Career Change Galway

How to Choose an Online Professional Development Training Course

In a highly competitive business world, independent consultants know that continuing education enhances their abilities, broadens their areas of expertise, and boosts their professional reputation. Many busy professionals are turning to online training courses to receive these benefits, thanks to their “work from anywhere” convenience and often affordable price points.

However, with so many options available, it can be hard to know which training option is right for you.

Keep these considerations in mind choosing the online training course that’s right for your professional development.

  1. Determine Your Goals

As with any major undertaking, consider your goals before signing up for a course. You may wish to ask yourself:

  • Do you expect the training course to significantly impact your core business competency or allow you to broaden your professional skillset?
  • Do you want to learn a brand-new skill or expand your knowledge of a current ability?
  • Do you expect to receive academic credit towards a degree program?
  • Do you want to learn a new software application that is desirable in your field of work?

It’s also important to ask yourself how much time and commitment you will be able to dedicate to your professional training. These questions can help you determine where you need to begin your search.

  1. Select the Right Institution

Online training courses for professional development are available from a number of different types of institutions, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The training college that’s right for you will depend on factors such as your specific goals, your future ambitions, and financial and time restraints. Your main options include:

  • Accredited college or university – For those considering pursuing an academic degree or certification, professional development courses taken at an accredited university may be able to earn college credits. Today, many top universities offer flexible online programs or hybrid “executive” programs that offer online training plus an in-person night or weekend coursework.
  • Specialized training institute – Often the most economical option, specialized training schools offer a high degree of flexibility in course options. Many of these online outlets offer hard skills training in your vertical as well as generalized experience in areas such as Microsoft Office, digital competencies and more.
  • Vendor-specific courses – This option provides highly specialized training in a particular product often computer hardware or software directly from the manufacturer or vendor of the product. The course subject matter is very narrow, but will generally give in-depth instruction and training directly from an instructor certified and employed by the vendor.
  1. Choose the Right Format

Online professional development classes are offered in a number of different formats that fit varying academic levels, learning styles and personal schedules.

Some are highly regulated, with specific set class times that you must attend. These courses are often taught by an instructor or professor via live video feed, and participation and interaction are expected. Other online courses use a more free-form approach that allows participants to work around their own schedules, learning the material via text and pre-recorded videos. In this format, the only interaction with the instructor may be through email. In others, one might pay to listen to lectures or lessons and complete assignments on their own, with no direct instructor interaction.

Carefully take into account your schedule and learning type to figure out which format works best for you.

  1. Find the Right Fit for Your Skill Level

Make an honest assessment of your skill level and competency in the area you plan on studying, either through self-evaluation or from a third party. You may find that you know more – or less – about the subject than you assumed. This will help you find the right course level for your needs, and prevent you from wasting your time and money on a course that is either too advanced for you to follow or too basic for you to benefit from.

Don’t rely on the title alone; thoroughly read the course description and objectives of each class before choosing. What one instructor or institution may call “intermediate,” another may consider “advanced.”

  1. Do Your Research

Before enrolling in any online professional development training course, thoroughly research the course, the instructor, and the institution. Talk to colleagues in your field, check online review sites, or solicit feedback from social media groups and your network of contacts. Professional training courses are an investment of both your time and your money, so it’s in your best interest to find an option that is reputable, respected, and a valuable investment.

Source: mbopartners.com

What Does Covid-19 Mean for The Future Of Work?

‘’…Excerpts from Forbes Ashley Stahl’s article in June 2020…’’

There has been a lot of discussion around the impact of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have for the future of work, and yet, ever since Covid-19 swept the globe, the message about our future has become even clearer: what started as a few weeks of working from home has evolved into a catalyst for change regarding how we work and live.

Over 16 million US workers have transitioned to working from home, a new category of careers has been born under the title “essential workers,” and the average American has now begun to stream online content for 8 hours or more each day.

It’s safe to say that the traditional definition of office life has been put to rest.  But, now we are all left to wonder, what will replace it?

Here are four probable shifts we’ll start seeing in the workplace as we eventually step into the post-Covid-19 world.

