In-Demand Skills to Learn from Online Courses That Will Complement Any Resume

By Victoria Robertson on August 3, 2019

When applying to positions, there are a lot of keywords, or in-demand skills, that employers are looking for from entry-level candidates. For that reason, taking online courses that offer those in-demand skills is always in your best interest.

So what are these in-demand skills? And how do you take advantage of online courses in order to obtain them? And how exactly do they enhance your resume?

In order to assist you in beefing up your resume with complementary experience sure to land you your next interview, here are ten, in-demand skills to learn from online courses that will complement any resume.

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1. Academic Writing

One of the first, and most important, items on this list is the ability to write academically. While it’s safe to assume you will need to do very little academic writing once you graduate from college, the skills you obtain from academic writing will translate into any position that you obtain.

Writing is such a huge part of business communication, which means it’s essential to maintain a professional and direct tone in your business writing, which all stems from academia. Writing a paper is not all that different from writing a report, or a proposal, or a business agenda. Basic writing skills are going to be useful throughout your career, so taking any online writing courses will surely benefit you in the long run.

2. Excel

While most individuals have worked with excel by the time they move into a full-time position, they only have the basic skills needed to create a basic spreadsheet. However, the more advanced the skills you have in excel are, the more likely you are to catch the eye of the hiring manager.

Excel comes into play in many ways, including, but not limited to, accounting, metrics reports, human resources data storing, goal completion tracking, etc. Basically, in any potential role, there is room for excel usage, which means that having the skills necessary to create complex and useful spreadsheets is a resource that employers find very valuable.

If you can take an online course that offers any form of excel expertise, it’s in your best interest to take it, no matter the field you are planning to go into.


While hiring individuals with coding experience is in high demand at the moment, basic HTML experience is also useful in a variety of ways. Basically, there are very few individuals that are technologically capable within a company, and many hiring managers opt to hire individuals to take on that role in full.

For that reason, if you have even basic HTML experience, you could end up being very valuable to the hiring manager in question, as you have experience that’s going to help them without them having to hire outside help.

For many organizations, hiring individuals with this expertise results in outsourcing certain projects or bringing on consultants to save money. With the experience under your belt, you eliminate this need, thus increasing your potential value with an organization.

4. Organizational Skills

Easily the most important item on this list, individuals are looking for organizational skills when they bring on a new employee. This doesn’t simply mean that your desk should be neat and tidy, but rather, that you can keep track of deadlines, manage a heavy workload and maintain your email inbox so that you don’t lose sight of important action items.

Staying organized is key in this manner, as there are countless individuals at companies that don’t have these organizational skills, which causes problems for their managers, their departments and, sometimes, the company as a whole.

Online classes teach you to stay organized by necessity, as you are responsible for your own schooling, keeping you accountable to yourself, much like is done in the business world.

5. Email Etiquette

It seems ridiculous, but composing a work-appropriate, professional email is much more in demand than you would think.

The basic email etiquette is a learned skill, and many individuals within companies don’t have it. For one, there is the issue of “replying all” when an email doesn’t call for it, composing a direct, non-wordy body and using the proper greeting and signature.

Most employers plan to teach new hires the proper etiquette prior to their start, but it’s easy enough for you to simply take a course online now and learn the skills yourself, prior to even starting a position. While this isn’t the most important in-demand skill, it is going to set you apart from the competition and could just be the difference between you getting an interview or not.

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6. Management Skill

While you should never expect to begin a new position at the managerial level, having basic management skills before you even start a new position is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Basically, this is the perfect leg up.

Management skills are always useful, whether you have direct reports now or will be getting them sometime in the near future. These skills teach you how to be a team player, how to work well with others and how to delegate tasks effectively.

Again, not all of this information is going to be immediately relevant to you in your first role, but it is useful information to have in your back pocket when a potential employer is taking a look at your resume.

7. SEO

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, the term SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO experience is very valuable to employers, as it helps your business to stay relevant, in front of your intended audience and at the top of your game. Many businesses use this to rank on Google (which means their website appears as one of the first options for a certain search term), but they can also be used in social media posts, blog posts and any other marketing collateral your business puts out there.

