Whether you’re on the verge of entering the job market, building foundational skills as an undergraduate, or seeking to master specialized software as a graduate student, UChicago’s complimentary access to LinkedIn Learning offers an opportunity to enhance your skill set. 

As a graduate student in international relations and a Digital Pedagogy Fellow here at ATS, I’ve explored many of the courses on offer to provide some tips and suggestions for fellow students.  

Tips for Getting Started 

  1. Given the array of courses on offer, a good way to begin is to explore Learning Paths, which are curated sets of courses centered around specific topics. They are a great place to begin with a little guidance, bringing together a variety of lessons into a cohesive sequence. 
  2. When selecting courses, I try to ensure relevance by checking for recent publication dates, especially for technology-related content. For courses pertaining to career skills, keep in mind that it’s better to look for courses post-2020 given how the job market has been altered since the pandemic.
  3. Integrating courses into your daily routine can help ensure that you actually complete them. With the ability to download lessons and learn offline, learn at a time that suits you using the Linkedin Learning app. For example, incorporate a section of a course into your train commute. Personally, I utilize short breaks between classes to complete a few videos at a time, rather than attempting to find large blocks in my schedule to fit the courses in.
  4. If you are like me and prefer group environments, note that effective learning doesn’t necessarily mean learning alone. In fact, experts recognize the specific benefits of collaboration in self-directed learning (pg 7). If you have friends working in the same field, you might explore courses together, adding a social aspect to your learning and providing a support system and accountability.

Recommended Courses

After trying an array of courses, here are some I recommend. 

Filling the Gaps: Technical Skills 

Whether you aim to excel in class, solidify existing knowledge, or delve into new areas of interest, the platform has you covered. Using LinkedIn Learning to become familiar with a range of digital tools has proven beneficial not only in my professional journey (I was able to get a job over the summer thanks to knowing Excel), but also in preparing for my thesis. 

  • R for data science:  R is a programming language for statistical computing and graphics which is a great option to learn on your own time, as it is free to access. Use this course to get all the way from installing the program to computing contingency tables.
  • Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor was the second most popular course in 2022 for a reason. Even if you consider yourself “proficient” in the program, you could pick up some great tips for optimizing your utilization! 

Preparing for the Job Market: In-demand Skills

If, like myself, you are graduating in 2024, you are entering the workforce in a period of constant transformation and technological development. LinkedIn has identified data analysis as one of  2023’s most in-demand skills. With courses catering to all experience levels, it’s a valuable resource for those gearing up to enter the workforce in this dynamic era.

  • Learning Data Analytics: 1 Foundations is the course LinkedIn suggests, which is complete with challenge sets to test yourself. It packs a lot into 3 hours and 26 minutes, so I suggest breaking this one up into lessons based on the sections. 
  • Academic Research Foundations is a valuable course for those considering social science research, explaining basics like variables all the way to how you can visualize your data. I highly recommend it to students in the early stages of their social science journey, as it lays a solid foundation for those aiming to excel in assistantship roles or embark on their initial research methods classes.

Next Steps: Career Advising

In today’s automated recruitment landscape, three-fourths of all resumes never even get seen by human eyes, falling prey to AI-powered applicant tracking systems. Discover how to enhance your visibility and likelihood for success throughout the job hunting process by tapping into LinkedIn’s insights. I’ve found LinkedIn courses to be a great resource for preparing for meetings with on-campus career services.

  • Writing a Resume: Start building a resume with this course, which includes building it from start to finish and then how to use it in a variety of settings, from networking to informational interviewing.  
  • Find a Job in the Hidden Job Market: If you’ve found yourself spending hours scrolling through job listings and still feel like you’re missing out on opportunities, this course is for you. It guides you through the process of developing a targeted job search strategy, which proves especially beneficial for those unsure of where to start with networking. As a first-generation and international student, I found this course to be particularly valuable!

Lifelong Learning & Life Skills

LinkedIn Learning isn’t just about professional growth; it’s also a chance to pick up crucial life skills. Ever found yourself asking, “Why didn’t we learn this in school?” during tax season? LinkedIn Learning courses provide you with the chance to do just that. Plus, there are opportunities for personal development in skills that can benefit every facet of your life.

  • Managing Your Personal Finances: This course not only encourages you to reflect on your relationship with money but also offers practical advice on managing debt, investing wisely, and understanding credit scores. I found it helpful for gaining a better understanding of how credit scores function.
  • Time Management Fundamentals: This course offers impactful strategies to enhance productivity, serving as a crucial reality check for me as a graduate student juggling work and studies. Despite the illusion of productivity that multitasking may create, it can lead to burnout and compromise the quality of your work. Investing time in completing this course is unquestionably worthwhile, given the significant returns you’ll experience by implementing these valuable tips.

Harness the Power of Self-Directed Learning on LinkedIn

The beauty of self-directed learning lies in its flexibility and personalization. Choose courses that genuinely interest you and seek out additional resources and training. If you find that the content isn’t as relevant as you’d hoped, don’t hesitate to switch to a course that aligns more closely with your learning goals.

LinkedIn Learning has the potential to pave the way for your success as a student and beyond, empowering you through self-directed learning. Beyond the knowledge you acquire, engaging in your own learning also offers enduring benefits.  A positive relationship was detected between self-directed learning skills and lifelong learning tendencies in a 2018 study. 

Embrace the opportunity to direct your own learning path. It’s not just about completing courses; it’s about curating a learning experience that aligns with your interests, goals, and preferred learning style. 

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Image credit: Daniel Thomas, Unsplash