soft skills, building skills, hard skills, communication, networking, online classes, volunteering
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 14 December 2016
A Guide to Building Skills Outside of a Professional Setting
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Kelly Nguyen

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So you’ve decided to fill out your resume – and you’re stuck. 

You’ve got your work experience listed, your education history, your volunteer experience completed, and now it’s time for the “skills” section.

Skills?

You may be wondering, “What exactly are I supposed to put for this section?” What kind of skills are employers looking for? Some things that have crossed your mind may be your unique talents, like being the fastest runner in high school, or the fact that you’re a kung-fu champion.

Unfortunately, things like “Black Belt Karate Champion” and “I can eat 10 pies in one sitting” probably aren’t the best things to include on a resume.

So what can you add?

When it comes to getting hired, many employers are looking for candidates with a variety of soft skills and technical skills.

Things like: communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving, and decision-making skills are examples of great soft skills. On the other hand, technical skills like coding, social media marketing, knowing how to use Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc), and big data analysis are crucial for success in various careers.

While school and work are important, it can be argued that some skills just can’t be taught in a classroom or in an office. They’re gained through real hands-on experiences.

There are many ways to gain experience and skills beyond the doors of a classroom and work environment, and here are just some ways you can do it:


Read a Book

Reading is one of the easiest ways to gain a new skill. A quick way to get into the habit of reading everyday is to spend an hour or day doing so. Start off by reading the local news or by picking something up at your local bookstore. If you’re not willing to purchase books, they’re free at your local library. Libraries are filled with a plethora of books with a wide range of subjects to choose from – all free to borrow and use.

If books aren’t for you, try reading news articles or blogs. Nowadays, many companies and top influencers are publishing and sharing their own blog posts with very valuable advice and methods for success. For business related news, try browsing official news websites like the Wall Street Journal and NY Times. For career, college, and internship advice, take a look at ProSky’s blog! There are also many DIY creative blogs for leisure. The possibilities are endless.

Whether it’s a history book, a newspaper, or an online blog, you’re guaranteed to learn something new.

 

Volunteer

There are many volunteering opportunities available, no matter where you are. Many non-profits (like American Red Cross) are always looking for extra people to volunteer. You can even check for volunteer opportunities at your local library, animal shelter, or school district. By volunteering, you’ll be working on and improving soft skills like communication, teamwork, decision-making, leadership, and etc. Volunteering opens so many doors to show off new things you’ve learned or to demonstrate all that you know. It’s a great way to polish and show off your skills. 


Take Online Courses

Last but not least, taking online courses is also a great way to learn new technical skills. Many websites, such as ProSky, offer a variety of online courses in many different subjects. Some types of courses that ProSky offers include: social media marketing, search engine optimization, UI/UX designing, and etc. These classes are accessible from any computer and will help you boost your resume with a variety of technical skills. They’re also high- quality, informative, and full of useful content. These online courses are easy to use and can be done at your own pace. There are even a variety of homework assignments that will allow you to demonstrate the things you’ve learned from these courses. 

Start with one class and work your way through the other courses. Before you know it, you’ll have gained many more valuable and useful skills.


There are so many ways to expand your skillset outside of a classroom. You don’t have to limit yourself to work or school. You should always be trying to learn something new.

So what are you waiting for? Go out, pick up a book, and sign up for a ProSky course! You’ll be glad you did.