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In a Time of Recession, Learning Is Key

Everybody knows that we are currently in a recession—even though some are afraid, or just have their heads too deep in the sand to actually say it aloud. 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 distinguish yourself from the crowd when job hunting among the masses. There are many 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 every day.” But, there is no better time than now to further your education, learn new skills, or earn career advancing certifications. With that in mind, I have decided to do just that. Here are my thoughts on what I hope will propel my career. I hope they can help you do the same:

Recently I 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 fifteen years, I did not feel that I had the necessary tools to prove my experience. In the running against thousands of other human resource professionals, I had to prove myself, and I had to prove that I was just as experienced and qualified (if not more so), as others in my field. The same can be said for anybody else, regardless of the field you are in.

Okay, I know many of you are probably 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 you can’t edge your way out in front of the thousands of other people competing for the same job as you. Are you starting to see things my way yet? 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 or private university. But for those that are looking to save time and gain some flexibility, there is a plethora of online offerings. There are universities that exist primarily 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 entire programs online. Prospective students should check out Drexel University in Philadelphia, which offers an online certificate, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degree programs completely online. Florida State University, in Tallahassee, offers both undergraduate and graduate online programs, as does Indiana State in Terra Haute, Indiana. There is a wealth of information regarding 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!