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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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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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