Recruiters are still sifting through applications and CVs during the lockdown, so now is a really good time to learn new skills to give your job application or CV some extra sparkle.
We’re not talking about teaching yourself how to turn out the perfect soufflé or learn to tango (although these are great skills to have). There are thousands of free or low-cost online resources to help you build new skills which could be relevant to your future role in Higher Education (HE), whether academic or professional.
We take a look at some of the skills, courses and qualifications most desired by employers which will all help your job application to stand out.
Become a multimedia expert
Look on any university website and you will notice the use of video throughout. Organisations are moving rapidly away from words to video to communicate their core message and showcase their work. As a result, creative video-making and editing are among the most sought-after skills, regardless of subject speciality.
Enhance your multimedia skills by teaching yourself how to create and edit eye-catching and informative videos using platforms such as vimeo, Apple iMovie, Adobe Spark, Lumen5 or Animoto. There are numerous editing programs to choose from, so demonstrating knowledge of how and why video is so relevant and useful within the HE sector is guaranteed to impress prospective employers.
Get social media friendly
Every university faculty, school or department runs their own social media channels, promoting their work through YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Therefore, being able to manage and contribute to your organisation’s social media is an invaluable professional skill.
If you are not an expert in social media, YouTube tutorials and online social media marketing courses can help you gain expertise. While in lockdown, build your own social media following to ensure you are comfortable with how it works and have confidence in the latest trends and tools available.
Learn coding and programming
No longer the preserve of IT specialists, coding and programming have become highly desirable skills in almost all areas of the job market. Enhance your job application by demonstrating that you are confident with technology and the programming languages used by a potential employer.
You will find a wide variety of coding and programming courses online. Udemy and Code Academy have courses to suit both beginners or experts, or why not try getting to grips with Python programming, used by businesses and organisations around the world. Alternatively, check out the free, short courses offered by Future Learn here.
Learn British Sign Language (BSL)
A National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) report found that almost half of deaf students start university without the support and experience a lack of access to interpreters across the sector.
Learning to sign is not only great for sharpening your brain but it also shows you are dedicated to being able to communicate with students from all backgrounds.
British-sign offers a variety of British Sign Language (BSL) online courses and tools to help you get started.
Brush up on your public speaking skills
From lecturing to giving presentations to colleagues or at conferences, public speaking is an integral part of many HE roles.
If you lack confidence in this area, gaining some techniques while you have time on your hands during lockdown will demonstrate that you are a multi-skilled candidate.
TED offers a masterclass in public speaking for a small fee which will help you to share your ideas and improve your speaking skills. They also have a wide variety of free lectures from world-leading public speakers to give you tips and advice.
Gen up on education policy
You should always take the time to read the safeguarding policies of the institution you are applying to. All HE institutions must publish their safeguarding policy and you will find it on their website. It’s also a good idea to read up on legislation surrounding equality and diversity and widening participation in HE.
Taking the time to gain insight into education policy shows that you are in tune with the organisation’s values and goals.
Hone your management skills
If you are thinking of moving up to a management and leadership role within HE, you should demonstrate that you have the right skills and knowledge to manage a team.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is offering 7 weeks’ free access to their People Management Skills online course for new and aspiring and managers.