Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review: The Career-Savvy Information Professional

During the month of November I took an online class through Simmons GSLIS called The Career-Savvy Information Professional. It seemed relevant to my job hunt and also the price was right. Their online classes are usually around $200 for alumni, but this one was $85. The last time I took an online class through Simmons, it was just a bunch of powerpoint slides (obviously leftover from an on-site class, judging by some of the verbiage) posted to a site. I felt completely ripped off, even though the company I worked for paid for the class. But it’s a few years later and I thought I’d give the Simmons CE classes another try. I was not disappointed – in fact, I was pleasantly surprised!

Topics covered included: job outlook, alternative career paths, job banks, self-assessment, resumes, cover letters, networking, interviewing, and professional development. For each topic area, there was a whole slew of articles and other online resources – more than most people would have time to read that week – with some starred as core resources. In some cases, for example resumes, there was a short PowerPoint presentation with various useful tips. A few action items were also included, like doing a gap analysis of your skills or creating an elevator speech. The only (optional) assignment to be submitted was the resume review. I do wish that had been done early enough in the course that there was time for discussion after we received our feedback. Lastly, there were discussion forums for every topic covered in the course. These were very helpful, and I was happy to see that the instructors were reading the forums and regularly commenting on posts.

The timing of this class couldn’t have been better. I was in the midst of a job search, hadn’t redone my resume in far too long, and really needed pretty much everything included in the course. And the week we covered interviewing and informational interviewing? I had two interviews! One regular job interview and one informational interview (which actually resulted in my current temp job.) Super helpful!

It was a lot of work, even for someone who was unemployed. I still haven’t read every single thing included, nor have I done all of the assignments. But I still have the information and all the advice to use when I need it, and have a ton of sites bookmarked which I hadn’t seen before. One of the most valuable things this class provided, I think, was a great collection of resources on pertinent topics – eventually I could have found them all on my own, but not without endless hours of searching and sifting through everything to find the good stuff. I’m so glad someone else did it for me.

My faith in Simmons classes has been redeemed. Of course this one was much cheaper than the others, probably because it was geared towards those who are un- or underemployed. (And if it sounds useful to you, it's being offered again in March 2010.) I like the idea of online classes, especially since the campus is so inconvenient to get to, so I’m glad they have improved so much since the last time I took one. Hopefully I’ll get to try another one sometime!

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