Tips for Having the ‘Career Talk’ With Your Kids

Tips for Having the 'Career Talk' With Your KidsKids need information to make good decisions. This is particularly true when it comes to careers. Without exposure to ideas and options they tend to either avoid making the decision or, more often than not, they select a career direction on a whim which has little basis in genuine interest or ability.

As parents, conversations with our kids about careers can be frustrating for a number of obvious reasons. Typically, we approach the conversation as an afterthought (“hey, maybe I need to talk about this stuff before it’s too late”), or as a problem (“my kid isn’t motivated or is lacking in direction”). Rarely do we look at this as an opportunity or as a proactive step. Likely because many of us didn’t have a career plan for ourselves or because the path seemed obvious. Or, alternatively, our kids’ reaction will be unpredictable; heightened sensitivity that leads to an argument or radio silence.

But as high school and college graduations approach and the kids prepare to leave for school or to enter the real world, now may be the best time to talk about careers. Not to establish deadlines or conditions but, rather, to plant seeds and to encourage.

Here are six recommendations on how to have the “career” talk:

1. Ask open ended questions. When we ask a yes or no question, we should expect a yes or no response. Do you have a career plan? No. A career goal? No. A resume? No. Quickly we reach a dead end. Instead, think about what would motivate you to talk and to explore creatively if you were in their shoes. Questions like: When you consider jobs and careers what sorts of things come to mind? Or: Tell me about what courses you most enjoy. I wonder what people who enjoy those courses can do professionally? Or: When you and your friends talk about jobs and careers what most interests you? The goal is simply to get them to think and, over time, begin to establish a career identity.

2. Provide support and encouragement. Our kids will face far more change and many more career challenges than we, as parents, have ever experienced. Explain that they will not be judged if they falter and that the only way to figure life out sometimes is to try many different things. Ask them what you can do to help them think through and navigate this process.

3. Collaborate but don’t direct. Telling your kids what to do and how to do it is like giving them the solution to a problem without explaining how it was arrived at. There is absolutely zero benefit or learning. If you always do the heavy lifting they will never learn to do it on their own.

4. Ultimatums will backfire. When you threaten your children with punishment, they will either tell you what you want to hear or dig their heels in and do nothing. Figuring out career direction is tough for most of us. It takes time and it doesn’t necessarily happen under pressure. But the more they do the more likely they will achieve career insight sooner.

5. Encourage your kids to make the most of their college career office and alumni services. Besides hosting companies that interview on campus, career offices provide resources for career assessment and counseling as well job boards for summer, part time, and permanent positions. They also help alumni with job search and career management. The alumni affairs office and the school’s LinkedIn alumni page offer access to graduates who work in virtually every career and industry. Networking with these folks is great for information gathering and for an occasional reality check. Better to figure out early that you are not well-suited for a career or job before you get attached to an idea and commit significant financial resources and time.

6. Introduce the concept of careers as early as possible. As younger children, take them to work and explain how you spend your time and why. Encourage their school to host career information events where many different professions are represented. The goal is not to convince them to pursue your career or to feel pressure to make a decision. It is to expose them to the concept of jobs and careers and to help them grow into a direction that feels right. Above and beyond all else, make it fun. When they think that work will be a burden or never a satisfying experience they will avoid wanting to deal with it. source

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5 Things To Boost Your Career Today

5 Things  To Boost Your Career TodayIf you feel as though you’re in a work-related slump or just want to give yourself a little professional oomph, we’ve pulled together a list of some easy but effective career-boosting strategies that you can implement today. From connecting with a past colleague to putting a few more minutes of thought into today’s office attire, keep scrolling for some straightforward and sage advice.

Reconnect with someone in your network

A simple email saying hello to an old colleague will not only keep you on their mind, it’s also a way for you to stay updated on what your old coworkers are currently working on. It’s also a good idea to connect with business contacts on LinkedIn, so no one falls off the map.

