Want Get A Job? Be A Recognized Expert. Teach A Class!
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
Why Teaching A Class or Seminar Can Get You A Job:
Entrepreneurs are not the only folks who can benefit from positioning themselves as experts by giving seminars, classes, demonstrations and other presentations. Job seekers and career developers can seriously boost their "hire-ability" and promotability by doing the same thing. And please note that I am talking about the kind of classes people attend for continuing education and training -- classes that typically last for three to six hours on one single day.
If you want or need a new job or a promotion, try out teaching. Not only does it help your résumé to list classes you teach, but also the act of teaching the class may put you in contact with potential employers or others who can recommend you to potential employers. If you can teach either a hard or soft skill needed by management, all the better. Imagine teaching a room full of managers, most of whom probably know about jobs at their companies just waiting to be filled by someone who impresses them with his/her knowledge and obviously has the communications skills to pass on that knowledge.
Also, you might be approached for temporary or consultant work. That could lead to full-time employment or further recommendations to other employers.
Did I mention that you also get paid to teach the class? That if you have a product -- like a book or DVD -- that is related, you can sell it at the back of the room before and after the class and during breaks? So you can job hunt, network, add to your résumé, develop a reputation as an expert and make some extra cash at the same time. What's not to like?
How To Get Started
If you have not yet developed speaking skills, you've been missing one of the top success skills available for career or business development. Go right now and join Toastmasters International. Learn to speak. A couple of months learning and practicing with the best-known speaker training organization in the world will change your life. After you get over being terrified, you'll have fun.
If you already have good presentation and public-speaking skills, great. Now you simply have to gain the skills of planning and preparing a class. Naturally, I'm going to suggest that you take a class or two for that. You can even learn it on line. Make sure you get training in how to develop and deliver popular rather than academic presentations. Especially if you actually have taught in an academic setting.
When you know how to make presentations and develop classes and class materials, make a practice class and deliver it to a room full of trusted friends and colleagues. Ask them for feedback and suggestions. Make sure to tape the presentation. Or if you are a Toastmaster, find out about the resources Toastmasters International makes available for delivering lengthy presentations and give it at one of their Institutes to get official evaluations and peer feedback. Keep refining the class and your presentation of the materials until the feedback you get tells you you'll make a good impression on the attendees of a paid class. Attendees who might offer you a job or a recommendation.
What To Teach
There is no list of "the best subjects to teach in any field." What you should teach is whatever an expert in your field would be expected to know. What someone who would hire you would want you to know -- and might pay to take a class to understand more about it him/herself. For example, if you've been a manager, you could teach a class in "How to Manage Difficult Employees." With a different experience set, you could do the flip side of that and teach "How to Deal With Difficult Bosses."
Just look at what classes and seminars are already being taught by folks in your field and what audiences attend them. Then make something similar for your target employer group. If you want to look at class catalogs from typical national seminar/workshop providers to get some ideas, try one or more of the following: Skill Path, Fred Pryor, American Management Association or National Seminars Training. Search Google for "seminar workshop" providers, See what classes for your chosen topic already exist in your community colleges, vocational schools, YMCA's, etc. to see if your topic is already offered in your area. If it is, get a look at the brochure or class catalog to see how it's being handled by current teachers and what you can do that is different. Take a class in your topic to check out the competition and learn what works in his/her class and what doesn't (no teacher is perfect) so you can refine your own offering.
Where To Teach and How to Get Hired To Teach There
If you've done your homework and are prepared, this is actually the easy part. If you have no experience in delivering professional seminars or workshops, start by developing a class for the continuing education department of your local community college. Decent proposals for reasonably interesting class subjects are usually accepted for at least one trial class.
If you don't want to start with an entire class or workshop of your own, you might offer to guest lecture at the community college within some other teacher's regular, credit-bearing class related to your expertise. That way you'd only have to prepare about an hour's worth of material. You can also partner with another more experienced class/workshop giver, making it easier for both of you.
In addition to community colleges, many cities have well-established local seminar providers who will host and market your class and pay you a royalty for giving it. And, if you have or develop excellent skills at giving classes, the same national providers I mentioned above (Skill Path, etc.) may well hire you for their classes and give you excellent exposure to your target employers.
Of course, once you start offering classes, you might find you like it best and take it up as your full time employment. And, if you do find the original employment you targeted, you may want to continue giving classes on the side to keep building contacts and possibilities for your next job.