You got the kids back to school, now what about yourself? What are you hoping to accomplish this fall?
Put a diploma, career certificate, or degree in your future by making a commitment to furthering your education. You’ll be setting an excellent example for your children (or grandchildren) and advancing your career at the same time.
Going back to school as an adult doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can achieve success with online learning by using these five tips to start off on the right foot.
When you were in high school, you may have studied primarily in your bedroom in the evening. Or perhaps at the kitchen table before dinner. You may not have called this “creating a study schedule,” but that’s exactly what it was. Now, as an adult, you likewise can structure your study periods for maximum effectiveness.
The most successful adult online learners create a dedicated study schedule and share it with family members to minimize distractions. Pick a time frame that works well (let’s say Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.) and write it on your family calendar. Then choose a quiet location where you can shut the door and focus. Maybe your home office would work well. Or the public library. Committing to a study schedule helps you get into a rhythm with your educational program and makes the best use of your time.
Online learners sometimes make the mistake of setting broad goals, like, “I’ll complete one module per month.” That might sound good in theory, but it may not be realistic or achievable because so many factors – subject matter, time available for studying – can affect your pace.
The better way to set goals? Use the “SMART” criteria:
S = specific
M = measurable
A = achievable
R = relevant
T = time-based
Here are a couple of examples: “I will complete one [measurable, achievable] assigned reading [specific, relevant] per week [time-based].”
Or: “I will use two hours of study time [measurable] this week [time-based] to write the assigned paper [specific, relevant] and then turn it in [achievable].”
Using the SMART criteria helps you study efficiently while being able to adjust your goals based on how difficult the subject matter is or how often life interrupts your academic journey.
Earning an online degree, diploma, or certificate takes time. To create the time necessary for you to study, you may need to rely on family members to shoulder more responsibility around the home.
Before you begin your degree program, hold a family meeting. Talk about the types of support you’ll need (like uninterrupted study time) to achieve academic success. Also discuss how to reallocate chores and other tasks to free up time for you to study. If you have younger children, identify age-appropriate responsibilities they can accomplish, such as picking up their toys to keep their rooms tidy. Older children can take on more family cooking, laundry duties, and other helpful tasks that used to fall to you.
By involving your family in this way, you allow them to participate in your success. When you graduate, they can feel pride in having helped you achieve your goal.
You need not feel isolated or alone just because you don’t take classes in a bricks-and-mortar building. You should take the time to gather supporters and keep yourself surrounded by others who want you to succeed.
Start by building good rapport with your academic advisor and faculty members. Spend time “meeting” other students in the online community. You might be surprised at the strong bonds you can form with people you only know through message boards! And socialize regularly with local friends and family members who can provide moral support and be your biggest cheerleaders.
Don’t save your celebration for the big commencement ceremony. Instead, take the time to celebrate the “small” accomplishments, from passing a tough exam to finishing a class. Treat yourself to lunch, reward yourself with a family getaway, or buy yourself some new career clothes to mark your academic milestones.
Celebrating the smaller successes acknowledges your dedication and motivates you to pursue the next goal.
Learn more about online learning for adults and how you can take your career to the next level with a diploma, career certificate, or college degree: Request free info today!
When it comes to what employers want to see in a resume, you may be surprised. Certainly they want to see the standard bits of information, such as education, job history, and training. But what they’re really looking for is a means by which to determine if you’re the right hire for the job. This means they’re also looking at information such as results, relevance, signs of motivation, and an indication that you have a genuine interest in the company and position.
No matter where you are in your educational journey or career, you can write a resume that helps employers identify you as the best person to hire.
Here’s what employers look for in a winning resume – and three things they don’t want to see.
Keywords help match your resume to relevant job openings. It should be a no-brainer to realize that an employer searching for a “veterinary technician” needs to see that specific phrase in your resume (and not just the abbreviation “vet tech”). Beyond the job title, you should include other important keywords in your resume, too.
Go over any job posting carefully and make a list of the skills and attributes the employer is seeking. For instance, if a job posting lists “the ability to create pivot tables in Excel,” and you have this experience, then be sure to include the phrase “pivot tables” in your resume. If a posting requires “ability to work with minimal supervision,” and your prior work history includes such a position, then you should be sure to write something like, “managed the department with minimal supervision.” Including specific keywords like this helps employers find you when searching for resumes online and also helps the hiring official match you to the opportunity when scanning resumes to determine which people to interview.
When you write about your employment history, use strong action verbs and focus on accomplishments instead of tasks.
Example: “Achieved 25% year-on-year sales growth,” NOT “Was responsible for managing the sales department.”
Example: “Reduced patient billing errors by improving the efficiency of work flow within the department,” NOT “As part of management responsibility, changed the department’s work flow.”
Be sure to quantify your achievements whenever possible. If you can use numbers to communicate the concrete results of your efforts on the job, it will help a prospective employer better visualize what you can contribute to the organization.
Even if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t specify an educational requirement, be sure to list all of your degrees and relevant diplomas or certificates, starting with the highest degree you’ve earned. You do not need to include the year you graduated unless you are still taking classes, in which case you should share your anticipated graduation date and your current GPA:
Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (anticipated degree date June 2020)
Current GPA: 3.9
To highlight your commitment to continuing education, be sure to include relevant career diplomas and certificates you’ve earned:
Career Diploma: AutoCAD
Career Diploma: Medical Office Assistant
Just as employers are looking for the inclusion of certain items on a resume, they are also actively scanning to make sure certain items are not a part of your resume. Don’t make these common resume mistakes! No employer wants to see these errors on a resume.
