January 7, 2019

How to diversify your skillset for the business world with short courses

If you know which industry you want to work in, here’s how studying a short course can help you stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive job market.

Why you need to diversify your skillset

Many employers receive hundreds or thousands of applications from highly skilled job applicants each month, so figuring out which candidates to shortlist and invite to interview can be a complicated process. There is now a record number of graduates in the UK job market, and while many employers still favour work experience and apprenticeships over degrees, it’s important to find ways to differentiate yourself from your competition.

The best way to do this is to constantly improve your vocational skills so that, over time, there are far fewer people who possess the same knowledge and experience as you. This helps minimise your competition – so when you see a job opportunity for which you tick all the boxes, you’ll stand a much better chance of being invited for an interview and getting that offer – because it’s unlikely there will be that many other candidates.

So, here’s how short courses could help you diversify your skillset:

You can build your knowledge of an industry

A short course can equip you with the knowledge and skillset to compete in your industry and stand out from the crowd. Prospective employers will be impressed that you’ve taken the initiative to learn more about their sector before you get the job – rather than after.

For example, if you want to become a chef but don’t have any formal experience, taking a short course in cookery and food hygiene will help you get familiar with the basics. Plus, the knowledge you gain from these courses might reduce the amount of training time you’ll need in your new role – which may make you more appealing as a candidate.

You can network

You’ll have the opportunity to network with fellow students and the people running and funding your short course. Start adding these contacts on business networking sites like LinkedIn, talk about your experience of the course, build your online profile, and make it easier for companies and recruiters to find you.

You can save money on a conventional degree

One of the biggest draws of short courses is that they are significantly cheaper than conventional academic qualifications (i.e. a bachelor’s degree) – and many of them are free. Short courses are also more useful when you want to improve your skillset or knowledge of a specific area (i.e. accounting or marketing) without having to make any long-term commitments.

You can take them while working full time

Many universities offer short courses which can be taken over a period of just a few weeks or a few months – and some of these can be studied online so you don’t have to commute to lectures or seminars.

You can earn a well-respected qualification

With a short course, you can have your name next to a prestigious institution without having to endure the cost (and time) of studying a three- or four-year degree. Some short courses are also accredited by highly respected industry bodies like the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – and these may award you with a certificate following successful completion of the course.

Interesting in applying for a new role?

Then please register your CV on our database so we can match you with exceptional employers.