September 01, 2016
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So you just graduated from school and got your first office job. You’re enjoying your job, but feel you could perform your duties better if you could improve in a few skill sets. Maybe you need more experience using Excel or Google Sheet. Perhaps a leadership course could help you assert yourself and feel more comfortable around your co-workers. Maybe you just want to learn something related to your job so you can get that promotion.
Whatever your motivation, there are many ways to improve your skills without having to pay a dime. That’s right, you won’t have to enroll in college and pay hefty tuition fees just to take classes and gain a bit of knowledge. (But you will have to prepare to spend some cash if you want to be certified in a particular area). Read on to find out how you can improve your job skills for free – and maybe even have fun in the process.
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6 Ways to Amp Up Existing Skills... For The Free!
- Take online courses.
ALISON offers free online learning. You can browse through the categories and choose from more than 750 courses. All courses are self-paced, so you can learn whenever and wherever you want. You won’t have to travel to a campus or leave work early to take your classes. Pass the assessments and you can even take courses toward a diploma or certificate – all for free. You can take courses in dozens of areas, including business, communication skills, accounting, Microsoft Office, math and typing. You can even learn a new language.
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- Take Microsoft tutorials.
The Microsoft Training Center offers tutorials on all the Office apps, such as Outlook, Word, Excel, Visio and SharePoint. If your job requires using any of these apps on a regular basis, a tutorial can help you discover features you never knew existed.
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- Attend a work-related conference.
Ask your manager if you can attend a trade show or conference centered around your company’s industry. Many companies will sponsor you to attend if you come back and report on what you learned and how you can apply this knowledge to your job. You may even have an opportunity to present some information. That alone will help you gain valuable skills in terms of research, preparation and presentation. You can check out a list of the best conferences to attend for some ideas from The Muse.
- Apply for intern or temporary positions.
If you’re interested in an office job, but haven’t been able to find a permanent full-time position, look for an internship. Internships are often unpaid, but they’re often short-term and provide valuable experience working in an office environment. If working for free isn’t feasible, look into a temp job or a contract position. Many temp jobs last about three months or so, but are very fast-paced, so if you’re looking for hands-on experience working in an office, a temp job is the way to go.
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- Join a professional organization.
There are several groups that focus on the administrative field. By joining one of these organizations, you’ll meet new people. This will expand your network and give you leads to new jobs. You’ll also learn more about the various functions and roles in an office environment. Once you feel comfortable being part of the organization, go a step further and look into a leadership role to truly broaden your horizons.
- Volunteer for a company or position you’re interested in.
Non-profit organizations always welcome volunteers. There are a variety of tasks you could perform. You could call donors, create newsletters, send emails, input data into a spreadsheet, keep track of finances or lead a team. All of these duties provide valuable skills and knowledge that could transfer to an office job. You could even volunteer at your child’s school as part of the PTA or as a classroom helper. Volunteering is free and easy, and doesn’t take up as much time as you think. Even a couple hours a week can make a huge difference. You’ll meet new people, improve your communication skills and maybe even learn how to create a budget or plan a fundraiser. Volunteer work is a great item to add to your resume. Plus, you might enjoy the job or organization so much that you might want to switch careers in the near future!
By utilizing the tips above, you’ll get out of your comfort zone and be prepared to broaden your horizons. Learning new skills opens the door to new and exciting opportunities. You might meet new people and bring a new attitude to your current job. You may impress your boss and co-workers with your newfound knowledge. Who knows, a new career or more money may even await you.