Dress the part

Regardless of how laid-back your office vibe is, look sharp. It is always better to be overdressed than under dressed. Fashion can be an effective form of non-verbal communication—just make sure your ensemble is not diverting attention away from the primary focus: your abilities.

Get your most important work done in the morning

The majority of us only have a window of two or three hours during which we’re very focused and capable of the sharpest thinking and planning. Usually, this is first thing in the morning. Spend this time working on your most important tasks of the day to ensure you are performing at your peak.

Update your resume

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a new job or not, it’s important to keep your résumé updated with new experience, skills and projects. You never know when that next opportunity is going to come knocking, and you want to be prepared when it does.

Limit your time on social media

The ubiquity of social media is an easy distraction and major time suck. Even small breaks to check your smartphone can add up. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole. Get off your devices. Power down, go off the grid, and stay focused so you can devote all of your resources to the work-related tasks at hand. source

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6 Career Mistakes Even Smart People Make

6 Career Mistakes Even Smart People MakeCareer management is essential to reaching your full potential at work. While you may currently be in a position where your job feels stable and your next steps are clear, anything can change – and quickly. Taking the right steps to guide your career forward and avoid common pitfalls can mean the difference between success and failure.

No matter how well you do your job, you’d be wise to avoid these six career missteps that can derail even top employees:

1. They stop networking. It’s easy to grow complacent about networking when you’ve worked with one employer for a while. But knowing who you need to know within the four walls of your company isn’t enough – as you may quickly discover when you lose your job or need to seek opportunities outside your firm for other reasons.

“Failure to network can be detrimental when the time comes for an employee to find a new job,” says Jennifer Brown, founder of PeopleTactics, a human resources firm that helps small businesses. “Employees need to ensure they continue to network throughout their careers so that they can stay in contact and connected with people who are able to help them, should they want or need to switch jobs.”

2. They assume good work will be recognized. If you’re a talented worker who goes the extra mile, you’ll be rewarded when your boss sees what you’ve done to help the company, right? Not necessarily.

Corrie Shanahan, owner of The Beara Group LLC, notes that doing your job really well and expecting that you will be automatically noticed and promoted because of it can be disastrous. “This is particularly common with women but affects men, too,” she says. “Many smart and talented people have watched less talented colleagues progress, because they are better at letting superiors know about their accomplishments.”

3. They don’t know their worth. Research shows that women are less likely than men to request a raise. Failing to ask for the level of pay you’re worth can keep you in a vicious cycle of salary depression that carries over from employer to employer.

While the discrepancy may not seem dramatic in any one position, economist Linda Babcock noted in an NPR article that not effectively negotiating salary at the start of your career can amount to as much as $1.5 million in lost lifetime earnings.

Author and speaker Elizabeth Lions suggests that female candidates in particular should know their market worth. “Ask for a 10- to 15-percent raise when you make a job change,” she adds.

4. They stay invisible. In the hours available each day, it’s often difficult just to get the job done that you’re paid to do, much less take on career-related extracurriculars.

However, according to Cheryl Palmer, founder of the career coaching firm Call to Career, you should get involved in committees to increase your visibility in the organization and make a contribution outside your department. “Many large companies have committees to review processes or improve employee retention,” she says. “Joining such a committee can expose you to other people in a large organization that you might not otherwise meet and can open the door for future job opportunities.”

5. They overshare. When you get along with your boss, it’s easy to slip into a comfort zone in your communications. But don’t let that sharing morph into indiscretion that could come back to haunt you.

“One mistake I have seen people make in their careers is sharing too much about their personal lives with their manager,” says career and business coach Jason Dukes. “It is easy to slip into the comfort zone of having buddy-buddy casual conversations with a manager, especially if there is not a huge age gap. However, if you share too much about your passions outside of work and say, for instance, something goes wrong on the job, your boss has immediate reasons for your lackluster performance.”

Dukes adds that the best way to avoid oversharing is to keep conversations with your manager focused on work. “When your manager digresses to personal stories, smile and be engaging, but don’t add too much to the conversation,” he says.

