How To Acquire New Skills To Add To Your Resume

How To Acquire New Skills To Add To Your Resume

Your professional growth hinges on the ability to acquire new skills. But how do you get new skills when you're working a full-time job? Most people don't realize that going back to school isn't the only way to advance. To become a more valuable employee, you can get new skills through non-academic training.

Understanding Acquired Skills

Acquired skills are skills you learn by practicing and experiencing abilities. These skills tend to include both hard and soft skills, and usually improve your performance in the workplace.

One of the issues with acquired skills is that they are difficult to quantity. For instance, how do you quantify an ability to communicate with others? Unless the skill involves a certification, it can be ambiguous. It's up to you to explain your aptitude and to show how it could help you succeed in the workplace.

Their Value on a Resume

A hiring manager won't take much time to inspect your resume. With hundreds of other resumes to look at, a hiring manager quickly scans each document. There are only a few ways to set yourself apart from the other candidates.

Acquired skills could be the key to standing out. They make you more valuable as an employee and show your commitment to the job.

Building Your Acquired Skills

Are you ready to add acquired skills to your resume? Here are a few ways to get started.

Pick the Right Skills

First, consider what skills you should try to gain. It's essential to focus on your career goals and to pick skills that will help you accomplish those goals. For ideas, read job postings and see which skills employers want their employees to have.

Make sure the skills you pick are in line with your own interests. If you have no desire to learn a skill, you probably won't master it.

Find the Time

Whether you work full-time or have a family, you may struggle to find time to acquire new skills. To prevent yourself from being overwhelmed, create a schedule and stick to it. Make sure you don't overdo it, and leave some free time for you to enforce yourself. If you can only dedicate a few hours each week to the skill, that's fine. Just don't forget to make the time.

Start Simple

You can't become an expert on something overnight. Before you immerse yourself in a skill, learn the basics. Find our about the history of the skill and what people use it for.

For example, you may want to learn a new language. You probably don't want to start speaking the language before you do some preliminary research. What are the root languages, and what are the basic rules of pronunciation? With a little research, you can set yourself up for success.

Know Your Tools

How do you plan on learning your skill? In some cases, you might use a podcast. Other methods or learning skills include books, workshops, and classes. For some skills, you might need a combination of tools.

Before you dive into learning, make sure you have access to all of the tools you want to use. This could mean ordering a textbook or buying a program.

Make a Curriculum

With acquired skills, you probably don't have a curriculum. This can make sticking to a learning schedule difficult and overwhelming. For a greater chance of success, come up with your own curriculum.

Start by organizing all of your tasks.  As you create the curriculum, think of how you learn. Do you like to watch videos or do hands-on learning? Create a curriculum that's tailored to your learning style.

Make Detailed Goals

It's not enough to say you want to finish learning your skill by a certain date. Instead, set detailed goals along the way. If you have concrete goals, you can celebrate many successes and avoid being overwhelmed.

If you need added motivation, give yourself a reward for achieving your goals. Perhaps you eat out at your favorite restaurant or go on a mini-vacation. It's also useful to share your goals with someone in the industry. In addition to keeping you accountable to someone, sharing your goals could give you outside help. A co-worker or mentor might be able to advise you on meeting your goals.

Create Deadlines

Although you might enjoy not having any deadlines looming over your head, there's value in setting deadlines for learning your skills. Being accountable to yourself is difficult,  but deadlines make it possible.

Pick realistic deadlines and mark them on your calendar. If you don't think of them as suggestions, you can remain on track and make sure you complete the learning process at a fair pace. You can use apps to help you stay organized.


It's not useful to just learn a skill. If you don't practice the skill, you'll never master it. And you're likely to forget everything you know if you don't frequently use your skill. To make sure your education wasn't in vain, practice your skill as often as possible.

You may be able to do this in the workplace. After you acquire a new skill, talk to your boss about it. Find out if there's a way you can put your skill to use at work. In the end, your skill could get you a raise or a promotion. If you're unemployed, offer your skill as a free resource to friends and family members.

After you use your skill, ask for feedback. There's always room for improvement,  and your request for feedback could help you develop your skill.

Update Your Resume

Even as you're learning the skill, include it on your resume. At some point, you'll need to look for another job. You may forget to include the skill on your resume and miss out on an opportunity.

Add the skill to your resume and give a short description of how it helps you in the workplace. If possible, include metrics or other concrete details.

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