Advertising, and Creating Quality Facebook page and experience. 

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Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

4. Be a Microsoft Office pro. 

Microsoft Office skills are essential requirements in various fields of business— whether you’re in the corporate or creative field. Sure, you may know the basic use of the Microsoft Office programs, but you could be missing out on their advanced features, which could improve your work outputs tenfold. Check out goskills.com. The site offers courses on Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Access, Project, and Publisher as well as photo editing software Adobe Photoshop and office productivity tools Keynote and Evernote. It even has useful project management courses. For only $39/month (approx. P2,000), you can get access on all the courses offered by Go Skills. 


5. Learn the best practices in people management. 

You need not be at the managerial level to learn effective people management skills. You can consider this as a weapon that can power you up for possible promotion at work. Try the “Managing People: Engaging Your Workforce” online course on futurelearn.com. The 10-week, 4-hour/week course will help you “understand and get the most out of people in the workplace.” 


6. Manage your finances better. 

Knowledge on finance management seems pretty basic, but there a lot more aspects to it, and knowing them could give you an edge in the workplace and even help you grow your own money. The free online course, “Become a Strategic Financial Manager,” on coursera.org gives you a background on how to develop an integrated financial management framework. It covers topics on financial accounting, investments, and corporate finance. This specialization is part of the University of Illinois MBA Program. 

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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

7. Improve your public speaking skills. 

People with good public speaking skills are highly sought after. Some are innately good at this, but the good news is that it’s a skill that can be acquired with constant practice. Dale Carnegie, the author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and the co-author of “The Art of Public Speaking,” has an audio book that may be downloaded for free via learnoutloud. com. It runs 19 hours and has 31 chapters aimed at improving your public speaking skills. 


8. Make the most out of your time. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the items on your to-do list. But with proper time management, you can get more things done with your available time. Kick-start your efficient work routine with a free certificate course on Time Management via alison.com. This introductory course offers various principles and suggestions to make you smarter about dividing your time and allow you to be more productive. 


9. Know how to establish strong online presence. 

We are now living in a digital world, where everything is about making one’s online presence felt. Blogs and vlogs (video blogs) continue to shape and reshape the web browsing experience. These days, it is considered an advantage when you know how to work your way around this trend. You can learn “Blogging and Content Marketing” via shawacademy.com. This diploma course includes the following: Introduction to Blogging, Content Planning and Curation, The Importance of SEO, Should You Start a Vlog?, Content Marketing, How to Monetize Your Blog, Creating a Compelling Personality for Your Content, and Managing a Community of Online Followers. For P995/month, you can have access to live webinars and recordings, all courses on the site, final assignments, e-Diploma, and course tool kits. 


This article was originally published in Working Mom December 2017-January 2018 issue.

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