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I Don't Want to Go Back to College. So Don't!

practical advice Jul 08, 2015

As career counselor, I often have clients who are looking to make a career transition but do not want to go back to college or graduate school. My response is, “so don’t!” So the next question is, “Well how do I get the job if I’m not qualified?”

Here’s one fact you may not know about me- I ran a website development and small business marketing company with a friend for two years.  Do I have any formal website development, social media marketing and business administration training?  No! It was all self-taught. Did my clients care that I did not have formal training? No, I never got asked a single question about my qualifications nor educational background (only requests for references). I was referred by word-of-mouth.

How did I gain that experience? Through online and low-cost in person classes.  The suggestions below offer classes in a variety of subject areas whether you need to brush up on skills or learn a whole new skill-set all together.

Here’s how:

  1. Take free or low-cost online classes. With the Internet, information is at your fingertips without having to spend thousands of dollars on a formal education. Some inexpensive options are:

    1. Skillshare- For $0-10 a month, you can take online classes from industry experts. I’ve seen classes ranging from hand-writing to logo design. Classes range from design, photography, business, film, technology, fashion, music, gaming, culinary, DIY, writing, crafts and more.
    2. coursera- Offers free online classes moderated by instructors from top universities and educational organizations such as Stanford, Yale and Princeton. These are similar to taking college classes and can often be a time-investment. Participants who complete the classes will often walk away with a certificate of completion.  Any class you can imagine is likely available, ranging from social psychology to finance.
    3. CreativeLive- Offers free and paid classes by industry experts that are very hands-on and practical. Here’s the caveat, you either watch the class for free as it is broadcasted live or you pay for it if you missed it. Classes are organized based on the following topics: photo and video, art and design, music and audio, craft and maker, and money and life.
  2. Take free or low-cost classes in-person.

    1. SBDC or Chamber of Commerce- Your Small Business Development Center and Chamber of Commerce often has business classes ranging from QuickBooks to online marketing. These are low-cost and you can often network with professionals who may be seeking employees.
    2. Library- Have you checked out your local library? You can take free classes ranging from using Microsoft Office to learning coding.
    3. Community College Continuing Education- Colleges and universities in your area may be offering low-cost classes to the community ranging from event management certificates to basic accounting classes.

My next article will be focused on how to demonstrate the skills you learned from these classes to potential employers and how to market them.  I hope you enjoy!

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