Post Academic

Transfer Your Skills: Teaching Outside the Classroom

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on March 1, 2010

This series of posts follows my path from the PhD track to the hamster track. Don’t despair if you’re leaving academia and changing careers; you’ll be surprised by how many skills you can take with you into the working world.

In the office world, you will have to train others. You may even have to train your boss. I had a job interview on Thursday in which the interviewer asked me if I was willing to train other members of the staff in how to use social media and content management systems.

Having been through grad school and having trained people how to use software in the past, I said “of course.” Teaching comp could be a drag sometimes, but it helped me become more patient when people needed a little extra time to grasp concepts, and it also made me realize that different people learn in different ways.

Visual Versus Aural
When you taught in grad school, you probably learned that you had to mix up the visual with the aural learning. You needed a handout to go along with the lecture so the students could at least carry the major points with them if they spaced out. It’s the same way in the office. Your office mates haven’t been in school for a while, and they have set ways of going about their office business, but you can bust out your bag of tricks to show them how to get a job done. You’re ready for almost any training position, even if your colleagues aren’t eager pupils.

The Teacher Vibe
I might not get this job, but I know that I have one advantage: I’ve been a teacher. Even if a person teaches for only a short while, she will give off that teacher vibe for the rest of her life. When you’re trying to be flirtatious or look hip, this can be a curse, but, in the office, people will come to you and trust you because they know you’re the one who can teach them how to perform a task, and you’re the one who can teach most effectively. When you are interviewing for a non-academic job, always make your teaching background a selling point.

Next up: How all that grad-school reading will help you get ahead in the workplace.

One Response to 'Transfer Your Skills: Teaching Outside the Classroom'

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  1. Arnold Pan said,

    Go Caroline!

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