Jobs & Careers

6 free online courses that will pimp up your CV

Use your free time productively by taking some online courses to broaden your skill set. All of these courses are free, and will look dynamite on your CV!

best free online courses

Got a bit of spare time on your hands, but not sure what to do with those precious hours? There are only so many Friends reruns you can watch in your pyjamas before the guilt starts to creep in.

Trying your hand at some free online courses is a brilliant way to keep your brain going during the holidays, or between graduation and landing that dream job that everyone keeps talking about.

These sorts of courses can also introduce you to subjects that you'd possibly not have the chance to study at uni, and taking the initiative to learn something extra of your own accord is solid gold CV material!

Even if the course doesn't directly relate to your career plans, just showing you're happy to commit a few hours to something extra-curricular will look great to future employers, as it makes you seem naturally inquisitive and eager to pick up new skills.

Looking for other ways to land a job after graduation? Check out our guide to boosting your job prospects while studying.

Our top 6 free online courses

  1. Basic HTML

    free online html course
    Course by:
    Code Academy
    Duration: Ongoing
    Qualification: Code Academy's own certification

    Many people recoil in horror at the idea of learning code, thinking that this stuff is the reserve of computer geeks and hackers.

    In reality, coding is more about knowing a fairly simple system (we're talking basic code here, remember!) and everyone from fashion bloggers to journalists and even eBay sellers are coding regularly these days. Heck, we even had to fiddle with HTML to write this article!

    Code Academy offer a free, easy-to-navigate course that will help you grasp the basics (and beyond, should you choose to continue past basic level).

    As so much of the working world is transferring to the web, coding is one of the most valuable skills you can learn at the moment - and (dare we say) can even be quite fun! Give it a bash...

    Learn basic HTML »

Interested in starting your own blog to make some money on the side? Read our extensive guide to making cash as a blogger to get you started.
  1. Starting a business

    free online business course

    Credit: HBO

    Course by: FutureLearn
    Duration: 2 weeks (2 hours per week)
    Qualification: Future Learn's own certification

    This course is offered by the University of Leeds via FutureLearn, which is a really neat site owned and established by The Open University.

    Their 'Starting a Business' program is a six-part online learning course aimed at preparing young people for the business world (it's technically considered a pre-undergraduate course, but is open to anyone).

    Each of the six blocks are two weeks long, and you’re expected to spend two hours per week on it. It won't take up too much of your valuable time, and you can choose to do whichever blocks you'd like and leave out any that aren't of interest (although you won't get the certificate if you don't complete all six).

    This sort of course is so versatile. It'll look great to any employer, regardless of industry, as it shows you’ve got an entrepreneurial mind and that you’ve taken the initiative to try and understand how businesses actually work.

    Learn how to start a business »

Thinking of starting your own business on the side whilst at uni? We've got heaps of business ideas to get you started.
  1. Social media strategy

    free social media strategy course
    Course by: Alison
    Duration: 2-3 hours
    Qualification: Diploma (must pay to obtain formal certification)

    The vital importance of social media to any business has become widely accepted in recent years, so having a diploma qualification in this will make you really stand out to potential employers.

    A certification in social media strategy will look amazing on your CV. Your knowledge of social media as a young person is invaluable to businesses, and something that many companies are desperate to tap into.

    You’re in a unique position in that you can help businesses better understand younger markets (their future customers, if not their current ones), so use this to your advantage!

    Learn about social media strategy »

  2. Analysing and Visualising data with Excel

    learn how to use excel free online course

    Credit: Columbia Records

    Course by: Microsoft (via edX)
    Duration: 6 weeks (2-4 hours per week)
    Qualification: Microsoft's own certification

    This course is free (otherwise it wouldn't be in this list, obvs!) but for whatever reason, Microsoft have decided to charge $99 (that's about £74!) for a piece of paper to say you passed. Not impressed!

    Regardless, this course would be extremely helpful as Excel is used in pretty much every workplace, and it’s one of these things that everyone thinks they know how to use proficiently, but most likely don’t.

    Excel is relatively straight-forward once you’ve got the hang of it, but it can be tricky to start out with. Employers know how much of a time-consuming nightmare it can be to hire someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

    Having this course on your CV will make potential employers sigh with relief! Arming yourself with some basic Excel knowledge will make your first day in the workplace much easier and a lot less sweaty.

    Learn how to use Excel effectively »

  3. Inbound marketing course

    free inbound marketing course

    Credit: 20th Century Fox

    Course by: Hubspot Academy
    Duration: Video 2.5 hours (plus two hours for the exam)
    Qualification: Hubspot Academy's own certification

    Inbound marketing is something that every business will be prioritising in at least some shape or form.

    Inbound marketing refers to the process of using marketing methods such as blogs, podcasts, social media and other off-site methods to direct people to a company's website.

    Essentially, it's about using new and innovative methods of getting new traffic onto a company's website in the hope that they'll convert to customers.

    This course is really straightforward, with a series of short video lectures and an exam at the end of the process. Also use this course to brush up on your terminologies, so you can succeed in interviews!

    Learn about inbound marketing »

  4. Customer service

    free online customer service course

    Credit: Barclays

    Course by: Vision2Learn
    Duration: 9-11 weeks (suggested study 10 hours per week)
    Qualification: Level 2 nationally accredited certification

    You might think this course would only be useful to people in customer service positions, but in reality, great customer service is beneficial across the board.

    This course helps improve communication with colleagues as well as customers, and comes with the potential to gain lots of great transferrable skills.

    Having this little gem on your CV will show employers that you understand and respect communication etiquette in the workplace, and that you're not likely to throw a strop in front of clients if you don't get your way. Here's hoping!

    Learn customer service skills »

Over to you!

Now you've got CV content covered, it's time to think about presentation!

Have a look at these crazily creative CV examples for ideas on how to make yourself...err.. stand out from the crowd!

Have you found a good free online course recently that's worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below!

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