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4 Job Skills Worth Taking a Summer Session to Learn

With a seemingly infinite number of courses available online and on demand, how do you know which job skills will make your application stronger?


As a digital learning professional, you have to keep up with two rapidly evolving industries. Both learning and technology are changing at a breakneck pace. Fortunately, you’re the kind of person who enjoys learning. But with a seemingly infinite number of courses available and limited resources to spend on them, how do you know which skills to invest in?

In a Survey by Strada Education, only 23% of respondents said they “strongly agree” that they know which skills to develop to be an attractive candidate for the jobs they want. And they’re not alone. A TalentNeuron survey found that 53% of companies aren’t sure how to identify needed skills for workforce development.

Just knowing where to start can help you stand out from the pack. So, we’ve done the research and identified five essential skills worth learning this summer. We based our top picks on the Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum, insights from Gartner and Emsi, and our own experience connecting job seekers and employers in the digital learning industry. Whether you’re a content writer for K-12 courses or an employee development coordinator seeking your next position, these skills will help strengthen your application and improve your day-to-day performance.

Remember: There’s Always More To Learn

Some of these skills may seem obvious. You might think you’re already experienced in some of the areas we mention. That might be true, but many of the skills listed here are ones we tend to learn incidentally while focusing on other things. We don’t always give them the direct attention they deserve. That’s like expecting to learn a language by just watching TV programs. You might pick up some vocabulary, but a focused language learning course would help you progress a lot faster.

Even if you think you’re already skilled in some of these areas, pause to honestly assess your ability and identify areas for improvement. Building on your foundational skills can make a big difference in a short time. And skill credentials signal to employers that you’re ready for the next big job opportunity!

1. Self-Management Skills

When you think about job skills, self-management might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but self-control, flexibility, and resilience are all skills that can make a difference in your daily work. Strong self-management skills will make you a better leader and more productive problem solver. They help you focus on solutions rather than getting stuck in problems.

You can build self-management through classes specifically focused on those areas of life. Or you can take classes that challenge you to think and move in new ways. For example, martial arts, yoga, and painting or drawing classes can help you improve cognitive flexibility and discipline by encouraging you to think differently, move in new ways, and overcome challenges.

Classes that can build self-management skills:

• Building Resilience Class

• Stress Management Courses

• Meditation Class

• Physical Education Course

• Painting, drawing, cooking or another focused but creative skill

2. Data Literacy Skills

If you already work in the digital learning industry, you probably have a formidable set of technical skills to draw from. Yet, data literacy is a subskill of digital literacy that many people have yet to master. Working on this skill is essential because data is no longer the domain of data scientists. Understanding how to decode data can help any digital learning professional improve their organization’s performance. It can help you decide what classes to offer, understand whether assessments are working as designed, or choose one color over another for a website.

Many employers recognize the value of data literacy. So, adding some data literacy skills to your toolbox will automatically make you a better candidate for almost any role.

Classes that can help build data literacy skills:

• Introduction to data literacy

• Data assessment using specific programs relevant to your job

• Data-driven problem-solving

• Data visualization courses

3. Leadership Skills

More than anything else on this list, leadership is not a single skill, but a group of interrelated abilities all focused on the same goal. According to Emsi, the number of job postings requiring leadership has increased 11% over the last two years. Adding leadership skills to your resume instantly improves your chances of getting an interview.

You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader. Every team member can guide, influence, and support others within the organization. Leadership skills can help you lend your expertise to a team, guide students to success, or make sure your own projects are completed effectively.

Courses that can help build leadership skills:

• Project Management

• Strategic Leadership

• Six Sigma

• Managing a Remote Team

• Team Building

• Giving Helpful Feedback

4. Innovation Skills

When you work in a rapidly evolving industry, innovation skills are essential. Whether your goal is to provide better learning opportunities, scale your digital learning programs, or simply keep up with learner needs and preferences, innovation can help you succeed.

Unfortunately, innovation is one of those buzzwords that can be hard to pin down. How do you work on something as conceptional as innovation? By focusing on what innovation can do. It helps you problem solve, think strategically, and design better products and processes. Any course that builds creativity, design thinking, or problem-solving abilities may also help you build innovation skills.

Classes that can help build innovation skills:

• Design Thinking

• Problem Solving

• Strategic Thinking

• Innovation in a Digital World

• Innovation Management

• Designing Learning Innovation

Where To Find Classes That Build Job Skills

As a digital learning professional, you probably know that there’s a whole universe of learning opportunities out there. You can take a one-day leadership seminar or invest in a 4-year degree in management and leadership. Narrowing down your options can be a challenge.

What to consider:

• How much time do you have?

• What, specifically, do you want to learn?

• Do you need a certificate or skills badge?

• What’s your budget? And will your employer contribute?

With the answers to those questions in mind, you can seek out courses that meet your unique needs. Here are a few places you might want to start looking for courses to build your job skills.

Where to find skills-building classes:

LinkedIn Learning (unlimited courses, monthly fee)

Skillshare (monthly and annual membership plans)

Coursera (some free courses, may pay for certificates)

MIT’s Open CourseWare (free, no certificates issued)

Udemy (pricing varies, many promos)

• Traditional Universities (higher cost)

• Local Enrichment Programs (pay per course)

How To Use Your Job Skills

Taking a class to build job skills may make you a more qualified candidate, but it’s up to you to communicate your new abilities to employers. After you take the class, make sure you:

• Update the education and skills sections of your resume

• Add the skill and certificate to your LinkedIn profile

• Consider whether this new job skill can help support your request for a raise

• Think about how you’ll answer common interview questions related to this skill

For help communicating your skills to employers or finding candidates with essential skills, partner with Teamed. We connect qualified candidates with forward-thinking employers in the digital learning industry. Contact us today to find your best fit.

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