Updated: Jan 15, 2021
BY: ANJANA IYER
The pandemic has provided us with ample amounts of free time - for some, it’s a blessing but for others, it can be hard figuring out how to optimize it. Picking up a new skill or refining an old one, especially one that can help boost your resume, can be both a fun and effective use of your time. I find that exploring a fun skill such as painting an artsy picture I find on Pinterest is rewarding. Exploring your creative side through learning a new skill can be another great way to release all the stress that comes with being a college student in quarantine. It's a great outlet to channel your emotions in a healthy and productive way.
The resources and tips that I will be sharing below are ones that have been the most beneficial in helping me grow my skill set. They are a collection of the most useful information that I gathered through my college experience thus far from mentors, friends and professionals. They helped me grow and develop my skills throughout college and I hope by sharing them, it will be able to do the same for you!
Resources to level up your technical skills:
Starting off with Forage, a website where I completed an open access virtual experience with Citi. Completing this virtual experience allowed me to acquire some really useful and relevant skills such as how to create certain types of financial models and more, which was quite similar to skills that would be utilized in an actual finance internship. The website gives you access to free virtual experience programs from top business, law, social impact and engineering firms around the world. Firms such as KPMG, BCG, Microsoft and Accenture, provide pseudo internship programs where you use and develop necessary skills that are needed for an actual internship. But that’s not even the best part - after you complete it, you can add it to your resume by carefully following their guidelines!
Moving on, Coursera and Udemy offer a plethora of courses and certifications from top universities around the world, such as Adobe Photoshop, Python Programming, and Fashion Design. Certifications are a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates and demonstrate initiative to employers and recruiters! I took an Introduction to Financial Accounting course from UPenn on Coursera over the summer and it was beneficial in providing me with an amazing foundation for being able to understand the content better when I took the same class at Rutgers.
It's worth mentioning that Coursera offers a one week free trial and follows up with a modest monthly fee, while Udemy offers a low one time fee for each course. Take a look for yourself at some of the most popular courses in digital marketing!
Growing your technical skills is rewarding professionally, but I find that being able to develop your creative skills is a really great way to explore other facets of yourself, such as your hobbies and passions. Being multifaceted and investing in growing your different hobbies can not only be personally gratifying, but also can be a unique distinguisher and talking point with anyone you meet.
There are many different creative avenues to explore, but listed below are just a few of the ones that I have explored in the past that really excite me including: journalling, graphic designing, sewing, singing and anything that incorporates forms of self-expression. Pinterest is a place I go to to find inspiration to cultivate these ideas. I like to create boards with pieces or items that other people have made. From there, I will either try to use this to come up with my own modification for some of these, or try recreating one of the pieces!
Tutorials on Youtube always help me improve my techniques and learn new inspiring methods. For example I was able to learn how to create really artistic bullet journaling setups that helped me organize my schedule and prioritize my goals. I found that it helped me stay inspired and on top of my health and wellness goals.
Furthermore, once you feel like you have a good grasp of the process or are ready to take it to the next level, creating a social media account to help document some of your creations can be a great way to show off your creativity and find like-minded individuals. I created an art account a while ago, which helped me showcase all the different types of works I made. I slowly developed this hobby further, by selling some of my artwork to people over social media. I was also able to share this passion with my friends and find a supportive and motivating community of individuals as well. Similarly, you can create a social media account for any of your creative endeavors, for example in fashion, skincare, lifestyle, art, photography, cooking, DIY crafts and so much more. It's a great way to stay accountable to yourself and just one of the many ways to start developing your vision into something more.
Finally, if you are interested in writing and creating blogs, Medium is an amazing free app that allows you to create your own blog posts and is quite simple to navigate. Through the app, I wrote about my moves to different countries and also about my explorations of meditation. I found it a really great way to be able to share my advice and experiences in areas that interest me. The best part is, Medium is commitment and stress free and is a great way to develop your blog writing skills and read informative and interesting articles on many different areas.