You may have a set of skills you pride yourself on honing and polishing regularly, but in a tight, competitive job market, it never hurts to know how to do something extra that will set you apart from any other applicants to a job you're trying for. Especially if you've recently lost some hours at work -- or a job altogether -- it's prudent to spend your time learning a useful craft or skill.
Some types of job skills are great additions to your résumé, and make you a very desirable employee to a variety of companies. Web design knowledge; word processing skills (brush up on your typing speed!); a clean, informative writing style; the ability to use power tools; fluency in another language; and a license to operate a bus all make you valuable to one company or another (or, in some cases, most companies). Skills like this may not seem useful to you in your personal life, but when you apply them to the working world, you'll find that a few hours spent per week on honing that knowledge will push you to the top of the hiring list.
Other types of job skills are practical to your own frugal lifestyle and will save you money on services you can provide for yourself instead of paying outside help for. Sewing, mending, plumbing, carpet cleaning, house repairing, résumé writing, cooking, and haircutting -- you can replace these services that you pay for on a regular basis with your own two hands and save a ton of money. Some of them can even turn into side businesses, with the right connections.
There are tons of great internet resources where you can get step-by-step instructions for a particular project or even guided learning from guides halfway around the world. Instructables.com is one great example. Another is eHow.com, where users upload guides on every possible task imaginable. Or this site: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/skills/4284709 It has a list of skills you should know (women, too!), plus links to instructions on how to learn each one.
If you prefer to do things hands-on and in interactions with real people, try checking out your local community center to see if there are any free or inexpensive classes offered on the skill you're interested in learning. Another place to try is your community college, which gives you practical knowledge and, in some cases, valid certification. Talk to friends or acquaintances who know a skill you do not, and offer to trade some learning sessions for something they'd like to learn from you.
Do you have an awesome skill that helps you stay frugal? Tell us all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll share your story with our readers. Any and all skills are welcome -- we're not picky!