Expanding Your Horizons: A must for tomorrow’s work world

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For the past few years, work force development experts have been batting around the phrase “lifelong learning.” Simply put, that is the belief that no matter how smart you are today, or what great skills and expertise you have developed during your work history, it might not be enough for tomorrow’s work world.
A study conducted for Capella University, a Minneapolis-based online university, shows that more than half of adults aged 25 to 60 want to obtain more education. More than 1,100 people were interviewed for the study. That’s a whopping group of about 70 million people. The study reports that two of the five top motivators to pursue more education are focused on career goals: find a new career or make more money.

“One of the big surprises was the mix of reasons why people thought it would be beneficial to get more education,” says Lyungai Mbilinyi, who authored the study. “We thought that the prospect of a higher income would come out on top, and although 71 percent did think additional education would help them earn more, several intangibles were rated even higher. Eighty-one percent associated higher education with a personal sense of accomplishment and 78 percent believed education would help them better develop their talents or pursue their interests.”

Additional education hurts no one, but Capella’s study shows people we don’t typically think of as college students are embracing it. Most of us think of college students as being 18 to 22 years old. But those individuals really only comprise 16 percent of the U.S. college population. Since 1970, the number of college students over the age of 25 has nearly tripled. Today, 38 percent of the 17.6 million students enrolled in colleges and universities today are older than 25.

In the mid-’90s, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich tried to put an emphasis on lifelong learning by floating the idea that the federal government spend an amount equivalent to 1.5 percent of each company’s payroll on employee training and education. Companies would receive tax breaks for that investment, and any company that didn’t want to train its own work force would be required to pay into a government-run fund that would provide training to workers who wanted it.

“A well-trained work force is a competitive advantage,” Reich said at the time. His belief was that companies need to invest in the education and training of their workers to maintain a competitive advantage. “The smart companies know that,” he said.
Now, the Capella study seems to indicate that smart adults know that, too.   

Typos Are Your Enemy

In a recent survey, 84 percent of executives polled said it takes just one or two typographical errors in a resume to remove a candidate from consideration for a job opening, while 47 percent said a single typo could be the deciding factor. The survey, developed by staffing specialists OfficeTeam, includes responses from 150 senior executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. Executives were asked, “How many typos in a resume does it take for you to decide not to consider a job candidate for a position with your company?” Their responses:

“Resumes often are a job seeker’s first contact with prospective employers. Candidates who submit application materials with typographical or grammatical errors may be seen as lacking professionalism and attention to detail, and thus spoil their chances for an interview or further consideration,” says Diane Domeyer, OfficeTeam’s executive director. In addition to running a computer spell-checker, job seekers must proofread their resumes, as well as ask friends and family members to do the same, because a fresh pair of eyes can help candidates spot mistakes overlooked by the spell-checking function, Domeyer says.