Building a career requires many things. You’ll have to bring passion and care to the work that you do. You’ll do better if you master networking and develop meaningful relationships with others in your field, especially a mentor. And, above all, you’ll need to complete the training and education that it takes to get a job and advance in your chosen field.
That will mean different things for different people, of course; depending on your career of choice, you may need to get lots of new degrees after high school or none at all. But whatever direction you’re headed with your career, you should consider a few things.
Should you go to school online?
Not so long ago, going to a brick-and-mortar college or university was pretty much your only viable higher education option. Not anymore, explain the advisors at Excelsior College, an online university with a strong reputation. These days, hiring managers recognize that online colleges are graduating students that are every bit as qualified as those who come out of brick-and-mortar institutions.
And going to school online has advantages. When you’re attending school using your computer, you can go to class in your own home — there’s no need to pay for a dorm room or an apartment near a campus. Online classes can offer more flexible schedule options, too — you may be able to do much of the work on your own time. For those with jobs or families to worry about, online universities can be a great way to make education work within budget and scheduling constraints.
Do be aware, though, that not all online universities are the same. The pros at Excelsior College recommend that you focus on nonprofit institutions and really do your research. If you do, you should be able to find a superb online university.
Can you develop a skill set that puts you in demand?
A lot of great jobs are out there, but not all of them offer the best job security. As you make your way in your education and your career, you will want to consider skills and specializations. The more specialized you become, the more committed to one career path you’ll be — but if you pick the right skill set, you’ll also be hard to replace.
Take, for instance, court reporters (also called stenographers). They have an important job, which is to record all of the things said in legal proceedings in real time. Those fast-talking lawyers and the rest of the courtroom gang make this difficult, but court reporters get it all down quickly and are better than computers and artificial intelligence programs at determining what is being said, when to indicate crosstalk, and overcoming other dictation and reporting dilemmas.
How do they do it? With very specialized skills, expert West Palm Beach court reporters say. Court reporters learn how to operate a specialized kind of typewriter called a stenotype, and they use a special form of shorthand to get everything down fast. Their specific training makes them indispensable.
Can (and should) you advance your career with more training?
Once you’ve found your calling, you’ll be working, working, working! But, sometimes, it may pay to stop working and go back to school. Getting a graduate level degree or (if you don’t already have one) a college degree could make you more appealing as a candidate for promotion or for opportunities at another company.
But be careful, because school can also be expensive, and taking time off of work obviously isn’t terribly lucrative. You may want to consider online courses or non-degree certification programs, which may allow you to beef up your resume without losing time at work or taking out student loans.