An article by contributor Alicia Hill.
The job market is more competitive than ever. While it helps to have experience and a degree, another way to improve your chances of getting hired is to take online classes. Naturally, you should find classes that are relevant to the type of job you’re seeking. This is an often overlooked way to give yourself an edge when seeking a job.
Benefits of Online Learning and MOOCs
There are many benefits of taking online classes. When many people think of online courses, they think of degree programs offered by colleges and universities. While these can be valuable, there’s another type of course that doesn’t require you to earn credits. Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs are an increasingly popular option.
These courses, which are offered by companies such as Mogul, Udemy, Khan Academy, Stanford Online and OpenLearning, are open to anyone. You can find virtually any topic. 87 percent of people participating in MOOCs report career benefits. Let’s look at some of the most significant benefits of these courses.
- They are free. Other types of courses, even online credit courses, are often quite costly, which is an obstacle to many potential students.
- Enrollment is completely open. There are no requirements or complex applications. Regardless of where you live or your educational background, you can take any course you want.
- Study at your own pace. Even if you’re employed full time, you can study in your spare time.
- Access content from the internet. Because the courses are online, you can access them as long as you have an internet connection.
- A Wide variety of courses. This enables you to take courses in the specific areas that potential employers care about. If you’re in the tech sector, for example, you can take courses in any programming language you might need.
- Shows employers you have initiative. In addition to showing potential employers that you’ve acquired skills by taking online classes, you show them that you have ambition and initiative.
While taking online classes is an effective way to make yourself more appealing to employers, you should recognize that it takes some effort on your part. Before you sign up for courses, you should make sure you understand what’s involved. The main challenge of this type of education is that it requires a great deal of self-discipline. One troubling statistic regarding MOOCs is that fewer than 10 percent of people who sign up for courses actually complete them. It’s important that you set up a schedule for yourself that you stick to. You’ll need to devote a certain number of hours per week to study.
Signing Up For Online Classes
If you decide that you want to take classes online, the process for doing so is not difficult. First, you should identify what courses would be most beneficial for your needs. Find out what skills are most valued by employers for the type of jobs you want. It’s a good idea to read lots of job applications on job hiring sites and LinkedIn. This will give you an idea of which courses to take.
It’s best to start with one course. Choose one that will give you the greatest advantage when applying for jobs. Then do a search and find a free MOOC on that subject. You then simply sign up. There are now many sites that offer MOOCs. Keep in mind that many of these sites also offer many paid courses. Yet if you’re looking for job-related skills, it’s almost certain you’ll be able to locate a free course. When you choose the site and course, you’ll find instructions on how to take online classes. The only requirements are having internet access and a device that’s able to work with whatever software or platform is being used.
On the other hand, if you need a degree rather than just a course, you might want to take a different approach and check out online degree programs. These will cost you money, but could still be worthwhile if they help you get a better job. Even if you eventually want to get a degree, however, a free MOOC course will provide you with an introduction to online learning without costing you anything.
Once you start taking online courses, you can put this on your resume. You can even note on your resume that you’re in the process of taking a course before you’ve actually completed it. You can refer to this in any queries you send to potential employers as well. If you want employers to recognize you as a viable candidate, taking online classes is a great way to acquire better qualifications. This can help you get hired for the type of job you want.
With many years of experience in marketing communication and strategic planning, Alicia began her career as a class consultant for the training centre for sales & business development and now works for Real Estate Academy Australia, a company which offers real estate courses in Queensland. If you enjoy reading her articles, you can find more of her pieces on Twitter.