Monday, March 9, 2015

Shortcuts to Getting Competent: Time-effective ways of learning without a back-to-school stint

Many people have gone back to school trying to boost their career.

Alas, looking back, many people feel it wasn't a good use of their money and time. Sure that diploma or certificate, afforded some career boost but often not enough. And many have graduated with a worse case of the imposter syndrome than before they went back to school: "Now, I'm expected to know a lot but I still feel pretty clueless." 

That's not surprising because most university courses are taught by theoretically and research-oriented PhDs, not the best folks at providing practical career training.
Rarely does a solution exist that's faster, better, and cheaper. But in the case of career preparation, there often is: Replacing State U, let alone Private U, with what I call You U: a self-designed combination of articles, book-skimming, videos, webinars, bootcamps, online discussion groups, online and in-person short courses, and tutoring, perhaps guided by a mentor.

Of course, the first objection is, "But employers like seeing the piece of paper, or even require it." True, but a paragraph in your job application letter such as the following can often make clear that you're at least as worthy of consideration as someone with that degree:

You may be tempted to toss my application because I don't have the required degree. But so many people say their degree wasn't that practically useful, let alone worth the time and money, I decided to be a self-starter and craft a degree's worth of learning that would be far more likely to make me a better employee. Please see the attached listing of of articles, books., videos, webinars, bootcamps, online discussion groups, tutoring, online and in-person short courses that I have completed over the last year.
I have chosen to emphasize substance over form but now we get to the moment of truth: Will you interview me?
If you were an employer reading that, mightn't you interview that candidate, even if s/he didn't have that degree?

My article today offers a tip or two on how to make the most of each of those learning methods that can be used to comprise a You U education.

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