9 New Skills That Could Make You More Attractive to Employers

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istock

When you get to the bottom of your resume, you don’t want to have to list “word processing” as your only skill. And while you could call yourself a “great communicator” and “detail oriented,” that kind of fluff won’t help you stand out from the pack. Here are nine skills that will actually help you buff up your CV for potential employers:

1. FOREIGN LANGUAGE FLUENCY

It may sound simple, but what’s the best way to get sent abroad to the company’s offices in Amsterdam or Beijing? Speak the language. And even if your business is completely local, your years-long dedication to learning Mandarin or Arabic or Finnish can only serve as a concrete example of your work ethic and curiosity about the world.

2. SOCIAL MEDIA PROWESS

Nearly every company these days has some sort of social media presence, whether it’s an airline or a snack-food producer or a self-storage company. While larger corporations have entire teams devoted to their social media presence, a small company might want to put you to work manning their accounts in addition to other job duties—so make sure you know your way around the most popular platforms for your industry.

If nothing else, remember that a less-than-slick social media presence can actively ruin your job search. A 2014 corporate survey found that more than half of employers reevaluated job candidates after seeing something they posted on social media, such as inappropriate photographs.

3. PROGRAMMING KNOW-HOW

Computer programming is one of the hottest skills on the job market right now, and the median annual salary for a programmer is more than $77,000. Even if you don’t want to write software, a working knowledge of code can give you a leg up. Aside from the logic practice it gives you, it’s useful for jobs in project management, design, and more.

4. DATA ANALYSIS 

“Big Data” is the buzzword of the 21st century. While companies may love having mountains of data on their clients, market preferences, and more, someone has to go through and analyze all those numbers for the CEO. Knowing how to crunch numbers, interpret statistics, and visualize the results is a marketable skill. Time to dive back into that stats book from college.

5. PHOTO EDITING

To the uninitiated, photo-editing software can be a labyrinth of inscrutable buttons and functions. And yet every business still needs flashy, professional-looking photos with all the undesirable elements buffed out. Learn your way around one of the popular photo editors, and be the first person on hand when your boss wants his portrait on the company website to have whiter teeth.

6. PROBLEM SOLVING

Every employer wants to hire a problem solver—someone who doesn’t need their hand held on a difficult project and who can come up with new solutions to the company’s challenges. Luckily, it’s not so hard to sharpen your problem-solving skills. Just pick up the crossword or a brainteaser to get in the right frame of mind. When you’re faced with a problem, try using the “IDEAL” method: Identify the problem; Define the problem; Examine the options; Act on a plan; and Look at the consequences.

7. PUBLIC SPEAKING

Plenty of people get nervous talking in front of a group, so a gift for public speaking is a valuable career asset. Not only will it help you nail an interview, but being a confident, engaging speaker will also help you effectively pitch your ideas and projects to higher-ups once you start the job. If the idea of giving an actual speech bores or terrifies you, sign up for an improv class, which can give you some fun practice at being in the limelight (and thinking on your feet).

8. WRITING EXPERTISE

The first thing any employer sees of you is your writing, on your resume and cover letter. A job candidate who can express herself clearly will appear much more professional than one who confuses “its” and “it’s,” even if the job isn’t necessarily focused on writing. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a job that doesn’t involve writing in some capacity, even if it’s just emails to clients. There are plenty of resources online to help students brush up on their grammar and diction before tests. In your case, the test just happens to be a job application.

9. DIVING

It may seem like a random skill to learn, but if you want to jump into a booming field, it may be time to strap on an air tank and take some diving lessons. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that commercial diving is one of the country’s fastest-growing occupations, with the sector expanding by 37 percent in the decade leading to 2024.

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.
Triple7Deals

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

Buy it: $20 for four (50 percent off)

2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.
BetaFresh

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.
XtremeTime

These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.
Triple7Deals

These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

Buy it: $22 for five (56 percent off)

6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

Protective mask case.
Triple7Deals

You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

7 Online Tech Course Programs That Will Help You Build New Career Skills

dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus
dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It's always a good time to build new career skills, and with these tech-related courses, you can learn anything from the basics of Python to the ins and outs of G Suite. These courses will boost your knowledge of the digital world and help you put some valuable new bullet points on your resume. Many of these courses allow you to read through the materials for free, but if you want to take advantage of graded coursework and earn a certificate of completion to include on your LinkedIn profile or resume at the end, there will be a fee of anywhere from $39 to $49.

1. UI/UX Design Specialization

In this four-class specialization on UI/UX design, you’ll discover how to design digital experiences that users can navigate with ease. Over about four months, you’ll learn the basics of visual communication and you’ll be able to practice gathering user feedback to build intuitive, attractive websites and interfaces.

Sign up on Coursera to take all four courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

2. Python for Everybody

Python is quickly gaining ground as one of the most in-demand programming languages for employers. Plus, its fans say it’s highly readable and approachable for new programmers just starting to learn a coding language. If you want to understand the basics of Python, from 101 principles to more advanced database design, these courses will get you started.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

3. Data Science Professional Certificate

Data science is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this nine-course professional certificate program, you’ll start by learning basic data science methodology before moving into how to use Python and SQL to analyze and visualize data to forecast future trends. IBM estimates that you’ll complete the entire certificate in about 10 months if you commit four hours per week, but the timing is flexible enough to suit any schedule.

Sign up on Coursera to take all nine courses in this specialization for $39 a month.

4. Computer Architecture

This course, taught by an electrical engineering professor at Princeton, teaches students how to design computer hardware that supports powerful software. But be forewarned: This is an advanced class intended for students with extensive knowledge in computer science. If you’re looking for a beginner-level course, this class—also from Princeton—may be a better fit.

Sign up on Coursera for free.

5. AI for Everyone

If you’re worried that artificial intelligence will drive you out of the workforce, this course will help. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll learn the basics of what is and isn’t possible through AI—and you may even gain some ideas for how to use AI to augment your own career.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

6. G Suite Administration Specialization

Become a Google Cloud expert with this series of courses put together by Google itself. Over about two months, you’ll learn management tactics and security guidelines for using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Calendar. This specialization prepares participants to become G Suite administrators at their respective companies and organizations.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

7. Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is near the top of the list of skills employers are looking for, according to LinkedIn. In this introductory course, you’ll gain a basic understanding of cloud-based networks and get some practice working with IBM Cloud.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.