As an employee rights lawyer helping workers in both Florida and Georgia, I see how many hiring and promotional decisions were made.
Recently I’ve noticed some clients are getting hired or promoted with ease, although their basic credentials are a lot like others who’ve applied for the job. A strong resume is still your best strategy for getting an interview and job offer/promotion. But how to set yourself apart from other applicants, assuming your basic credentials are similar?
These clients are seeing sharp increases in interviews and offers because they built up the “Education and Training” section of their resume or application. They did this by taking free courses now offered online by many of the country’s top universities. Harvard, MIT, the University of Michigan, Stanford and others make full courses available to anyone, and most are completely free. (Some do charge a fee for a small number of extremely specialized courses, and some charge if you want a transcript-like certification that you completed the course. You don’t need the certificates.) There is no screening or application process, no homework, and no grades. Most of the courses are offered in the form of videos you simply click to watch. That’s it.
The result? The one section of everyone’s resume or application that contains routine, older information now becomes – for you- a blockbuster showing of your superior drive to learn and achieve. You can even add a supplemental page as your course list grows, which doubly reinforces your continually-improving skill set.
Employers prize a candidate whose knowledge, skills and training are current, cutting edge, and show genuine ambition and interest in the field. So the online availability of free college-level courses – from heavy-hitter universities – lets you pile on credentials and really stand out in the selection process. You no longer need to go back to college, and if you never went, you don’t need to start now. And these aren’t lengthy degree programs. You can take individual, self-paced courses – just the ones you that give you an edge. So you can list education from the top universities in the country without having been a student there. It’s just as impressive.
Imagine if your resume or application listed not only your basic education, from way back when, but also lists fresh entries like these, all of which are real (and free):
- Introduction to Project Management Principles and Practices – Univ. of California at Irvine (16 lessons) (online through coursera.com); completed June 2015
- Leading People and Teams – University of Michigan (12 weeks) (online through coursera.com); completed September 2015
- Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills – University of Michigan (7 week course) (online through coursera.com); completed March 2016
- Organization Leadership – Northwestern University (4 week course) (online through coursera.com); completed October 2015
- Probability and Statistics – Stanford University (6 weeks) (online through online.stanford.edu); completed June 2016
- How to Develop “Breakthrough” Products and Services – MIT (10 weeks) (online through ocw.mit.edu); completed January 2016
Some universities, like Stanford and MIT, offer courses on their own websites. Most are offered through sites like Coursera.com or Udacity.com. All let you sign up and take full courses at no charge. You just log in and get started. You can pay for an official completion certificate if you wish, but it’s not necessary; your account will show which courses you took and completed. Since they’re online, you can take them whenever you choose, so if you’re seeking a job that emphasizes a particular skill, you can quickly take the courses and add them before you apply. Some courses say they last a certain number of weeks, but if the course isn’t new and was offered already, all the videos will be available immediately. You won’t have to wait for them to be posted each week.
These courses are a spectacular addition to any resume or application, and an opportunity to score major points over other applicants. Remember that hiring officials need to justify their choices, and this kind of high-powered educational and training boost will give them the tools they need to pick you.
Questions or concerns? Call me at 800-663-7999 or message me on Facebook. Thanks.