  1. Remote work could further the racial divide.

A survey conducted by WayUp found that only 10% of new college graduates believe it will be possible for them to find a remote job or internship. While this is a gloomy value for the previously bright-eyed graduates, what makes the data even more alarming is factoring in participants’ demographic. Candidates who self-identified as Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino were an astonishing 145% more likely to feel concerned about finding a remote job compared to White or Asian candidates. This discrepancy may very well be due to the occupational segregation that unfortunately still exists within the U.S.. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identified that only 19% of African American and 16% of Hispanics would be able to work from home based upon their job functions. Construction and services jobs, held primarily by Hispanic and African American workers have been some of the hardest hit industries due to Covid-19, and are the least capable to provide remote work.

Not only were Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino descent candidates more stressed about getting a job, but 48% of them felt under qualified. When asked why, many of these candidates expressed fear about not having access to high bandwidth internet and living in confined or distracting quarters. Data shows that Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American families have more family members (19% and 7%, respectively) per square foot compared to caucasian families. Suffice to say, the more people confined to a small living space, the more distractions you can expect to face, not to mention devices fighting for that strong internet connection.  It’s no surprise that this demographic is more stressed about working from home.

Take the initiative to have conversations in an effort to understand how employees work best and what tools they may need to feel confident in producing quality work.

  1. Determining promotions and merit increase will become data-centric.

In the past, one of the main reasons employees received promotions was due to their tenure within the organization. In fact, one study found that 150,000 employees with low-performance scores from 75 companies received promotions in a single year. Suffice to say, there isn’t always a direct correlation between getting a promotion and stellar job performance.

With a drop in in-person connection, and an increase in online platform usage, the days of employees schmoozing their way to the top may be on the decline. The future of promotions looks to become more data centric, where the decision is based upon an array of qualitative metrics such as sales figures, year over year performance values, and customer service scores and reviews. We can also expect a rise in app and technology usage that evaluates employees’ digital experiences. These additions will provide employers with a more collaborative and data measured sense of the value you are able to add, despite being remote.

With the influx in remote work, some managers have already begun to analyse productivity through tracking employee keystrokes or remotely monitoring screens via programs such as TeamViewer.  The number of minutes idle on a computer or the number of keystrokes taken could be used as a baseline to dictate engagement and effort.

Whether this level of monitoring is beneficial or not, remote workers can rest assured that they still have a high chance of getting a raise. In recent years, 57% of females and 51% of males working remotely are still getting raises. This increase in promotions for remote workers may be due to the fact that productivity and workplace satisfaction are higher for employees who have flexible work environments. Not only that but, remote female staff received the largest merit increases over any other group. A larger transition to remote employment may be the very solution to lessen the gender pay gap.

  1. Cyber security measures will become even more necessary. 

As companies provide more employees with remote work computers and access to email on personal mobile devices the need to build heightened cyber security will become mandatory. While security breaches have risen 11% since 2018 and 67% since 2014, we can only expect this rise to continue, given that remote work widens an organization’s attack surface.

Here’s the harsh reality: a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds and 93% of successful data breaches occur in less than one minute. This theft can take place anywhere from someone’s car, to public transportation or at a local cafe, and employees must take on a sense of responsibility to help protect the security of their employer.

This risk has become so high that the International Associate of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), a vendor neutral IT organization, expressed heightened warnings to government agencies and businesses around the risks involved with allowing employees to work from home without secure devices. A previous report found that 17% of U.S Securities and Exchange Commission laptops were being used in unauthorized locations. Needless to say, the more employees a company and agency lets work from home, the larger the breeding ground for security breaches.

In order to combat this devastating loss from happening to you, here are a few things Miller recommends doing now:

  • Update software and firmware of your antivirus, operating system and hardware with modems and routers.
  • Have a security measure in place for monitoring at user, application, system, network and database level
  • Have an active monitoring system in place.
  1. Methods of feedback will drastically change.

When offices were swarming with staff, managers could quickly stop by an employees desk and thank them for their hard work on a recent project, or offer gratitude for their input during the morning meeting. Covid-19 has torn down these familiar ways frequent feedback was provided, pushing management to use alternative means of providing consistent feedback.

This may not seem like a big concern, but when you take into account that Millennials, (born 1980 – 2000) who make up over half of the workforce, carry a deeply rooted need for consistent feedback…managers are in for some abrupt recalibration on how they provide feedback to keep their employees happy. The more time remote employees spend out of sight, the more they worry about also being “out of mind”.

