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Dedication to Education Print
Written by Abby Kohut   

This week I received an interesting question from a job seeker about furthering his education. His question was about whether to pursue a higher level of certification in his field in order to get into management. My answer to this question is not as obvious as it might appear.

There are many reasons to go back for more education while you are searching for a job. Here are some of them:

  1. Furthering your education in your field on your own time indicates that you take pride in excelling at what you do. Who would not want to hire someone who is dedicated to achievement?

  2. The people in your classes will naturally become a part of your network. Perhaps they may even lead you to your new job, but if nothing else, they can become important resources for career success once you land.

  3. Going to classes will provide you with some structure during your weekday. It also provides a better answer to the question of what you did while you were out of work than the "I just searched for a job" answer.

  4. When you have a full time job, you won't have as much time to take classes as you have now. There is no time like the present.

  5. Some job descriptions require certain certifications. If you go and get them now, you may be eligible to apply for more positions that you were able to before.

It would seem then the obvious answer to the job seeker's question would have been yes, until you dissect the question further. The question was about whether the additional certificate would help propel him into management, so the answer I gave him on the surface was that I didn't think that it necessarily would.

If you have not been able to achieve a certain level of salary or title in your career until now, the reasons may not be so obvious. The question is whether it is your education, your job inconsistency, your industry knowledge, your leadership aptitude, your internal motivation, or your attitude that has held you back, or if it is something entirely different. The answer will vary based on whom you ask. I recommend that you ask your former managers for their honest opinions. But then, be ready to hear them. My belief is that it's rarely education that is the cause. They call me Absolutely Abby, not sugar coating Abby.

What I recommended to the job seeker is that he ask his former managers for the answer as to why they thought he had not reached a management position thus far. Perhaps it's something in his work or leadership style that held him back thus far.

Not everyone has to be a manager to be successful. You can be a highly compensated consultant or specialist and still earn a terrific living. So listen carefully to the answers, embrace them, and then consider how you might gain the tools that are missing from your toolbox.

Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Getting additional educational is wonderful to have if you are doing it for the right reasons. Ultimately it will always help your career, but not necessarily in the direct way you expect it to. Heed the lessons you learn as you dig deep and ask the important questions of your mentors, friends and managers. The answers have the power to enlighten you and ultimately help you make dramatic shifts in your career.
 
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Drawn from my 18 years of experience and research in recruiting and Human Resources, my blog posts are intended to provide insight into what corporate recruiters and Human Resource professionals look for when they are evaluating your qualifications. Simply reading these blogs will not guarantee you success. However, consistently applying the strategies mentioned, as well as developing your own personal interview style, will greatly enhance your chances of victory amidst the competition. I wish you the best of luck with your search as you begin to take charge of your career!