It’s no secret: the job market is still pretty rough. With an unemployment rate still hovering around 7.2%, we’re not close enough to pre-recession levels to breathe a sigh of relief. Many people are still hurting, including college graduates who thought that by earning a degree they would pretty much be guaranteed a job. Unfortunately, with the shrinking of nearly every part of the labor market, some skills are in higher demand than others, which leaves many people out in the cold.
-Pick up basic HTML/CSS skills
No matter who you are or what you do, learning the basics of HTML and CSS (the markup languages used on every website) can help you make yourself more marketable. The basics won’t make you a world-class programmer. In fact, you won’t even be considered a programmer. But, that’s okay! Not everyone needs to be a programmer nor should everyone. However, with so much of business being web oriented, knowing your way around the basics is a no brainer. Do you need to know how to build the site from the ground up? Absolutely not. Should you be comfortable doing some minor edits and at least understanding source code if you’re shown some? Yes. Bosses will love that.
-Do interesting things in your spare time
Managers want to see that you’re a curious person who is willing to do things just for the sake of learning or because you have a passion. Start a blog, an email newsletter, anything. Even take classes on some esoteric topic and apply that knowledge somehow. It’s a cliché, but companies really do want people who can “think outside the box.” Show them how interesting you are.
To go back to programming for a second, what if you already have those skills? If you’re already been working in web development, why not get some more credentials to boost your earning power? Find an Adobe or Microsoft certification course for cheap and grab that piece of paper. Certifications show you’re a go-getter who wants to continually sharpen your skills and stay marketable. Companies are always looking for people who know the latest and most popular tech.
The bottom line is: keep learning. No matter where you are in life, if you keep pushing ahead with your education (formal or not) you’re going to improve your chances of landing a decent job. Show employers why they’d be foolish to pass you up. Embrace technology because it’s become inescapable.
- Photo credit: My Blog Guest community
James Butler is a freelance writer and former manager at a web design firm. He blogs about technology and business.