Education up to snuff? Do you have the right education to get the next job you really want?

August 25, 2011

It’s been said many times that a home is the largest, or most important, investment most people will ever make. I beg to differ. By far the most important investment you will ever make is in your career. Why you ask?  It’s your career which makes everything else possible, including that dream home. The income and benefits you derive from your job, your career, finances your lifestyle – in short, it determines more than anything else how you will live.

As recruiters in a specialty vertical to Retail, Manufacturing & Business for Supply Chain, it is still a surprise to see that there are still quite a number of key Procurement, Supply Chain and Merchandising /Operations middle and senior management leaders across North America who have moved through their careers without that crucial undergraduate degree.

Here’s something you need to be aware of. The bar for admission is high and isn’t going to change any day soon. The majority of Tier 1 companies these days will NOT accept anyone as a candidate into a management or line role in Supply Chain or Purchasing/Merchandising without a completed degree as a minimum requirement. And, experience in lieu of education just won’t cut it.

Investing in your future career means keeping your education polished and getting those undergraduate skills up to snuff (get it done at night NOW to get it under your belt) and through continuous learning. Organisations revere and embrace “continuous improvement” and “leading practices” and really admire an individual’s commitment to their own continuous learning. Often, a candidate’s investment in their ongoing education will be what it takes to snag the job. You, too, need to be continuously improving and constantly acquiring new knowledge and skills as a priority so as to maintain and increase your value to your present and future employer.

There are many ways to do this. Firstly, one learns by doing, and so the experience you gain on the job translates into increased ability and effectiveness over time. However, this “apprenticeship model” is no longer enough. Employers are looking to their people to bring new ideas and innovations into the firm, and to do that you need to become familiar with current “best practice,” and to seek out new ideas which may have application in your workplace. 

Formal education is the expected base, but it is just that – a foundation upon which you must build. Continuing education courses are one avenue, whether or not you take them as part of a degree or diploma programme. Short courses and seminars can be of great benefit, since they tend to be geared towards current issues or ideas that affect your field of expertise. But even this is not enough.

Become a voracious reader of books, magazines, trade papers, and other publications which relate to your area of expertise. Use the Internet to conduct research. Websites of professional organisations are one great place to start and through your networking, you will find out what your peers are doing to stay current and on top of their game in their careers.

I am interested to hear back about what you are doing from an education and networking perspective to hone your career effectiveness. Others would be sure to benefit from your thoughts.

Over and out

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