Regardless of your field, a well-rounded set of hard skills can make you attractive in the job market.
As someone with a varied work history and no college degree, I rely heavily on the “Skills” section of my resume to show my value to potential employers. My competencies showcase my ambition, follow-through and ability to think beyond the scope of my job description.
Employers often lean on millennials to know how to incorporate the latest technologies into the workplace. Having a few tricks up your sleeve can give you a much-needed edge.
They may sound intimidating, but many hard skills are simple — and free — to learn. You just have to know how it might be useful and put in a little practice. You can learn new skills through Google searches and YouTube videos, or take affordable and free online courses through Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera and Edx.
If you’re headed into the job market — for the first time or mid-career — consider picking up these simple skills to beef up your resume.
1. How to Use a Spreadsheet
Creating a spreadsheet in Excel, Numbers or Google Sheets is a vital skill to help you organize information for any job.
But it can go much further than that.
A spreadsheet is much more than a fancy table — though it’s quite useful in that function, too.
Check out these free tutorials to learn what kinds of formulas and functions spreadsheets are capable of:
2. How to Use Google Apps for Work
Many workplaces run on Google Apps — Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar and more. They allow employees to collaborate and communicate, whether they sit across the office or across the world from one another.
Even if your team doesn’t rely on Google apps, you will likely encounter clients or collaborators who do.
Charm your boss and clients by being the one who knows how use them.
You’ll need a Google account (Gmail address) to get started. The easiest way to become familiar with most Google apps is to dive in and start playing around.
If you prefer more guidance, check out these free tutorials:
- Gmail (web-based email)
- Drive (cloud storage)
- Docs (collaborative word processor)
- Sheets (spreadsheets)
- Slides (slideshow presentations)
- Forms (surveys and sign-ups)
- Hangouts (video conferencing)
3. How to Start a Blog and Use WordPress
Even if starting a blog isn’t in the cards for you personally, you could benefit from knowing how to use basic blogging tools.
You’ll also impress some coworkers just by understanding the language of blogging and website creation. It’s much easier to find answers when you need them if you know what you’re looking for!
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog to get an overview of setting up a website, managing a blog, attracting readers and making money.
Many small brick-and-mortar businesses default to setting up a website through WordPress, because it’s free and easy to use.
Familiarize yourself with the platform by setting up your own blog at WordPress.com to play around. This free tutorial helps you get started.
4. How to Use Social Media
Social media is growing and changing quickly. New platforms continue to pop up, and companies are trying to keep pace and figure out where they need to be to connect with customers.
You might love using social media for fun, but that can translate to valuable job skills, too!
It’s true — you can literally be hired to be on Snapchat all day.
Even if your position doesn’t explicitly require it, familiarity with common social platforms is a plus. On a small team, everyone might share the duty of communicating with customers online.
Or maybe your employer wants to expand into social media marketing and doesn’t know where to begin. You could parlay your skills into a brand-new position!
Here are some tutorials to give you the basics of these important social media platforms:
- Facebook pages (for business)
5. How to Edit Video and Audio
You don’t have to be a tech wizard to get comfortable with simple video and audio editing.
For small projects, your ability to navigate free editing programs could save your team a lot of money and hassle.
Your OS should come with free video editing software — iMovie for Mac and Movie Maker for Windows.
6. How to Edit Photos and Graphic Images
Like video and audio, simple image editing is a useful skill that is easier to learn than you think.
7. How to Administer First Aid
Hard skills aren’t all about technology! Some basic, old-fashioned know-how can go a long way.
In any field, a first aid or CPR certification will look good on your resume. Unsurprisingly, it’s especially helpful — sometimes required — if you want to pick up a side gig in babysitting or nannying.
First aid and CPR training can also help you take on volunteer work with some organizations, which looks great on a resume!
8. How to Analyze Data
The availability of information in this Information Age poses one major issue: How can we possibly use it all?
Professionals make careers out of in-depth data analysis to address this issue, but you can also use this basic skill in any position.
Want to prove your progress to your boss at your next review? Start collecting the data!
Track job stats that show your productivity, like number of customer calls, time to complete tasks or projects completed per week. You can also use the info to identify trends for yourself, so you know where you excel and where you need to work harder.
You can use the same skillset to analyze the productivity and progress of your team. Use that information to recommend new tools or changes in workflow to your boss.
Get started with this free course in data analysis from Edx.
Your Turn: What new skills have you learned to help you earn more money?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).