I recently did a career webinar for an international association; this course was focused on bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. One of the questions that came up was ‘what courses do you feel would position one for success?” If you are in school now, or thinking about it, there are three courses that hold value for employers:
- Organizational Behavior – as companies are made up of people, there are many dynamics which go on that involve people: coworkers, all levels of managers, direct reports, vendors and consumers. When people of differing backgrounds are thrown together to do work, there are bound to be some conflict that occurs; when these workers don’t agree or don’t like the policies or the way things are being run, problems arise. Understanding the how’s and why’s of human behavior increases understanding, empathy, tolerance and emotional intelligence to deal with any adverse situations that may arise. Taking this course increases your skills in these areas and allows you to come up with manageable solutions that puts you in charge of your workday and career. Mastering these will position you for leadership roles as well.
- Finance – as organizations are fiscally-focused, having a good grasp of financials will not only help you in your role but could make you stand out for other roles. Dealing with budgets, payables, projections and the like helps to understand how and why the work you do is important to the final outcome – this keeps you engaged in that work and gives you more ownership of it. Your employer will appreciate you having this knowledge which will go along way in your career.
- Technology – as organizations are adapting and adopting to doing work faster and more efficiently, they are relying more and more on technology to help with this work, which means they need people to develop and run these machines and systems. Having computer skills and knowledge of computing, database systems, coding, and security functions will not only help you to do your job easier but they also can help you stand out if you are looking to transition to a new position, whether that is inside or outside your organization. It will give you the competitive advantage often needed these days to secure desired positions.
If you are past the point of returning to school, there are ways that you can learn and hone this material, which can include: reading books on the topics, taking adult education courses at your local community college, looking for training courses online, such as Lynda.com, or through a professional association. You can always ask your children, nieces or nephews, or your local high school students (particularly technology-related). There are ways to hone your knowledge in these three areas – dive in and watch your skill-set soar. (this is my 270th article!!)