Education is invaluable because it teaches you so much. However, it is expensive and involved, so not everyone has the funds and time to earn one degree or several. Some people already have the credentials, but they’re lacking in some skills. Plus, not every course you take in college translates to the proverbial real world, so you might have missed out on some important classes. In the interest of saving you time, money and research, we thought we’d make a list of seven subjects everyone should take courses in at some point in their lives.
Look at your local community colleges, universities, training institutes and workshops to see what’s available to you. You can also check online webinars or even check out materials from your local library. We’re not talking about anything bizarre here, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a course that fits your budget, skill level and schedule.
With that in mind, we suggest everyone take courses in these subjects:
Money matters. Whether or not you earn a satisfactory salary or you’re barely making ends meet, you’re dealing with money. You have bills to pay and things to buy. Yet, a surprising amount of people know how to handle money. Come tax season, they throw all their documents at a financial specialist, hope they don’t owe any money and never understand their financial situation.
- On a personal level, you need to know your credit score, budget and other related financial matters. Remember, employers check credit scores during the hiring process.
- How can you accept a job offer if you don’t know that the salary will cover your living expenses?
- In most industries, once you reach a certain level (such as a managerial role), you have some budget issues to deal with. Covering your team’s costs, saving the company money and handling raises aren’t as simple as you might think.
Every professional today needs to feel comfortable using a variety of technology. Understanding e-mail and online browsing are expected skills is most professions. But are you confident in your skills with word processors, spreadsheets, presentations and other software? Are you proficient on both PCs and Macs? How much HTML can you write or understand? Do you know how to do more on Facebook and Twitter than just log on?
Identify your skill level and then identify areas of improvement. Some people might never need to understand HTML, but they will use PowerPoint every day, so look at what others in your industry or workplace are doing. Not only will you gain knowledge that could make your daily tasks easier and less mysterious, but you’ll more confident if you find yourself searching for a job or angling for a promotion. You won’t have to rush to learn that skill just to catch up with everyone else.
One of those oft-quoted statistics that I’ve never seen supported is that public speaking consistently ranks as the number one fear of most people—even ahead of death. I don’t know if it’s actually true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. Why? Because the world can be divided into people who like giving public speeches and those who don’t. Some people need three types of medication just to keep from passing out before an audience consisting of three people. If you can learn how to calm your nerves and give a speech or presentation, your life will be much easier. It might sound silly but it’s true. Even if your job description doesn’t involve giving speeches, you’ll find yourself presenting to a group of people someday—mark my words. It just happens. And if you’re an Anxious Annie, you’ll dread that moment from the time you find out. It will drive you mad. When public speaking becomes second nature, or at least isn’t a daunting task, you’ll realize how much time you’ve wasted fretting over nothing!
How much time you spend sending e-mails? These messages count as business communication, though few people realize it. If ur messages lack punctuation AND DISREGARD STANDARD WRITING guidelines no 1 will take u srsly!!111 In an era where we can exchange e-mails with people for months without ever meeting them in person, your writing skills are often the first and most important judge of your talents or professionalism. Plus, spend enough time in the working world and you’ll realize many people have no writing skills. I’m not saying they can’t write like Hemingway—I mean they just don’t have the training or skills to write effectively, which means people who can write stand out for all the right reasons.
Corporate and nonprofit organizations alike are concerned with brand management and getting their messages to the world. Regardless of your industry and specific position, employers like for everyone to stay on message and have the same goal. A marketing course can give you some insight into how the leadership at the company is thinking. Not only will it help you understand what’s going on, it will enable you to approach your job in a way that might get you noticed or at least appreciated.
Earlier I said the world can be divided into people who are public speakers and those who are not. I’d also be willing to divide the population into salespeople and non-salespeople. I was not blessed with the innate ability to be a salesperson and am in awe of the people who are. However, I learned more than I expected from courses that integrated sales techniques into the curriculum, even if only to show us that these skills exist. The interpersonal and persuasive skills teach you to relate to people on an individual level, which is important in any job—even if you’re sitting at a desk all day. At the very least you’ll learn how to detect someone who is trying to schmooze you.
Not all managers know how to manage. If you haven’t learned this by now, trust me, you will. People who are great at their job and know what they’re doing are rewarded with promotions. Problems arise when these people are promoted to a level where they have direct reports. If they have no clue how to delegate responsibility or give tough love every once in a while, they’re not doing their jobs. Don’t be that person. Learn the ins and outs of managing, even if you’re not close to that role yet, because you want to be prepared when the day comes. Worst case scenario: you can pick up the slack when your incompetent boss doesn’t deliver.