Before launching into new career training, it is a good idea to take a hard look at what training you really need.
Are you considering it solely to get a new job as fast as possible? Or is it more because of your love for the subject matter, with the possibility that you might use it in a job someday?
What Do The Employers Want?
If you are considering undertaking career training qualifications primarily to help you get a new job, then we are really talking about training that the employers want you to have.
And this can be different from the career training that colleges, universities and other institutions may be marketing to you.
Many colleges, even non-profit, operate under a business-type model and therefore are trying to market and sell their products (courses) and generate maximum revenue just like businesses do.
But what they are offering does not always line up with the career training that employers want you to have.
Do I Really Need Any Career Training At All?
So the question is:
“What training do I need to have so I can successfully apply for the job?”
But even before you ask yourself that question, a more fundamental one is:
“Do I really need this new career training at all?”
Just because many job advertisements for a particular type of work state that a certain qualification is required to apply for this job, applicants believe it is therefore impossible to get this type of work without this formal training.
A very easy way of exposing this myth is to find out how many people currently doing that type of work do not have that formal qualification.
The answer in many industries will probably surprise you.
How Did They Get The Job Without The Qualifications?
Why do so many advertisements say “must-have XYZ qualification” but many employees in the industry don’t have that formal training?
Part of this discrepancy is that many employees in any given industry did not get the job by responding to an advertisement.
In fact, most jobs are not obtained by applying for an advertised position.
80% of all jobs are secured through the underground job market (i.e.) jobs that are never advertised (my two sons have entered the workforce in recent years and neither of them got their jobs through an advertised position).
If jobs are not advertised, employers never need to address the issue of stipulating qualifications in advertisements as a prerequisite.
On many occasions, employers simply include formal career training as a method of reducing the number of applications.
For every job advertisement placed, there are many very well qualified applicants who do not have formal qualifications.
After Microsoft had become a successful corporation, Bill Gates could have applied for every IT job on the planet and probably would have been offered every single one of them ….. but he never had a college degree! How foolish would it be for employers to exclude him because of this?
Read more about the underground job market.
Choosing The Right Career Training
Here are a couple of pointers that will increase your chances of choosing the right career training when you are responding to advertisements:
Don’t Believe a College or Training Institution’s Own Self-Promotion
Or for that matter, graduate testimonies or comments on review sites.
Like all sectors, training institutions have had their fair share of questionable marketing practices including successful court cases against some of the for-profit organizations.
The best way to know that you are receiving authentic feedback is to talk in person or on the phone to graduates who have graduated within the last few years; or students who are currently in the training program.
This can be done in a couple of ways:
Contact the appropriate department in the College or school and ask if they are willing to provide you contact details of past graduates.
Once you have spoken to one past graduate, ask this person for contact details of other graduates they may know of.
Visit The Campus (if possible)
Talk to the first student you see.
Introduce yourself, explaining that you are considering doing an (e.g.) business degree next year, saying something like “you wouldn’t happen to be studying business management by any chance would you?”
If they say no, simply ask them “do you happen to know anybody who is? …Or anybody who might know someone who is”.
You probably won’t have to ask this question many times before you find somebody studying in your desired field.
Then explain your desire to do this type of study offer to buy them a coffee and ask them gracefully if they would be willing to give you 15 minutes of their time to answer a few questions about the course. Perhaps offer to meet them on campus in a cafe etc. later on.
Prepare a few well thought out questions.
The last question you might want to ask them is something along the lines of “do you happen to know anybody else who would be good to talk to or is in their final year or who have already graduated from this program”.
Then ask if they would mind if you spoke with them as well. Get their contact details.
Follow the procedure again a number of times; telephoning your new contacts, explaining how you got their details and asking if they would be willing to give you 15 minutes of their time over a coffee, etc.
Does this sound like a lot of work?
Yes, but it’s a very small amount of work when you consider the amount of money and time you are about to spend on your new qualification/career training.
The time you spend on this is a little bit of insurance that could save you a lot of regrets and student debt.
What Career Training Do Employers Want Me to Have?
In the final analysis, the employers call the shots on what career training new employees should have.
There is no point in enrolling in an online IT degree or online business degree if employers deem an online degree worthless in these industries.
Or if you were contemplating enrolling in an online counseling degree but most employers in the industry stipulate that all counselors must have face-to-face, on-campus training.
So you should always talk with key employers in the industry and ask them “what pre-employment qualifications/career training do you like to see new employees have and what institutions do you rate the best for providing this qualification?”
Sending an e-mail or better still a hardcopy letter (less likely to get lost in the Inbox) should be able to achieve this.
Or call the HR department.
Or if you have managed to talk with someone who is already working in the industry as a result of step 1 above, then you could contact this person to find out who makes hiring decisions in the organization, then contact that person and ask them the training question outlined above.
New Career Training Doesn’t Mean Lots of Job Offers.
Many graduates become very disillusioned after successfully completing college or other training to discover that it’s still not easy to secure employment.
There seems to be a thought (conscious or subconscious) in the minds of many college attendees that once I have my qualifications, the job offers will flow.
Career training qualifications are not a ticket to an easy job search.
Although it can be an essential component of the job application process, the importance of this is often given more weight than it should by job applicants.
Research suggests that personal attributes like a strong work ethic and the ability to get along well with other people are more important to most employers.
Of course, we are not talking here about those careers where qualifications are critical to success and where employers cannot legally employ you without formal career training.