Although putting an emphasis on qualitative data will drive promotions forward, employees need to maintain a level of personal connection. While relying on instant messaging and email is quick and consistent, managers should establish weekly or monthly, or even bi-weekly video (face-to-face) meetings to review projects and ensure employees are receiving the support they deeply crave, and need, to continue growing.  Use this time to not only offer performance feedback and support at work but to build a personal connection and relationship. Employees leave bosses, not jobs, so take the time to make your connections genuine and authentic. While it may feel like an employers market right now, losing employees has major costs to a business (50-75% of an employees annual salary) that likely isn’t something you want to deal with.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, data confirmed loneliness was at an all time high.  With more staff working at home, this epidemic may only grow. Managers have an opportunity to bridge this gap of isolation while building relationships to provide supportive feedback. Keep communication consistent and personal amongst your teams and in one-on-one virtual settings.

If you are a business leader, what can you do to prepare for the future?

  • Consider leveraging new apps and virtual technology to gather employee feedback such as PollEv, OfficeVibe, Vevox and Polly.
  • Do a deep dive on companies that have already been managing remote employees successfully. Every year, FlexJobs released their top 100 remote companies list which is packed with great examples of businesses that operate well with remote staff.  One great example is Dell, who implemented flexible work options back in 2009 and has been reviewed on Glassdoor as a top company to work for from home. Not only are their employees happy, but with 25% of their staff working remote, they have been able to save $12 million annually on real estate alone.
  • Revisit your healthcare plans.  Get curious and question how your healthcare options can improve to better support the wellbeing of your employees during pandemics such as Covid-19.  Evaluate where wellness stands within your organization’s culture and how you can better prioritize not only physical health, but also mental wellbeing.
  • Schedule ongoing one-on-one virtual check in meetings with employees to ensure that they feel heard and supported.
  • Consider how to adjust your training and on-boarding process based upon a more remote staff operation:
  • Cyber security training such as those offered on Alison or Coursera.  You may even want to build your own training unique to your business through an internal Learning Management System.
  • Health and safety training: based upon adjustments in the office such as hand washing stations or social distancing barriers, build out training on the new procedures and processes that impact daily office life.
  • Management training: with teams working remote the style of management will shift and the means of communication must adjust.  Generate training to outline how to be communicative and supportive when the majority of interactions are now virtual.
  • Prior Learning: How To Manage Remote Employees is a virtual seminar that reviews how to mentor and manage staff from afar, how to assimilate teams to work together and how to handle off-site struggles and office politics.
  • Coursera Virtual Teams: An online training on how to become an impactful leader working with virtual teams.

These changes are something that employers and employees alike must become familiar with and take precautions to prepare for.  At the end of the day, your career and business success remain in your hands.  It’s up to you to adjust to the changes, not drown beneath them.

Source: forbes.com

Facing Redundancy…?

Redundancy ranks as one of the most stressful life experiences for many people. However, in the process of leaving, it is important that you protect your interests.

The following suggestions from Personnel Career Management, a UK based outplacement organization, talk here about how you can ensure that both practically and emotionally you are in good shape and well-equipped for the challenges ahead.

  1. Don’t panic

It’s common for people to either rush into a flurry of activity or be like a rabbit caught in headlights when they get made redundant.  Avoid either fate by keeping calm.  Make a list of all of the things you need to arrange in the months ahead and them list them in priority order. This might include legal and financial arrangements, outplacement support and contact numbers for networking meetings.

  1. Know your rights

Check out Citizens’ Information’s website for information on your rights.  Consider speaking to an employment solicitor if you have any sense that the redundancy may not have followed due legal process or if their signature is required on the settlement agreement. Obtain a copy of the in-house redundancy policy if there is one and check out the exit terms and notice periods in your contract.

  1. Negotiate

Don’t be afraid to bargain and ask for more than your employer is initially prepared to give. This might include keeping the company car, support for re-training, an enhanced lump sum. You have nothing to lose by asking! 

  1. Depersonalise

It’s easy to take your redundancy personally and to feel aggrieved either by the decision or by the process leading up to it. However, if you do choose to challenge the redundancy be careful to focus on facts and policies, not on personalities. Similarly, when talking to prospective employers about your redundancy, present it as having been a tough business decision and don’t criticise particular individuals.