6. They’re too negative. No one’s arguing that there isn’t plenty to complain about in almost any office setting. But venting about this to those around you can signal a red flag to your boss or employer that you’re not right for the company.

Dave Conrad, associate professor at the Augsburg MBA program in Rochester, Minnesota, notes that even associating with negative people in your workplace can hurt your career.

“Employees must set boundaries and standards and not lower their standards to connect with negative people,” he says. “Even in the face of an argument, employees must not lose their head and sink down into the negativity that surrounds them. Being critical is one thing, but being overtly and harshly negative is a career destroyer. source

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Is Testing Students the Answer to America’s Education Woes?

Is Testing Students the Answer to America’s Education Woes?Students who get extra academic support will do better in college or better prepared for the work world.

There is a growing opportunity gap between those with knowledge and those without.

The Information Age is demanding, and the ability to succeed in it is determined early. Children who cannot read or who lack basic math skills in the early grades already have fallen woefully behind, and their chances of catching up diminish every year.

We must approach education as an urgent endeavor on which lives depend.

We do this by determining what children need to know, not what we think they can learn based on their circumstances. We then measure their progress and hold adults in the system accountable for doing their job.

Massachusetts did that when it adopted the Education Reform Act of 1993. It now is the nation’s top academic performer.

A child whose progress is not monitored, whose results don’t matter, is a child likely to fall through the cracks.

Florida adopted the A-Plus Plan slate of reforms in 1999, including the nation’s most rigorous accountability provisions. Ever since, the state has become a national leader in academic progress, with disadvantaged children showing the most gains, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (N.A.E.P.).

Tennessee, Indiana and Washington, D.C. showed the biggest overall reading and math gains on the 2013 N.A.E.P. All are reform-minded with strong accountability policies.

Kevin, you focus on the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind. But state policies, not federal requirements, drive student learning.

Successful policies include school choice for parents, accountability for every child, early-grade literacy, elimination of archaic teacher tenure policies and adoption of college-and-career ready standards measured with quality assessments.

Kevin, those on your side, including teachers unions, fight vigorously to block such reforms and then argue accountability is not working. They don’t want it to work. Instead they give us repackaged arguments for more money backed by vague assurances of results. Just don’t hold them to it.

That is why many civil rights groups support annual testing and accountability. They know a child whose progress is not monitored, whose results don’t matter, is a child likely to fall through the cracks.

“Deeper, broader learning” is something we all support. But a child who cannot read a science book cannot learn biology. A child who cannot write cannot create poetry. A child who cannot work with fractions cannot pass algebra. With no foundation in the basics, there will be no deeper, broader learning. source

Accountability is hard. But it is necessary if we are to expand opportunity to all children.

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Feeling Stuck in the Wrong Career

Sideways Career Move - January 7, 2011 |

If you’re midway through your career and feeling stuck, you are not alone. Maybe work doesn’t feel meaningful anymore, or your industry has drastically evolved, or your values and interests have changed. No matter what, your40-something self is a very different person from the 20-something you were when you started out.The fact that this is such a common experience doesn’t make it any easier to handle when its happening to you.

Thi scrisis can be a profound one. You’ve invested a great deal of time, energy, money, and education in your career. You’ve established a solid network and credentials. You may have a certain lifestyle and the accompanying financial obligations to keep up with. Maybe your hoping to put kids through college and retire in the not-too-distant future. At the same time, you realize that if you don’t make a change now, you may never do it.

When you find yourself at this difficult juncture in your life and career, what do you do?

I reached out to Patty McCord, founder of Patty McCord Consulting and the former chief talent officer at Netflix for her advice. An edited version of our conversation follows:

HBR: You served as Chief Talent Officer of Netflix for 12 years. You must’ve come across a lot of people who were feeling stuck maybe even some who were having a full-blown crisis. What advice did you offer people who approached you about this situation?

