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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Writing A Resume

writing a resumeWhat to do when you don’t have the experience for the job that you want. People think of their resume as a collective of their education, skills and professional experience. Many employers rely on resumes as form of job applications for the open positions within their organizations. Thus it is very important that you have a well-written resume prepared when searching for jobs.
Creating a resume is not an easy task, even if you are a professional with years of experience and many skills. However, composing a resume when you are looking to completely change careers, or when you are fresh out of school is much more difficult, because you do not have any experience to highlight.
If you are changing careers, and nothing from your past professional experience qualifies you for the new job you are seeking, highlight those qualifications that can be transitioned along the various industries. For example, if you’ve managed people, no matter the type of business, you should highlight this under your experience. Rather than not highlighting your professional experience, even if it is not directly related to the job you are seeking, you should consider writing a professional profile, or summary at the start of your resume. The summary will allow you to address the career change by highlighting your skills and how they relate to your career objective. In addition, this is one situation where it is OK to reference any volunteer or community service work that you have done if it can help promote your qualifications for the job.
writing a resumeIf you are fresh out of college, and don’t have much to bring to the table in terms of full time professional experience, don’t get discouraged in creating your resume. Focus on highlighting your skills and your education. Avoid using a professional profile, or summary. Rather, list your career objective and start the resume by listing your education. Make sure to mention any awards or honors you received while in school. Following your education, list all the skills that will qualify you for the job you are seeking. Make sure to mention any courses, such as project management or business communication that you have taken and can apply at work. Instead of listing any experience, title the section “Pre-professional Experience” and divide it into categories applicable to your career objective. For example, instead of say that you spent a summer working at the Gap, use a sub-heading of “Customer Relations” and list any responsibilities where you have provided customer service. Tap into any community service, volunteer, or school club positions you have held in order to highlight your abilities and showcase that you are the best candidate for the job.
Don’t be afraid of not having the right experience, or not having any professional experience to include in a resume. Focus on what you can do rather than what you don’t have the experience in doing and you will have a winning resume.