We are going into month 4 of quarantine and the motivation of becoming a more skilled, knowledgeable person has waned. Let’s use this time to learn new skills and boost our competitive edge in the job market.
1. Sign up for a skills development program.
Sites like SkillShare, Udemy, and others offer classes on everything you can imagine like scriptwriting, painting, photography, etc. Many sites have a free trial where you can test out the program to see if you like what they offer. There are a myriad of skills you can learn through these programs you can do at home.
2. Read more.
In the age of the internet, we have become accustomed to consuming media digitally through social media, YouTube, and television. Go back to the basics and read a book. Reading has proven to soothe stress and improve critical thinking. Whether it is nonfiction or fiction, reading can be another source of entertainment if you are tired of looking at a screen all day. Fiction can offer insight to life under the guise of entertainment, so pick up a classic you have been meaning to read.
3. Learn a new language.
With apps like Duolingo, Babbel, Busu, and others, it has been extremely easy to learn a new language for free. Bilingual employees are highly sought after, especially in Texas where English and Spanish proficiency are needed for many jobs and earn higher pay than their monolingual counterparts. Knowing two languages can help you stand out against other candidates, as well as open up doors for opportunities. With all the downtime we have, start building a foundation of language skills to further your career and mind.
4. Incorporate a regular exercise routine.
I know we all said that we were going to start exercising and become a new person, but that didn’t last long. Although most gyms are indefinitely closed, there are countless work-out-at-home YouTube videos available. Start slow, even walking for 30 minutes a day can be a great way to exercise. Although it may seem like you are not learning anything, you actually learn discipline, consistency, and routine that can be translated into different aspects of day-to-day life (i.e. cleaning regularly, not procrastinating, etc.). Exercising is simply a way to learn the skill of time management and mindfulness.
5. Visit Virtual Museums.
Many museums are offering virtual tours to engage the public and disrupt the monotony of quarantine. Check out this site for museums to tour. When going on these tours, take the time to think critically about the history of everything you’re looking at. What is the meaning behind this art piece? What does this artifact tell me about the time period? It may seem like a chore, but it is important to get the wheels turning in your brain to keep it sharp. You also will learn fun facts about the different museums you have toured without leaving your couch. There are many international museums that you can visit that you never would have had access to before, so take advantage of this time to expand your horizons.
6. Revisit your resume.
If you haven’t touched your resume in 3 years, it’s a good idea to revisit it to keep it updated. Write down what you currently do in your position. Don’t limit yourself to a page limit. It’s best to keep a resume bank of all the work you have done to be able to pick and choose what roles best fit a job description. Hiring managers want to know that you take your career seriously and have direction. Make sure your resume highlights your projects, results, and the technology you used. By highlighting major accomplishments, you are showing off that you are focused on achievement. You are proving that you not only have goals but that you will work hard to see things through to success.
7. Learn how to make bread.
Now, this seems silly. Why should I learn how to make bread when it is readily available at the supermarket? Well, if quarantine has taught you anything it is that people will hoard food items and you should be able to substitute these products. Homemade bread is superior to what you can get at the supermarket, well maybe not on the first try but keep practicing! Making your own bread forces you to practice precision, patience, and balance. It also forces you to find enjoyment in the mundane. The ingredients of bread are quite simple, but bread is complicated. There is complexity in simplicity. Bread can become quite a spiritual process that may seem brainless but there are so many avenues to explore. Bread is in every single culture but there are subtle differences that make them unique against others. This simple yet complex food has become so commercialized that we don’t appreciate how it is made, so take the time to learn the fundamentals of bread. Aside from all the spiritual mumbo-jumbo of breadmaking, it’s simply fun. Don’t be afraid to mess up because mistakes are the stepping stones to success.
8. Get certified.
In whatever role you have, look for certifications that can add to your resume and skill set. Here is a website that has a link to different sites where you can get certified in various skills that are offered for free. We have a lot of time on our hands so use it wisely! It’s free and getting certified can help with job salary negotiations. Adding these skills to your tool kit can boost your salary up to $5,000. Additionally, adding these certifications to your resume will make you stand out against candidates. Even if you find that getting certified costs money, negotiate with your employer to help subsidize the fees. Make an argument that the benefits will outweigh the costs as you will learn new skills that will aid the company in various ways. If you’re unemployed or self-employed, take the previous argument and apply it to yourself, if you can financially afford it.
We are always told that we should use our free time to improve ourselves, but that is easier said than done. All of these aspirations of being a better person after quarantine quickly died after a few weeks. Take time to reflect on who you are now and who you want to become. What steps can you take to become that person? These are a few suggestions on how to learn new skills during quarantine that can jumpstart your journey to become a well-rounded person. Expand your mind and your abilities. Let us know which skills you want to learn!
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