Some of the most prestigious careers are also very competitive.
To break into them or move up on the ladder, you have to have more than knowledge. Your resume has to be packed with the skills employers know create a coveted employee.
These skills are a mix of hard and soft, both innate and learned. While some of them require experience and education, others can be self-taught.
If you’re interested in becoming a trauma surgeon, for instance, you’d probably have to go back to school.
The financial and time investment might be worth it if the pay and benefits were substantial enough. But you’d need other skills, like a good bedside manner and strong communication, to be truly successful. Those aren’t taught in a classroom.
Ready to boost your traits and stand out from others in your field? You can teach these three valuable skills to yourself for free.
1. Improved Writing Skills
From resume writing to on-the-job memos, how you spell and use grammar matters. In the past, we stuck with what we knew, wrote it down, hit send, and hoped for the best.
Today, you don’t need a college course to learn how to improve your writing skills. There are thousands of free online lessons and programs that can help you.
The only way to beef up your writing is to practice regularly. Download some journal prompts, type up your response, then post them into the Hemingway app.
With a quick glance in Hemingway, you can see where your sentences are too fragmented or confusing. It lets you know your text’s vocabulary level, so you can judge if it’s too high or low for your audience. You’ll learn things like active and passive voice, complex word choice, adverbs, and more.
After you make the same edits over and over, they start to cement themselves into your daily writing.
2. Touch Typing
Are you a hunt-and-peck typist? Is it easier for you to speak into your computer and fix the mistakes than it is to type the text?
If so, you’re missing out on a lot of other things you could be doing!
Touch typing is a skill where you place your fingers over a home row set of keys. Without looking at the keyboard, your digits fly to the correct placement and hit the right key. With time and repetition, each finger develops its own muscle memory.
Now imagine how much faster your emails, documents, and other computer work could be done if you could type 74 words per minute instead of 47. These touch typing tutors are free or pay-for apps that can help you reach your typing speed and accuracy goal.
3. Another Language
No matter what career you’re in, knowing a second language is always a valuable skill to have. In some positions, it’s the deciding factor between you and another employee.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn Russian, or every job you apply for wants a Spanish-speaking employee. Whatever the reason, you’ve realized it’s a good idea to learn a new language.
It is easier to absorb languages when we’re younger. Our brains are processing at such a rapid speed that we soak up unknown words like sponges.
But it’s not impossible to become fluent in multiple languages as adults. In fact, the other skills you may have can help you pick up some languages quickly.
If you know what kind of learner you are (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.), you can find programs that teach with those methods.
Duolingo is a free app that uses visual and auditory learning styles, combined with repetition, to slowly teach you a language. Pimsleur is a mostly auditory technique that immerses you in conversations until you’ve picked up the words and can use them yourself.
There are lots of other apps and programs that you can get for free or pay for an upgrade version. Your local colleges may have courses or tutors available, too.
Once you know how much time you want to devote to learning this new skill and how you learn best, you can search for the methods to reach your goal.
Every skill you learn is a worthwhile investment in your future. Whether you use it for your personal growth or to further your career, it’s never a waste of time.
Some things are also valuable in the job market. If you want to improve your skillset, start by teaching yourself one (or all) of three popular categories of knowledge!