Where do you see yourself in five years? This question is so often used, from college classrooms to job interviews, that it sounds comically cliche. But the truth is, visualizing where you want to be is a key step to getting there. Ta
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ke a moment and ask yourself: “What are my career goals? What do I want to be doing one year from today?” Once you have a goal in mind, you can plot a course that will get you there. Perhaps you need to learn new skills, land your dream job, or make a new start.
Whatever your circumstances, these free online tools will help you take the first steps. On the list below are actionable items you can start today.
Build Your Resume
A solid resume is a vital stepping stone to a fulfilling career. Many find the strict formatting of the resume to be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. ResumeGiants' online resume maker is free, and it takes the guesswork out of building your resume.
Simply input the requested information, and the software will create a shareable document for you. There are other resume builders available online with varying costs, including Zety, Resume Genius, and Indeed.
If you already have a resume, how long has it been since you’ve given it a refresh? Experts recommend updating your resume at least once a year. Make sure your contact information is accurate, and add new work experiences, skills, or education, like that which we discuss in the next section.
Learn New Things
What have you learned today? Hopefully, this article is giving you some food for thought. But don’t stop there. Learning new skills can give you a leg up in the job market, helping you get hired or land that promotion.
Even if you’d like to learn something unrelated to your job, simply for your own pleasure, it is still beneficial. Lifelong learning is credited with improved mental health and staving off the effects of old age and dementia.
There are plenty of free online career resources to help you learn about any topic of interest. Businesses often rely on learning management systems (LMS) to educate employees and even consumers. Some, like Moodle, are completely free to use. Others may be available at no cost to you through your employer.
Many other learning platforms, like MIT OpenCourseWare, Coursera, and Udemy, offer select courses for free. To brush up on digital technology skills, check out Codecademy, Free Code Camp, or Google Digital Garage.
LinkedIn Learning also has a selection of free business and technology courses. Check with your local library for free resources as well. Many libraries offer unlimited free access to Universal Class or similar platforms if you are a library cardholder.
Your library card can also unlock free ebooks and audiobooks via the Libby app. If you want to master a new language, see if your library offers a free Mango subscription, or download free language-learning apps like Duolingo or JW Language.
Personal branding and professional networking can go a long way toward reaching many goals. First, create a professional LinkedIn profile. You can use the resume you created, above, to fill out your profile.
Reach out to people you know—classmates, coworkers, professors, bosses, mentors, and others. Professional connections can generate job leads or referrals. Post about the industry you want to work in, create conversations, comment on other’s articles and updates, be active!
Do you have a social media presence? If so, consider auditing your accounts to make sure you’re putting your best face forward. For example, you should remove any photos or comments you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
Next, you can take things up a notch by building your own website and actively marketing yourself. WordPress, Medium, and Wix all include free options. Precisely what that looks like will depend on your goals.
If you want to be a professional musician, for example, post video clips of your performances. If you’re a travel advisor, share examples from your own trips of the kinds of itineraries you can create. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are the perfect free platforms for this type of marketing.
Canva is a tool that allows you to edit and create all sorts of documents, from Instagram posts to business stationery. It integrates AI image-generation technology, which you can also access directly via DALL-E 2 AI.
If you’re looking for more free digital assets, you can download royalty-free photos and clipart from Pixabay. Free seasonal clipart packs are also offered by Shutterstock. You can use these assets in any of your projects.
You can introduce your creations to the world on Zazzle, Art of Where, or Printify, all of which apply your designs to t-shirts, coffee mugs, and more. Printify also integrates with Etsy so you can reach a larger audience hungry for bespoke goods.
What about videos? Check out Pond 5’s free video asset collection. Then download Da Vinci Resolve for in-depth editing. Post your videos to YouTube, and you might be able to generate ad income.
Write It Down
Writing is another way to unleash your creativity, in addition to being a sought-after communication skill. You can use WordPress or Wix to start your own blog.
Establish yourself as an expert in your field by publishing well-researched articles. If you’re feeling a bit of writer’s block, brainstorm using AI text generators like Google Bard or Chat GPT.
Don’t forget to use Grammarly to proofread your work. After all, spelling or grammatical errors can quickly steal your expert credentials. What if your 1,000-word articles coalesce into a novel or a how-to guide? You can self-publish using Blurb or Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
There are endless ways you can start building the career and lifestyle you want using free online tools. Brand and market yourself using content generation tools and social media. Take a class or read a book to learn new skills and see the world from a different perspective.
Get creative and express yourself, all while cultivating marketable tech skills or even building your own small business. Don’t let time slip away from you—start working towards the life and career you want, today!
Free Online Tools – FAQs
Got questions about free online tools? We have the answers:
Are the resources on this list really free?
Yes! To varying degrees, each one can be accessed free of charge. Some, like MIT OpenCourseWare, can be accessed freely online. Others offer some access for free, while you may encounter a paywall to access advanced features. A few are free to use if you meet certain qualifications, like holding a library card with a participating library.
Can these free online tools help me get a job?
Yes! When you learn new skills to put on your resume, you increase your hireability for companies seeking those skills. Some of the classes even provide a certificate upon completion.
Do free sources contain trustworthy information?
Typically, you can trust the information supplied by learning apps and free resources. However, whether they’re written by people or assisted by AI, mistakes can happen. If something doesn’t ring true, compare it to other sources.
Is there an age requirement to use these free tools?
Most of these resources can be used by kids and adults; they will not ask about your age. Some learning apps will ask your age to tailor the lessons to you. A few social media sites may limit access or require parental consent if you are under 13 years of age.
This article was written by Blair Quane who is an experienced business mentor and blog writer. For any questions or updates on this article, Blair can be reached at [email protected]