PM: Actually, I often initiated these conversations myself. When I saw someone who seemed unhappy, Id confront them about it, and wed have a deeper discussion about what was going on. Id find out, for instance, that the person who was responsible for QA really wanted to be a novelist, and Id say, Whats stopping you? One employee wanted to take a six-month sabbatical to build sod houses, and I said: You actually want to quit, so just do that go live your life. Id sit down with people and help them plan their next steps, asking questions like: How risky is it for you financially? I got into trouble a few times with senior management for talking talented people into leaving. But my feeling was why should they stay and be unhappy?

If someone wanted to leave the company to try something new, and perhaps come back later, would you have been open to it?

Of course, but the job would have to still be open, and they would have to be the best candidate at the time. But lets face it, people who want to be gone six months or longer probably just want to quit, full stop.

Were there common threads among the people who wanted to make a major career change mid-stream?

Often it was because of some outside force the death of a parent, a child’s graduation, or a spouses layoff. A major life event usually causes people to stop and rethink their own lives.

What would you say to people who’ve advanced far in their career only to find that its not all they imagined it would be?

Pat yourself on the back for getting there, and then figure out where you want to go next. These are just phases in our lives. Its not linear. Rethink what you’ve always thought about employment. One of my missions is to convince people that just putting one foot in front of the other in the same career is over. There’s no such thing as job security, and there never will be again. In the future, employment is going to be more of a two-way street, where you can ask yourself what you really want from your life and career, and then talk to your employer to find a way to make it happen.

Most companies are arguably way behind you in that sort of thinking.

They are. But, companies should start telling the truth: there’s no such thing as guaranteed employment anymore. I think companies need to stop lying about that. People want more flexibility in how they think about work and their careers and companies need to get on board.

I could go on and on about how badly we run HR in this country. We have this whole culture built around the way we’ve always done it, and somehow we think its working. We could be having a much better, more productive, joyful career existence if companies and their employees just started talking honestly with each other.

In addition to advising people going through a mid-career shift, presumably you’ve had the opportunity to hire some. With your hiring manager hat on, what do you think of these applicants?

Its really important as a hiring manager to understand what success in any given role looks like. If you understand the factors beyond the skills, sometimes you’re open to different candidates. For example, if the position requires managing an enormous amount of money, or a great deal of judgment, then you should look at this persons whole life experience to see if he or she has demonstrated smart budget sense or developed good judgment over time. Often knowing that someone has a real passion for the work might make up for a lack of the required skills. Id almost always rather have someone with deep passion about the work than someone who has the right qualifications and doeskin love it.

People at this stage have maturity, experience, balance, wisdom and most importantly they don’t take work so seriously anymore. Work isn’t their whole life its just not so dramatic. For them, sometimes work is just work.

Yet these might be people who are looking for something that isn’t just work something that’s more fulfilling.

Maybe. It might be about seeking out more meaning, and it might be about just finding something more interesting. Ive personally found that people farther in their careers get more interested in problems of complexity and scale, because you have more capacity to solve bigger problems and its more interesting. Take a classic job category like accounting. For so many years, you’re learning how to do the books, and then you might become more interested in financial planning and analysis or how to apply your fundamental skills to a nonprofit that you’re passionate about. Ive seen people have their careers come alive again in a different environment or context.

They can be jaded. I work with a lot of start ups, and the upside of young people is that they don’t know any better, they often don’t know something cant be done. Innovation comes from naivety. A 20-year-old wont hear you cant.

That could account for why mid-career professionals in the tech sector have a particularly tough time. Tech companies seem to prefer younger talent who have that naivety, and perhaps fresher skills, who can often be hired for much lower salaries.

If you’re going to be in the tech field, you have to keep your skills fresh or be happy in a declining technology. Its just the way it works and always has. You have to think like an employer and if you think you bring something that a college kid doesn’t have, articulate that so the company knows what they’re getting from a more expensive candidate. We have to get over this notion that were owed something because of tenure, which to a company may or may not be valuable. Institutional knowledge is only valuable in an institution.

Whats your advice for people who want to network within their sector but are worried that word will get back to their current employer before there ready to take a leap?

Don’t be afraid. Just do it. There’s nothing ever wrong with sitting down and talking to someone about your career. You should be doing this all the time. Whats more, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have the same conversation with your boss. Why cant we be honest about this? Secrets don’t work in employment. I was always in trouble in the companies where I worked because I thought we should allow managers to head hunt within the company, and seriously, if a stranger can call us, why cant we call each other?

Whats your best advice for someone who needs to get out of a mid-career rut?

Start talking to people who are doing something you think you might like to do. Go interview. If you think the grass is greener somewhere else, go munch some grass on the other side of the fence. Finding work that you love is a fair amount of work. So, do the work.

I fundamentally believe that you own your career; companies don’t own it for you. You should be thinking about what you love to do what you want to do all the time. And you should feel comfortable talking openly about it. Its your life. source


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Is Changing Careers Worth the Risk?


Changing career paths can be both amazing and awful. At first glance, it can seem to mean taking years of accumulated experience, skills and networking and throwing them out the window along with all the money and time invested in gaining experience. So whats the attraction? The thrill of a new start. Embarking on something more closely aligned with who you are and the impact you want to have on the world. Sometimes we have to go down the wrong path, or the not-quite-right path, to figure out what it is we really want.


Here are a few lessons to keep in mind when considering a new career:

Be a pragmatic optimist Dream big. Encourage yourself to visualize your ideal day in detail. What do you want to be doing every day? What types of people do you want to work with? What challenges do you want to solve? Be clear on what you want. Also, recognize what you already have in terms of skills and connections. Will they help you in your new career? If not, then figure out what you need to learn.

Ask for advice Conduct informational interviews with professionals in the industry you wish to join. Find out their thoughts on the core skills you need be successful in that specific role or industry. These conversations can lead to much-needed insight.

Be persistent Perhaps there are opportunities to volunteer as an intern or work part-time take advantage of them. Can you do these things on the weekend to start testing your new career path while maintaining your old? Figure out what it will take to make the transition successful.

As Thoreau said, If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Career transitions can start months (and sometimes years) before the actual leap is made. You get an itch to solve a problem, expand your abilities, or seize a market opportunity that you see others overlooking–fellow entrepreneurs, you know what I’m talking about.

I was working my way up the ladder at Merrill Lynch, when I came across an opportunity in the media industry that I felt I could tackle with my engineering background. Although I knew nothing about the media industry, I was passionate about solving a problem for an industry I admired and felt was important to society. It was a true leap of faith to leave a comfortable job and jump into the unknown. Sometimes these leaps work—and sometimes they don’t. So before making the transition be honest about what it will take to reach your goals and how you’re going to get there (or how you plan to figure it out). Often, these types of transitions are not short-term plays, but require deep levels of long-term commitment.

When you’re making a career change–whether it’s to move into a new industry or start your own business–it’s important to emphasize the skills and knowledge you do have. In my case, I loved technology and I knew I could lead a team. And always be flexible–the best plans are malleable. We can all get bogged down in an endless calendar of meetings and yet most of us are still evaluated on tangible results. A key way to excel in any new career is to learn by actually doing the work required, and often that is the work that no one else wants to do. I can guarantee others will appreciate your passion, as well as your lack of ego.

To be successful in any career transition you will need curiosity and elbow grease. When changing industries, no one’s going to hand you the key to the kingdom–you will have to earn it. source

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7 Tips for Launching a Second Career

Youre the director of your second act make sure its a success.

At the end of 2008, the pulp and paper plant where Tina Wixon worked was bought out, and the new owners brought with them a series of temporary layoffs. Wixon, now 52, says that was the push she needed to finally follow her dream of becoming a nurse.

The Kelso, Washington resident spent two years at Lower Columbia College to complete prerequisite work, before earning her bachelors degree through Western Governors University in Utah. She enjoys her new career so much that shes considering a masters degree in nursing informatics.

Known as encore careers or recareering, second careers may be particularly appealing to older workers who are either ready for a change or find themselves unemployed and with few options in their current field. About 4.5 million workers between ages 50 and 70 have second careers and another 21 million are expected to join them within the next five years, according to

If you, too, are ready for a change of pace, here are seven tips to get started.

1. Decide whether to get a job or a business.

A second career may take one of two forms. Some, like Wixons, involve changing fields and finding a new job. Others choose to start a business as their second career.

Joni Petty, owner and president of Jepco Recycling Resources in Phoenix, chose the second route. A former human resources professional, Petty was looking for something more meaningful in her life. Thanks to a connection through her local chamber of commerce, she discovered businesses had a need for recycling consulting services.

It was an unmet need, Petty says. You cant imagine the waste that goes on.

It was also a business that dovetailed with her passion for the environment. At age 50, she started Jepco in 2012, and it is now a full-service recycling resource for large and small industries.

The decision to pursue a new job or start a business is highly personal. It may be quicker to land a new job, but once established, a business could provide more stability. Consider your personal goals, skills and preferences when deciding which option is right for you.

Whether you decide to go with a job or a business, career and finance experts say workers need to do their homework before jumping into a new field.

The most important thing is to talk to people in that career, says Jean Wilczynski, a financial advisor with Exencial Wealth Advisors in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Do some volunteer work. See if its what you think it is.

Understanding a career from the inside can also be beneficial when it comes time to apply for a job, says John Krautzel, vice president of marketing and member experience for career network

Read what the professionals in your prospective field are reading, and learn to talk the talk, he says. More familiarity will better prepare you to speak confidently and reassure an employer that youre the right candidate for the job. source

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One in Two Canadians Regret Not Getting Career Counseling

One in Two Canadians Regret Not Getting Career CounselingOne in two Canadians who have not had career counseling say they would have sought professional career planning or employment advice if they could do it over again, a new survey has found.

“There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career,” said Jan Basso, chair of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counseling (CERIC), which commissioned the survey along with The Counseling Foundation of Canada.

Basso, who is also director of co-operative education and career development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., said the need for career guidance is particularly acute with ongoing skills and experience mismatches, and with rapid changes in the Canadian employment landscape, citing the oil and gas and retail sectors as examples.

The survey of 1,500 adult Canadians looks at how they use career and employment counseling services. Three groups emerge from the findings – those who define themselves as having a “career,” those who define themselves as having a “job” and students. Those with careers say their careers fit with their post-secondary background or required a degree, diploma or specific training. Those with jobs say no specific education was required or it was the best job they could find. At 55%, those working in careers make up the largest category of respondents.

More than half of those with a career (53%) said they had sought advice from a career professional. Those with a job accessed counseling services less than those with a career at just under four in 10 (38%). Among both those with careers and jobs who did not seek career or employment counseling, half agreed that they should have obtained more professional advice (47% and 50% respectively).

Canadians reported that when they were considering career options, they were most likely to have met with a:

High school guidance counselor (55%)
Career counselor at a post-secondary institution (40%)
Person involved in human resources or career management at their place of work (27%)
Specialist at a community-based employment center (26%)
Recruiter or headhunter (21%)

Barriers to accessing career services mentioned in the survey include Canadians not believing they need career counseling since they already know their career goals and a lack of familiarity with the different career services available.

“Career professionals come in a variety of forms, from high school guidance counselors to private career coaches,” said Riz Ibrahim, CERIC’s executive director. “Some can be accessed for free and for some, there is a cost. It’s understandable that people might need assistance to determine the right type of services for their needs.”

Canadians can access career professionals for far more than writing resumes, Ibrahim said. Career professionals provide guidance on career planning, advancing one’s career or making a career transition whether a student, mid-career changer or retiree. They also help people identify their interests and skills and to understand the job market as well as education or training opportunities. Career professionals also work with organizations to ensure they have the right people with the right skills through a range of human resources practices.

