The road to your next best career opportunity may lead you to continuing education classes. Here's why they are a great option.

The Great Recession may be over, but finding a great job is more challenging than ever. Competition is fierce and employers want candidates who not only excel at their work, but who are also versatile and can take on multiple jobs at once.

The fastest way to land a job, earn a promotion or compete for a raise is through professional development opportunities such as continuing education classes. These noncredit courses teach professionals valuable skills to enhance their career, make them more employable and push them to the top of their game.

What are continuing education classes?

Continuing education classes are typically taught at a college or university, city employment agency or corporation specializing in a certain skill. Rather than focus on college curriculum, these courses delve more deeply into the specializations that are relevant to your career.

Classes also teach fundamental skills not typically found in the student's career. These additional skills augment your degree and major. Typical continuing education classes vary depending on industry and specialization, but some of the more basic classes include: Computer Operating Systems, Microsoft Office, Office Management and Productivity, Adobe Creative Suite and Project Management. Click on the following link to view a list of the most popular adult education courses.

Why should I take these courses?

There's something to be said about a person who wants to improve themselves and increase their knowledge. Learning is a lifelong journey, and you're never too old to take a class and learn something new. 

Most significantly, adult education classes help advance your career and stay ahead of the competition in the workplace. It's as simple as that. Employers will not spend money on team members who don't significantly contribute to the company.

In addition, professional development classes can help you build skills you don't have the opportunity to practice during the regular workday. What better way to end a stressful day than by learning to do something you're truly interested in? Continuing education courses can be fun and exciting. For instance, many instructors invite students on field trips to practice their new skills in a professional setting.

How else can this benefit my career?

Any career coach will tell you that networking is key to getting ahead in today's workforce. In addition to building new skills that employers will find attractive, continuing education affords you the opportunity to network with your classmates and instructors. Take the time to get to know the instructor and ask questions. Who knows; those questions may lead to your next career.

How do I leverage these courses on my resume?

Adding continuing education to your resume is as easy as 1, 2 and 3.

Step 1: Choose the location.

Location is the key element to any segment of the resume. The information at the beginning is more likely to be read than information stuck at the bottom. Continuing education is no different. Basic skills and augmented knowledge should be placed under the Areas of Expertise or Core Competencies section, which is usually located directly below the professional summary.

Coursework specializing in certain areas of your major belongs under the Education and Professional Development section of your resume.

Step 2: Limit the amount of information.

Some information is more important than others. While you want prospective employers to know you were selected for the business ethics seminar at Harvard University, the Excel training class at the YMCA doesn't require the same about of attention on your resume. The most important training opportunities should be listed with the following information: institution, dates, location and training topic. The speaker and description is not necessary. Something like the Excel training course doesn't need to be included in your list of coursework; simply list it among your technical proficiencies and leave it at that.

Step 3: Format it appropriately.

How you format your information will determine what the hiring manager notices and what he or she might miss during their initial review of your resume. For important training classes, list it directly under the college section. Format it as follows:

Principles of Microeconomics

Sponsored by YALE UNIVERSITY | Atlanta, GA (2014)

Specialized Diseases in Poultry


Less important classes or locations should be formatted into a centered list, separated by bullet points or some other symbol, as follows:

Professional Training & Development

Microsoft Office • Advanced Adobe InDesign & Photoshop • Business Ethics for Professionals • IT Systems for Accountants & Business Managers • HIPPA & FERBA Records Compliance • Industrial Safety Procedures

In the end.

Whether you're looking for a new job or competing for a promotion, continuing education has several advantages. It helps prepare you for a new job, enhances your employability, furthers your education and offers insights into information you previously knew nothing or little about. Even if the courses don't yield you a new job, it is sure to help advance your career in years to come.

Let TopResume help you write the next chapter of your career with our resume writing services.

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