Get your free online education
I'm a strong believer in lifelong learning, both for career development and on general principle. In addition to the actual skills or knowledge you gain in a course, it makes for a good story of how you're investing in yourself—even if you're currently employed (if you don't invest in yourself, why would your employer?). It can also be a partial answer to the "what have you been doing lately" interview question.
The problem for the jobseeker is the high cost of corporate training, which can easily exceed $1,000 for a 5-day class. For the budget-constrained, here are some sources of free online education.
- The HP Learning Center offers free online courses on computer topics, business skills and targeted business topics.
- From aeronautics to writing, MIT OpenCourseWare provides free access to course materials from MIT courses—not watered-down online courses, the real thing. MIT is spreading the open courseware concept to other schools around the world, including Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Tufts University and Utah State University in the U.S.
- Another source of open courseware, Textbook Revolution primarily features links to free resources on other sites. It's built on a blogging base, so you can subscribe to RSS feeds by topic (such as business or computers).
- Management Methods | Models | Theories and QuickMBA provide quick introductions to business topics and management vocabulary you may encounter. Find your buzzword bingo decoder here.
- Financial Management Training Center offers short courses on financial management topics, with helpful additional resources to help you master financial topics.
- Mind Tools sells self-study and online courses in personal development. Their web site includes free articles on leadership, problem solving, project planning, and related business skills.
- BusinessWeek offers free, instructor-led courses on business and technology topics.
In addition to online sources, remember your local community college, university extension and other adult education options. Some of these are explicitly intended to help jobseekers in the employment market.
One source that's not free—but I've been a fan for years—is The Teaching Company, which sells lecture series in audio and video formats. Only a few of their courses are business-related, but all of them contribute to keeping life, and the learner, interesting.
Tags: education training career