Boost Your Skills By The End of the Year With These 45 Free Online Classes

onlineclassesSource: The Muse

No matter where you’re at in your career, learning something new can only help you.

Looking for a new job? A unique skill could easily set you apart from the hundreds of other applicants. Worked in the same position for a long time? Expertise in a new field could be the factor that gets you the promotion. And, even if you’re a senior-level manager who’s totally content, getting experience in an unfamiliar area shows your team how much you value growing your job skill set.

Like most other things, though, learning a new skill is easier said than done. Unless, of course, all the resources are handed to you.

Today, we’re doing exactly that. To make sure that you don’t spend hours searching for what to learn and where to learn it, we curated a list of 45 online classes from awesome resources across the web.

Whether you’re interested in programming, graphic design, speech writing, or conflict resolution, there’s bound to be a class for you.

P.S. All of these classes are free.

P.P.S. None of them take more than 10 weeks to complete, so be ready to add new skills to your resume before the end of the year!

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3 Skills to Apply to Any Job

office-workersAuthors: Daniel B. Kline, Selena Maranjian, Maurie Backman
Source: USA Today

Whether you lead a sales team, drive a truck, work in a factory, or do nearly anything else, there are skills that will help you no matter your line of work.

In fact, working on these skills can make you more valuable not just at your job, but in your entire life. Here are some skill sets that everyone could stand to work on.

Communication

SelenaMaranjian: Being able to communicate clearly and professionally is an invaluable career skill. Among other things, it helps you to collaborate with others, negotiate promotions and raises, and network with people inside and outside your own company.

Clear and persuasive writing is valuable if you’re preparing a business proposal, marketing text, a letter to customers, a confidential memo, or an email requesting a raise. If your writing is full of errors or is known for being too lengthy and full of jargon, that’s not helping you get ahead. A few extra moments spent reviewing and editing can really pay off.

The ability to communicate well verbally is a big plus, too. It can make you better understood and respected in meetings and elsewhere at your workplace. Even when leaving a voicemail, you should be clear and concise instead of rambling and mumbling. If you’re speaking in person, be sure to make eye contact, smile, and maintain good posture. That makes people more comfortable with you and reflects self-assurance.

You may need to do some public speaking, too. This can be nerve-wracking for many people, but it can also help you develop a higher profile at work — perhaps being sent to speak and give presentations to clients and big audiences. Look into local public-speaking clubs or courses, such as Toastmasters. Even a local improv group could do wonders for your public-speaking skills.

In all communication, think about your audience and what motivates them. Tailor your writing or speaking to them as you aim to inform or persuade them. And remember that listening carefully is equally important.

Time Management

Maurie Backman: I’ve held a number of different jobs throughout my career, and in a variety of environments. I managed a trading desk at a hedge fund for several years, which was a high-pressure role. I also worked for an online marketing firm, where my time was split between telecommuting and showing up at an actual office. In addition, I’ve spent many years freelancing, which has meant working from home at my own pace.

But throughout these different jobs and environments, the one skill that’s always been essential is the ability to manage my time. Take the hedge fund, for instance. No matter how early I came in or how late I stayed, there was always work to be done, so I had to be extra-efficient during trading hours, when it was easy enough to get distracted by the constant ringing of phones and shouting of traders. At the marketing firm, meanwhile, I wore a number of different hats, and so I had to arrange my schedule so that everything I was responsible for ultimately got done.

Now that I’m back into full-time freelancing, however, managing my time has become all the more crucial. That’s because I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck or coworkers constantly hounding me to get things done. Rather, I have deadlines and goals that I need to meet, and it’s up to me to manage my time so that I’m getting my work done while also balancing the responsibilities that come with running a household.

If time management isn’t your strong suit, there are a number of apps out there that can help, so it pays to check them out. You should also do your best to eliminate known distractions and create a list of daily and weekly tasks and goals to keep yourself on track. The better your time management skills, the more success you’ll have on the job, no matter where your career takes you.

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How to Give Your Brain the Attention it Needs and Deserves

brainexercise

Author: Alyse Kalish
Source: The Daily Muse

It’s 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance. When an athlete is injured they sit on the bench and recover. Let’s get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different.

This quote comes from a Medium article about mental health by the company Olark, and it makes a pretty great point.

