Let’s face it: a university education is expensive. It’s also, fortunately, not entirely necessary. It’s possible to educate yourself on a shoestring budget without going to college or university.
But before we dive into the tips, let’s talk briefly about why you might need additional education in the first place. The truth is that very few jobs offer on-site training. You could be lucky enough to land an internship or apprenticeship, but in many cases, you need to have some credentials in order to get your foot in the door. That’s where education comes into play: when you don’t have the necessary experience, start with education.
Most adults already have enough on their plate with working a full-time job to pay the bills, let alone go to school. But if you’re itching for a career change, take heart: you can boost your resume with education qualifications in the following ways!
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Go to the Library
There are free materials at your fingertips; you just have to know where to look! Your local library is a fantastic resource for textbooks, study materials and even DVDs and hands-on workshops. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask. Librarians can often network with other libraries to find resources they don’t usually carry. They might even be able to help you gain access to a local university’s library, which is sure to have dozens, if not hundreds, of technical resources.
Sometimes reading about a concept isn’t enough; it can really help to hear someone explain it out loud. The next free resource you need to tap into is YouTube. From university lectures to explainer videos made by enthusiastic professionals and amateurs alike, you’re sure to find a video or two that can help clarify any topic.
Be sure to also watch videos on topics you already feel comfortable with just to test your understanding.
Once you have some tangible skills, you need to find a way to officially put them on your resume. The best way to do this is to get certified. There are hundreds of potential certifications you can take online via sites like Certification Duck, and you can choose to purchase study materials at the same time or to simply take the test.
A certification shows that you’re serious about your career path, even though your bank account may prevent you from getting a degree.
Find Volunteer Opportunities that Help Demonstrate Your Skills
Another way to gain experience and cultivate references for your resume is to volunteer with your skills. Let’s say you want to be an accountant. You’re working on getting financial certifications, but you want to do some hands-on work in the meantime. Look around for small, local non-profits and apply to be treasurer or to assist the current treasurer. Non-profits are always looking for passionate people who want to share their talent, and you can place this experience on a resume under “Leadership Experience” or “Volunteer Experience.”
You may not be able to apply for all of the same positions as those with degrees, but you can save yourself a lot of money and still find a rewarding career when you choose to oversee your own education.