SHORT courses can show an employer you have self-discipline, drive, a natural curiosity and a desire to accumulate knowledge, according to Chris Grant, the national associate director of human resources recruitment for the headhunter Michael Page.
When it comes to interviews for potential jobs, having some short courses behind you can illustrate an open mind and an enthusiastic and positive attitude.
"Lots of people talk about this but very few people can actually point out where they have been progressive," Grant says.
Erica Lindberg, a director at recruitment firm Robert Walters, says short courses that upgrade technical skills stand out the most because they make candidates "look like they want to keep on top of their game".
"It is something that can add value to their resume when they're applying for jobs, or even if they are currently working," she says.
Short courses can include personal development such as presentation skills, management skills, occupational health and safety or bar tending. They can range from a day to several weeks and, by their very nature, are good for those who are time-poor.
"You are able to continue on in your day-to-day life without much disruption," Grant says.
While the value of short courses may not be immediately apparent, they often enable participants to execute their job at a higher standard than they would otherwise have been able to, Grant says.
And, in a close race for a job, having a few relevant short courses may make all the difference.
"If both candidates presented very strongly on paper, both had a similar amount of experience [and] there's a good cultural fit for both, then, and only then, would they start to look into more of the detail," Grant says.
Lindberg says improving skills through short courses needs to be done in tandem with other considerations.
"It's not the be-all and end-all now ... attitude is a big thing; cultural fit is a big thing. You can have a lot of certificates but if you don't have the willingness and the attitude, you might not get the job."
Common mistakes job-seekers make, Lindberg says, include not knowing how to sell themselves and not being able to handle competency-based questions.
"That's typically why people can't secure themselves a role," she says.
"Maybe they're not going for the right positions ... Maybe they are putting their resume towards roles in which they might not be the strongest and they should refocus themselves."
Another mistake is applying for roles without following up. "Try to make yourself stand out by being more proactive, calling companies directly or going to recruiters who can actively promote you," Lindberg says.
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