Feb 16 • 3 min read

Your college transcript is more than a piece of paper. It’s a credential that shows an employer you’ve earned valuable skills, technical knowledge, and project experience in a team setting. The length of time you have devoted to learning is a testament to your perseverance.

But what about niche skills you didn’t acquire in the course of your studies? How could you obtain experience with a design tool like Figma or Sketch? What if your “dream job” requires specialized skills in a runtime environment like Node.js or .NET Core?

Here are a few ways to add credentials to your résumé that won’t break the bank.

1. LinkedIn learning

Every Temple student and staff member has complete access to LinkedIn Learning. Simply log in through the TU Portal or by visiting https://linkedinlearning.temple.edu and you’ll see over 6,000 online courses. If you are not a current student, the Philadelphia Free Library and many other large library systems offer access to this platform for their library card holders.

2. Complete an open online course

The quality of open online courses varies widely, but the most well-designed of these classes offer a real opportunity for acquiring skills. Platforms like Coursera, Udacity, edX, and Udemy usually give you a certificate upon completion of a course (often for a fee). When you complete a course and obtain the associated credential, add it to your resume in the education section.

3. Ask about certifications from trade associations

Trade or industry associations are often excellent sources of low-cost certifications. There may be special programs for under-represented minorities or older workers at a reduced cost. If you are currently employed and the certification is somewhat related to your work, it’s possible your employer will cover the cost of this training. If that’s not feasible, ask the industry association administration if they have suggestions for scholarship sources.

Once you have completed a course or program, add it to your résumé and LinkedIn profile! You should also post an update to LinkedIn to let your network know you completed the training, along with a screen shot of your credential if you have one (with any confidential information blurred out, of course).

Also, be sure to include these specialized skills in the search string you use in your job search. If a specific skill is listed in the job description and you have matching expertise on your resume, you are more likely to be identified as a promising candidate.

Your degree provides the core of your educational credentials, but continually adding skills to your résumé tells employers you have initiative, desire to learn, and enthusiasm for your area of expertise. It lets a hiring manager know that you are open to new ideas, inferring that you are adaptable. Tapping these free or low-cost resources can further your career quickly. Check them out!

Lynn Carroll provides professional development support to graduate students at the Fox School. Lynn holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Penn and has completed graduate coursework in organizational development and coaching, obtaining the Global Career Development Facilitator certification (GCDF). While pursuing a career in higher education, she also maintains a private career coaching practice and a blog called Career Authentically.

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