2 answers

What are your best strategies for pursuing an advanced degree and working at the same time?

Asked Seattle, Washington

I am interested in going back to grad school, but I am focused on my career path. At this point, it seems advantageous to continue developing my career experience, but soon I will need an advanced degree to continue my growth. Am I going to still get a meaningful master's degree experience with the online, accelerated master's degrees for professionals? Is it possible to work full time while getting a masters? Can I run a small side business without compromising my academic experience? #career-path #graduate-school #masters

2 answers

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

The best way to find out - and possibly the most important way to find out - what you might want to do is to consult with your current employer. From my many years in Human Resources, I have found that many times an employer will assist with payment of an advanced degree if it will help the employee to be more valuable to the company. The employer might suggest what kind of program would most assist the employee and the company with the best interest of both in mind. That also will give you more of an idea of a career path to follow. Also, it might be a good idea to talk to members of your professional associations related to your career field to see what others might recommend. If you are unclear about your direction you might want to talk take an interest and aptitude test to verify how your personality traits relate to careers situations and proceed appropriately. The following are some tips which I have seen others apply successfully to advance their careers.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .
  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field and the future position which you are seeking.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##

Kim’s Answer

Updated Nipomo, California

Hi Joseph,

Ken has given you some excellent advice and guidance. I have a couple of additional points to consider as it pertains to higher education. First is to consider your level of effective management. This will be paramount to your success in maintaining a good life balance as you pursue your advancement. Secondarily, consider how the higher education enhances or has adjacency to your career. This makes more meaningful and "real life." Thus adding to enjoyment you receive as a result. Best of luck.

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