Five Steps to Improve Your Career

Start the New Year by Bolstering Your Career

By John Focht

With the start of the New Year, now is as good a time as any to take a look at your job, your career, and your goals and put together a plan for the coming year.

Resume

A lot has happened to your career since last January. You may have been promoted, or received additional training or passed a certification.  Maybe you learned a new tool that helped your team.

Look through your old notes, archived emails, and even your old calendar entries. Look back on what the past you provided you professionally and update your resume.

Your resume should be a living, breathing document that you update quarterly. If it’s been a while since you have updated it, now is the time to make the updates to it.

Review Professional Goals

It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day professional grind of your job and to forget what your true professional ambitions and goals are. Are you still on track on where you want to be professionally?  Will your current job or company get you to where you want to be in the next three-to-five years?  Are you in a dead-end job?

The start of the New Year is great time to take stock in yourself and review where you are professionally. If you aren’t getting what you need from your current employer, might be a good time to begin searching for the job that will take you to the heights you deserve.

Linked-In

What is the status of your Linked-In profile? Have you made any updates to it since you initially crated your profile?  Is it your current position updated? Is your profile updated with recent certifications or schooling that you have attended?

You should consider your Linked-In profile as your electronic resume for the professional world to view. Like your resume, you should treat it as a living, breathing document that has your professional experience current and up-to-date.

It would be a shame to miss out on a golden opportunity because neither your resume nor Linked-In profile were updated to pass along to a perspective employer.

Additional Schooling

Let’s face it, going back to school can be a major challenge especially when you factor in your normal day-to-day responsibilities with work, home and family life, after school activities with the kids, your own personal life – after all that, who really has time to go back to school?

Going back to school can benefit you in many ways. Gaining your Master’s might put you in line for the next big promotion at your office, or it might open up other doors for you that may not have initially opened up without a Master’s Degree.

If you have been contemplating going back to school, spend the next few weeks reviewing schools and the type of degree you are after. Start getting in the mindset now and get registered for next semester.  It could open the door for the new start you have been waiting for.

Additional Training

Maybe you don’t need to go back to school to pursue a degree; maybe it’s just some additional training you need to help you be more successful in your current job.

Check with your company to see if they will help pay off the training. Most companies will if you can show how they will benefit from your training.  Be prepared to speak of team, department, and company benefits when selling the training opportunity.

Make this year about you. Stop waiting for things to happen for you in your career; go out and make it happen.

This article was originally published on the Yahoo! Voices Network


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Five Steps to Getting your Career where you want it to be this Year

By John Focht

With the start of another new year, now is as good a time as any to take a look at your job, your career, and your professional goals, and put together a plan for the coming year.

Resume

A lot has happened to your career since last January.  You may have been promoted, or received additional training or passed a certification.  Maybe you learned a new tool that helped your team.

Look through your old notes, archived emails, and even your old calendar entries.  Look back on what the past year provided you professionally and update your resume.

Your resume should be a living, breathing document that you update quarterly.  If it’s been a while since you have updated it, now is the time to make those updates to it.

Review Professional Goals

It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day professional grind of your job and to forget what your true professional ambitions and goals are.  Are you still on track on where you want to be professionally?  Will your current job or company get you where you want to be in the next three-to-five years?  Are you in a dead-end job?

The start of the New Year is great time to take stock in yourself and review where you are professionally.  If you aren’t getting what you need from your current employer, it might be a good time to begin searching for the job that will take you to the heights you deserve.

Linked-In

What is the status of your Linked-In profile?  Have you made any updates to it since you initially created your profile?  Is your current position updated? Is your profile updated with recent certifications or schooling?

You should consider your Linked-In profile as your electronic resume for the professional world to view. Like your resume, you should treat it as a living, breathing document that has your professional experience current and up-to-date.

It would be a shame to miss out on a golden opportunity because neither your resume nor Linked-In profile were updated to pass along to a perspective employer.

Additional Schooling

Let’s face it, going back to school can be a major challenge especially when you factor in your normal day-to-day responsibilities with work, home and family life, after school activities with the kids, your own personal life – after all that, who really has time to go back to school?

