Don’t be surprised when interviewing if the hiring manager asks about the last class that you took, or how you go about learning new skills. Continued learning is important to hiring managers because they want to know that you’re willing to keep up as technology changes or new laws are passed.
Following are some examples of how you can continue learning:
Take a Class
There are plenty of individual classes available to help you pick up the latest technology or programming skills. Many colleges and universities provide continued education classes that give you the option of either going to campus or taking the class via the internet at home. Recently there has been a significant increase in on-line educational sites such as Lynda.com and Udemy.com that allows professionals to share their knowledge by providing a venue for them to teach. These sites are very cost effective and provide you the opportunity to sharpen your current skills or learn something completely new.
Complete a Degree
If you don’t have a degree you might find it more difficult to find a job. The majority of companies still require degrees. If you’re only missing a couple of classes consider finishing them. Haven’t started a degree? There are a lot of online universities now that make it more convenient for working professionals to get a degree. Even if it takes you seven years to complete your degree that time is going to pass whether you’re in school or not. So you might as well be in school.
(Note: Read the job description carefully. Some companies might have a statement on the job description that states something like “equivalent experience will be considered.” Normally what this means is that if you have at least four years of directly related experience companies will consider you for the job even if you don’t have the degree.)
There are hundreds of self-help books, classes, videos, CDs and other tools to help you improve on things like your communication skills, or teach you how to negotiate like the pros, or even figure out how to deal with difficult people. Everyone can improve on something. NightingaleConant is just one site that provides plenty of personal development resources. Check out the self-help section at your local bookstore for great reads as well.
Don’t forget that your local library has plenty of resources available to help you continue your learning. In addition to books, many libraries provide seminars from local professionals.
If you’re a member of a professional association, check out the resources available through the association. Many offer great deals on books and seminars. If you’re not in a professional association, find one that fits your area of expertise and join.
Be sure to update your resume with any classes/seminars you’ve attended or the fact that you’re working on your degree. Consider dropping the name of a book you recently completed during the interview. If you can show the hiring manager that continued learning is important to you as well, you might land that next job.