When the job market slows down, pundits and economists start touting the benefits of “retraining” and career advisors encourage employees to “update their skill sets.” The logic behind this suggestion is simple: if your current talents and your knowledge base aren’t making waves in a competitive modern job market, just change them! But as most job seekers are well aware, this is easier said than done.
No matter how loudly this advice is trumpeted, most people don’t have the time or the financial wherewithal to ignore their current student loans, return to college, major in pre-med, and eventually (eight years later) become highly paid surgeons. Sometimes in both life and fiction, it’s never too late to revise. But other times, a four-year (or, worse yet, 10-year) degree program comes with practical and financial barriers that most of us aren’t interested in leaping over.
But we still need to work. Because bills don’t pay themselves.
If this describes your situation, consider the list of skill sets below. Most of these require a reasonable training investment in terms of time and money, and following this short investment, these skill sets can shine a spotlight on an otherwise faded resume. They may not be glamorous, but they pay well. And in each of these areas, employer demand is high and growing.
1. HTML and XTML
If you can generate the code that supports a functional website, employers across almost every industry—in both large and small organizations– are looking for you. Adding this to your resume means you can help employers establish themselves on the internet and stay there. They need to get onto the highway and if you understand HTML, you know how to provide them with a car.
2. Network maintenance
Network maintenance is also a critical skill, and it’s one that takes only a short time to learn (though, like HTML, it can take a lifetime to master). Get your certification and get ready for offers from large and small business owners who have no idea what you do or how you do it—they only know that they need you around in order to keep their businesses running.
3. Forklift operation
Distributors and warehouse managers need certified forklift operators, but this is a difficult position to staff. Why? For the same reason you may be skipping this entry and moving onto the next one. Even when they’re unemployed and struggling, most professional people don’t even consider this an option. These are assumed—incorrectly—to be dirty, noisy, blue-collar positions that nobody wants. That’s why employers are racing to staff qualified people, providing on-the-job training, and offering starting salaries that often begin around 60,000 dollars plus benefits.
4. Machine tooling
The software that helps manufacturing companies create stamps, molds, and parts for meticulous, computer operated factory machining tasks is in high demand. And so are the people who know how to program and operate this software. CNC machine tooling is a vital skill, but positions are going unstaffed all over the country because these too few employees possess the necessary certification.
5. Healthcare clinical support positions
What could be more fulfilling then going to work every day in a healthcare environment and providing support to the doctors, RNs, dentists, and technicians who handle patients and save lives? Consider a role as a phlebotomist, an LPN, a dental assistant, a physician’s assistant, an EMT, or any number of other high-demand healthcare support roles that require a two-year associates degree (and in some but not all cases, a licensing exam).
Once You Have These Skills, Show Them Off
In addition to what you’ve already accomplished in your career, adding a new set of valuable skills and a new dimension to your professional experience—and life experience—can only move you forward. Once you’ve gained these credentials, visit LiveCareer for tools and templates that can help you showcase them to potential employers.