What You Should Know About Online Classes to Advance Your Career

By Brittany Loeffler on February 20, 2018

When you graduate from college, you may feel that you didn’t learn certain skills that are essential in your field of work. Many people are under the impression that just because they are not students anymore, they can’t learn or take classes.

That’s where online classes come in! Even after you have graduated, you can still take classes and advance your career. It’s impossible for professors to teach you everything you need to know to be successful. Sometimes you have to take initiative and do some learning on your own because there is always more to learn.

via Pixabay.com

What Is An Online Class?

Online classes are affordable and convenient alternatives to traditional classes held in a classroom. They are still taught by professors and certified teachers. Except you can learn from home rather than going to campus every day.

There are also different variations of how an online class is taught. The structure of the class may be prerecorded videos that you must watch each week or a live video stream at a certain time each week. It may be a hybrid class where you meet with your professor in person once or twice throughout the class. It’s important to find the right one for you to ensure your success in the class.

Why Take an Online Course?

You’ve already earned your degree, so why take more classes? Haven’t you learned everything you need to know during your four years in college? The answer is no. There is always more to learn, especially when you want to advance your career.

There are certain things that they do not teach you in school. For example, if you graduated with a degree in English and want to become a freelance writer, you need to know more than just how to write. You need to learn marketing so you can market yourself to clients. You need to learn how to run a business, which involves bookkeeping, sales, customer relations, and much more.

What Kind Of Courses Are There?

There are so many online classes out there! When people think of an online class, they may think they are only focused on business skills. That simply isn’t true. You can take an online class in just about anything.

There are classes that focus on business skills, computer programming, photography, reading body language, and so many more. When you want to advance your career, don’t focus on only business skills, but also people skills. It never hurts to take a course in reading body language or sales or a foreign language.

How to Choose a Class

With so many options out there, you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing an online course to take. First, make a list of all the skills you feel you will benefit from to advance your career. Once you have a master list made, it’s time to narrow it down.

Ask yourself, which skills are the most important? Which skills will separate you from other job applicants? That is the online class you should take first.

Next, if there are skills you would like to learn that require more than one class, start with the basics. You can’t jump into an expert level class without taking the beginner class. Start small and work your way up.

What To Expect from Online Classes

Online classes greatly differ from a traditional class. You have much more responsibility when it comes to an online class. Rather than making sure you show up to class at a certain time each week and sitting in a classroom, you must carve out time from your schedule to make sure you take your class. Many online classes don’t have certain times that they “meet” online. It is up to you to stick to the schedule, watch the required videos or read the required readings on your own time. Nobody is taking attendance.

It’s also important to stay motivated while taking an online class. When there isn’t a teacher who expects to see your face a few times a week, you may lose motivation to attend the class and complete assignments. It’s easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow” when taking an online class.

Time management is a major skill you will need when taking an online class. There are some classes that will require extensive projects to be done or a number of readings. You may be working full time or have other commitments. Make sure that you can manage your time well so you can complete assignments, study, and “attend” class.

How to Prepare for an Online Class

Nobody likes going to a class unprepared. The same thing goes for an online class. Before your online classes begin, become familiar with the website and platform where you will be learning. Buy any required textbooks or supplies that are required for the course.

It’s also important to make a space in your home where you will complete your online class. As you advance your career, it’s essential that your study space is productive and free from distractions.

Make yourself a schedule to stick to. If your class doesn’t have a required time to meet during the week, it is on you to make sure all of the videos and readings have been completed and assignments are done on time. Set aside certain days and times to work on your class before it begins. This way you won’t fall behind.

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via Pixabay

How Much Do They Cost?

The benefit of taking online classes to advance your career is that they are much more cost-efficient than taking traditional classes on a campus. There are even some classes that are completely free. Take advantage of these free classes and save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars while receiving the same information and skills.

If you decide to take an online class through a college, you may be eligible for financial aid. That already low-cost class is now even more affordable! Don’t let yourself be discouraged from learning because of a price tag.

