Over the years of coaching executives in and out of law, I’ve had many discussions regarding the growing, but often overlooked, value of certificate programs and targeted online courses (beyond traditional CLEs). Certificate programs and online courses give you specialized training in the field without the time or long-term financial commitment of a degree. I’m a big advocate for pursuing certificate programs, online training, and additional courses to showcase skills, especially when your experience may be lacking or you want to gain an edge over the competition to show your involvement in the field. Certificate programs and additional courses are also great to leverage on your resume or LinkedIn profile.
I’ve seen with my own eyes how useful online courses can be, even if you’re not looking for a job. In 2016, I decided to take an online writing course. At the time, I had left the practice of law a year earlier and already had a contributor column with the HuffPost. However, I wanted to deepen my exposure to opinion pieces and editorial writing. Through some research, I discovered that New York University had a professional study program with a series of online courses in a wide range of fields. I came across a course called “Writing Editorials, Commentaries and Opinion Blogs”. The course ran every Saturday for a period of 6 weeks and I connected digitally with various writers and journalists from around the world.
Not only did the course provide a different perspective to writing and gave me the chance to learn from a former New York Times columnist, but it also led to future writing opportunities, generated business clients later and encouraged good networking. I even attended local NYU-sponsored events in South Florida after the course ended, which further expanded my own digital footprint.
Certificate Programs for Executive Leadership Training
High-level certificates and advanced degree programs are popular for those seeking leadership positions because they take advantage of continuous growth, knowledge, and career advancement. My executive clients (C-suite in particular) have derived many benefits from these programs, including access to prestigious alumni networks, value-added skills that demonstrate specialized knowledge in leadership methodologies, and a deep interest in career advancement.
Whether you are an attorney on the path to partnership in a law firm or a growing corporate attorney who wants to gain more leadership training for a promotion or later opportunity in another legal department, Certificates executives are a tremendous addition to your powerful arsenal of skills. . I encourage you to consider executive leadership training certificate programs and online courses offered by Stanford, Cornell, Wharton, Harvard, and Yale.
Traditional CLE Courses and Resources for Missing Practice Areas
Certificate programs in conjunction with CLEs are a powerful weapon. If you’re looking to transition internally for a publicly traded company and don’t have the required SEC experience, I recommend enrolling in the securities courses at IPL. You can also broaden your horizons on ESG governance and strategy by checking out webinars, courses and conferences offered by organizations such as NACD, which relate to the development of the skills of business leaders and candidates for business management. If you are looking to embark on a paid board seat opportunity, NACD is a valuable organization to join.
Likewise, if you’re looking to deepen your knowledge of data privacy, consider enrolling in a few data privacy CLEs and enrolling for your data privacy certification through the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Even without the experience of data privacy, you can show a commitment to the subject through courses and certification. Don’t forget to paste the course or certificate programs on your resume in the education section under a subheading called “Additional Education.” For certifications, I recommend a subtitle called “Certifications”. This will help keep things organized and easy to distinguish.
Certificate programs and online courses for specialized fields
If you’re looking to branch out into a specialist area such as blockchain or cryptocurrency, you might consider getting more in-depth technical training beyond CLE courses by enrolling in a six-week course offered by MIT which focuses on AI, IoT and blockchain. The benefit of this is exposure to professionals outside the practice of law who are deeply immersed in technology. Perhaps this connection can lead to an internal career opportunity at their company or a future business opportunity. Another great asset to advancing your knowledge in specialized and emerging fields is to attend relevant conferences and seminars. Just do a Google search for “blockchain and cryptocurrency conferences” and you’ll see several upcoming events, many of which offer virtual attendance from the comfort of your home computer.
With the digital world at your fingertips, don’t overlook the power of certificate programs and online courses in addition to CLEs. Let them be part of an icebreaker conversation during an informational interview or a subsequent meeting.
Wendi Weiner is a lawyer, career expert and founder of The Writing Guru, an award-winning executive resume writing services company. Wendi creates powerful career and personal brands for lawyers, executives, and suite/board leaders for their job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications on alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, LinkedIn storytelling, career strategy, and the job search process. You can reach her by email at [email protected]connect with her on LinkedInand follow her on Twitter @thewritingguru.