Going back to school can benefit you in many ways.  Gaining your Master’s might put you in line for the next big promotion at your office; or it might open up other doors for you that would not have opened without a Master’s Degree.

If you have been contemplating going back to school, spend the next few weeks reviewing schools and the type of degree you are after.  Start getting in the mindset now and get registered for next semester.  It could open the door for the new start you have been waiting for.

Additional Training

Maybe you don’t need to go back to school to pursue a degree; maybe it’s just some additional training you need to help you be more successful in your current job.

Check with your company to see if they will help pay off the training.  Most companies will want you to show how they will benefit from your training.  Be prepared to speak of team, department, and company benefits when selling the training opportunity to your employer.

Make this year about you.  Stop waiting for things to happen for you in your career; go out and make it happen.

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Working Adults Going Back to School

By John Focht

Adults going back to school is not a recent phenomenon.  Working adults have returned to school for decades in the hopes of either finishing a degree they started decades earlier, or to further their education in the hopes of advancing their careers or starting new careers.

Today, nearly 4 million adults over the age of 35 are enrolled in a degree-granting institution, according to CNBC citing the National Center for Education Statistics.  

The large number of adults back in school after a substantial time away may have to do with the fact that nearly 89% of adults feel there is still room to grow in their current careers, according to Market Watch citing a 2012 poll conducted by the University of Phoenix.

In recent years, beginning with the University of Phoenix online availability, online courses have made it relatively less complicated for working adults to go back to school.  Data provided by Market Watch supports online courses are more advantageous for adults as 74% of adults between the ages of 25-34 are either currently enrolled in online courses, or plan to enroll in online courses, according to Market Watch.

Colleges and universities have made online courses readily available to students for all types of degrees, certifications, and general courses.  A student today can earn a master’s degree without ever stepping foot into the classroom.

Many online courses are designed in a manner that allow students to complete assignments on their own time.  Classroom participation is also required in some online classes through technology like Blackboard.  Blackboard is a software technology that enables professors and students to interact online.  In some ways Blackboard can be compared to a classroom chat room.

Whether taking courses online or in the traditional classroom setting, going back to school for many adults is a fact of life they face in order to keep up in their current job, or simply to hold their jobs.

Adults who have been in their career for 15-20 years have seen their salary rise through promotions or year-end salary adjustments.  In some cases, younger employees are able to come in and potentially do the same job for a much lower pay.  The older workforce, who are 15-20 years into their career, are faced with the potential of losing their job for younger and less-expensive workers.

Furthering an education is a way for adults to continue on their career path and not get stagnant in a specific role with a larger salary.  And of course furthering education is a way to make yourself more marketable in the job market overall, not just with your current employer.

The challenges some adults face in going back to school though is time and commitment.  After all, unlike the days of being 18, 19, 20 years-old, there is quite a bit more responsibility on your shoulder.  Juggling classes while working full-time and supporting your family can be quite challenging.

The fear factor of going back to school as an adult is a real factor too.  Whether going back to school in the traditional classroom setting or taking courses online, there can be an anxiety in going to class with students half your age.  From an online class perspective, the fear can be learning and understanding new technology on top of taking the actual class.  And of course, traditional classroom settings of sitting with and interacting with students who may not have even been alive the last time you were in a classroom.

Further education still remains one of the best options for adults who have been in the work force for 15-20 years. Whether it is to continue advancement in your career, or simply keeping yourself aware of recent technologies and ways of doing business.  It is also the best option if you are in a situation where you are considering changing careers.

Sources:

Epperson, Sharron. Adult education: Is it worth going back to school? CNBC. Web. 25 September 2013. www.cnbc.com/id/101059776

More than Half of Working Adults Plan to go Back to School and the Majority will Take an Online Course, reveals University of Phoenix Survey. Market Watch. Web. 19 December 2012. www.marketwatch.com/story/more-than-half-of-working-adults-plan-to-go-back-to-school-and-the-majority-will-take-an-online-course-reveals-university-of-phoenix-survey-2012-12-19

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