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Ways To Improve

This is a great time to improve yourself to find work.  You know, get to all those things that you said “if I only I had the time.” Fortunately education is being disrupted right now with the launch of several online schools offering a wide range of classes that in many cases are free.  If you want to increase your marketability with employers, there has never been a better time to improve yourself to find work that could be better or more fulfilling.


W3schools offer free online courses where you can learn about web development- a skill that is always in demand! The site offers opportunities for beginners through advanced users. Similarly, edX offers a number of free online courses in subjects ranging from chemistry to computer graphics and artificial intelligence. Although we usually recommend free resources, Lynda is one of several sites that offer 24/7 training in many subject areas from web development to programming. For $25/month you can try as many training videos as you like without a long-term commitment. This could be a great way to build your confidence and increase your job options by adding to your skill bank.

For free online classes across a broad range of topics taught by professors at top universities, try Coursera. Recently, five courses have been approved for college credit and Coursera has also introduced several verified certificate courses. Similarly, Udacity is another great (and free) website for online learning, geared toward the sciences and programming.

At the most basic level, computer skills in Microsoft Word are essential. Excel and PowerPoint are probably the next most important software tools used today. To get you started on using Word, Excel or Powerpoint, Microsoft introduced an in-program game– Ribbon Hero– that teaches the user how to use Microsoft Office programs (compatible with versions 2007 and later). For those who would like additional help with Excel (and couldn’t we all use some help with Excel?), we recommend a series of Microsoft Excel tutorials from Motion Training.

Self Improvement:

Other ways to improve yourself to find work are of a more personal nature. We all have something we wish we could change and most often it comes down to weight. Employers are said to often see those who are overweight as inefficient and at higher risk of getting sick. Not only could this get in the way of getting promoted, but also getting the job. Whether or not this is true or even moral, physical health is important. The truth is if a person doesn’t have his health, what else does he have?

Start by getting a physical if you have medical insurance. Your doctor can tell you if your weight is at the right level and can suggest ways to change your lifestyle if it isn’t. BMI calculators are also available online for those without insurance. The government provides dietary guidelines to help you determine if you are at an ideal weight and provides suggestions to help you get there.

It has been proven that regular exercise improves a person’s mood. Exercise also aids your focus, which ultimately will helps for working on the job. It has been shown that a person is more likely to stay physical with a buddy, so pair up! Go outside with the family and play. Or even make an exercise plan. People who make exercise plans do more exercise. Make sure to include cardio and weight training (don’t worry ladies, it is very hard for you to bulk up). Not only will exercise help you mentally, but you may see some physical benefits as well. Which, as stated before, will help you in your job search ultimately with employer’s bias against those who are overweight.

Although exercise is imperative, the truth of the matter is a bad diet cannot be worked off. Weight loss or maintenance cannot be expected without a healthy diet. A helpful tool for those trying to calorie count for whatever reason is myfooddiary. This is great for those who are unemployed and cannot afford an established program such as Weight Watchers. It provides a free journal in order to calculate calories for weight loss or maintenance, and already has a pretty decent database of foods already in the system. Occasionally you may have to add your own food entry.

No matter what the weight goal is (to lose, gain, or maintain) or your chosen program for establishing it, a diet routed in fruits and vegetables is key. Not only are they rich in fiber but also essential vitamins. This will fuel your brain in getting things done on the job and keep your mind sharp for quick responses on an interview. No matter what type of diet you follow (Paleo, eating clean, vegetarian, vegan) fruits and vegetables are a key to reaching whatever nutritional goals a person has.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you are properly groomed for you interview, which includes hair. The next time you have your hair cut ask the stylist for suggestions on current styles. Many salons offer discounted rates to people who can demonstrate that they are jobless. Call ahead and ask. Another option is to find a salon school in your area. Schools will often offer salon services at a highly discounted rate. A quick online search will provide several options.

Taking other hygienic steps for your interview is also key in impressing the future employer. Properly showering, trimming your nails, and brushing your teeth are all basic hygienic steps in order to not embarrass yourself in front of the interviewer.

Not only can physical appearance be important for getting the job, but how you dress is also important in nailing that interview. See if your interviewing suit is current. Try to get the best type of suit your budget will allow. If you’re unemployed, there are still many options for you to get a great suit. Many cities and towns have great second-hand shops filled with terrific deals on clothing. Consignment stores such as these are often found in more affluent towns. ConsignmentShops.com provides you with a clickable map to help you find a consignment shop in your state or connect you to web-based consignment shops. Other tips on looking good on a budget can be found in the book How to Look Expensive.

We do live in a world where often appearances do matter. Not in the sense that you have to look like a super-model (unless your goal is to get a job in modeling), but putting your best foot forward in this department can also be important. Don’t underestimate the power of looking well put together.

top image – photo credit: ScoRDS via photopin cc
bottom image – photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc