The future of the job market is murky at best right now. No one quite knows when the coronavirus pandemic will end, when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, and when people will get back to work. Amid that uncertainty, it’s easy to get caught up in worrying and waiting for news.
But the best thing you can do for your career is to keep your skills sharp — or learn new ones that will make you even more of an asset after the crisis has passed.
Money is tight for many people right now, but many resources have made online classes available for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the best places to build and learn new career skills.
Where to Learn Job Skills Right Now
From writing to coding to productivity, educational companies and masters in their field across several industries are offering online courses, training videos, and insights for free during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’ve ever dreamed of building a writing career (or you want to brush up on content marketing for your business), this is a good time to start. From a Tucker Max workshop on book writing to an in-depth course on blogging for business, there are lots of free writing resources available. There’s also a course geared specifically to those who keep putting off writing for someday titled “Stop Procrastinating Write Now.”
Brush up on marketing basics with a no-cost Wharton class, or gain new insights through free webinars offered by The Content Marketing Association through the end of April. Google Digital Garage also has free courses on Understanding customers’ needs and online behaviors and how to build better presentations through storytelling and design.
Cooking and hospitality skills
The Milk Street Cooking School is providing free online classes until April 30, so now is a great time to hone your cooking skills. After restaurants reopen, you may be able to leverage those new techniques into a chef position or start planning your own cooking venture.
ServSafe is also offering free training on food handling and career advancement for restaurant and hospitality workers.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Whether you’re a marketer, writer, strategist or designer, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most marketable skills to learn. Moz Academy is making all of its SEO courses free until May 31, so you can score training on page optimization, backlinks, SEO site audits and other topics without having to shell out hundreds of dollars.
Coding and web design
Picking up new finance skills can help in your career and at home. At work, having a baseline understanding of the economy and finance can help you budget, plan for future business expenses or manage sales. At home, knowing more about personal finance can help you make empowered decisions.
The University of Michigan’s free course, “Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making,” gives you an overview of everything you need to know to make smarter money moves. The course is designed for all skill levels, regardless of past financial knowledge.
Happiness and productivity
If you’ve struggled with procrastination and stress or you’re simply looking to level up professionally and personally, check out Yale University’s course on The Science of Well-Being. It’s audit-only, but you get an Ivy League take on happiness and productivity for free.
Speaking of Yale, the prestigious institution offers a number of past courses for free through Open Yale Courses. You can access video and audio recordings of each class’s lectures, along with the recommended reading and problem sets. Courses include a range of study areas, including literature, physics, finance, art and philosophy.
More Online Resources
If none of that piques your interest yet, take a look at Harvard’s free online courses. Courses range from Science & Cooking, to the Health Effects of Climate Change- so there is something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to learn job skills or discover something new for yourself, there is more free content than ever to keep you engaged while you shelter in place. For instance, edX offers thousands of classes from elite colleges and universities. YouTube channels such as Hank Green’s CrashCourse feature engaging, high-quality videos on engineering, sociology and history, among many other topics. You can also find discounted options on The Great Courses.
While it can feel impossible to look past the next week, the best thing you can do for your career right now is to learn new career skills. The pandemic will end, and so will the recession. Until then, signing up for a class or networking with industry peers through the provided in-course chat and message boards can give you a sense of control and empowerment in an uncertain time.