When Should You Take Them?

Depending on the online class, you can take them at any time. Some classes do have specific dates when they start and end, especially if you choose to take them through a university. Others are self-guided and you can start, pause, or end them at any time.

Recent college graduates should definitely take advantage of online classes to advance your career early on. While you have some time off and are on the job hunt, it’s a great way to fill your time and build up your resume.

If you are thinking of changing careers or want to apply for a promotion, start taking online courses a few months before you plan to apply. There are plenty of classes that mid-career professionals can take to make them stand out. Since technology is always changing, it’s important to keep up with it and stay relevant.

How Online Classes Advance Your Career

How exactly do online classes advance your career? There are a few ways, actually. One is that they teach you certain and essential skills that you did not learn in school. You may find after going on interviews that there are certain programs or topics that you should know but don’t.

Another way is that they separate you from other job applicants. If you have a long list of online classes that are relevant to the position you are applying, it makes you a more qualified candidate compared to someone who solely has a degree.

It also speaks to what kind of person you are. If you are willing to take online classes after graduating from college, it shows a potential employer that you enjoy learning and are willing to learn. This is an important quality to have when being considered for an open position.

How Do You Add Online Courses to Your Resume?

When you want to advance your career, you must send out your resume. There is always some confusion when it comes to writing and putting together a resume. There are certain formats and words that you should use. There’s also certain information that should be left out.

When it comes to listing the online courses you’ve completed on your resume, it can get a little tricky. The best way to list them is to make a separate section for them at the bottom of your resume. You can replace your “Skills” section with “Relevant Courses.” Here, you can list which courses you have completed and where you completed them.

It’s important to keep these courses relevant to the position you are applying for. You may have taken 20 online classes, but only five of them are relevant. It’s also good practice to skip the intro classes you’ve taken. An employer will be more impressed that you took a higher level class than an intro class.

If you take an online course that awards you a certificate at the end, make sure to add it to your LinkedIn profile. This will allow employers to see that you did, in fact, take the course and passed it.

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Infographic by Brittany Loeffler


What Are the Benefits of Taking an Online Class?

As you know, college graduates rarely work in the field they majored in. That being said, online classes are extremely beneficial to working the job you want. Since you did not major in your preferred job, you will need to do some extra learning if you want to advance your career. That’s where online classes come in.

If you decide that you don’t want to work for “the man” and start your own business, online classes are a great place to start. Being an entrepreneur means always learning and having many different skills. Start your business, big or small, with a few online business courses. Some essential courses to take are marketing, project management, general business, and accounting.

Though online classes are a big commitment, they make it easier to learn new things because you can do it from home. The classes available aren’t limited depending on where you live or which university you attend. You can sit in your pajamas and learn new skills that will advance your career right from your bed!

Online Classes Aren’t An Easy “A”

There is a common misconception about online classes being easier than traditional classes. Just because you can sit at home and take a class doesn’t mean that it is any easier than sitting in a classroom. In fact, it can be harder because you have more responsibility. You are solely responsible for learning the material and getting assignments done.

However, if you want to advance your career, it’s important to stay motivated and dedicated when taking online classes.

Always Keep Learning

It’s a good habit to always keep learning. Just because you earned your degree does not mean you know everything there is to know about your major. It’s impossible to learn everything there is to know in just a few years. Throughout your life, you must be willing to learn new things, especially when you want to advance your career.

Whether it’s learning new computer programs, graphic design, photography, people-skills, or bartending, you should always be learning. With each new skill you learn, the more interesting you become.

What Are You Waiting For?

So, what are you waiting for? You know you want to advance your career, but may not know where to start. Online classes are the way to go! They are more affordable than going to graduate school and convenient. You can take them while also working full time. Taking online classes can make you stand out from other job applicants. It shows employers that you take initiative and learn on your own.

Though they do require a big commitment and tons of dedication, they are helpful and essential when building your skillset. The more online classes you take, the more qualified you will be, which means you will eventually land your dream job.

Start advancing your career today with online classes!

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