It isn’t difficult to end up in a job that leaves you wondering what you were thinking when you took it. But there still were investments that you made to be in that position, right? Here’s some thoughts on how to evaluate those investments, and what to do if you aren’t happy with the current return on your investment.
Investments in Your Job Today
Everybody invests three things in their career: time, money, and effort. But they vary widely on both the quantity and quality of what they put into it.
Time invested includes how long you looked for your job, how long you’ve worked at your job, and how many hours you work. Time adds up in small increments, and the accumulated effect of the time you invested is valuable. You have experience when you have spent time doing something.
Money invested can range from buying a paper to look at the job listings to buying the Job Search Success System. Your interview and working wardrobes, transportation costs, professional workshops; if you spent it to get or keep a job you invested it.
Effort invested is harder to calculate. You can spend time at a training session and get nothing out of it because you were not really thinking about improving your skills. Effort means you have invested more than time or money — you put energy into it.
Improving Your ROI For Your Future Career
Professional development is all about adding effort to the money and time you invest in order to improve your return on that investment. You could buy that Job Search Success System, for instance, and invest money. You may even invest a little bit of time skimming the contents. But until you put effort into applying what you learn, you aren’t going to see much improvement.
You don’t have to buy anything to improve your ROI for your future career because you already have time and money invested to some extent. Add some appropriate effort to what you have and you will see positive change. It may take some more time or money, but those are useless without what you add to the equation.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
“The more you learn, the more you earn” — Brian Tracy
I heard that quote recently and thought, ‘wow, how true’. I mean, we all know that, right? If you don’t have your high school diploma, you’ll earn more if you get it. Then you earn more when you get your Bachelors, then your Masters, and so on.
I was thinking of my hoards of clients who continually improve themselves by taking a training course or getting an advanced degree. Any type of Professional Development is only going to improve your earning curve, whether it be in your current job or the next one. And really, in some jobs training is as important or more so than an advanced degree.
I’ve just begun some training on certain aspects of resume writing and I’ll tell you, I am SO EXCITED about it! I’ll be able to offer clients something different and it will improve my skills even more. Will I raise my prices due to this training? Well, that will depend on the resume. This is for special types of resumes, so perhaps for those, I will. And I should. It will be an enormous value for clients and will improve their chances of landing dream jobs even faster.
Have you had any training lately? Have you updated your resume with that? If not, do it now. It adds to your income earning potential and makes you more employable.
Whenever you get the chance, take that free training offered at your company. It adds tremendous value to you.