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How to Further Your Education to Enhance Job Prospects

To enhance your job prospects in a career field, you may decide to further your education. You might need additional education, for example, if all the jobs you want seem to require a college degree and you don’t have one. Or you have an undergraduate degree and the job requires a graduate degree. Or you have a degree in the “wrong” field.

If you enroll in a formal degree program, be sure to mention this fact when explaining that you don’t have a sheepskin now but are hot on the trail of a degree.

My experience in the point-of-sale industry more than compensates for my present lack of a marketing degree. (Cite several examples showing you know what you’re talking about.) However, I can see that a degree is important to you, and I want to mention that I’m enrolled in a degree program now, with expected graduation in 20XX. So you have the best of both worlds with me — heavy-duty experience, plus current academic knowledge.

But if carrying a heavy schedule of classes at a four-year campus while pounding away at your day job is more than you can tackle right now, consider these options:

  • Kick off your educational comeback in slow motion. Begin with one class in a modestly-priced community college course.

  • Enroll in distance education degree programs. Costs vary considerably, from such private institutions as the University of Phoenix on the high end, to such public institutions as New Jersey’s Thomas Edison State College on the low end. Look online at GetEducated.com and Peterson's Distance Learning for more information.

  • Take advantage of a free online “auditing” opportunity. This type of program is offered by some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities. The trend started with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare in 2003.

    Joining the list of name colleges and universities offering free course materials online are Yale, Notre Dame, Bryn Mawr, University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford. Specifics vary by school but institutions are posting everything from lecture notes and sample tests to actual audio and video.

  • Sign up for lectures. These are not degree-granting programs, but if you enroll in one for the joy of learning, you can mention in a job interview that you are “enrolled at MIT, 2009, Physics II.”

You’re probably besieged with Internet spam advertising “overnight” delivery of impressive college degrees: Get a Harvard law degree tomorrow, only $29.95. Don’t fall for such nonsense. Degree-mill documents are suitable for shredding.

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