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!!)
I recognize that I have been away from here for some time; I have been so busy teaching several online classes which has taken a majority of my time. I have had 42 students between two classes and, for those unfamiliar with the online format, it consists of discussion questions and paper assignments, meaning that all I’ve been doing is reading and grading papers. I think I’ve developed carpal tunnel from all the typing I’ve done (LOL)!
Here we are at the beginning of a new month and what better time to get back in full-force. For me, I am committing to a blogging challenge so you will be getting a new post from me daily. I am ‘reving’ up to teach two new courses, in addition to my current class. And I’m refining and streamlining areas in my business so hopefully the new offerings will meet your needs.
The countdown is on for those of you who are going to school. This can be an exciting time as you get in preparation mode – buying supplies, new clothes, maybe moving into a dorm, and planning out your schedules, particularly if you have a family and a job to add into the mix. Not only is this the time to plan out your schedules but it is the time to get mentally prepared for what is to come. College is a natural progression to advance one’s career but it comes with certain responsibilities and commitments so now is the time to recognize and remember them as you are working to plan your schedules.
In the classes I teach, I often see work and life challenges get in the way of student’s doing their work or submitting assignments timely; issues and challenges will come up but it is how you navigate these challenges will determine your success in your schooling. It is essential that you review any and all challenges that can arise before you begin your classes; this way, you will feel you have options and can adequately handle them.
In order to become fully prepared and ready for the challenge, here are some tips to help you be more successful:
- Have the syllabus printed and the book(s) ordered. Be sure to read the syllabus in detail for any and all assignments, weekly schedules, grading, and expectations for the course. Order the book early as it can often be delayed which will leave you behind in the readings.
- Get a planner and calendar; write down all the assignments in detail along with their due-dates and list them on the calendar (recommend a wall calendar or white-board type). This will give you an overview of all the work that will need to get done for your classes and how your will schedule your days.
- Plan your study and writing times; working backwards is a great way to ensure that you are adequately prepared. If you have a paper due in Week 5, plan time in the earlier weeks to do research, write, and edit your work so you are not submitting it at the last minute which could adversely affect your grade.
- Get in ‘mental mode’ – get excited about the journey, knowing that there will be an end but what that end-result will look like, i.e you walking across the stage to get your diploma, the new job/career. Keep your focus on why you chose to go to school in the first place.
- Relax – this can be a time of both excitement and trepidation so you want to find ways to deal with any emotions or feelings of stress that can arise. Deep breathing, exercise, meditation, or just sitting in a calm place will help you to release any negative feelings and give you more resolve to face the tasks ahead of you.
I’m ready for my challenges so I hope you begin to get ready for yours. No matter what stage you are in with your schooling, just entering or returning, preparation is the key to the next step, which is action. If you follow these steps, you will feel more in control and confident, both of which lead to success!