You can increase your chance of getting a good job by pursuing a degree, certificate, or career diploma in a field that pairs well with your interests. Talk to an admissions advisor today to find a degree program at Ashworth College that suits your interests, schedule, and budget!
During an interview, a prospective employer wants to get to know you better as a person. Your resume tells a prospective employer everything he/she needs to know about your educational background, work history, and job skills. You’ll be expected to answer questions on these topics but, to ace an interview, you need to be able to speak beyond your resume.
Different companies have different ways of approaching interviews. Some ask every candidate the exact same questions while others take a more open approach, allowing the conversation go where it may. As a job applicant, you should be able to do four things in any interview setting: speak knowledgeably about the company, articulate your successes, talk about your weaknesses, and ask questions about the job.
Before you even sent a resume in response to a job posting, you should have researched the company to find out exactly what products or services it offers, where it operates, how it’s structured, and other important details. During the interview, you can use this knowledge to demonstrate you know how you and your job skills can help the company meet its goals.
Instead of offering generic answers to interview questions, tailor your responses to show how you will address the company’s specific needs. You might say something like, “All of my experience in healthcare compliance has been in Texas, so I’m well-qualified to oversee risk reduction activities in your nine Texas-based nursing homes.” This response shows the hiring official you’ve done your homework and understand where your skills might fit in.
Many people fear “tooting their own horn” or sounding egotistical by “bragging” about their accomplishments, but in a job interview you absolutely must be able to discuss your successes. To make it easier, you should come prepared with two or three anecdotes about things you’ve achieved – at work or outside it.
Maybe you want to tell a story of running your first 10k race, how you trained every day, and how you felt victorious even by coming in last. Or maybe you want to relate an incident that occurred at work, when a colleague left without warning and you stepped in to take on additional responsibilities until the role could be filled. Rehearse these stories by telling them to friends until you feel comfortable talking about them.
Gone are the days when you could couch a weakness as a strength by saying something like, “My biggest weakness is working long hours.” Employers don’t want to hear that from you.
Instead, prepare to talk about two or three genuine deficits – and how you plan to address them. For instance, if you’re asked about your greatest weakness on the job, you could respond with something like, “I wish I had a better grasp of bookkeeping now that I’m moving into positions that require more budget responsibility, and I’m planning to take an online course to improve my skills in that area.”
Always remember a job interview is a two-way street. You don’t want to work for just any firm or take just any job. You want to make sure the company, position, and people are a good fit for you and your career goals.
So come prepared with three to five questions that will provide the insight you need to determine whether or not to accept the position, if it’s offered to you. A few questions you might consider are:
These types of questions demonstrate that you want to be successful in the job, and any hiring manager will appreciate that!
Employers may not always ask about your education in an interview, but you can guarantee they’re looking at it, and that having the the right training for a job can help ensure you get your foot in the door. For those ready to take the next step in their current career – or start a new one – talk to an admissions advisor today to find a degree, diploma, or certificate program at Ashworth College that will propel your career to the next level.
We’re not so different from the students we serve. Like them, we each have our individual goals, dreams, personal roadblocks, and vision for who want to be and where we want to go. Here at Ashworth College, we’re all about inspiring and enabling students to be their best selves, so we thought we’d share insights into what motivates our staff to GO BEYOND the ordinary and always—always—strive for more.
Every company has that person—the one who knows everyone and seems to hold the key to finding the answers to any question. At Ashworth College, that person is Online Engagement Coordinator Shawn Bryant. Or, as he’s referred to by his social media teammates, #ShawnCares.
A graduate of James Madison University and lifelong athlete, Shawn originally came to Ashworth College in 2007 as an Admissions Advisor to pay for his training to play professional football. He eventually returned to Ashworth College where his career path took him from Admissions, to Student Services, to being tapped to join the social media team.
Today, Shawn can be found behind the scenes on the social media sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) for Ashworth College and sister sites James Madison High School (JMHS), Madison School of Healthcare, and PCDI-Canada, responding to questions and resolving issues.
A: I think it’s because anything I put my name on, I take seriously. I remember something our CEO, Rob Klapper said, about everyone in our company being important from the janitor to the CEO and that resonated with me. When I’m responding to students, I’m not speaking for myself—I’m speaking for Ashworth College. So I treat every issue as if I had something to do with it, personally. That helps me be the very best I can be.
A: VOTE is “Voice of the Employee” and its purpose is to give employees across the company a means to be heard. It’s also a morale booster, as we headed a number of projects like Habitat for Humanity builds, food bank drives, our annual company picnic, etc. When I was chair, I was still in admissions and student services but I had one-on-ones with our CEO, representing employee concerns. That was great training for what I do now on our social media channels.
A: I’m a puzzle-finder. My degree is in sociology with a minor in criminal justice and for a while I thought I might be a detective. My current role allows me a good bit of detective work. I trace down what was said, what the roadblock is, and put together the story of what happened, so I can bring our team members together to resolve it.
Shawn Bryant and Kamogelo Phahladira. Kamogelo traveled from South Africa to attend our 2018 graduation. She often reached out to Ashworth College on Facebook Messenger with questions and was thrilled to meet the person who helped her along the way!
A: Resolving issues! It’s great to turn a frown into a smile or just know I was able to help someone seeking answers.
A: Oddly enough, no. (Laughs). I prefer face-to-face conversations and being able to read body language and hear someone’s tone. That’s why when I receive a complaint over social media, I read the complaint over and over and over. I’m really trying to “hear” what the person is saying, so I can respond appropriately and give them the answers they need.