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Using the festive break to improve your career prospects

  17th December 2018      
 Accounting & Finance, Engineering, Science & Space, Executive Search, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Job Seeking Resources, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

December ‘tis traditionally the season where employers and employees tend to wind down. Some 61% of workers even admitted to being too distracted to concentrate on work in the run up to Christmas in 2017.

Yet, for others, it’s not just the bright lights, thoughts of overindulging and gifts that stop them focusing on work. For the 40% of British workers who dislike their current job, the dawning of a new year makes them think about getting a new one.

At the moment, the job market in the UK is very much candidate-driven, meaning there are generally more jobs being advertised than the number of available candidates. What we are seeing at Bond Williams, however, is that the pool of candidates who are looking for a new job lack the skills required by the employer.

With many people having some well-earned time booked off during December, this could be the perfect opportunity to scrub up on those key skills you think your CV is missing.

The good news is that the internet has made it possible for anyone with a connection to learn something new for free or little cost without leaving the comfort of their sofa or Christmas selection box.

Here are just a few skills you can learn online to boost your career prospects in 2019.

  1. Microsoft Office

It’s unlikely you haven’t come across a Microsoft programme in your career to date, and if you’ve only recently finished studying, then you should be somewhat of an expert. However, for those used to more manual work or not used to working with computers, entering any 21st century workplace can be daunting.

Microsoft Word and Excel experience in particular are usually essential in most office-based roles, and there are plenty of free courses online. Microsoft even have their own resource sections. Even if you have grown up using Microsoft, there are several advanced skills you can learn to improve your work quality and assist you with other tasks such as data analysis.

  1. Digital Marketing

Whether you work in marketing or an administrative role, employers are increasingly looking for candidates with digital skills. These could include email marketing, basic coding, website analytics, documentation/presentation design, image and video editing and social media management.

Those that require specialist programmes and platforms such as Adobe or Mailchimp usually offer free trials and the amount of online resources available are endless.

If you are required to communicate in any way with customers or clients, then digital skills will definitely come in useful.

  1. Accounting

For those working in or aspiring to work in an accounting and finance role, there are tonnes of online options for improving your skills. Courses range from just a few hours in total or a few hours per week for a few weeks. You can learn anything from the basics of bookkeeping to advanced financial accounting. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants offer several free and affordable online courses, some with globally recognised qualifications.

  1. Languages

English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, which is probably why three-quarters of British adults cannot speak a foreign language. But being able to speak a foreign language is becoming increasingly attractive, especially as the barriers to international trading is continuously eroded with the explosion of the internet.

Try swapping your Smart Phone game for a language App or try websites such as Duolingo.

  1. Project Management

In many roles, there is often an element of project management even if that is not your core responsibility. Basically, most tasks that are time-limited and not considered business as usual can be deemed a project – think website redesign, division launch, merger or rebrand.

If you enjoy this aspect of your role and want to explore finding something that is more focused around project management, there are specific courses you can do which might appeal to prospective employers. Of course, you can study for a PRINCE certification, but you can also choose from a range of short courses, some of which are free, like this one.

Check out Udemy and YouTube for affordable and low cost video-based courses, or try a simple online search. Be sure to read reviews where available.

If you’re considering a new job for 2019, there’s no time like the present. Register your CV with us or take a look at our current vacancies here.

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