Having finished my Master’s degree and being actively on the job market, I’ve decided it is time to begin exploring options for continuing education as I begin to build a career. There are advantages and disadvantages that come with looking for continuing education opportunities in my current situation. On the downside by not being employed in my career field I lack the opportunity to bring any skills I pick up into my professional workflow with any degree of immediacy.
This means that picking up some tips at a webinar and being able to apply them the next time I’m at work to gain practice with them or evaluate them. It also means that investing time and tuition on an in depth program of study with a narrow focus of specialization could become a net loss when I find an entry level position that falls outside of that area or that demands a wider scope of practice. This latter concern means that credentials such as the various tuition based certificates of specialization and certificates of advanced study have to be put on hold for now. It is hard to justify taking on more tuition and student loan debt a a credential developing a focused specialty when I’m working to market myself towards several potential career paths largely defined more by things I’m avoiding like Traditional Cataloging, Children’s and Young Adult Literacy, and Food Service than by one niche I just feel I have to fill.
I’m targeting my search to areas as diverse as Reference and Instruction, Health Science or Humanities subject specializations, Distance Education, Public Service, as well as general opportunities to get involved in Administration or Office Support in a higher education setting. This is in addition to pursuing options to work with collections or in environments that I find especially interesting for some reason or another.
On the plus side that means I have time to work on developing and polishing general skills that I can bring into a variety of positions. It has been since my freshman year at McKendree that I’ve taken a general computer science programming class sequence and it is hard not to think of way in which brushing up on and strengthening those skills would be useful. I’ve also been interested in brushing up on my scientific literacy, especially as it relates to quantitative methods. Given these two targets as a starting point I’ve come up with a few options.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this three part series.