The Importance of Continuing Education in Today's Recruitment

I've been called a "knowledge junkie" by a colleague! Yes, if there's a hot-topic course coming up in my community of private career practitioners, you can almost bet I'm registered.

Last month I took (online) courses to get updated on LinkedIn, ATS, and SEO in the job search. And because I am both a resume writer and small business owner, the last two (onsite) workshops have been more about business.

Last week, for example, I travelled to Toronto to learn "how to write killer web copy." I'm ready to do some website rewrites and updates. And I'm fresh from attending a Monday morning Facebook event, #shemeansbusiness. 

The photo is of me at the event. They had a "photo booth," without a booth, and with state-of-the-art equipment took a mug shot, emailed it to me, and handed me a print photo as well, all in about 60 seconds or less. Amazing.

Continuing education is important not only to me as a service provider, self employed, but also to your employers, however small or large, simple or complex, local or international. As work, products, and services evolve at break-neck speed (that's how fast it feels at times), so too must our skills and knowledge improve and increase.

Those job hunters whose resumes demonstrate a continual evolution of skills are more likely to get short-listed for interviews than those who finished their formal education and then let their education stop.

Sometimes clients claim they haven't had time or just didn't think of it. But, it's never too late to start! I often make recommendations in continuing ed to clients who either need to fill a gap in bonafide skills or who would benefit from pursuing a related designation.

Here are a few ideas to populate the Education and Professional Development section of your resume:

1. In-house training. Lots of employers offer in-house workshops and maybe you've taken a few? Rather than titles - if irrelevant - list the category. Communication, Leadership, Report Writing can cross many fields.

2. Self-taught. Do you wait eagerly for the next book, do you head straight for university bookstores when travelling, or do you stay on top of your field of study in some other way - professional associations, conferences? A simple list the books you've been reading either on your field of knowledge or on business, leadership, communication will speak volumes to a passion for your work.

3. Sign up - NOW! There are tons of on-line courses, some free, some inexpensive and some expensive and fully accredited. Sure, a Harvard education is important to some employers, but to most, where you have chosen to study is less important to the fact that you did choose to study. Try Udemy, Great Courses, for starters.

If you're not sure what to study, ask your boss, ask a friend with a history of promotions, ask a manager you've connected with on LinkedIn, or ask a career coach! But don't let uncertainty stop you.

It's your career to manage after all. If you do nothing, guess what? Ain't nothin' gonna happen is my prediction. No step up the career ladder for the ambitious, no lateral move made easy if you find yourself let go, no transferability if you find your job obsolete, and no dream job for those who dare to dream.

If tomorrow the bottom dropped out of resume writing, I have tons of skills to leverage to find a job. How about you?

How Throwing Stuff Out will Improve Your Resume

Once in a while I have a client who, like a renaissance woman or man, is into many things with education or training in diverse and sometimes esoteric interests.

A sales woman comes to mind - along with sales of scientific, biological products, her resume also included her role and training as an alternative healer.

Or another salesperson who trained in graphic design, animation, and improv acting!

And then there are oodles of examples where job hunters include jargon not related to their new position, which demonstrates a disconnect rather than a similarity.

Sometimes, adding unrelated info or jargon can be at the very least, distracting, and at the worst, a deal breaker. Sometimes, it's best to throw stuff out rather than include all in a resume.

But how and what belongs or doesn't?

Here are a few things to consider:

1. Does the training enhance your ability to perform the duties? If not, throw it out, and if it does enhance your ability to perform the job, point out how. Improv training can absolutely help a sales person as it teaches nimble thinking and builds confidence in handling situations where the dynamic unexpectedly shifts. But if you are applying to an executive assistant at a conservative legal firm, improv acting may not be appreciated as a suitable additional or transferable skill.

2. Does the training dilute your message? If you're making a major career change, like switching from roads maintainer to nurse, including a long list of the certificates you hold that allow you to operate machinery will not sell you into the nursing role. In this case removing the list and substituting something along the lines of "successfully completed and applied 12 certificates of knowledge" showcases a transferable skill: the ability to continue learning.

3. Does the detail confuse your reader? I've had many, many clients whose resumes would confuse the reader with questions of "what does this person really want to do/be?" Put yourself in the reader's/recruiter's chair and review your resume with a critical eye. Every line, every bullet, every qualification, skill, and proof of value MUST relate to the job you're applying to - from the top to the bottom. If it doesn't, it's not the best resume yet!

There's no point in mentioning your work with "hydrogen tank valves" if they don't even exist in your new job! Stick to the commonalities and throw out the differences! The valve story actually was a "failure mode analysis" story that demonstrated a client's ability to determine root causes. Removing non-related jargon and concentrating on the transferable skill is another way of throwing stuff out to improve the resume.