Being unemployed certainly isn’t where most workers out there would like to be, but it doesn’t have to be the worst thing to ever happen to your career. It can be an opportunity to learn new skills, create a better resume, pursue a new career avenue or just learn things you’ve always wanted to learn. Here are 100 free and educational sites that will help you manage your time away from work in a productive manner.
Check out these sites to learn how to ramp up your career.
- Quint Careers: This career website offers information on building a great resume, changing careers, finding a job as an older worker and a whole lot more.
- Teachers TV: If you’re an out-of-work teacher, this site offers a chance to learn more about the field and get ideas on how to work in the classroom.
- Career One Stop: Pay a visit to this organization’s site to learn about new ways you can get on the path to career success from going back to school to changing your field.
- Career Crafter Tutorials: This website isn’t about a career in crafting; instead it offers great advice and instruction on building, or rebuilding, a solid career.
- eResumes: Check out the advice on this site to create a better, more streamlined resume.
Build up your business knowledge and skills through these courses, tutorials and informative sites.
- KnowThis.com: This site is full of tutorials to help you learn more about marketing.
- LayNetworks: If you want to improve how you work and lead in the office, this site offers a great collection of tutorials.
- Website 101: It can be a big asset to a business to have a website, so learn all you need to know about the process here.
- Business Tutorials: Those hoping to start their own business will find a wide range of helpful articles and tutorials on this site.
- Small Business Administration Courses: The U.S. government offers these free courses — some online and others free — to take at local business centers to help people of all ages build their entrepreneurial skills.
- My Own Business: Many people use the loss of a job as a motivating factor to finally start their own business, and this site is full of tips on how to do it right.
- Kutztown Small Business Development Center: Whether you want to start your own business or just want to brush up on what it takes to work in a successful one, this site can be a big help.
- iLearn Small Business Courses: Check out the advice and information contained in these helpful business courses.
- LearnThat: This site offers some basic business tutorials.
- HP Learning Center: You can learn more about running the equipment in your office through these free courses from HP.
Management and Leadership
Give yourself the confidence and expertise it takes to be a good leader by checking out some of these free resources.
- Training Time: Through the tutorials on this site, you can learn important skills like building a better workplace environment and training new employees.
- Financial Management Training Center: Learning to manage the finances of a business can be just as important as managing the people, and these courses will help you learn to keep the cash flow in check.
- Change Management: These courses will help you learn how to effect real changes in the workplace that can build a better working environment for you and your employees.
- Management Help: While designed with nonprofits in mind, these courses offer some good advice for managers of for-profit outfits as well.
- Leadership Training Tutorials: Take these free courses to learn what makes a good leader and how you can hone your skills to be better at working with others.
- Business Balls: The name might be silly, but this site offers some truly great courses and information on building management skills.
- Project Management Course: Through this resource, you can gain skills that can help you explain how you’d manage a project, if asked in an interview.
- The Leaders Institute Tips: From remembering names to speaking in public, these articles will educate you on how to be a better leader one step at a time.
- American Management Association: The podcasts on this site offer a chance to learn from other leaders out there.
- Learners TV: Watch some of these videos to learn more about management of people, money and assets.
Spend your time away from the workplace learning about everything from calculus to global politics on these open education sites.
- MIT Open Courseware: You too can take courses, not for credit of course, from one of the most well-regarded tech colleges in the United States.
- Google Scholar: If you want to make sure you’re reading reliable, academic sources, use this student-focused search engine from Google.
- Academic Earth: This site offers a wide range of lectures and courses from some of the elite scholars and schools in the nation.
- iTunes U: Take courses through iTunes from schools and institutions with great academic reputations.
- Forum Network: Here you’ll find free lectures from NPR and PBS on a wide range of interesting subject matter.
- Princeton WebMedia: You don’t have to attend Princeton to listen to the great lecturers the school offers–all found through this site.
- Harvard@Home: Hear from some of the world’s best-known scholars through the lectures on this Harvard site.
- Open University: Get free courses of all kinds from this UK-based online university.
- Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative: Here you can listen to lectures and take courses from Carnegie Mellon.
- Duke Law Center for the Public Domain: If you want to brush up on your knowledge of relevant law issues, take a look at this site.
- Kaplan University: There are a few courses here on business, education and social sciences you can take for free.
For many unemployed workers out there, knowing as much as possible about technology can be a big asset in finding a new job. These sites will help teach you about a wide range of technological issues.
- Computer Weekly: IT professionals, or those hoping to work in the field, can get all kinds of webinars and lessons on this site.
- TechOnline: These webinars offer some pretty techie instruction on a number of subjects.
- actDEN: Those who aren’t tech-professionals will appreciate this free site to learn more about how to use Microsoft’s Office suite.
- W3Schools: Check out these web tutorials to learn HTML, XML, CSS, server maintenance and more.
- Productivity Portfolio: If you’ve got five minutes you’ve got enough time to take these tutorials.
- MuppetLabs: From a programmer’s virtual library to lessons on languages like Python and Perl, this site is full of information.
- Geekpedia: Here you’ll find a huge collection of tutorials and articles to learn about all the big tech issues.
- InPictures: If you work better from pictures than words, this site can make it much easier to learn about computer issues.
- How-to-Geek: Those in need of lessons on working with computers and other gadgets will appreciate this large site.
- Vista4Beginners: Some people have had a hard time learning how to navigate Vista, but this site has helpful guides to ease the process.
- NetTuts: Here you can find lessons on keeping websites secure, using CSS and a whole lot more.
