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Further Education: Yes or No?

Many of us consider additional education at various points in our career. Our reasons for consideration follow several common themes:

  • Preparing for a future role
  • Facilitating a career switch
  • Feeling like we aren’t good enough
  • Networking while doing something fun
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Fulfilling on a dream

When it comes to work ultimately we are already over, under or “just right” educated depending on the role we are aspiring to. Consider your current education for the role of HR Assistant and now for the position of VP for a Fortune 500 Company. See what I mean?

Additional education may be vital in an employer’s market. With current high rates of unemployment many of us are hiring people with credentials beyond what the position actually requires. It is simple supply and demand and with that perspective it makes sense. Personally, I am of the opinion that over educated for position = low engagement + turnover risk when the market improves. I could be wrong here. What do you think?

Just for the record I am very pro education and a committed lifelong learner. As I see it there are essential considerations to be pondered before investing in additional education:

  • Will it lead to designations or degrees?
  • Does it support your next role?
  • Does it help distinguish or give you a unique edge? (Think Project Management or Social Media Maven!)
  • Is it something that belongs on your resume?
  • Will you get your ROI?
  • Is it worth sacrificing your personal time?
  • Is there a real gap in your offering or are you managing the vulnerability that comes with being in transition?

There are many facets to consider and I encourage you to carefully consider what’s in it for you!



  1. Hi Leona,
    You bring forward some excellent observations; please consider the following comments:
    – There is so much availble talent in this labour market, making it difficult to make a career change, as the number of extremely qualified/over qualified candidates overshadow those desiring a career change, yet they do not meet the exact requirements and experience for the position (for example, manufacturing supervision in unionized workplaces with IR education, jumping into Labour Relations/HR positions might be difficult).
    – The characterization of those who are over qualified for a position, may be true, and is surely the opinion of many HR departments and employers, who do not recognize that these over qualified individuals might have the wherewithall to take the “lower skill postion” and excell in it, with the anticipation of being promoted in future, to match their level of qualification; secondly, their chosen industry may be the reason for interest (for example, moving from executive level steel industry to mid management food industry, could be strategic). Sometimes the experience on the floor, makes one a better manager down the road.
    – Continuous Improvement must be the mantra in our professional and personal lives. To strategically engage in educational advancement, improving ones skills for the workplace, and to develope personally, providing a well rounded, diverse participant in our cities, neighbourhoods and within our families.

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