The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

5 Free Ways to Learn the Life Skills You Need

It’s time you learn to love to code.

Today’s guest post comes from Richard Martin, an adjunct communications professor at George Mason University and proud Millennial. Thanks for the post, Richard!

I think the lie we’ve told people in the marketplace is that a degree gets you a job. A degree doesn’t get you a job. What gets you a job is the ability to carry yourself into that room and shake a hand and look someone in the eye and have people skills. These are the things that cause someone to become successful.” –Dave Ramsey, author and radio host

As a recent graduate with two degrees, few truer words have been spoken about the state of the current job market for young professionals.  The days of being assured a job straight out of college are over. We must set ourselves apart from the masses by demonstrating  a unique set of skills.

One asset we do have is our knowledge and familiarity with the digital aspect of communication and business. Now, take it one step further and use the innovative tools at your fingertips.

Here are the most profitable skills for young professionals we can learn FOR FREE online:

1. Coding & Computer Science

Computer programming is a hot and in-demand skill in the current job market. I am learning coding to know all that I can about web development and gain an edge in programs like JavaScript, Ruby and Python. Check out LearnStreet to get started:

2. Language Studies

One of the biggest failings of the American educational system is the lack of secondary language education in schools. That’s why bi or multi-lingual young adults are hot commodities. People pay hundreds of dollars for language programs like Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur, but forget all of those and check out, a free online database that teaches multiple languages through the use of games. The site even has an app for learning on the go:

3. Financial Investment

Did you skip all of those business classes in college? Don’t know the difference between an IRA and a CD? has you covered as you can learn the basics of budgeting, daytrading and credits & loans:

4. Interpersonal Skills

Face it. You’re going to have to talk to people. Networking and communication skills are the most vital regardless of your job. The blog Dating 101 by dating coach Nick Notas, might focus on relationships but has stellar advice on how to approach strangers, hold an actual conversation and develop business contacts. When searching for a career, you will quickly find out that your online Rolodex will be more effective than blindly sending out your résumé:

5. Make Hobbies Work For You

Most importantly, always make time and effort for the things that interest you. Do you love film? Take up video production and camera work. Are you an Instagram sensation? Study professional photography and Photoshop. Whatever your passion, find how those skills can translate into your actual career and you will be much happier for it.

Richard Martin is an adjunct professor in the Communications department at George Mason University. Follow Richard at @rj_martin


Featured photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight (Flickr)


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