Take a Crash Course: Get Trained in 30 Days or Less

Team JBC

May 9, 2014


If you’re in the market for a new job, you may find you’re lacking some of the ‘hard skills’ required. As defined by Investopedia, hard skills are “Specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. By contrast, soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify.” A combination of both hard and soft skills can help you land your dream job.

Lacking the required software knowledge or the ability to speak a second language may be the deciding factor on whether or not you get called in for an interview [or if you should even apply]. For the truly ambitious and dedicated job seeker, prepare for your career goals by conditioning your mind to learn new skills.

The programs listed below all offer some sort of trial period allowing you to take self-taught crash courses to learn résumé-building skills. The more you know the better; and even if you aren’t in the job market at the moment, it’s never too late to learn something new. True statement: Knowledge is power! Spend your lifetime learning and you will remain relevant throughout your career.

1. Adobe CCAdobe applications are used in virtually every industry to create pretty much anything. Knowledge of any of these applications as they pertain to your field will greatly increase your chances of getting hired. The trial will give you the chance to get the feel of the interface and to practice using the huge assortment of tools. If you’re completely new to Photoshop (or any of the apps), you’re going to need more than 30 days; but you’ll be off to a nice start and you’ll begin to speak and understand the language of these game-changing products.

2. Microsoft Office – Popular Office applications include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook – all must-haves for anyone claiming to know how to use a computer. If you’re a little rusty with creating charts in Excel or a presentation in PowerPoint, download the newest version of Office and brush-up on these minimum requirements.

3. Learn to Code, Design Websites and Apps – As warned, it will take more than 30 days to earn your black belt in any of these skills, but you’ll have the opportunity to get insight into the basics and some hands-on experience. Codecademy uses an interactive, fun method to teach students Javascript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python and Ruby. You can also learn how to build apps with APIs. These crash courses may also come in handy if you’re looking to change careers and want to get a a head start on the basics.

4. Social Media Monitoring – Careers in social media are in high demand and companies are looking for tech-savvy employees to represent their brand. The role of a social media manager boils down to the ability to monitor and report analytics. Measuring ROI is an integral part of maintaining a successful social media strategy and garnering support from upper management and executives. Request a demo from Sysomos, Radian6 or Crimson Hexagon to get started on the road to intelligent social media listening and engaging.

5. Google Analytics – Google’s Analytics Academy will teach you everything you need to know about the inner workings of a website. The video lessons take you step-by-step through creating an account all the way to gathering and interpreting the data. You also have the option to take the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test and earning an industry recognized qualification. Google Analytics are free and learning how to use it is free. What more could one ask for out of Google?

6. Language – We’ll highlight Rosetta Stone and Duolingo here – just to get a broad spectrum of sources. Rosetta Stone has been around long enough (over 20 years) to become a household name in regards to learning new languages. New technology has only improved the program and their Dynamic Immersion® method has proven to be a successful way to learn a new language. If you’re serious about adding a second or third language to your résumé, this could be the ticket.

On the other hand, Duolingo is free, but it only offers courses in five languages as compared to Rosetta Stone’s lengthy list of around thirty. If you’re looking for a fun and engaging way to learn Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese on your mobile phone or tablet, Duolingo is for you.

As Peter Schutz, former President and CEO of Porsche, said, “Hire Character. Train Skill.” Employers are looking for the total package, but whether or not you can become a part of the company culture remains the ultimate deciding factor. Don’t let the lack of hard skills keep you from your dream job.