Our brain is basically a muscle. (I say basically because I’m no scientist—here’s what the internet actually says on this topic.)

So why don’t we treat it as such? Why don’t we care for it like we care for the rest of the muscles in our bodies? Hold your answer to that and let’s say for a second you decide to make your mind just as high a priority—what would you do differently?

You’d Protect It

Just like we wear a coat when it’s cold, our brains need protection (and not just the helmet kind).

Protection from what, you ask? We’ve all faced hardships—whether it’s losing someone we love, finding ourselves in a new and terrifying place, or facing an obstacle we’ve never come across before.

We may not be able to predict when these things happen or have all the resources to avoid or solve them—just like we can’t predict when we’ll trip and scrape our knee—but if we develop our emotional and mental strength, we’re more likely to make it through unscathed (or less scathed).

Protect your brain (and ultimately, your heart) by preparing yourself for the worst when you’re at your best. Maybe that means learning how to manage your expectations, or working on your confidence, or giving yourself some distance from things that make you unhappy.

You’d Stretch It

Our bodies can handle a lot. Just look at Olympic swimmers, or contortionists, or people who hike the Appalachian mountains and you’ll agree the human body’s a remarkable machine.

But so is the brain (and chances are those people couldn’t do those things without a solid head), and it needs to be challenged just as much as your physical being. In fact, that’s the only way it’ll continue to grow and stay strong.

This means giving it the resources (and time) to be stretched in different ways: reading books and articles, writing, listening to podcasts, solving puzzles, taking on new responsibilities, working on a different schedule, in a different place, or with different people, and engaging in conversations that challenge your beliefs.

Of course, you never want to stretch it too far or for too long. Which brings me to my next point…

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Michelle Kwan Says Doing This One Thing Will Make You More Successful

kwan
Author:
Jennifer Calfas
Source: Money

In the decade after Michelle Kwan was forced to withdraw from the 2006 Winter Olympics due to a severe injury, the legendary figure skater has accomplished a lot off the ice.

A board member of the Special Olympics, a diplomat and once a coordinator for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Kwan told MONEY she has not stopped following her passions — a career move that has been greatly aided by the lessons she learned while ice skating.

But you don’t have to be an Olympic medalist or World Champion figure skater to learn those lessons. Indeed, Kwan said playing any kind of sport can be the secret to success.

“I would encourage people to participate in sports,” Kwan told MONEY this week. “You don’t have to dream of being an Olympic or a professional athlete.”

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How Do Leaders Succeed Despite Tricky Office Politics?

leader
Author: Marissa Peretz

Source: Forbes

Office politics can be a difficult topic for many people. Around 47% of recently surveyed employees felt that office politics distracted them from workplace productivity. It is easy to advise people to completely steer clear of all workplace politics and just say that you will let your manager judge you on the merits of your work. However, people are complex. Work relationships are often complicated to navigate. According to a recent study by Course Hero, multiple generations of employees cite communication skills and teamwork as essential workplace skills, both of which require considerable amounts of human interaction. What should you do when politics become problematic?

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4 Ways Smart People Take on New Projects

smartAuthor: Kat Boogaard
Source: The Daily Muse

Recently, I was asked to take over an existing project. And, like most people, my first inclination was to feel completely intimidated and overwhelmed.

This assignment—along with its longstanding processes and its related team members—was all brand new to me. And, if that wasn’t enough to have me breathing into a paper bag, managing this project also required me to branch out and exercise some skills that I’d previously left untapped.

My chest gets tight at the very thought.

Can you relate? Being asked to take on a new work endeavor is a great thing (hey, you must be doing something right!). But, it can also plant plenty of seeds of self-doubt.

Fortunately, this recent experience opened my eyes to some better, more productive things you can do when you’re tasked with a new project—aside from just panicking.

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Embrace Entrepreneurial Thinking

how-entrepreneurs-think-differentlyAuthor: Kare Anderson
Source: Forbes

In this tech-enabled world where job opportunities and loss can happen more swiftly and in more ways, many of us are interested in how to grow our work options and security. That’s why, when heard about the theme of Dorie Clark’s new book, Entrepreneurial You, I thought she might have relevant help so I reached out to interview her.

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