March 22, 2009

In a Time of Recession...Learning is Key

Everybody knows that we are currently in a recession...even if some are afraid or too in the dark to actually speak the word. Companies are going bankrupt, people are losing their homes to foreclosure, and unemployment is at an all-time high. In these difficult times, it is so important to distinquish yourself from the crowd when job-hunting among the masses. Amid stories of low-level jobs receiving hundreds of applications for one position and McDonald's turning down a woman with a bachelor's degree because "applicants with Master's degrees are applying everyday, there is no better time than now to further your education, learn new skills, or earn career advancing certification. I have decided to do just that.

As some of you are probably aware, I recently completed the grueling, but worthwhile task of attaining my SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) certification.

My certification proves to the world that I am proficient in all areas of Human Resources and have attained the highest level of credentials in the field. The SPHR also proves to others that I am committed to the long-term furthering of the field. I decided to pursue my SPHR because, even though I have been in the field for over 13 years, I did not have the necessary tools to prove my experience. In the running against thousands of other HR professionals, I had to prove myself and had to prove that I was just as experienced and qualified, if not more, as others in my field. The same can be said for anybody else, regardless of the field you are in. I know many of you are griping about how little time you have...between work (for those lucky enough to still have jobs), family, and personal obligations, what time will you have to further your education? Well, just think about all of the time you WILL have once you lose your job and can't edge your way out in front of all of the thousands of other people competing for the same job as you. Are you starting to see things my way yet? Ahh...I thought you would. Today, there are so many options to consider when going back to school. You could certainly pick up a few classes at your local community college, or obtain your Master's degree at your nearest state of private university. But for those that are looking to save time and gain some flexibility, there is a plethora of online offerings to be had. There are universities that only exist online, such as University of Phoenix, Capella University, and Devry's Keller Graduate School of Management. What most people don't know is that more and more traditional, brick and mortar colleges and universities are now offering online programs as well...some even offer the entire program online. Prospective students should check out Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, which offers online certificate, as well as Bachelor's and Master's degrees completely online. Florida State University in Tallahasee, FL offers both undergraduate and graduate progams online, as does Indiana State in Terra Haute, IN. There is a wealth of information on online course offerings on the premier education website, Peterson's. Here you can not only find out about traditional and online course offerings, but also specialty schools, such as nursing and technical schools.

I urge each of you to take a long, hard look at your background and your experience and determine if there are ways in which you could improve your chances of future success. Whatever happens and whatever you choose, may your path be long and fruitful!

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