Students in the survey list parents, other family members and friends as individuals they have consulted about their career and employment ambitions. Teachers and professors also appear as important sources of advice around career options. A majority of current students (58%) report that they are likely to seek advice from career or employment counselors.

Survey findings show that as age rises, the number of Canadians with careers seeking career counseling declines. Those 18–24 years of age are most likely to report that they have used career counseling services at 76%. More women (57%) than men (50%) report having accessed career services. In terms of location, more residents of Ontario (61%) sought advice from a career professional compared with residents of Quebec (49%), Atlantic Canada (46%) and BC (45%). source

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How You Can Control Your Job Search Progress

How You Can Control Your Job Search ProgressIf you have come to the decision that you want to leave your current employer and search for a new position, you need to be very circumspect about the whole process, lest the wrong people find out at the wrong time.

And, if you are unemployed while searching, you’ll find that no matter how much you are networking and interacting with friends and even your family, you are ultimately on your own. Your family and friends, no doubt, want to be supportive and help. However, sometimes they aren’t in a position to know how best to do that. Add another layer to the sense of isolation that you may experience.

You have a choice to make.

On one hand, you can allow yourself to flounder, perhaps making sporadic progress. And you can blame others for not putting opportunities in front of you while you passively wait for just the right thing to come along. Not recommended!

Alternatively, you can take control and act as the CEO of your own job search business enterprise. As with any great leader, you’ll need to determine and articulate a vision of your professional future. You’ll need to figure out how to operationalize and ultimately execute that plan in order to transform your vision into reality.

When you approach your search from this perspective, you can empower yourself to move forward in a positive fashion.

Here are some questions you’ll need to answer in order to be successful:

1. What are your key strengths, specific skills and identifiable achievements up to this point in your career? What role do they prepare you to fill with distinction? In what context would a hiring authority value all that you bring to the table?

2. What are the key network resources you have to support you in your search? What is the nature of your professional network? How can you make people understand what specifically they can do to help? And what can you do to motivate them to do so?

3. How will you position yourself in the marketplace? How can you create and present a compelling case for people to want to interview you? Is your resume accomplishment-based, or are you simply asking people to guess what you’ve actually done in your various positions? Is your LinkedIn profile complete in all regards with a professional picture and your story well presented?

4. How will you structure your time? How much time each day or week will you devote to your job hunt, and how will you divide your time between all the tasks of job hunting? How much time will you commit to working on LinkedIn, engaging in personal conversations and so forth?

5. What kinds of skills do you need to acquire or enhance to become a better job hunter? Who can help you? It might be that someone in your family or professional circle can help with your résumé. Or maybe you would be better served by going to a professional who has a broader view and more current experience.

6. What can you do in the coming day, week and month to keep up to date in your field or to broaden and enhance your skill set? It might be as simple as watching a few online how-to videos or reading professional journal articles. Would perspective employers expect you to have certifications you currently lack, and if so, how can you obtain them?

7. What will you do to keep yourself accountable for your own progress? Will you commit to setting specific goals on a measurable timeline and sharing what you’ve done with your coach, spouse or partner? Perhaps you only need to schedule a time to ask yourself each day or week what you have done recently and what benchmarks you’ve yet to fulfill.

Of course, there are things that will always be outside your control. Yet, when you create a formalized process and hold yourself accountable to it, you are far more likely to identify and maximize the opportunities open to you. You’re also more likely to take on the new role your next employer is dying for you to fill. source


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Best Careers of 2015

Best Careers of 2015The occupations selected are those the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow the most between 2012 and 2022. Those top 100 jobs, from the industries of business, creative, construction, health care, social services and technology, are then ranked based on projected openings, rate of growth, job prospects, unemployment rates, salary and job satisfaction.

According to that recipe, health care and technology jobs rise to the top – in fact, seven out of our top 10 occupations are from health care. Here are the 10 Best Jobs of 2015.

