Many people who are in the job market – either by layoff or just for a career change – often look first at going back to school. A better education is never a bad idea, but there are some things you should consider before you enroll.
- Today’s higher education can be prohibitively expensive – especially if you plan to attend a good quality accredited school. How will you pay for your classes and books without a job? How long will it take you to re-coup those costs? Will you really get that much higher salary?
- Technology is changing fast affecting many jobs very quickly. When you finally get that new degree it may already be outdated.
- A higher education takes a lot of time – time that you won’t be working and making money.
- Cheaper on-line classes might not be as accepted as a “real” education. You might just be wasting your time.
On the job training (OJT) may be a more effective way to enhance your career or train for a new career direction. The hardest part of OJT is finding an employer that is willing to take the time and effort to train you – but it might not be as difficult as you would imagine. Many employers would rather have a person trained in the specific way they do business rather than bring on an employee with a head full of preconceived ideas. Most companies know the value of OJT and are more than willing to provide the opportunity.
Your past experience is your biggest asset when seeking on OJT position. An employer needs to be able to determine that you are the type of person that will learn quickly with the appropriate ambition. If you don’t already have years of experience you will need to be able to convince a prospective employer that you are that type of person. Practice several different ways of conveying that information in an interview – before you go to the interview. Be sure you can provide specific examples either in your professional life or private life that prove you are able to adapt and learn quickly.
The down side of OJT is that you may need to take a pay cut. You can’t really expect to get paid a full salary without the full training. But weighed against the amount of money you would pay for a quality education and the difference in cost to you could be substantial. OJT is your ticket to self improvement and career advancement at a fraction of the cost of higher education.