- Date : 18/06/2020
- Read: 6 mins
In addition to watching shows on Netflix and learning to cook new dishes, why not enrol for an online course and brush up a useful professional skill?
The coronavirus pandemic may have scuppered some of your 2020 goals, but you can rest assured that when things go back to normal, whenever that is, everyone is going to return – not dejected, but upskilled. They would have learned a whole bunch of things that can help them professionally and personally.
You too can utilise this downtime, whether you’re working from home or not, to build a professional skill that you’d like to have. But instead of just randomly signing up for an online course that seems interesting, think about an area you can improve on, or something you struggle with. When your purpose of enrolling for a course is clear, it’s easier to stick through it till the end and not lose motivation in between.
Here are a few skills that are the most relevant and crucial for every working professional, and the courses you can take to develop them.
Right from the job interview where you discuss your salary to getting stakeholders to work the way you want in the specified timeline, negotiating is a skill that lets you work smarter, not harder. You could be effective and clear in your communication, but negotiation is a completely different skill set. It involves understanding the motives and wants of the other person, knowing your own, and perceiving and pitching how things could best work out.
- Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator (Yale University)
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (University of Michigan)
- Fundamentals of Negotiation, with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women (Goldman Sachs)
2. Team building and collaboration
Irrespective of the industry you’re in or the job title you have, career progression requires you to work with and manage people to meet your work goals. Working with people can be difficult and tricky because each person is a complex individual with their own set of personal motives, weaknesses, and mindset. Effective team communication and collaboration is key, and now with the ‘new normal’ of working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is even more crucial.
- High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation (Northwestern University)
- Re-Imagine Work: Strategies During COVID-19 and Beyond (University of British Columbia)
- Teamwork Skills: Communicating Effectively in Groups (University of Colorado)
3. Personal branding
You could be the most brilliant person in the room and the most hard-working, but none of that will matter if you can’t strategically self-advocate and build a personal brand. In situations such as a job interview or a networking event, where time’s a constraint and impressing the person in front of you through your words is the goal, effective personal branding helps the most. Especially in this digital world, everything from your Instagram account to your LinkedIn profile is a platform for self-branding.
- Introduction to Personal Branding (University of Virginia)
- Career Brand Development and Self-Coaching (State University of New York)
- Strategic Self-Marketing and Personal Branding (State University of New York)
4. Work-life balance
It’s important to acknowledge that the kind of work-life balance you have depends as much on yourself as on your employer. While you can’t really change the management or work culture of your workplace, you can definitely work on the personal front to significantly improve your quality of life and work satisfaction. By understanding what joy, inner peace, and life goals mean to you and how all those fit in with your daily time management, responsibilities, and work demands, you can achieve a much better work-life balance.
- A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment (Indian School of Business)
- Achieving Personal and Professional Success Specialization (University of Pennsylvania)
- Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity (University of California)
5. Finance and accounting
If you’ve never taken an accounting course in college, the world of finance and accounting can seem intimidating. However, whether it’s for your personal budgeting or for starting your own business, knowing the fundamentals of accounting and finance is very essential. Understanding things such as how to read financial statements, application of key economics and economic concepts, the process of budgeting, etc. can only benefit you, irrespective of the industry you’re in.
- Finance for Non-Financial Professionals (University of California)
- Accounting for Decision-Making (IIM Bangalore)
- Personal & Family Financial Planning (University of Florida)
6. Digital marketing
Digital marketing is one of those areas that will only grow because the whole world now lives online. Whether it’s because you’ve always been curious, want to make a career switch, start freelancing, or set up a personal website, learning the essentials of digital marketing will go a long way. Content marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, etc. are some of the core areas of digital marketing.
- Digital Unlocked (Google)
- Social Media Marketing Specialization (Northwestern University)
- Facebook Blueprint (Facebook)
7. Foreign languages
Learning any foreign language, whether it’s something as popular as French or Mandarin, or something as niche as Finnish or Korean, adds a very valuable skill set to you as an individual. In addition to helping you become a global citizen, learning a foreign language also makes you more interesting and opens the door to a whole new slew of jobs. Additionally, the process of learning a new language as an adult benefits the brain in several ways, such as improving one’s memory and enhancing decision-making skills.
- Mandarin Chinese 1: Chinese for Beginners (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
- Deutsch (German) Online (Goethe-Institut)
- First Step Korean (Yonsei University)
Most of these courses are free to audit. What this means is that all the course content, such as videos and reading materials, are freely available to you online. However, if you want to take graded tests and acquire a certification for that course, you’ll need to pay a fee. So start by auditing any of these courses first, and decide later if it’s something in which you wish to earn an official certification. Read these inspiring stories about 4 Successful businesswomen with whom you can learn for a better financial future.