Ricecracker. via Compfight

I’ve become very aware of how important it is that we do all we can to demonstrate that we are ready to make our next move. Demonstrate what and to whom? Well, demonstrate to the universe, to ourselves and our friends and family, and to prospective employers and clients – that we have the necessary skills and attitude.

Specifically, I’m seeing the value of taking a course or two to add to your toolbox of skills, increase your ability to “hit the ground running,” show that you are a “lifelong learner,” and boost your self-confidence in the search process. Here are a few examples of how taking a class improves one’s credibility.

  • K is General Counsel and Director of Human Resources for a non-profit organization, and is becoming dissatisfied with her current work environment.  She’d like to move on to a position more suited to her personality, values, preferences, and skills.  Through our work, she realizes that she loves human resources, yet doesn’t know enough about the field to identify exactly what kind of job she desires.  So Karin is educating herself, by joining associations, going to conferences, listening to podcasts, and reading books and websites focused on human resources.  In addition to helping her form her “intention” about her desired work, this education is demonstrating her willingness to make that move.
  • M has the perfect skills and background to become a Major Gifts Officer – securing five, six and seven figure charitable contributions from wealthy individuals. What she doesn’t have is any experience as a Major Gifts Officer. While she gets many interviews and often makes it to the final round, she hasn’t yet landed that job.

So now Michaela is doing a couple of things: one is expanding the scope of her search to include jobs for which she already has work experience, and two is getting educated: taking a course in Major Gifts management, and learning the dominant fundraising software.  Her long-term goal is to be the CEO of a non-profit, which involves an enormous amount of fundraising, so this class will not be wasted effort or money. It shows prospective employers that she is willing to learn how to do the job well enough that she at least can hit the road jogging. And it gives her actual skills, so she can feel more confident that she can do the work, and employers are reassured that they don’t have to train her.

  • R is returning to work after an 8 year sabbatical raising his children. He’s a producer and knows that the film and video world has marched along quite quickly in his absence. After we talked, he’s decided to take a formal class in video editing so that he is up to date with the lingo and technology. The class is at a well-known school, where he’ll make connections and be able to network into his next job!

The moral of these stories is that if there is a tangible obstacle standing in your way, address it head on. If you don’t have up to date skills in the field you intend to pursue, take a class or ask a friend to teach you. You’ll make yourself more marketable, keep the brain active and learning, and boost your confidence as you seek work.

Will it take time? Of course. Yet the time will pass anyway and at the end of it, your toolbox will be fuller and you’ll have cleared one more patch of your path to fulfilling work.