If you’ve recently graduated, left school, or otherwise got started on your job hunt, you might be feeling pretty down about your prospects. Naturally, since you’re on GoThinkBig right now, you already know how important work experience placements and internships are – and you’ve got your CV and cover letter looking fresh. Jess is here to tell you about some brilliant courses you can do – we’d recommend trying to get your uni, college, or current employers to fund them, wherever possible – that will send your career stratospheric.
Courses That Are Immediately Applicable to Employment
After a tough time in the employment market, we’re finally starting to see figures that won’t leave us banging our heads against our desks in abject frustration. According to Reed, the UK labour market is experiencing ‘consistent and continued growth’, with a 22% year-on-year rise in positions available. Their June job index, compiled by data from over 10,000 recruiters, shows that overall demand for staff in the second quarter of 2013 rose 7% on the first three months of the year, and that this growth looks to be sustainable.
So, there are jobs out there. Great! But how do you get one? How can you make yourself stand out from the hordes of eager jobseekers with shiny CVs and skillsets that look just like yours? Well, it’s simple, really. You need to be special. You need to be some kind of Super Jobseeker 2.0, new and improved, armed with the skills, knowledge and experience that make you über-desirable to employers.
A considerable proportion of recent university graduates believe their degree alone did not leave them sufficiently prepared for the world of work. Often, they wish they’d chosen a more vocational subject, or added a few practical modules to give their CV a much needed kick in the arse.
By taking a few cheeky courses that are relevant no matter what kind of employment you’re looking to go into, becoming an S.J.2.0 might not be as hard as you’d think.
But what courses? How do you know what’s relevant? Take your pick from these suggestions.
Professional Writing and Communications
There is nothing worse than poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. Seriously, I like to think I’m not a judgmental person, but as soon as I spot an errant apostrophe, my confidence in a person’s ability to get a job done well plummets. Too harsh? Apologies. But a professional writing or communications course will help you write clear, concise, well organised reports, and not enrage grammar snobs like myself. It helps to know what you’re talking about if you’re planning on teaching, too.
A proofreading course could prove worth its weight in gold in any industry. Not only will you be able to perfect your own writing, you could become responsible for the eagle-eyed editing of an entire company’s plethora of publications. Online, offline, pigeon mail, you name it.
Group Dynamics, Management, and Leadership Courses
Taking the initiative to lead a group doesn’t come naturally to everybody, but it’s an extremely desirable skill in the workplace. It is particularly useful in the leisure, tourism and training industries, which are huge sectors for employment in the UK.
We’re a very fickle bunch, we employees, and the nuances of human resources are so many and varied, they’ll leave your head spinning. Get a grip on them, and you’re set for success.
The Diploma in First Line Management is a great course that provides an excellent basis from which to progress to higher level Chartered Management Institute (CMI) management courses. It teaches communication, organisation, effective working relationships, improving team performance, and recruitment and selection. So basically, how to squeeze every last drop from all your minions (I joke).
Accounting and Statistics
Money, money, money… it’s why we’ve all got our noses to the grindstone in the first place, so a basic understanding of finance and accounting looks great on your CV. Being able to project revenue and costs is invaluable, so this, as well as a sound comprehension of the laws of economics, will give you the cut throat business knowhow that will help you ascend to dizzying new heights.
Oh, and understanding trends and data is a useful skill no matter your job, and will be relevant the further up the pay grades you go.
The ACCA Professional Accountancy course (that’s Association of Chartered Certified Accountants to you and me) gives you the knowledge, skills, and professional values necessary to build a career in financial accounting, or simply to hold your own when it comes to business and money matters. Teaching financial accounting, management accounting, financial management, taxation, auditing, law, quantitative techniques and economics, this course will certainly gain you kudos in the interview room.
IT and Computer Programming
Being a child of the 90s does not a computer whizz make. Yes, you can use Office, and you may have dabbled in Photoshop once or twice, but how’s your HTML? Do you know your CSS from your Java? Great computer skills are a sure fire path to employability.
Not to mention being able to develop your own app. Can you imagine being at the helm of the next Angry Birds?
The IT courses available are many and varied. Try out O2′s Decoded, keep it simple with a Microsoft Office Specialist course, or stretch yourself and try Web Design for Beginners or an Introduction to Computer Programming. Then, sell your app for millions of pounds and never work again.
Whatever job you have your heart set on, you’re guaranteed to need to deliver presentations (even if it’s only to a few people), and having a recognised course on your CV that demonstrates your ability to do this will absolutely make you more employable, and it won’t hurt you in the interview process, either.
A presentation skills course can help you become a highly effective spokesperson for your organisation, or just give you the skills you need to smash an interview for a Forbes 500 company. You’ll learn to structure your presentations, speak with a dash of pizzazz, and make the word ‘umm’ a thing of the past.
Marketing affects practically every industry, and being well versed in this multifaceted discipline could give you a considerable edge on your competitors. Learn about the four Ps (product, price, place and promotion) and improve your earning potential significantly.
The CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) Introductory Certificate in Marketing gives you a broad overview of advertising, public relations, and social media. Use it to get to grips with marketing and customer behaviour, and become the next Don Draper.