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Advice / Career Paths / Training & Development

18 Free Classes to Boost Your Skills Section (Because How Proficient in Excel Are You Really?)

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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

2. Fundamentals of Google Docs

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

3. Mastering Microsoft PowerPoint Made Easy Training Tutorial

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


4. Duolingo

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

5. Languages on ALISON

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.

Length: Varies

6. Babbel

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!

Length: Varies


7. Adobe Photoshop Course

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

8. Adobe Illustrator: Mastering the Fundamentals

Even you can become a professional-level designer with this tutorial—taught by a creative director and 3D expert.

Length: 30 lectures/ 2 hours

9. Adobe InDesign Made Easy—A Beginners Guide to InDesign

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

10. A Crash Course in Data Science

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

11. Learn to Code for Data Analytics

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

12. Google Analytics Training Course for Beginners 2016

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

Social Media

13. Marketing on LinkedIn

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


16. Intro to HTML and CSS

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

17. Learn JavaScript

Get some hands-on experience coding with this step-by-step tutorial of JavaScript—which you can complete on your own time!

Length: 8 projects/ 6 quizzes

18. Learn Python for Beginners

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