We’ve all done it—listed “proficient” next to a language or software on our resume and prayed to all the gods the hiring manager didn’t really mean it when he listed it in the job description.
Because, as you know deep down, “proficient” doesn’t mean you can say “Hello” in Spanish, or you know how to plug numbers into a spreadsheet. By including this, you’re stating that you can use your knowledge in your day-to-day job to improve and streamline a process.
You should know that while some hiring managers will skim over this section, others might test you. Former recruiter Richard Moy says, “Whenever ‘language proficiency’ was included in a job I was recruiting for, it wasn’t enough for candidates to just add it to their resumes. I knew whoever we hired would actually have to speak that language. Therefore, we’d have to test their abilities during the interview process.”
But have no fear, every skill can be learned, and I’ve got just the thing to learn them and boost your resume in the process—online classes! Plus, these are all free, so there’s no reason not to try them.
Microsoft Office and Google Docs
1. Excel 2016
Yes, Excel can be huge for analyzing data efficiently. Learn how to take advantage of this popular tool in one five-hour crash course.
Length: 82 lectures/ 5 hours
Before you shake your head and tell me you already know how to use Google Docs, maybe get a quick review on spreadsheets, docs, forms, and presentations—it can’t hurt.
Length: about 1 hour
Take your proficiency in PowerPoint to the next level in one day with this class, and you’ll have the best interview presentation out of all the candidates.
Length: 71 lectures/ 3-6 hours
Whatever language you learned in high school and swear you still remember, you can brush up on it on Duolingo, a fun and colorful language site that’ll help you set achievable goals.
Length: 5-20 minutes a day
No matter what level you’re at, there’s a class for you, whether it’s to (finally) master grammar, understand literature, or be able to casually converse.
This simple, interactive website will walk you through just about any major language—just choose if you’re a beginner or more advanced and you’ll be on your way!
We live in a visual world, and Photoshop is a key ingredient to becoming a master of web design. In less than five hours, you’ll be a bit more confident to check this box off your application.
Length: 2-3 hours
Even you can become a professional-level designer with this tutorial—taught by a creative director and 3D expert.
Length: 30 lectures/ 2 hours
Prove to employers you can design a pristine page layout or document by taking a course on this other key Adobe program.
Length: 105 lectures/ 11 hours
Data and Analytics
Whether you will work alongside a data scientist, manage one, or might want to explore the field, this basic course will give you all you need to know and “be as convenient [for you] as possible without sacrificing any of the essentials.”
Length: 9 lectures
This class is a two in one package—you’ll be taught how to use Python, a coding language, and learn how to analyze data from it, and write about it. Perfect for those starting from zero when it comes to programming.
Length: 4 weeks/ 5 hours per week
Google Analytics is a free tool, so why not use it to gain some important insights (and impress a hiring manager)? This course will teach you how to set it up, how to monitor traffic, and how to analyze data and set goals for growth.
Length: 10 lectures/ 1 hour
Grow your LinkedIn presence—and your potential employers’—in less than an hour with this basic online course.
Length: 9 lectures/ 43 minutes
14. Using Twitter
As one of the top platforms in social media, you’ll want to not just know how to write a clever tweet, but how to use Twitter to spot trends, network, and market a brand.
Length: 1-2 hours
15. SEO Training
Don’t just come up with great ideas for driving traffic, prove you know how to do it effectively with this search engine optimization crash-course.
Length: 42 lectures/ 2-7 hours
These two languages are the “building blocks” of the web, so this intro course is a great place to start if you want to become a front-end developer, or just show your versatility in your application.
Length: 3 weeks/ 6 hours a week
Length: 8 projects/ 6 quizzes
And finally, if Python is the language you need to know, this comprehensive course will have everything you need, from building to solving problems to automating your tasks.
Length: 43 lectures/ 5 hours
Photo of person on laptop at home courtesy of Maskot/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author