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Are you feeling stuck in your current position, seeking a new one, or contemplating a career change? In this interview, author and career coach Valerie Sutton answers common questions about career development. For those thinking about a new career, she offers advice on assessing your passions and your personality, knowing when you need more education to get the job you want, and researching hiring trends in the industries that interest you. For those actively searching for jobs or getting back into the job market after an absence, she discusses how to write resumes and cover letters that speak to your talents, impress potential employers, and help you land an interview.
Jeff Layton: It seems that when people are in career transition often the first thing they want to do is just go back to school. Is that a good idea? Valerie Sutton: It really depends. The first thing I would think about is, what do you want to do, and does it require the degree? What value will that degree add to your future career? So, a lot of times it's a prerequisite for a career. So many positions--let's just take my industry, higher education--a lot of the positions within higher education require a masters degree or doctorate degree, and in this case it's really important to think about going on for that additional degree.
Other careers it may not be as important to have that degree; however, the degree may give you some other things like networks. Or it may give you just additional professional knowledge that you can leverage, even though it doesn't require the degree. One other things that I recommend is to actually look at your future career, analyze it using a gap analysis, and decide how relevant will that degree and what will the degree do for me in helping me obtain that career.
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