In the last installment of Coursera for Your Career, “Find the Best Course for Your Professional Development and Advancement”, we walked you through the process of navigating Coursera’s course catalog to find a course that fit your professional goals. In this post, we focus on how to set yourself up for success when taking your chosen course.
Once you choose the right course to develop the job skills you need, it’s time to focus on how to maximize your course efforts into influencing your career advancement.
First, have a conversation with your boss about the course. Talk to him or her about Coursera, why you’re taking the course, its key features, and what you hope to gain from it. Describe how you choose the course, exactly what you will learn (via the posted syllabus), and how it will position you for professional advancement (e.g., a promotion, raise, or lateral move). Explain how the course ties into your professional development short and long-term plans, and how it will ultimately benefit your company.
Second, earn your Verified Certificate. By earning your Verified Certificate, you will earn a university-branded, identity-verified certificate when you complete the course. Fees for a Verified Certificate are usually $50 USD or less, but ask your employer if they will reimburse you for it (FYI – many top companies, like Mastercard, currently reimburse their employees for Verified Certificates!) Verified Certificates add credibility to accomplishments, and will strengthen and validate your motives.
Third, if possible, create a project that ties together or represents material learned. Projects are tangible artifacts to add to your portfolio, signaling what you learned and showing off your new skills. Make the projects relevant and practical to demonstrate the impact of the course, and your newly acquired competences, to your manager.
Fourth, recruit colleagues to be involved in the course as well. Recommend the course to people you work with, and if they join you, start a support team to keep yourself and each other accountable. Balancing deadlines and lectures with work responsibilities isn’t easy, but having co-workers alongside you will encourage you to finish assignments on time. Or, use your co-workers as a resource, asking them for guidance when you have questions on certain topics or areas (you might find a new mentor out of the experience!)
Follow these tips to make the most out of your Coursera experience for your professional development!