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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: The gap analysis, for those of you who don't know what that is, we actually covered in the Managing Your Career course, and actually, the gap analysis is something that you did with me when I was making a transition in my career. I was coming from being a full-time public school teacher into moving into educational production. Do you want to talk a little about what a gap analysis is? Valerie Sutton: Sure, so it's looking at a future job, your ideal job, and saying what are the requirements of that job? And you break it down into three different area, so the skills that are used, like analytical ability, the knowledge--for instance in an education case, it might be Pre-K and some type of specialty--and then the qualifications like a degree. And you compare this to what you actually have and look at what's missing and then how you can actually obtain that skill, knowledge, or qualification to help you move to that career.
Jeff: Right, the gaps are actually places that are gaps in your career that you Jeff: would need to fill. Right. Valerie: Exactly. Jeff: Do you have any advice for someone who may have done the gap analysis and about how they can fill those gaps? What are some of the methods they could do? Valerie: There are a lot of things you can do. Of course education does absolutely help you fill gaps, but you can also look at taking courses on lynda.com, for example, where you gain a skill in say how to use Adobe, which can help you find a potential job, or a lot of the graphic design courses. You can also shadow and look and see how people have learned those skills and doing some informational interviewing to help you think through how you might fill those gap.
Jeff: One of the ways I filled the gap was doing an internship. Do you want to talk about who an internship might be perfect for? Valerie: Yeah, internships are great for students. I'll say it would be hard to do that if you're not a student. There are some possibilities there; it's just a little more difficult. But a student will be the perfect person. Whether your early career or sort of that mid career when you're in graduate school, it's a great time to gain that experience.
I think once you get a little bit older and you're outside of your career, that's when I would think about how else can I get this experience.
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