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Lessons In Life: Where to Build Skills for Jobs

Updated on September 13, 2016

What I've Seen

I may only be a twenty eight year old man, but I have been in a lot of different occupations and fields of study to get into them. I have seen the ages spanned through the employees and educators that I have encountered, and I have to say, across the spectrum, there is a lot to be learned.

There is a large call for jobs, and there are opportunities everywhere, to an extent. What people don’t seem to realize when they say that they can’t find a job, is that they are likely only ONE step away from getting the job they were hoping for. These careers all have requirements, and likely you aren’t far off. There are a lot of different fields, but they all bleed together to form a ‘job economy’. These sections that overlap are a plethora of different skills that people should have when looking for jobs. This could range anywhere from technical/trade skills like accounting, computer sciences, or electrical wiring to those skills a little more primal or what I call social skills. These are things like common sense, communication skills (mainly interpersonal and intercultural to focus on), empathy (or the ability to realize the difference between empathy and listening), and the biggest one to my knowledge is the foresight to admit when you do something wrong!

Before I get started, I want to state, I know that some of the skills that people need to learn cannot necessarily be taught, and for those sorts of skills you just need to accept or find a way to teach yourself. If you are not an empathic person, do not try to have someone teach you how to be, accept that you are not and don’t dwell on the fact that that is just in your being. Instead, turn that into a strength by focusing that energy into learning something new.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that schools are not the only places that they can turn to for them. Skills like the ones that I listed have a variety of sources and these sources are quite easily found, but many people don’t know that it really is an option. You of course have options like colleges, vocational schools, independent educators, and online tutorials via YouTube,, and other big name (sometimes charging) web domains. The big source that I want to talk to you about today for this type of information is….

Libraries are not just about books! But it is a great place to start!
Libraries are not just about books! But it is a great place to start! | Source


I cannot stress the library enough as a place to find these skills. The public library systems have so many different options for you to look into, and they are FREE.

Here in Spokane, with a City library card/account (all you need to get it is your ID and proof of address) you can get some great options such as:

-Books! Obviously. The amount of literature for what you are looking for, and the relevancy of it, is readily available, and if not, the librarians/circulation staff can help you find it or procure it at a time when it is available. Something that people don’t seem to realize is it can go a step further. Ask your library personnel if there is something they can get from ILL – interlibrary loan. They can request books from other places to be sent to you. Granted there are other rules, but it is still a good option.

-DVDs/CDs/Magazines are all readily available as well. Did you want to learn about stocks, finances, that sort of thing? Check out a few Forbes magazines and do some research. Did you know that Microsoft Office has its own set of educational DVDs? If you aren’t good at being taught via classroom or book, you can try to self-teach by following along with anything from Beginner Word to Advanced Excel and more.

-Local classes are held in libraries all the time, and sometimes they are not readily advertised. It is a good idea to get in the habit of calling down maybe once a month, or finding the website to see if they post what sort of classes and options are available at the library coming up. Recently, there was an educational seminar on Middle Eastern culture, free for anybody who wanted to attend. The turnout was good, and people left with a little cultural enrichment. Sometimes, there are even classes for people to learn things like how to make money off of podcasts (I went to one myself). Really keep track of these sorts of things, people don’t seem to realize how often a free class is being held to benefit the community and they can really show you a new outsource for your skill set. If you think you have something that you would like to share with other people as a specialty, talk to the branch manager to see about getting a conference room and doing a once a month class; it couldn’t hurt!

-Internet availability. A big part of libraries nowadays is the availability for internet usage. Yes, the time is usually limited, but for a lot of people who cannot afford the internet at home or do not have a computer, or a home for that matter, the ability to use the internet to benefit your life (finding jobs, taking care of accounts, etc.) is very beneficial.

-Finally, WorkSource. About four years ago, here in Spokane (I would hope that this would be something that occurs in other locations as well), WorkSource has begun to assist people at the library with resumes, skill sets, and job hunting. They give classes on skills like typing, Microsoft interfaces, navigating the internet and more. This type of outlet for career level skills is fundamental and should be more readily available, but starting for free in a library/communal setting is a great way to begin.

It is important when you identify what you want to learn to get out there and do it!
It is important when you identify what you want to learn to get out there and do it! | Source

Like I said at the start, there are a lot of different places and organizations that will help you in obtaining skills that you want/need to further succeed in your life and career. You don’t always have to go back to school, and you don’t always have to pay for the chance to learn either. Take a moment to search around your local area, see if anyone is teaching a free class on something that you think you should learn. If you don’t know what you need to learn or don’t know where to start, look for a local organization like WorkSource who can help you assess where you are at comfort wise with pertinent skills to help get you to your goal. That is what these organizations were made for, and they need to be used or we are letting a great thing go to waste. The same goes for your libraries and community centers! They are there to help you achieve what you thought before you wouldn’t be able to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to learn something new, it doesn’t hurt anyone to expand your mind and enrich your life!


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