Again, no matter what industry you plan to work in (though certain industries, such as marketing, will find this skill more valuable), having SEO experience is a huge plus when an employer is looking at a resume. Most employers don’t have this experience, hiring outside consultants to run their ads and deal with this matter, which means that when you have the experience, you become more helpful to your manager.

Online courses tend to teach basic SEO skills, which is really all you need to get started, as a lot of experience comes from practice. The more you work with SEO, the more likely you are to become an expert in this regard, which will always be of benefit to your employer.

Even if it means you are simply making suggestions to the marketing department in organizational meetings, this is a great skill to have and you will find your employer finds it just as useful as you do.

8. Certifications

Again, no matter the field you are in, there are many certification programs out there, many of them also online, that you should be taking advantage of. Some certification programs are more beneficial than others, but most act as resume buffers no matter what.

As previously mentioned, management certification courses are always an option, but there are countless others that are worth looking into. This requires a bit more research on your end, as you should always look up the field you are planning on going into, what certifications are valuable in that field, and then look in your course directory to see if there are any courses in that field available to you.

The more research you do, and the more certifications you obtain, the more likely your resume is to stand out in front of a potential employer, even if you don’t have any work experience.

Also keep in mind that there are certification programs that potentially raise your starting salary, as they are essentially the equivalent of having another degree. Always know your worth and be sure to fully look into these programs to get a better idea of what will work for you and what won’t. Just be careful not to price yourself out of consideration!

9. Communication Skills

Communication is key. The phrase is a popular one for a reason; it’s true. Having the proper communication skills is essential to any successful career, just ask anyone. Employers, when looking at the resume of an entry level candidate, look for keywords, such as communication, to ensure they have a candidate that they can work with.

While a lot of this information is going to come out during an interview, it’s also an essential item to list on your resume to ensure you are getting that interview. Basically, if you don’t have basic communication skills, no employer is going to want to work with you, which means that you aren’t going to get that initial interview.

However, if you do list these communication skills, and if you took an online course that expanded these skills beyond the basic subset that most college graduates will have, your resume is going to stand out and you will be more likely to be selected to interview. Whether soft communication skills or hard, writing-related communication skills, any additional experience you have is well worth it.

And, if that’s the case, you can allow those communication skills to shine in the interview, landing the job all because of one online course that set your path exactly where you needed it to go.

10. Work Ethic

The best was saved for last, and that’s because it’s an intangible item that most individuals don’t give two thoughts to.

Employers often find more of the same when hiring new candidates, and it’s difficult to trust an individual to work hard when they don’t have an apparent work ethic. Nine times out of ten, if you list experience with online courses, outlining the relevance to your work ethic, you’re going to land an interview.

Employers want employees that are going to work harder than everyone else, as they already have enough direct reports to worry about. The less your employer needs to worry that you’re doing what needs to be done, the less stress they will have on their end.

All online courses are courses in work ethic, as attendance isn’t mandatory and all the work falls to you. It’s very easy to skimp out on your online courses and do the bare minimum, but attending each course, finishing the lesson plans and readings, and acing the tests will ensure that your work ethic is one an employer is interested in.

Make sure that you are highlighting this experience in your cover letter, as this is very relevant and will undoubtedly be helpful in improving your resume as a whole.

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The job market is a pretty vast area, and while unemployment rates may be fairly low, that’s not to say that finding the right job is a cakewalk. It’s important that you are adding as much to your resume as possible, especially when you don’t have any “real world” experience.

For this reason, ensure you are taking the right courses throughout your college career to complement your resume, even without job experience. Online courses are a fantastic way to achieve this, as they provide you a relaxed environment and offer cover more topics than the typical, classroom setting.

Be aware that online classes also tend to be shorter in nature, which means that you are learning the same amount of information in a small amount of time, so ensure you are making the most of the classes you attend rather than simply signing up in order to get the credits without having to leave your apartment.

So long as you take advantage of the courses and truly implement the practices you learn in your career, your resume will be a shining example of what it means to be a dedicated student and a competent employee.

Happy job hunting!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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