Five Ways to Get Smarter Without Student Loans

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With so many educated individuals out of work, someone without a high school diploma or GED equivalent may be at the back of a long line to get a job. 


A college degree used to be the ticket to the Executive Suite, but today it is questionable.  Entrepreneurs are making the Forbes $1 million list without advance degrees.  But, if you graduated more than 10 years ago, you need a second education in technology and social media.  Some people need a six-week course just to work their SmartPhones!   Keyboarding, emailing and texting are as common as dialing a number and leaving a message used to be.  Children in elementary school are now using PowerPoint and Word to complete homework projects and make presentations. 


No one can afford to coast by in today's demanding and highly technical workplace.  Where can you get the training you need without going into debt to your local college or technical school?  Here are five sources where you can get training you need without breaking the bank.


1.      Cash in on tuition reimbursement.   If your company has this valuable benefit program, run—don’t walk—to Human Resources and sign up.  You may have to put out the cost of courses upfront, but depending on your company’s policy, you can get reimbursed for all or part of the cost of tuition.  Be a star student and you may get more money back.  I finished my undergraduate degree with tuition reimbursement from Marriott’s tuition reimbursement program—something I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own.  It was a tough 22 months, working nine-hour days and then driving to Washington DC at night for classes, but well worth it.


2.      Google it!   You can find lots of options by simply googling whatever you want to learn.  Just do a search on “free____________ training” (you fill in the blank with the topic) to find what you’re looking for.   I am interested in learning WordPress, so I found a site that offers training for free.  


3.      Go to the Source.   If you need to learn how to design a PowerPoint presentation or add a table of contents to your Word report, Microsoft’s website has lots of free training on their products. 


4.      YouTube It!   This site is the freebie training heaven.  Quality varies, but you can find a video demonstration on just about any technical skill needed in the workplace.  I was looking for one on WordPress, and found hundreds.  When I wanted to imbed a video in a PowerPoint presentation, I found specific “how to’s” on YouTube that walked me through it, including converting the video file.  Even if you’re a slow learner, you can watch the video as many times as you want until you get it right.


5.      Social Media 101.  I found is great website that has free eBooks and demonstration videos on how to set up websites and blogs, get leads on social media, SEO, and all kinds of other web marketing topics.  Their material is fresh, fun and easy to understand.  I was able to use the information immediately to generate a lead on a consulting project and submit a proposal from their information on generating leads on LinkedIn.  This type of training is valuable for entrepreneurs and employees alike.


The Internet and it’s free resources have leveled the playing field as far as job-related training goes.  Don’t be left behind because you’re not enrolled in a brick and mortar class.  Get online and get ahead!  Do you have some great sites for free training?  Share in the Comments section  below.


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