Rethinking what you have already accomplished from a new perspective.

Do I Need Job Training or Online Courses?

A lingering effect of our recent recession is that many Americans, laid off, downsized, or unceremoniously fired, have been out of work for weeks and months and have spent a great deal of time "looking" for a new steady paycheck. With the help of the internet, access to employment sites, online newspapers, and other networking resources, job seekers can look for work "around-the-clock". Considering the greater number of employment prospects, it is likely that many jobs are still filled in the traditional ways: amazing resumes, eye-catching cover letters from passionate applicants, old-fashioned networking, and solid interviewing skills.

With no success finding a new source of reliable income, many reverse the search process and decide to spend money and invest in themselves - often through some type of job training or with online courses. The clear choice for many is to go back to school (often higher ed), to start or complete a degree, get a certificate or diploma, or retrain in some way through various vocational and technical programs (in person JobCredit: ©CapstoneTrendsand online courses). Have you asked yourself if a new certificate, diploma, or bachelor's degree would help your job search? What about a graduate or professional degree, or an MBA? While it can be wise to move yourself entirely into a new field through occupational training, for many the debt incurred by this investment is not a smart choice. 


Another possibility is to completely remove job-specific aspects from your resume, and think about your skills in the broadest sense. What you might find is that you have not been able to secure new employment because your search was too narrow- not just in your field, but in the types of jobs to which you are applying. It means that your abilities, skills, experiences, and successes all need to be reevaluated.

This is where many say that they have applied to all sorts of jobs, in and out of their field, to no avail. But before you apply to a job that is not obvious for someone with your experience, you must reinterpret your occupational skills in the broadest possible sense. You must consider all your skills from the employer's perspective and consider that much of what is needed to acccomplish this job has already been learned or mastered by you in your other work settings.

REAL WORLD EXAMPLE: Finding Employment

For example, in a coaching session with an under-employed professional entertainer, it became apparent that this individual had a fair amount of experience running the finances and scheduling of his own business, negotiating contracts, dealing with clients and managing subcontractors, and a fearless attitude toward public speaking that came from his performance experience. All of this information, presented in the correct way in his materials, landed him a great series of interviews including one for a state-level municipal contract negotiator. All of this was possible without signing up for online courses or completing job training. Once it is clear what your skills are, the interview becomes relatively easy.

Many job-seeking returning students, mid-career or later, are often frustrated to learn that much of what they need for a new field is real common-sense experience that they already have, and the rest are simply the procedural aspects of a particular company that they will gladly be taught on the job. (Remember some jobs training is provided by corporations as a part of your employment. Wouldn't it be better to have your new employer reimburse you for all of your online courses?) Ask yourself this before you consider whether you should get your MBA! All this can often be accomplished without the immediate need to retrain, or the related debt that comes with that, and very often without as long out of the workforce. [100]