- Tweako: This techie-focused site is full of tutorials and articles on topics computer and programming-related.
If you’re out of work, chances are pretty good you need to save money. These educational sites will help you learn how to hem your own pants, maintain your car, and fix your own home.
- Sewing Tutorials: Learn how to sew a wide variety of projects on this site.
- What the Craft: From this site you can learn how to revamp your old wardrobe, mend things and sew great projects.
- Cooking Tutorials: Save money by not eating out and learning how to cook healthy foods on this site.
- Car Maintenance Guide: Don’t spend hundreds fixing things on your car when you can do it yourself by learning from this site.
- DoItYourself.com: Learn how to do all kinds of things around the house without calling in the professionals with these tutorials.
- The Bicycle Tutor: If you’re more of a bike person than a car driver, you’ll get tips on keeping your bike in order here.
- Easy2DIY: From finishing a basement to solving minor plumbing problems, you’ll get help on this site.
- SkillVids: Check out this site to learn how to fix things around your home–saving you money and giving you something to do.
- Make Magazine: Get creative in your spare time and take on some of these home improvement projects.
- DIY Home Improvements Depot: This site offers you a chance to learn how to be your own handyman or woman.
Reading and Writing
Learn a wide range of skills through these sites offering writing instruction and free literature.
- Project Gutenberg: Read the classics from the thousands of public domain books contained within this site.
- Literature.org: Find works of classic literature on this site from Twain to Descartes.
- Bibliomania: This site collects thousands of free books so you can read them without even leaving the house.
- SparkNotes:If you want to read a challenging book but want a little help understanding it, the free study guides on this site will be a big assistance.
- Poewar Writer’s Resource Center: Whether you want to write better poetry or just want to sound better on your resume, take a look at this site.
- Paradigm Online Writing Assistant: Learn what some common problem areas are when writing and how to make your written words better from this resource.
- WikiBooks: This site contains loads of free online books on a huge range of subjects.
- Library of Congress: The LOC is more than just home to millions of books, it also houses great archives of photos, audio recording and artifacts, many of which are available online.
- Lifewriting: This site offers free writing classes to help you hone your skills.
Knowing how to speak another language can be a huge asset on a resume for a wide range of career paths. Check out these sites to learn the basics of dozens of languages.
- BBC Languages: With numerous languages from Mandarin to Spanish offered, this site is a great place to learn the essential phrases of a new language.
- Rosetta Project: Learn more about the variety of world languages out there with this research project and website aimed at documenting them all.
- MIT Foreign Language and Literature: Take free language courses through MIT through their OpenCourseWare program.
- LiveMocha: Trade your knowledge of English to someone else who speaks another language on this communal learning resource.
- LingoPass: This site offers a free language learning exchange.
- Teach Yourself Japanese: Here you can learn the basics of written and spoken Japanese.
- Learn Spanish: Knowing Spanish can be a huge asset in many parts of the country, and you can start your language learning here.
Design and Creativity
Designers, creative or just interested parties who are out of work can brush up on their skills while looking for new jobs on these helpful sites.
- DigitalArts: Here you can read news and find helpful tutorials on creative technologies.
- KillerSites: This site offers visitors a range of tools to learn to design better, more accessible websites.
- Media College: Learn to better handle a video camera and edit film through the tutorials here.
- Photography Mentor: If you’ve always wanted to learn more about working as a photographer, then this site offers some indispensible advice.
- Adobe InDesign Tutorials: Check out this resource to learn how to become an InDesign pro.
- Website Tips: Those who’ve never built a website, or those who just want to know more about it, can find helpful tips and tutorials here.
- Online Web Design Course: Learn the basics of designing a website through this free web design course.
- QuarkEd Training: Knowing how to use Quark is a pretty big deal for many working in the design field, and the company offers free lessons here.
- Designer Today: Here you can not only get updates on big design topics but also find hundreds of Photoshop tutorials.
- PlanetPhotoshop: This website will help you learn to master both the fundamentals and more advanced aspects of Photoshop.
Managing money is important when you don’t have a steady stream of income, and these sites will teach you what you need to know.
- Money 101: This site from CNN will help you learn all about the basics of managing money.
- MoneyManagement.org: Here you’ll get a chance to build up your skills in money management through a series of courses.
- WIFE: While geared towards women and families, this site offers great saving advice for people of all kinds.
- Motley Fool: Learn more about investing and tracking the markets on this site.
- WikiInvest: If you’ve never paid much attention to the markets, this site offers a wealth of information.
These sites offer a wide range of educational videos that will help you learn basic skills, work better and keep busy in your down time.
- Video Jug: From eating sushi correctly to helpful business skills, this site offers some great video tutorials.
- TrickLife: This site is home to thousands of tutorials that will help you fix up your house, promote your business and just about anything else.
- MyTutorials: On this site you can search through existing tutorials or suggest one of your own.
- Wikiversity: With almost 12,000 learning resources, this site offers a chance to learn about physics, business and much more.
- Tutorial Ninja: The tutorials on this site are mostly tech-focused.
- SuTree: Check out this site to watch thousands of instructional videos.
- eHow: Formerly Expert Village, this site offers a range of instructional videos and articles.
- Instructables: This site focuses on DIY projects, from creating great Halloween costumes to other fun ways to use your free time.
- 5min: All of the tutorials on this site are five minutes and under.
- Find Tutorials: Use this site to search through thousands of educational tutorials.
- WonderHowTo: This how-to site is full of great and often practical instruction.