Back to Class

A job seeker inquires:
Do you know any companies that are willing to train for the job? – Drooling for Schooling

A gainfully employed person asks:
I want to move up to the next level at my current job. Now that the kids are back in school, I have more time for taking classes. Should I research possible training courses to help position me for a promotion, or ask my boss for suggestions? Will my company pay for it? – Chalk It Up

Dear, “Drooling for Schooling,”

Training magazine creates an annual list of the Top 125 organizations that excel in employee training programs. If you are lucky, one of these employers may be right in your back yard.

For most other companies, providing training is a bit less of a certainty. Employers often receive hundreds of responses for every job they post. While you’ll get the basic training required for any new position, fewer companies have the resources to train unskilled employees from scratch these days. When hired, you’ll likely be expected to hit the ground running. While you are searching for a job, lace up your proverbial sneakers and be proactive about learning new skills. Take certification courses or classes at your local community college or online – or try temporary jobs to develop on-the-job skills (see The Bridge from Temping to a Full-Time Position). When you complete a course or certification, be sure to add these to your résumé too.

Dear, “Chalk It Up,”

It’s always a great idea to continue your education to enhance your skills, to keep up with technology, to merit more money, and yes, to earn a promotion. Astute managers recognize that encouraging training opportunities benefits the company as well as the employee; the company gets a better-qualified staffer, and the employee is more fulfilled. In fact, cutting-edge companies offer subsidized training or tuition reimbursement as a perk. However, for a business offering education assistance, this can be a double-edged sword. Employers want to be sure that when investing in employee education, they will realize a return on investment (ROI) before the enriched team member moves on to greener pastures.

Given that school of thought, it may be wise to enlist your manager’s help with your career development – which is not to say you can’t put on your own thinking cap and provide some well-researched suggestions. Schedule a time to talk about possible areas your supervisor would like you to improve or develop new expertise, or be cross-trained with someone else in your department. For tips on setting up cross-training, refer to Documenting Worker Responsibilities in Select Family’s TradePost. Supplementary training must be well-chosen to benefit you in your current or next position at your company and dovetail with your own career goals.

Podium22445521_SmallThere’s a big difference asking your organization to fund an advanced degree versus a less costly seminar. For big-ticket degrees and certifications, your employer may be hesitant. You may be able to negotiate an agreement – in writing – committing to continue to work a set time period after receiving the degree, paying the tuition up front and then being reimbursed, or other arrangements to make both parties feel comfortable.

When considering seminars and training courses, don’t forget to factor in other costs, like airfare and hotel for out-of-town opportunities, and even time away from your duties for local or online training. Both you and your boss should look at not only the dollar investment, but the time expenditure required.

Lynda_SmallTo upgrade your skills in a less costly manner (which may be more palatable for your employers), online education abounds.  is a great resource for thousands of courses and tens of thousands of video tutorials, all available for a very reasonable monthly rate. One of my readers recommended Ed2go for inexpensive (less than $100) online classes from many continuing education partners countrywide.

After attending an approved seminar or convention, it’s a great idea to send your boss a thank you e-mail with a brief synopsis of what you learned and possible applications to improve your company’s business. Seeing measurable results will boost your chances for approval of future education requests — and also go a long way toward increasing your value as an employee in your manager’s eyes.

Readers: How do you continue your education to benefit both you and your employer?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

Advanced Degrees While Employed
I Resolve to Get a Raise
How Education Impacts Your Job


Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
%d bloggers like this: