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Done School? Get the Experience You Need to Land Your Dream Job

Jun 27, 2008
If you have recently completed an academic program at college or university, it can be difficult to translate your academic work into the skills and experience needed to land your dream job. Many academic programs, especially those in the arts and humanities, do not traditionally include experience based training and employment skills development. This leads to the classic post-graduation dilemma. You can't get the job you want without experience. You can't get the experience you need without the job.

In order to get the experience and skills required to land your dream job, you need to become employment ready. The first step is to learn what experience and skills are needed to succeed in your dream job. Next, determine whether an internship or volunteer position will help you land that job. If you need additional certification or qualifications, or can't find the right internship or volunteer position, look for an experience based educational program that will give you the experience and skills you need. It is common for college and university graduates to obtain practical, skill based education. Invest in yourself and what you offer to potential employers.

Evaluating Your Options

The best experiential learning opportunities are found outside of traditional academia. Private colleges and technical institutions offer many attractive experience based programs that promise employment readiness. The best programs often include strong practicum and industry support for students and new graduates.

Try to find a program that minimizes overlap with your previous education. Look for programs that give you concrete skills and experience. Take the time to review the potential curriculum. Make sure that you will be investing in building new employable skills, rather than rehashing old academic experiences. This is especially important if you are considering a program at a technical institute, as many students enter technical programs out of high school and require some amount of academic polish to accompany their experiential training. Research your options and ask tough questions. This will save time and money in the long run.

A final consideration is opportunity cost. Unfortunately, the old adage is true. Time is money. If you can finish a program in one year instead of two, you will be able to start building your career and collecting a pay check sooner. Look for programs that allow you to study year round. Look at the number of in-class and direct instruction hours. Ask how the program you are considering gives you the skills you need to succeed. Keep employability in mind. Try to look at potential programs from the view point of potential employers.

What Should You Look For?

What is experience and skill based education? Rhodes Wellness College, an industry leading coaching, counseling and wellness college, is a great example. It is a pioneer in experiential education. Students build critical coaching, counseling and wellness skills by applying the tools and theories they learn to themselves and others. Students become great coaches and counselors by engaging in hands-on training. Students with diverse backgrounds coach and counsel each other, helping other students while other students help them. This unique process builds skills, experience and confidence. It also leads to tremendous personal growth. Students learn how to succeed personally and professionally.

Rhodes Wellness College also maintains relationships with employers and continually updates curriculum and teaching methods so that graduates are employment ready from day one. All of their diploma programs include an applied practicum, utilizing a strong network of employers within the coaching, counseling and wellness fields. All of this translates into post-graduation employment rates consistently higher than 80%, and at times greater than 95%.

Best of Both Worlds

The great news is that students and new graduates that have a traditional academic education, as well as industry specific skills and experience, are highly valued by employers. They offer the best of both worlds. By consciously investing and building your own skill set and experience, you will land the job of your dreams and succeed!
About the Author
Neil Mangan, B.B.A., is the Vice-President of Rhodes Wellness College, an international leader in accredited and recognized Coaching, Counseling and Wellness education. To start a fulfilling and meaningful career, visit www.rhodescollege.ca.
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