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10 Courses Or Skills That Add More Value To Your Resume

Invest in boosting your opportunity and salary potential with these certifications.

Workin' Girl

It's always good to be a lifelong learner, and upping your game in terms of skills is definitely a good look. It's a satisfying feeling when you can say more than "I'm great at..." and you have specific credentials (ie. educational receipts) to prove it. Certifications are a great way to not only learn more but to stay on top of the latest trends, tools, and methods to remain competitive in your industry. But what specific job-related skills and certifications are best for adding real value to your resume? Let's get into 10 job-related skills that are worth the investment and how they can change your life both personally and professionally:

Coding

If you work in the digital media space or are in tech, having coding skills (or at least a basic knowledge of it) is a plus. There are several resources for free online courses such as the Coding Academy as well as higher ed boot camps like the one offered at George Washington University. Salaries for coders average in the mid-$50,000 range and, even if coding is not your main job function, having the added knowledge can strengthen negotiations for a higher salary.

Graphic Arts or Design

Again, this is an opportunity to offer complementary skills and increase that beginning salary offer, especially if you work in media, PR, marketing, or communications. Learn advanced skills in video editing, Photoshop or Website design via Adobe certification training or try courses via your local community college or an online program.

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Marketing

Getting certified in this area can span from learning skills in search engine optimization to strategic brand management and platforms like Hootsuite, Google and Twitter offer resources for certification in a diverse range of topics. The American Marketing Association is also another great resource for training that is respected in the industry. The more you know about the latest in how to tap into audiences, research community trends and habits, or expand a brand's reach, the better you are able to provide value year over year as a professional.

Leadership

Schools like MIT, Harvard, and Yale all offer leadership certifications, credentials or special continuing education programs to strengthen skills in management. You'll learn team strategy, leadership theory, innovation tactics and more by earning these sorts of certificates. The programs will not only place you among the best of the best in management, but they will also, upon completion, reflect heightened skill development in preparation for executive roles.

Project Management

These types of certifications reflect a proficiency in planning, scheduling, budgeting, and delivering on initiatives, and they are useful even outside of the IT industry. If you're interested in upward mobility and have your eyes set on being a manager, director, or senior executive in any industry, it's always good to have these skills. It makes your life that much easier understanding how to create and work within systems, and it can increase your market value. Professionals with PMCs make upwards of $83,000 per year.

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Spreadsheet and Word Processing

Since most jobseekers have basic computer knowledge and know how to at least send an email, having a certification in a specific computer skill can put you above the rest and even position you to earn up to $20,000 more annually. For example, Microsoft offers certification programs that ensure you keep up-to-date with the best ways to use their products, and certifications like these show that you have savvy with using tech to do your job.

CPR 

If you work within the healthcare field or with communities that might need emergency care (such as students or the elderly), having a CPR certification can add so much to your resume. Organizations like the Red Cross offer training that is OSHA compliant and teaches everything you need to know that could save a life.

Language

It's one thing to have taken a few foreign languages courses as part of your undergrad or learning through an app on your phone, but to actually be certified fluent in a language takes things up a notch. Earning credentials like the DELE certification (for Spanish-speaking proficiency) or the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) certification can give your resume the needed boost for opportunities that require foreign travel or communication. Also, in some cases, special certifications are required for jobs like teaching English abroad. Investing in an English as a Second Language (ESL) is ideal when you want to broaden your opportunities in education.

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Culinary

We all see the kitchen phenoms on IG and YouTube who are getting thousands of views and even more comments, but it's a real boost to your brand when you're actually certified in certain types of food prep or culinary artistry. Becoming a personal certified chef or getting a diploma in making plant-based foods will not only give you an edge, but it will ensure prospective employers know that you have the goods to make customers happy—and healthy. You can also open yourself up to increases in salary depending on the level of certification.

Financial Planning

If you're a professional who has worked up the ranks of financial services with a bachelor's degree, hard work, and great networking, or you have a passion for financial literacy, you might want to consider becoming a certified financial planner. It's great to have a knack for knowing how money works, where to invest, or how to budget, but when you have the added credential of being trained in financial planning, it gives you much more credibility and provides a set standard to follow when serving clients. Plus, professionals with this certification can make an average of $78,000 per year.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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