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are you looking for a way to improve your job skills?

Many of us need a little help learning the new skills that are a part of today’s workplace. Fortunately, there’s a way to get some of that education for free — the MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course. The challenge is finding the right course for your circumstances, and not being overwhelmed by the task. Many of the top universities offer MOOCs, but just because it’s good content doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Do Your Research

Take the time to read reviews and carefully consider what your goals are. For instance, the emphasis on internet marketing in every business means that people who keep up on SEO skills are preferable. Look for some reviews, or guides like the 2015 Guide to Free SEO Training Courses Online on Search Engine Watch. The goal is to select one skill to develop in your spare time and deciding which skill you need to prioritize based on your own career goals.

Do Your Homework

Once you have decided to take something like a MOOC, keep at it. Most of the difficulty in online classes is keeping at it. This is why it’s usually good to do one at a time and, if you can talk a friend into taking it with you, you have a study partner and some accountability. You are working on educating yourself for your own satisfaction for the most part, but that is impressive because it shows you are looking for life-long learning opportunities.

People who demonstrate a desire to keep learning, taking the initiative to research the best options for their industry, and keeping at it by getting through something like a massive open online course are impressive. They make an impression on their colleagues because they set a good example. They make an impression on their employer because they demonstrate an ability to stay current with their skill set. And they make an impression in their self-confidence because they are increasing their knowledge and understanding.

If you decide to explore the potential of the MOOC, do your research and select the right one — then do your homework and get it done.

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good-grammar-12

Did you know you can set up your day to have a quick opportunity to improve yourself? One of the nicest things about the internet is the opportunity to learn, and improving your language is going to make a difference in your career.

Here’s why language is important: the things you write online stay there. The impression you make with your speech and writing doesn’t fade too fast, either. If you are consistently using language the way that “everybody” uses language online, then you are automatically closing the street to opportunity.

Learn A Little Every Day

I like Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips because they are funny, memorable, and short. You may prefer another source, and there are certainly plenty out there. I also use the Gregg’s Reference Manual. It’s the bible for grammar geeks. What you need is a regular reminder of common mistakes and how to avoid those mistakes that you will enjoy reading. I’m always surprised at the things I learn. Something new every day!

That small, daily dose of language skills is a regular reminder of the importance of language. It might not seem like much, but the proper use of language moves you past barriers that keep your career from flourishing. It might be true that a top executive dictates letters to a secretary instead of writing them personally, but it’s also true that the executive still has to use language competently.

Learning a little every day is part of being a leader. Looking for life-long learning opportunities keeps your brain active and your attitude flexible for the challenges of being an influence both today and in the future. If your language skills are inadequate, you may have the greatest ideas in the world, but you can’t communicate those ideas very well.

Adding something like a daily grammar feature takes less than five minutes to read and enables a lifetime of opportunity.

 

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career assessment
One of the most important parts of a job search is knowing what type of job you want to have. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who have absolutely no idea what they want to do or go into. Here are some steps to career assessment that will help you decide what you want and start you on the path to success.

  1. Self Assessment: This step is looking inward and making an inventory of your skills, desires, and interests. This will help you understand what you would enjoy as a career. Some people may be able to decide right then and there what type of job they want to search for, but for most people they need some more help.
  2. Career Testing: There are many test and programs that can give you an idea of what career would be best suited to your interests and skills. You can find these assessments/tests online or sometimes at career centers. This is not likely to give you one exact career path, but it will give you some ideas to move you forward.
  3. Career Counseling: Now once you have finished testing and have some ideas, then you can get some help from a professional that can lead you to your decision of what career path to take. Career counselors are trained to help uncertain job searchers find a path that will lead to a fulfilling and successful career.

Career assessment is a great way to help you discover the best career path and make your job search more focused and therefore more successful. While it is not necessarily helpful for everyone, there is no harm in trying it out.

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Is Going Back to Graduate School Worth the Additional Cost?

 

One of the first things people do during a slow economy is consider hiding out in the academic world. Of course they don’t consider it hiding out. They apply to and are accepted to work on a graduate degree in the hopes that the additional degree will give them better career opportunities and that by the time they complete the degree the economy will have turned around. Graduate degrees are not always the answer. Sometimes they are a poor financial investment.

There are some occupations, psychology is one, that without an advanced degree, you can’t really work in the field in the manner you want. To be a licensed psychologist, for example, you have to have a doctorate. Even to be a licensed counselor will require a master’s degree. Careers like this, those that require a terminal degree, are not the ones in question.

The careers in question are often technology and business careers. A bachelor’s degree in computers, and then hands on, real world, experience is far more valuable than a master’s degree with no work history. Business degrees have a similar problem. One of the biggest financial mistakes you can make is to set your business career aside and work full time towards your M.B.A. Business careers cannot be successfully put on hold. While an M.B.A. is certainly desirable, get it while you are working. This allows you to continue adding to your real world knowledge and keep up your networking while furthering your academic credentials.

Before setting aside the time and placing yourself into debt for a graduate degree, make sure that it’s worth it in the long run.

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Aggressive or Assertive: Which Are You?
In order to have a successful job search you need to be outgoing, resilient, and be able to put yourself out there. You can’t afford to be passive. If you are passive, you may lose out on opportunities, or come off as incompetent in an interview. So the other choices are to be aggressive or assertive. There is a fine line between being aggressive and being assertive, so you need to be aware of the differences between the two and the differences in results from being assertive or aggressive.

