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7 Career-Advancing Courses That You Can Take (And Actually Finish)

7 Career-Advancing Courses That You Can Take (And Actually Finish)

Have you ever thought that you would like to have a better career? Have you thought about taking courses, but figured that you don’t have time to go back to school? Well, whether you are an entrepreneur who is busy running a small business, a stay-at-home mom who is busy with kids, or a business person who wants to learn new skills and advance in your career, there are courses that you have plenty of time for. Here are seven great options to get you started.

1. Search Engine Optimization Training

seo training

    This is a great course for small business owners. It will teach you how to do SEO through courses that are tailored specifically for you and your needs. It doesn’t matter if you are already an expert with SEO or if you are just getting started, this training is going to benefit you and your small business. Your new knowledge will mean your marketing will be much more effective and you will get more visitors to your website.

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    2. Communicating Strategically

    communication

      If you are a professional who has trouble communicating with those who are not well-versed in your line of work, this is the course for you. You will learn how to communicate effectively with non-professionals who may not understand business or scientific terms as well as you do. You can take the class for free, and if you want a PurdueX Verified Certificate, it is just $50.

      3. Speechwriting 101

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      speech

        Have you been asked to write a speech but you have no idea how to do it? If so, here is a great course with 10 lessons that have been created for beginners to help them write great speeches. Lessons include “How to Write for the Ear (Not the Eye)” and “One Speech Structure to Rule them All.” The course is 10 weeks in total, with one lesson per week.

        4. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager

        law

          Here is a course that will help you to understand the basics of legal issues that surround businesses. This intermediate-level course starts with the basics of business law and then moves into the second half, which includes various issues, including intellectual property, business disputes, bankruptcy law, reorganization, international trade, and more. There are 21 lessons for a total of 32 hours of study.

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          5. Learn Java

          java

            This is a free, comprehensive guide to Java, which is one of the most popular programming languages today. These lessons are fast and easy, and you will be able to complete your work in under three hours — with no need for previous experience in programming. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to write code quickly and easily. You will be guided step-by-step, and you can even compete with peers from other parts of the world.

            6. Public Speaking

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            public

              A lot of people know their stuff inside and out. But, if questioned about it, they freeze up and can’t speak. Or, they are not able to effectively relay the information. If this sounds like you, you need this course. Through lectures and the textbook, you will learn about every aspect of public speaking and what it takes to be an effective public speaker. There are also videos that show the various aspects of public speaking.

              7. The Fundamentals of Adobe Illustrator

              illustrator

                In order to take your designs to the next level, you need to be using Adobe Illustrator. If you have never worked with vectors, anchors, brushes, symbols, etc., this may seem a bit scary. However, once you take this course, which only takes a month to complete, you will be an expert. You will learn how to take a project from concept to completion, even if you are just a beginner.

                Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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                Jane Hurst

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                Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

                You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

                Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

                “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

                It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

                Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

                As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

                As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

                Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

                Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

                1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

                When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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                Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

                2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

                Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

                But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

                If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

                Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

                3. Go to All Office Networking Events

                Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

                If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

                Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

                Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

                The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

                Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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                4. Show Initiative

                Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

                Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

                Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

                5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

                Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

                Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

                6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

                A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

                Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

                Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

                A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

                Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

                Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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                These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

                Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

                7. Find a Mentor

                With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

                Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

                Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

                Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

                8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

                After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

                What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

                Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

                Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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                You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

                9. Set Your Professional Bar High

                Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

                Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

                Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

                Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

                The Bottom Line

                Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

                “Half of life is showing up.”

                The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

                Remember, your career is your business!

                More About Continuous Growth

                Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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