Tuesday, 2 November 2010

New Skills Lead to a New Job

By Tamara Dowling, CPRW

Employment, Job Vacancies, Employment Jobs

Do you want to get ahead in your career? It is important to develop new skills and expand your knowledge. That may be what distinguishes you from your peers when up for a promotion.

What types of training and educational courses are available to me?

  1. Self study courses offered through an industry association. Many of these lead to a certificate or designation and are recognized within the industry.
  2. Continuing education courses offered at a Community College or University. The courses may count toward a degree. If you currently hold a special designation in your industry, check to see if the course counts as Continuing Education Units (CEU). You may obtain a course catalog online, or by calling the adult education or continuing education admissions office.
  3. Videotape or audiotape courses. These courses are very convenient and affordable and can be good for building soft skills.
  4. Online courses/distance learning. A wide variety of courses are now offered online, at a wide variety of expense. Courses leading toward a certification or Continuing Education Units (CEU) have more weight than those without course end evaluation.
  5. One day seminars or workshops. These can be good for refreshing management or organization skills.

How do I choose the right subject to study?

If you're going to make a time and financial commitment, you want to be sure you choose a course that will give your career the biggest boost. If you are not sure, talk to your manager. Ask in which areas you need development. Use that as a guide. You may even ask her for a recommendation to a workshop or course.

What if I can't afford to pay for a course?

Check with the institution to see if they have any discount programs or scholarships. Your next step is to ask your manager if your company would sponsor you for all or a portion of the cost.

How do I ask my company to pay for my course?

  1. Gather information about the course. Make copies of the course description, professor biography, and description of the program or institution.
  2. Write a short 1-2 paragraph summary about how this course will improve your performance at work.
  3. If possible, include a very brief endorsement from someone who took the course.
  4. Offer to present a summary of the course to your fellow team members, after you've completed the course.
  5. If your company has a standard procedure for such requests, follow those instructions.
  6. Most companies will pay for materials upfront, and will reimburse you for course fees upon successful completion of the course. Make sure you collect all documentation they require.
  7. If the company agrees to pay, don't forget to send a memo to your manager when you complete the course. Explain what you learned and how it has helped you in your position. Remember to thank your manager for sponsoring you.

Getting the most out of the course

  1. Attend the classes, and do the required assignments.
  2. Take notes. Read your notes from the last class before the next class. Hearing the discussion, writing the notes, and reading the notes reinforces the information in your mind.
  3. Take advantage of any resources offered such as articles, books, field trips or Web sites.
  4. Get to know your professor. They may be able to help you on a more personal level, and suggest additional study methods and resources.
  5. Participate in the class. The more involved in the discussion, the more stimulated and inspired you'll be.
  6. Meet your classmates. This is an excellent networking opportunity.

Ongoing education shows your current and prospective employers that you are serious about your career. You'll have new knowledge, skills, and insight into your career. You'll never be bored if you are continuing to grow and try new things.

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