Q: I want to improve my skills with a view to advancing in my career. I have looked at a few courses on sites such as Alison.com and Udemy.com, and they look good, but they don't seem to have great accreditation. Should I bother with them?
A: It’s horses for courses (boom, boom ), writes Liam Horan, career coach, Sli Nua Careers.
Here are eight good reasons to do a short course:
Short courses are excellent for helping you decide if you like a topic or field. By sampling in this way, you only commit a few hours initially and then decide if you want to proceed further or reverse back out. Little enough venture, and an important insight gained.
If you proceed further, you do so secure in the knowledge that you like what you are getting into. Thus, a short course might be a precursor to a significant qualification that may, in turn, open up new career possibilities for you.
Accreditation sometimes matters hugely, sometimes not at all. If, for example, you are going for a job as an office administrator, the fact that you have done some short online courses on social media might strengthen your case. The company is not seeking to hire someone specialising in that field, but you might just be able to offer it as another string to your bow.
As a general rule, employers are impressed by evidence of ongoing training. You are showing that you haven’t stagnated and that you are not complacent about your skills.
Dip your toe without spending a fortune.
Do it in your own time, at your own speed, and without having to be in the local training centre at 8pm every Tuesday.
The world is your oyster: there are countless courses available online. Your greatest problem might be actually deciding which one. Defeat your inner ‘child in a sweetshop’ and go for one.
If you have not studied for a while, short courses get those muscles moving again.
Bringing the write stuff
Q: I have a job interview soon and was hoping to impress with my presentation skills. They haven’t asked for a presentation, and, when I checked it out, they said there wouldn’t be a projector available on the day. But I’m a woman who likes to put stuff in writing. What should I do?
A: Sometimes employers are reluctant to allow one candidate do something that others weren’t invited to do – such as make a presentation. You have to respect their wishes.
You can still do something. How about writing out one page of, say, ideas for what you will do in the job, how your career history makes you a good candidate, or an overview of the company as you see it?
You could always offer them that at the end of the interview. It will satisfy your desire to put something on paper and will linger after you have left the room.
Of course, in the spirit of the outlawed presentation, they may decline to accept it. Be prepared for that moment of rejection. If it comes, respect their wishes again and don’t exhibit any sense of surprise, disappointment, or anger.
It’s worth a try. Your job is to get the job. A goal-hanger finds a way to stick that goal. So must you.
Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) has offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe and Claremorris ), Athlone, Limerick, Tullamore, Sligo, Tralee and Cork. Services include CV preparation, interview training, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway-office