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How Do I Choose the Best Career Development Course?

C. Mitchell
C. Mitchell

Choosing the best career development course is usually a matter of identifying what you are trying to learn, then finding a class or program that will meet those needs. Most career development courses are offered through community colleges or public service foundations as a way for local residents to learn networking and job search skills. The career centers and alumni development offices of many schools will also offer these courses as a way to help graduates learn how to capitalize their education and skills on the job market. Some schools may also offer career development courses for students hoping to become life coaches, career counselors, or other personal advisers. The skills taught in each of these courses is bound to be different, though choosing the best one for you is relatively easy once you have nailed down what, exactly, it is you are hoping to achieve.

The reasons for taking a career development course are varied. Perhaps the most common motivation is a desire to learn certain job searching skills. The majority of career development courses are geared towards the job search, incorporating elements of resume writing, networking, and self-selling. If you are looking for a course to help you find a job or discover what kind of jobs you should be applying for, look for courses that are geared towards the community at large.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

One of the best places to start is local community colleges and universities. If a school has a professional development program or a school of continuing studies, it is likely that it will offer at least one career development course that is open to the public. These sorts of classes can vary broadly from basic skills reviews to active workshops with mentoring input.

It is important for you to briefly outline your needs before you sign up for a course. If you are only looking for some fresh ideas to spruce up your materials, a general class might be perfect for you. Experienced professionals who are looking to go back to work after significant time away or looking to make a major career change may need a more specific course. Speaking to an admissions or registration officer can help you ascertain which of the offered courses will best suit your needs.

Some schools offer a career development course program that is designed to provide students with a comprehensive view of the job landscape. These sorts of programs usually include several different courses on a range of topics. Others offer classes designed to be taken on their own. Basic skills like written communication, business e-mail writing, and technology in the workplace can often be taken in the form of an online career development course, as well.

Established professionals or people with a high degree of professional training might find that the most appropriate career development course is offered through their alma mater. Many business schools, law schools, and other graduate degree programs regularly host development and advancement courses specifically for alumni. These kinds of courses have the advantage of being tailored more specifically to a certain job market or type of job seeker.

The vast majority of the career development course programs offered are not eligible for college credit, even if they are offered through accredited universities. An exception is courses designed to help students become career counselors. Graduates of these programs often run the more general career development courses available to the larger community. If your interest is in job counseling, look for programs that are a part of a degree program.

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