No. 1: Dentist
In 2014, dentist had a hiatus from being U.S. News’ No. 1 job. But it’s now back on top, rising from its No. 3 slot in 2014, because it provides a nice blend of factors that make all the difference in the rankings: One, a low unemployment rate of 0.9 percent. Two, decent work-life balance, especially compared to other health care jobs. Three, the take-home pay is simply phenomenal – in 2013, dentists earned an average salary of $164,570 and a median salary of $146,340. And four, the BLS predicts there will be 23,200 new job openings cropping up at a rate of nearly 16 percent between 2012 and 2022.

No. 2: Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners record medical histories, make diagnoses and prescribe medications. And they have excellent job prospects, since health care reform has escalated hiring demand. According to the BLS, employment growth for U.S. News’ No. 2 job will swell at lightning speed; by the numbers, expect 37,000 new openings appearing at a rate of 33.7 percent between 2012 and 2022.

No. 3: Software Developer
Yes, two health care positions rose above software developer, last year’s No. 1 job. But software developer has by no means been ousted. This occupation, which involves overseeing the design and implementation of computer operating systems and applications, is still coveted among information technology jobs. The employment rate is good, as is the salary – average annual earnings for 2013 were above $96,000, and developers earned a median salary of $92,660 that same year. The BLS predicts there could be more than 139,000 new software developer jobs by 2022.

No. 4: Physician
Being a physician is more than good on paper. Job prospects are outstanding, particularly if you’re willing to work in a rural and low-income area, the BLS reports. Plus, openings should spike by nearly 18 percent between 2012 and 2022. For 2015, this occupation rose four slots to the No. 4 position due to two things: its current, ultra low unemployment rate of 0.7 percent and the very attractive paycheck. Internists, or the physicians who diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses, made an average salary of $188,440 in 2013 and a median salary of $186,850.

No. 5: Dental Hygienist
The BLS predicts new dental hygienist positions will open at a rapid-fire rate of 33.3 percent. Vanity inspires us to visit the dentist more – members of the baby boomer population, their kids and grand kids all take better care of their teeth than previous generations – but that same vanity also spurs increased openings for dental staff to clean and treat teeth.

No. 6: Physical Therapist
This is a versatile profession. Physical therapists might work in a private practice, a health clinic or a hospital. Their patients range from athletes, to people recovering from stroke to those in cancer treatment. The BLS predicts employment for the No. 6 job will grow 36 percent between 2012 and 2022 because more qualified PTs are needed to work with the vast, aging baby boomer population.

No. 7: Computer Systems Analyst
In layman’s terms, computer systems analysts are IT project managers. They must have the expertise to do cost-benefit analysis of the best software and hardware to use for a particular organization or project. They have to be the liaison between the programmers, engineers and key business stakeholders. And they must be able to get in the weeds to test and analyze computer systems. It’s intense work, and the skills needed to do this job right are in demand. The BLS predicts 24.5 percent employment growth for the No. 7 job.

No. 8: Information Security Analyst
We as a tech-dependent society constantly volley our personal information out into the ether, better known as the Internet, so of course security issues arise. And of course professionals are needed to better safeguard the computer networks that house all our secrets. The BLS predicts our No. 8 job will grow at an astounding rate of 36.5 percent between 2012 and 2022.

No. 9: Registered Nurse
Registered nurses are the personnel patients have the most interaction with and can sway the experience of receiving quality medical care from exceptional to disastrous simply on the strength of their skills. But this isn’t why this job ekes the No. 9 spot. It’s the occupation’s low unemployment rate of 2 percent and the BLS’ staggering prediction that more than 525,000 new nursing positions will be created between 2012 and 2022.

No. 10: Physician Assistant
Physician assistants aren’t also-ran medical professionals who treat you when the doctor is too busy. They’re well-trained personnel who diagnose ailments, analyze test results, monitor patient progress and prescribe treatment and medicine. Their skills and training are imperative to fulfill the growing need to see and treat more patients due to an aging population and the flux of health care reform. The BLS predicts 38.4 percent growth for the No. 10 job between 2012 and 2022. source


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