Many of us have asked ourselves the question: could I increase my job prospects by getting more qualifications? In many cases, yes, you can. However, qualifications may not always be the best option for you – especially if you haven’t got a dream career in mind. Below are just some of the important questions to ask yourself before you seek out extra qualifications.
Which qualifications are necessary for my dream job?
Formal qualifications aren’t necessary for certain roles. For instance, you can become a realtor or a firefighter or even an air traffic controller without any higher education. You may still need to train and achieve certain licenses in many professions; however some employers may offer entry-level positions that include this training.
Other jobs may require a degree, but not any kind of specific degree. For instance, you may be able to get a job at a large marketing firm with a maths degree or an art degree and not necessarily a marketing degree.
In other cases such as law and medicine, specific degrees may be mandatory if you have any chance of being recruited. In these cases, you definitely do need to pursue qualifications – you can’t become a doctor without a degree in medicine.
How competitive is your dream job?
While some recruiters may not specify the need for qualifications, there are times when having extra qualifications under your belt could help increase your chances of getting hired. If you’re applying to a role in sales and you’re the only one with a sales degree – an employer is likely to have high regard for this and it could help you to get that job.
In some cases it could even be worth getting extra qualifications on top of the qualifications you’ve already got. For instance, it could be worth taking a tax preparation course on top of already having an accounting qualification when applying to an accounting position at a sought after company.
It all depends on how attractive the role is. If it’s a big company in a popular industry, you can expect there to be a lot of competition. In these instances, extra qualifications will make a difference.
Do you have the time and money to invest in extra qualifications?
Studying for a qualification could mean taking on student debt and dedicate huge amounts of your free time to studying. If you’ve got a job that you need to keep up to pay the bill or other responsibilities such as kids, you need to be able to study around these commitments. There are many people that are able to do this, but others may find it too much of a strain – particularly if you cannot afford to cut down hours at work or take on childcare. You can learn more about studying with responsibilities here.
Are there other ways you can showcase your knowledge?
A qualification may not be the only way of showcasing your knowledge. This is something that many candidates forget.
Previous career experience can often be valuable. You could also consider starting a blog or a vlog related to your dream industry (such as a sports blog if you want to get into sports journalism). You may even have life skills that you can apply to a role.
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