Insights: Adapting Your Skills to Transform Your Career

One graduate shares her expertise.

Patricia MoranJanuary 2012
As told to Sandra Bienkowski

Dr. Patricia Moran ’98, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

As director of the Institute at Middlesex County College in New Jersey, Dr. Patricia Moran ’98 knows what it takes to help people meet and exceed their career goals. Not only does she offer extensive training through The Institute, she’s leveraged her network to further her own career. After delivering a speech to a class of graduates, she was approached to write a newspaper article on work ethics. Now, she writes a regular column on workforce development. Here, she offers tips to transform your career.

REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM.
At one time in your career, you probably played a supportive role. What problems did you have in that position? Put yourself in the shoes of people who report to you and ask yourself what you can do to help them. It builds positive rapport. Communication is so important. When I worked at the Ford Plant teaching computer skills to the hourly workforce, I quickly learned it was better to forgo the reserved parking spot in front of the factory and park in the back with the employees. We could have informal chats and discussions about the class. It helped me win the support of the people I was training and gave me insight I would have otherwise missed.

ASSESS YOUR SKILLS.
Do a skills assessment—I suggest CareerOneStop. Are you prepared for the new position you are seeking? Do you have the leadership and technical skills required and the ability to solve business issues? If not, close the gap by taking additional classes or by pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree.

BE THE STUDENT.
Seek out both formal and informal professional development opportunities. If a new certification comes out in your field, go after it. Leverage diverse avenues of learning to gain the skills you need to become a senior manager or vice president—even CEO. Learning opens your mind to different thoughts and ideas and keeps you thinking.

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.
In today’s tough economy, it is not always what you know, but who you know. Employers receive a flood of résumés for one position. Competition is tough. Join professional associations, chambers of commerce, local business groups, and any other relevant networks. I am involved with a few charities and find that network invaluable. These mentors have helped me identify problems and suggested resolutions to various business issues. Network everywhere you go. Keep your business cards and résumés readily available. You never know who someone else knows.

Network with fellow alumni today at www.myWaldenAlumni.com.