Key Take Aways from Roosevelt University’s Training and Development Program
By the time you reach your last week of your last class, if you’re like me, you may find that many of the facts you’ve learned are only vague memories overshadowed by the focus of graduation and the changes it brings. While it’s still fresh in my mind, let me share with you what I think are the most important lessons I’ve learned in the Graduate Program in Training & Development.
- Network, Network, Network Regardless of your current work situation, networking is the single most important thing you should do while in school (except for writing all those papers.) Everyone in your classes, students and instructors alike, are potential future employers. Research has shown that “at least 50 percent of available jobs are never advertised—some studies place that number as high as 80 percent. Networking allows employers to fill open positions, often by individuals outside of the company (or department) who learned of the open position from someone inside the company.” (Rangwala, 2012). I can tell you from personal experience, you never know who is in your class. I was in school full-time and not working. A few months before graduation, I started to look for full-time employment. I saw a job posted at an organization that I really wanted, and I remembered a woman from my Organization Development class had worked there. I reached out to her on LinkedIn to see if she knew anything about the position. Turns out, it was a newly created position that reported to her. I got the job! I’d like to think I got my position due to my amazing skills, but I can’t help but also think that having the connection of Roosevelt’s TRDV program was a huge asset. Since my boss had been through the same program, she knew what I’d learned and how it would be relevant to this position. She knew what my degree meant; I didn’t have to explain to her what instructional design was. Being able to share a common bond will only help you to succeed, so connect with your classmates on LinkedIn. If someone wants to meet for lunch, do it. You never where that person may be in the future.
- Complete the Portfolio Preparation Form Yes, these forms may seem annoying to have to fill out at the end of every class, but they’re actually useful. When I first saw the form, my immediate reaction was, “This like writing another paper! I’m not doing this!” After all, by the time you get all of your other coursework done, it’s usually 11:58 p.m. the night the class ends and you just want to go to bed. The last thing you want to do is stay up and fill out a form, trying to remember what you just learned. Do it anyway. When you get to 499, if you haven’t filled out this form for every class, trust me, you’ll be sorry. I filled out the form for only one of my classes because it was required (thanks, Vince!) I wished I had filled it out for all of my classes. It would have made pulling together my portfolio so much easier. Take the 15- 20 minutes and fill out the form while the information is still fresh in your mind and it will save you a lot of time in the future.
- Did I mention networking? Really, I can’t stress this point enough. Never again will you be in the same situation of being surrounded by people who are in your same field for as many hours as when you’re in school. The majority of your instructors are also practitioners and really know what they’re doing. They teach not only because they’re experts in the field, but they want to see others succeed in it as well. One of the webcasts I facilitated while in school was taught by Kim Heintz, an adjunct professor and Jessi Underhill, an alumnus of the TRDV program. One of the key points they emphasized was the importance of keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and connecting with your professors. I had never really thought of connecting with my professors, but Kim made an excellent point: while they may be your instructors right now, they will be your colleagues once you graduate. They’re very well connected in the field and can not only provide you with an excellent reference, they will also probably know of job openings that might be a good fit for you. So get to know your professors a little. Find out where else they work, what their specialties are. You never know where your next job may come from.
- What are some of the things you’ve learned in the Training and Development program that are the most useful?
- If you are an alumni or a 499 student, what advice do you have for current and future students?
Rangwala, Sakina. Networking 101. The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/jobs_articles/2012/10/09/dbb7d628-121d-11e2-be82-c3411b7680a9_story.html.