Millions of Americans will receive a stimulus check of up to $1,200 starting this month.Consider spending the money on your career development.We’ve listed some options below, ranked from least to most expensive. Take an AI course, hire a pro to review your résumé, or design a personal website.Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Millions of Americans are getting some extra cash starting this month.If you’re among them, consider investing the money in your career development.Some background: A stimulus check (the IRS is calling it an “economic impact payment”) is an advance tax credit that reduces what you owe in your 2020 federal income taxes, Business Insider’s Libby Kane and Tanza Loudenback reported.Those who qualify will receive up to $1,200. Most people will see the money deposited directly into their bank account if they filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019.
That sum can go a long way in advancing your career at a time when the economy is tough and no one can take their job security for granted. Here at Business Insider, we thought up eight ways to spend your stimulus-check money on your career development. Options include a LinkedIn Premium account, books about job-searching, and new gear for your home office.Check out the full list below, ranked from least to most expensive.The prices listed are accurate as of April 23, 2020.When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
Hire a pro to review your résumé: $0 through May 31Hiring managers are often inundated with applications — which means they’re looking for a reason to toss yours out of the pile.So you’ll want to avoid common mistakes like vague descriptions of your previous roles and fancy formatting that distracts from the text.Online learning platform Coursera has a course called “How to Write a Resume,” free through May 31, in which a SUNY career counselor and recruiter helps students create or revise a résumé.Design your personal website: $0 to $13 per monthA strong personal brand can help you stand out from other talented professionals. It shows prospective employers that you’re an expert and a leader in your field.
Building a brand is about more than just a website featuring your bio and samples of your work — but that’s a good place to start. The website builder Wix has a free plan; premium plans that give you perks like more storage start at $13 a month. On Duda, the Basic plan costs $11.20 a month. (Wix and Duda are PCMag’s top picks.)LoadingSomething is loading.
Buy a few career books: $0 to $24 per bookLearn how to navigate your career from those who have done it successfully — or counseled hundreds of people on how to achieve their most important goals.Start by browsing these collections of books for job-seekers, career-changers, aspiring entrepreneurs, and first-time managers.On Amazon, the cost of these books ranges from $0 audiobooks to roughly $24 hardcovers (though you can certainly purchase them elsewhere).
Upgrade to a Zoom premium account: $15 per monthConsider purchasing a monthly or yearly Zoom subscription so you can network with abandon. A basic, or free, Zoom plan cuts off meetings after 40 minutes, but the pro version, at $14.99 a month, allows you to host longer meetings. That way, you can invite people to virtual coffee dates and not have to worry about cramming everything in.Register for a LinkedIn Premium account: $30 per month
Upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account and find out how you compare to fellow job applicants.
A LinkedIn Premium account is a valuable asset as you’re searching for new job opportunities and ways to make yourself more hireable.With the “career” membership, you get perks like the ability to see who’s viewed your profile even while you’re anonymous, insights on how you stack up against other people applying for the same jobs on the site, and a library of career-education resources.A monthly subscription costs $29.99, and an annual subscription costs $239.88.
Take an online course and learn a new skill: $0 to $300 per courseLearn something new.Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at the résumé-writing service TopResume, recommends taking an online course on a platform such as Coursera, Udemy, edX, or LinkedIn Learning. You might even pursue a side project based on what you’re studying, Augustine said, like building an app using a new type of code.Start by figuring out which courses will be the best investment of your time and money. Check out this list of the most in-demand job skills, according to LinkedIn, and the online courses that will help you build them. The list includes technical skills, like cloud computing and artificial intelligence, as well as soft skills, like persuasion and adaptability. (A Coursera offering called “AI for Everyone” is free right now, and a Udemy course called “Business Development for Startups and Tech Companies” costs $19.99.)The cost of an online course varies based on the specific platform. LinkedIn Learning offers a free one-month trial, after which a monthly membership is $29.99 a month and an annual membership is $240. On edX, it costs between roughly $50 and $300 to earn a verified certificate for a course, which you can share with prospective employers and academic institutions. Coursera is offering 100 courses for free until May 31.
Revamp your work-from-home setup: $8 to $811
Transform your home-office setup.
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Many people are now working remotely for the first time. It’s worth investing in some professional gear so you don’t injure yourself, or feel miserable all day.On the cheaper end, you can buy a gel wrist rest for $7.69 (from Walmart). If you’re willing to shell out more, you can get a comfortable office chair for $159.97 (from Home Depot). In between, there’s a wireless mouse ($99.99 from Best Buy) and a bluetooth keyboard ($39.99 from Best Buy).And while you’re at it, check out these tips to turn your desk into an ideal workspace, like enlarging the text on your screen and swapping your smartphone for a headset.Sign up for career coaching: $0 to $750Whether you’ve lost your job or your company’s on shaky footing, it helps to have someone guide you toward your next move.Some career-coaching services are more affordable than others. Happy to Help, for example, connects job-seekers with hiring experts who can provide guidance. The site is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs who were recently laid off from the same company. It’s free to join.
I personally tried out Pivot career coaching, a framework designed by a former Googler, and it helped me clarify my professional goals. Pivot career-change coaching costs $750 a month through June. (Full disclosure: Pivot comped my coaching services since I was reporting on the experience.)Certain companies also partner with platforms like Bravely and BetterUp, in which case employees have free access to virtual coaching.