  • Aggressive: People that are aggressive will push their ideas and thoughts onto others. They will not take no for an answer. They will use almost any means necessary to get what they want. They are pushy and can become obnoxious, annoying, and rude. If you are aggressive in a job search or an interview, potential employers will become upset with you and your attitude. They will not want to hire you because you are not the type of person they want to work with or be around. Avoid being aggressive; it can cause you problems.
  • Assertive: Many people have a hard time deciphering the difference between being aggressive and assertive. While aggressive people are pushy with their ideas, assertive people express their ideas without pushing their ideas on others. Be confident, but be willing to back down if you become pushy or obnoxious. This will show potential employers that you believe strongly in your ideas and yourself, but that you are also willing to listen to others. Being assertive is a trait you want to make sure you develop and show at interviews and in your job search.

Now that you know what being aggressive and what being assertive look like, you can avoid being aggressive and you can work towards being assertive in order to have a successful job search and an even more successful interview.

 

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job training
Getting paid for job training is likely not something that your boss will do on their own. But, that does not mean that it is completely off the table. Here are three tips that will help you get paid for job training: have all the facts, explain the benefits, and be a team player.

  1. Have All the Facts: If you want a clear answer, ask a clear question. It’s a lot harder to say “no” to a specific proposal, so make sure you’re armed with all of the facts. If you’re interested in attending a seminar or conference, make sure you know the location, date, and cost (including travel and hotel, if needed), and can summarize what you’ll learn.
  2. Explain the Benefits: Explain exactly what you want to get out of the seminar you’re proposing and, more importantly, how that will benefit your work and your company. When it comes to benefits, don’t be afraid to get creative
  3. Be a Team Player: Even though it will cost more overall, it may be easier in some instances to argue for training a group of people. It makes your request seem less selfish and reinforces the idea that you’re looking out for the team. If you have a large group (more than 10 people), some seminar companies will bring events in-house, reducing your travel and hotel costs.

When you approach your boss about paying for job training, think of it as a bit of a sales pitch. Keep it short but professional, and come armed with the facts, including a few bullet points about the benefits. Your boss isn’t always going to say “yes,” but if you know what you want, are sincere, and can demonstrate why training is valuable to the company, you’ll dramatically improve your odds.

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Employers like to hire people who keep their skills up to date. The best way to do this is to become a life-long learner. The Education resume section shouldn’t just begin and end with your university degrees. Keep on learning. Take classes, view webinars, participate in association chat and conference sessions, anything that will increase your knowledge and expertise in life and your job.

There are a variety of places to look for life-long learning opportunities. You can start with Continuing Education through your professional association or college. Many PBS television stations carry some form of adult learning classes. Take the seminars that are offered through your job. Checkout online videos or webinars that showcase college lectures. Search for higher education institutions that allow you to take online classes. Some classes are free while others have a charge for earning credit. Scan your local paper for museums, institutes and other public places that offer classes. Classes for credit are good because you are tested and held accountable to learn what is being taught. But even classes that do not offer credit or that are not taken for credit will still add to your skill sets and knowledge base.

These learning opportunities make you more valuable to employers. Employers are so interested in finding life-long learners as employees that some companies will offer educational opportunities to their employees on a regular basis. It may be in the form of company-sponsored computer classes, tuition reimbursement or even professional conferences. While you may be required to make a presentation on what you learned when you return from a conference, the knowledge gained and the increased skill sets on your resume may be worth it.

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life-long learner

Most people use the Education section of their resumes to list their degrees to show their qualifications for a particular position. This section of the resume seems pretty cut and dried. List schools, cities and dates of attendance and move on to distributing the resume. However, in today’s difficult economy, being competent may not be enough to land you that coveted first step to a job: being named as a candidate. You need to show the potential employer how you are going to wow them, exceed their wildest dreams, and how you will solve their most difficult problems. You can do this by showing the employer that you are a life-long learner.

By all means, list your degrees on your resume and leave off their dates of completion if you feel that it dates you. But make an effort to keep learning and to update your skills. Add related skills to your professional resume that will build on your primary skill sets. Go to workshops. Take continuing education classes, set aside time for informative webinars. Knowledge becomes quickly obsolete in this age of technology; those who keep learning and use that knowledge in their careers are the employees who will be most productive and get noticed by management.

It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Yes, learning does take time, but you get the opportunity to experiment during work and see which skills work in a given situation and which don’t. This is valuable knowledge, and it deserves a place on your resume, right under your degree list. Make it snazzy. For example, don’t just list “Internet Search Webinar.” Make sure you list the appropriate webinar name such as “Weddles Guide to Internet Searches.” Weddles is a respected and known name within the job search industry. The name signifies that you learned valuable information by attending this webinar.

Above all, be prepared to talk about any new experiences you listed on your resume with an interviewer. Tell how this new learning can resolve employer problems and how it can be used to train other employees. Make a case for life-long learning, and you may just start a trend at your new workplace to give employees funds and time off to pursue new learning.

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College University

Since the job economy is dismal at best, there are a large number of people who are out of work and have been out of work for a long time. For many employed workers, they are working in a field totally unrelated to their college degree. So, is it helping?

Statistics show that those with a degree earn more money than those with only a high school diploma (90% compared to 64%). They may not be making as much as they had hoped, or in a field they trained for. But a college degree is still important.

Hopefully, the times that we live in currently will not last forever and the job economy will get better. When that happens, there will be more job opportunities that may fit your degree better.

Even those who attend a technical college and train in a specialized degree do better, on average. It may seem as if going to college is a waste of time currently, but it simply is not. You have to invest in yourself and hope for a better future.

If you don’t, you will be most likely working for a lot less money than you are really worth. No one wants that. And, everyone wants to be able to take care of themselves and making more money is where it’s at.

The year 2012 is full of promise and now just may be the time that you seriously consider getting a degree. It does not matter how old you are, there is never a better time than now to better your life.

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