  1. Build bridges – don’t burn them!

Try to maintain good relations wherever possible with your previous employer, even if you disagree over the manner of your exit.  You will still need a reference for your next job, and it may be that your boss or colleagues can make useful introductions or offer you consultancy work. 

  1. Get support

Help from a professional. They can make a huge difference to your job search success and reduce the amount of time taken to find your next role.  You can purchase this yourself, but there are significant VAT and tax advantages to having it arranged via your organization. It’s always worth asking if the company will contribute towards outplacement services.

  1. Plan your Finances

Work out your financial situation so that you have a realistic picture of your finances and cash flow.

  1. Do your research

Don’t rush into applying for any or every job that comes up. Take stock of what you have to offer and what you want to do.  Then research what employers are actually looking for so that you can devise a CV that meets their selection criteria. Talk to people in your target industry for career advice and information. This information will also be invaluable in helping you identify potential employers.

  1. Brush up your employability

Assess whether there are any gaps in experience or training that could be a barrier to getting another job and address them. Redundancy is a good time to take some of those courses you have always been too busy to go on; not only will this enhance your skills, it will also impress employers with your commitment to continuous professional development.

  1. Think Positive

This is a great opportunity to move your career forward in line with your own personal agenda. Although it can be traumatic at the time, many people find that in the long run redundancy is actually the catalyst they need to take their career in the direction they actually want to go. So use this time to think about what you really want, and go for it.

Source: personalcareermanagement.com

Working from home…!

Many people work from home for many different reasons. Some have being doing it full-time for a long time; some part-time i.e. 1-3 days per week and 1-2 days in the office or vice versa and others have / are experiencing it for the first time whether it be part-time or full-time.

For some employees in the latter group, this will be a new experience although others may be used to working from home as in the former.

To work from home, you will need a laptop, a good internet connection, and a dedicated work space. There are many free online tools and resources for instant chat and video conferencing.

Employers must ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all their employees. Employees also have responsibilities when they are working from home.

This document from Citizens Information outlines the duties of employers and employee responsibilities during home working and giving us general tips on working from home.

Employers’ duties

Employers have specific duties to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all their employees. These duties include the employee’s workspace if employees work from home.

Key duties include:

  • Managing and conducting all work activities to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of employees
  • Providing safe work that is planned, organised, and maintained
  • Assessing risks and implementing appropriate control measures
  • Providing safe equipment including personal protective equipment, where necessary
  • Giving information, instruction, training and supervision about safety and health to employees
  • Having plans in place for emergencies

If employees have a disability, are young workers or are pregnant, employers need to ensure that the tasks and working conditions do not adversely affect their health.

Your employer should check with you to ensure:

  • You are aware of any specific risks when working from home
  • The work activity and the temporary workspace are suitable
  • You have suitable equipment to do the work. For example, your employer should make sure that the applications and systems you need are installed on your computer
  • There is a pre-arranged means of contact

Equipment and your workspace at home

If your employer provides equipment, it must be in good condition and suitable for the activity. If you already have suitable equipment at home, it can be used temporarily.

Employers must check that your temporary home workspace is suitable for the work. This includes things like safe access to the space, essential equipment, that the space is big enough and free of clutter, there is adequate lighting, ventilation, heat, and that electrical sockets, plugs and cords are in good condition.

Employers need to communicate regularly with employees and ensure that employees are taking adequate breaks.

Employers should also:

  • Keep in contact with employees
  • Give regular updates to each employee
  • Have emergency contacts and procedures in place
  • Ensure employees take adequate breaks

 

Employee responsibilities

If you are working from home, you have a responsibility to take reasonable care of yourself and other people who may be affected by the work you are doing.

You must:

  • Cooperate with your employer and follow their instructions
  • Protect yourself and others from harm during the course of your work For example, you must take care of your equipment and report any problems immediately to your employer
  • Report injuries to your employer immediately
  • Follow any procedures put in place by your employer i.e. checking in regularly

You should:

  • Agree temporary remote working arrangements with your employer, including regular communication with them
  • Identify the work to be done at home with your employer
  • Identify the equipment you need to set up a safe workspace at home and agree this with your employer
  • Identify a suitable safe space within your home for home working
  • Agree plans and contacts to be used in the event of an emergency
  • Ensure you have a suitable workspace

General tips for working from home

We have summarised general tips to help you look after your health and well-being while working from home as follows:

