3 Skills That Will Make You A Fierce Job Applicant

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
By Kevin Sandlin

When you graduate from college, you have a degree in some specific subject(s). But, it is becoming increasingly important that you have practical skills when you enter the workplace, in addition to the specific knowledge you gained throughout your college years.

When you enter the workforce, no matter who you work for, there will be a learning curve as you learn how they do business, what tools they use, and what their processes and procedures are. But, wouldn’t it be great if on day one when you arrived at that sweet new job you were teaching them new tricks?

If you learn the three essential digital-age skills below, there’s a good chance that you will blow their doors off when you start work on Monday.

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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
1. Front-End Website Development
HTML5, CSS, Javascript, WordPress. For the non-developer, these terms are very intimidating, but a qualified instructor can make them music to your ears. When you enroll in one of these classes, it’s generally understood that you’ve never written software code before, and that’s where it’ll start. Then, three to four months later, you won’t recognize yourself as you crank out beautiful web pages and awesome functionality from your keyboard. Just think, the next time you have a great idea, you can just build it!  These classes are usually…

-3 to 4 months long
-$3,500 to $10,000; financing is available
-Available in person, online (on demand)
-Part-time or full-time “immersive” 

There are also free tools you can use to learn how to build a website. Take advantage of these before you invest money in a class.

Why Should You Learn Front-End Web Development?
So you can build your own websites any time you want to try a new idea.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
2. Digital Marketing
SEO, site optimization, content strategy, social networking, paid traffic, analytics. All of these terms might sound a little intimidating, but you already blog and use social media, right? Then you’re halfway there. Learn digital marketing and you’ll understand that it’s not dumb luck that gets a website millions of page views, downloads, Likes, and retweets. It’s a process, and anyone can learn how to make that process sing. The basics of marketing are the same as they always have been, but just that great word — digital — makes it move a whole lot faster and gives you instant data that old-school marketers never dreamed of. To learn digital marketing, you’ll need…

-A computer and Internet access
-Free tools like Google Analytics
-A spreadsheet software like Google Sheets
-About 60 hours of class time (10 weeks part time)
-Approximately $3,000 if you take a formal class

Why Should You Learn Digital Marketing? 
So you can market-test anything you build, gain traction, and capture leads for your business.

Related: Impact Marketing: Tactics To Create And Grow Your Impact

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
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3. E-commerce
Shopping cart software, e-commerce gateways, merchant processing. When you want to find a product, you look on the Internet. When you find that product and want to buy it, more often than not, you purchase it over the Internet. That’s e-commerce. It’s much more sophisticated than it used to be, but basic e-commerce is very much available to anyone who has the skills and knowledge to set it up on their website. With today’s plethora of shopping cart software packages, simple Internet gateways, and banks (finally) becoming very accepting of a “mom and pop” e-commerce shop, selling something on the Internet is something anyone can do. A very simple example is setting up your personal site with SquareSpace, which is already integrated with Stripe. All you do is tell Stripe where to deposit the funds.

Why Should You Learn E-Commerce?
So you can easily set up an online store and sell just about anything you have or build or create.

Combining these three skills makes you a triple threat, since you’ll be able to build it, market it, and sell it. Not many people can do that, but you can. You’ll be prepared to be the entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be, setting up your own website and selling your widgets. Better yet, when anyone else you meet wants to do the same thing, you’ll be prepared to do it for them. That’s called being instantly employable.

On average, it takes 52 months to earn a bachelor’s degree. Compare that to approximately four months it would take to learn to build your own website, create a strong following, and sell products from that website to actually make money. Not to mention, there's a drastic difference in the cost of these two very different programs. 

Am I advocating that young people today not attend college? Maybe. Maybe not. But, in this day of $100,000-plus for a college degree when you can learn very marketable skills for less than 20% of that number in one tenth of the time, maybe it should be given some consideration.

Next: Explore Courses At GA
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