If you’re entering the job market or a new industry, you may find your resume lacking in skills and experience — especially if you just graduated college. It’s tempting to lie, but if a new employer ever asked you to use any of those fake skills, like producing a video or speaking Danish, you’re suddenly in very hot water.
There’s a much easier way to fill up your resume: Actually learn some skills. There are plenty of impressive abilities that you can learn in six months or less, which is a great way to catch a potential employer’s attention for all the right reasons.
1. Image and Video Editing
More and more jobs are looking for basic photo and video editing skills, so it’s useful to spend your free time — whether it’s weekends or a summer — mastering at least one editing program.
For image editing, the easiest and most widely used program to learn is Photoshop, but if you know that professionals in your field use other programs such as Corel Paintshop Pro X6, learn that instead.
For video editing, there are tons of different programs you can use, including Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Lightworks and Sony Vegas. Possessing the ability to work with multimedia is a great asset for your resume and for future employment.
2. CPR and First Aid
Image: Flickr, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan
Not only is this an impressive skill to have for a job, it’s also useful in your daily life. To get your two-year CPR certification, you can take classes at three specific organizations: the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or the National Safety Council.
While you will need to take a refresher course every time your certification expires, you will be able to help people in medical situations and show your potential employers how responsible you are. If you want to take it a step further, you can get your EMT certification as well.
3. Serving Alcohol
If you’re interested in working at a high-end restaurant, why not learn how to bartend? The job isn’t as simple as it looks, even if it’s in your average bar. Certain restaurants will even test prospective servers by asking them how wine should be served —naming different varietals and what types of food they should be paired with — and even the ingredients for specific mixed drinks.
You can look for classes in your area or learn the basics online, and with practice, you could be serving fine wine at a sophisticated dining establishment in no time.
It seems as if everyone has a blog these days, but having an online space to write out your ideas can actually impress future bosses. Crafting well-written pieces on a blog can show strong writing proficiency and a self-starting attitude.
Blogging also helps you find your own distinctive voice and writing style, which takes time and effort to develop, especially depending on your field. It even gives you the chance to shine by showing off awesome HTML designs and features.
5. Project Management
The key to being a leader is a mixture of specific skills and practice. Mastering project management, or at least learning the basics, can help even if your field isn’t business-related.
Learning how to work with a budget, assign tasks and manage necessary paperwork are useful skills for many different vocations. It may be difficult for some, but it doesn’t hurt to try to see if this is a role that suits you.
6. Microsoft Office
Image: Flickr, Zoltán Till
You’re probably familiar with the many programs of Microsoft Office, including Word and Powerpoint. While many people know the basic functions, there are hidden features which can turn your report or presentation from passable to unforgettable.
Mastering Excel can be especially beneficial, like grasping the concept of pivot tables, and can help fast-track your career.
Becoming a certified notary public is a lot easier than most people think. Depending on state regulations, there is an exam followed by and an oath. Requirements include a clean record and being a legal resident of the state in which you are seeking certification.
8. Scuba Diving
It isn’t likely that scuba diving will be tied directly to your prospective field, but it’s important to develop your interests as well as take steps to achieve your professional goals.
It takes less than six months to learn how to scuba dive, and it shows that you’re not only naturally curious but you also understand the importance of following regulations and safety codes. You can also learn to cook or earn a pilot’s license in six months, all of which have benefits and lessons you can bring to an office or other professional setting.
9. Public Speaking
Image: Flickr, Ed Schipul
There’s nothing quite as useful as being able to speak with confidence and poise to a room full of people, getting your point across in the most effective and persuasive way possible.
Public speaking is a crucial skill to develop, especially in a field where you need to present information or communicate with others frequently. There are typically classes at local colleges or other learning institutions, but you can also attend Toastmasters meetings to become more eloquent while working on leadership skills.
10. Foreign Language Basics
Maybe you still remember a little Spanish or French from high school or college. Perhaps you picked up German or Italian from big dinners with your relatives all these years. Or maybe you just have a passion for Japanese or Korean media and have learned some basic phrases. If you have an interest in a foreign language, you can increase your linguistic prowess in a matter of months.
Improving your language skills to get up to a working proficiency can really help pump up your resume. If you have no background in other languages, consider taking sign language classes. Even though some countries have region-specific sign languages (American and British sign languages are different, despite both intended for English), it opens up the possibility to communicate with even more people.
Not all languages are used for communicating person to person — there are various programming languages that you can learn. If your field is mainly online, it’s good to start with HTML. There are code-specific classes you can take, and there are great online lessons on sites such as Codecademy. If this is your first coding experience, note that it may take a little longer than six months to understand it fully.