  • Stick to your normal routine as much as possible, starting your day as you normally would: shower, getting dressed and eating breakfast
  • Keep times for lunch, dinner as close to normal as you can
  • When taking breaks resist the temptation to just go and make a coffee and come back to your workspace. Make the effort to go into another room or out to the garden, if you have one
  • Log off for your lunch break
  • If your partner is also working from home, arrange to have breaks together in another room or in the garden, if you have one
  • Give your eyes a break, for 5 to 10 minutes every hour. Get up, move around and take your eyes off the screen
  • Try to limit your social and news media intake
  • Exercise, stretch and go out for a walk if possible
  • Make sure you rest and get a good night’s sleep
  • Restrict the amount of alcohol you consume during the week to help you stay focused
  • Eat healthy foods even though as it is tempting to increase your intake of snack foods
  • Do take annual leave, it may help to take even a portion of the leave planned so you can concentrate on your own health and wellbeing
  • Keep in touch with your colleagues, pick up the phone or video call colleagues that you would usually spend breaks or lunchtime with and chat to them for a few minutes

Source: https://www.citizensinformation.ie

Five simple ways to update your Resumé?

In days when you have time on your hands, you would not spend better time than to review your Resumé (Curriculum Vitae – CV), update it and make it ready for internal promotion, external job opportunities and/or a job/career change.

Niamh Brennan from Cpl says that no matter how long it’s been since you did it before, it can be hard to know where to start, so she has shared five simple ways on how to update your Resumé.

In Cpl, they receive hundreds of Resumé’s every day. They know what works, what doesn’t and what will get you noticed by employers for the right reasons.

  1. Get inspired by your LinkedIn

When you’re not actively looking for a job, you’re unlikely to open your Resumé and update it each time you have success in work. However, you’re a lot more likely to add updates to your LinkedIn profile in real-time.

When the time does come when you’re searching for a job review your LinkedIn and see if there’s any good information there that could be added to your CV. You might be surprised at how reading through your own professional history can jog your memory.

  1. Simplify the structure of your Resumé

How you present a Resumé can have a big impact. You want your Resumé to be as readable as possible, and easy to digest at a glance. To do this use:

  • A regular font – Calibri (Body), Arial or Veranda are all good options
  • Bullet points instead of paragraphs and numerals instead of written numbers
  • Headings and bold text to make important information stand out
  • List information in chronological order
  • Save your Resumé as a Word doc, but send it to prospective employers/recruitment agencies on a PDF

Put time into simplifying format and design and you’ll create a Resumé that can be easily read by a recruiter or potential employer.  Hiring managers tend to prefer a simple CV, so save yourself time and focus on content rather than design.

  1. Emphasise achievements

Avoid including unnecessary and lengthy details, instead emphasise results and achievements rather than daily tasks. A Resumé should highlight skills that make you attractive to interview.

This could be successful projects you worked on, awards you have won or any impactful problems that you solved. Again, use specific examples that showcase your technical knowledge, and statistics and figures that clearly back your achievements up.

  1. Update your education section

Continuous learning is becoming more and more important, so don’t forget to update your education section with any relevant courses you’ve completed during your career. For example:

  • On-Line courses
  • Night classes
  • Internal training programmes
  • Certifications

By keeping your education up to date, you are showing your commitment to continuous learning and a passion for the industry you work in and the work you do.

  1. Write a simple to the point Bio

It might seem old fashioned or unnecessary, but a good bio can make all the difference. Distinguish yourself from other candidates by telling your prospective employer who you are, what you do and what your objectives are for your next role. If you don’t know where to start here are some things to consider mentioning:

  • Why do you do what you do?
  • What’s your current role?
  • Any notable accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for
  • Depending on the company/job – something a little more personal that shows you’re a good cultural fit

When writing your bio keep it concise and always edit with the position you’re applying for in mind.

Taking the time to update your Resumé properly could mean the difference between landing a job interview or not. Spend time on it.

Another old but good Resumé tip is to list your achievements, big and small on a piece of paper. This will help you to recognise the value in things you’ve done that you might have forgotten about. Things like managing staff, training new staff, organising schedules, handling cash for example.

You can then use this brainstorm as a base for updating your Resumé with any relevant points and accomplishments. Finally, remove any outdated skills or information you no longer want to highlight and proofread then proofread again.

Initial source: cpljobs.com