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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Career Development Plan - Understanding Your Career Anchors

In the 1970's some very interesting work was begun in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Professor Scheming. Scheming aimed to identify the major groups of motives that influence people in their careers. These motives were called career anchors. It is a critical part of any career development planning to understand your motivations and focus your activities on the right career search areas.

A career anchor can be thought of as a combination of self perceived talents, values and motivators that organize and give some context to our career oriented decisions. It is also very likely that career anchors provide us all with an important contribution to our own sense of identity. The early work by Scheming has been enhanced by Dave Francis in his book "Managing Your Own Career".

Career anchors do not appear to be something we sit down and choose at a particular moment in time. Rather, they appear to evolve slowly depending on our own personality, values, self image, and, of course, upon the experience that we have in life. Career anchors are particularly important in determining job satisfaction and, without a clear understanding of these, it is unlikely we will be able to maximize our enjoyment of work.

Below are the nine career anchors as developed by David Francis:

1. My recommendation is that you carefully read through them a couple of times and then award 50 points amongst the 9 anchors.
2. The better fit it seems to you the higher the points, if the anchor isn't much like you then award it a smaller number of points.
3. You must award points to all 9 anchors but you choose how many points.
4. Add up your points and choose your top 3 career anchors. Then have a goat answering this question:
5. How does this career anchor impact on my current and future career choices?

After extensive research Francis developed the following career anchors:

1. Material Rewards (MR)

These are defined as the physical assets such as money, possessions, housing and so forth that a person may acquire over a lifetime.

People who are highly motivated by a desire to have high levels of material rewards very often make decisions about their future career based upon their ability to acquire these. For example, a person who has a very high material rewards need will very often accept a position that offers lower long term prospects or less creativity in order to satisfy this need. A good example of this is people who spend some years in middle eastern countries undertaking work that may not necessarily be very satisfying and in an environment that is very strange. However, for many of these people the compensation is the very low taxes paid in middle eastern countries and the very high income.

2. Power and Influence (PI)

Francis has defined power and influence as a strong desire by the person to be in a dominant position and to have others in subordinate roles. A person with this career anchor has a strong desire to want to make decisions about policy and to have control over resources. People who have a strong power and influence anchor often seek out jobs that enable them to exercise considerable personal control over other people and situations. They can be involved in jobs that do not necessarily pay particularly well, but have power. People with this anchor very often move into managerial or political roles. They usually have a great deal of confidence and clear ideas on how things should be done.

It is important to see that this, like other anchors, is not intrinsically positive or negative. Clearly there are many very caring and able managers as well as tyrannical managers, who are highly motivated by the power and influence anchor.

3. The Search for Meaning (ME)

Francis says that search for meaning is defined as being motivated to do things considered to be a contribution to something bigger, finer or greater than the individual, according to a religious, emotional, moral, social or intellectual criteria.

Individuals who have the search for meaning anchor are often very concerned to be doing things that are in accord with their fundamental beliefs. They are very often disinterested in money or influencing others, but are highly motivated to help other people or to work towards a spiritual goal. It is very important for these people to make what they see as a significant contribution to the world throughout their careers.

4. Expertise (EX)

People with this career anchor often want to become a specialist in a particular field. They derive great satisfaction from being able to solve mechanical, intellectual, scientific or practical problems that fool others. These are the types of people who are happy to spend much of their own leisure time reading work related material. Conflicts can arise for these individuals if they are pushed into a management position where they are expected to have control and influence over other people. This very often creates difficulties because these people are much more interested in mechanical procedures or academic knowledge than in getting on with others.

5. Creativity (CR)

People with this career anchor are very concerned to be able to create original objects, theories or experiences. They can work in many occupations, including the sciences, arts, literature and research, as well as in entertainment or in entrepreneurial activities. These people are driven to create new objects such as games or puzzles. They often have a good ability to tolerate frustration and difficulties, provided their creative energies can eventually be satisfied. Very often they are much less concerned about money or about power and influence even though they might actually have both of these things.

6. Affiliation (AF)

People who have this particular career anchor have a strong desire to seek nourishing relationships with other people. They are very often involved in social work of psychology or some other profession that makes use of their skills in this area.

When these people go looking for a job their most important criterion is whether they like the other people on the job. They are much less concerned with the money, or with their ability to get promotion, provided the people they are working with are friendly and caring.

7. Autonomy (AU)

People who have this particular career anchor very often want to take charge of their own lives. They are very uncomfortable when they are in organizations and have to work by defined job descriptions. They very often prefer to work for themselves or to be in Universities or other places that offer them considerable freedom. The most important concept to this sort of person is the freedom of choice.

8. Security (SE)

Individuals who have this as their primary career anchor want to ensure that the future is predictable and that they can avoid unnecessary risks. This type of person is prepared to take lower income, to have less freedom of choice, and to have future prospects for advancement in their career provided they are in a position where the risks are very small. These people are often quite concerned about material wealth, not from the point of earning a lot, but from the perspective of investing wisely and ensuring that they always have a secure financial base.

9. Status (ST)

People who have this as their primary career anchor very often want to undertake work that provides them with high esteem. They are concerned about symbols and formal recognition by prestigious groups. It is important to see that this is not necessarily something that is directly related to social class. For example, there is a very clear status hierarchy even in prisons, and sometimes people are highly motivated to commit crimes simply because of the prestige that it will result in.

Now that you have some understanding of career anchors, you can assess which anchors motivate you and incorporate that into you career development plan.

Graham Hart has been a HR Manager, Management Consultant, Business owner and Executive Coach. He is currently a Director with the Human Resources Institute Of New Zealand. Having trouble deciding on your next career move? Catch his career blog at

To help professional people get the information and resources to help them plan their next career move. Free career advice at

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Taking Charge with a Free Career Test

While choosing a career can be interesting and exciting, after awhile it is not uncommon for many wonder if they have chosen the right calling. Everything has its ups and downs in life but when a career gets into a rut, the average individual starts reevaluating his or her decisions. Sometimes the cure for this is the use of a free career test, found either online or at a local career center. By answering the questions truthfully, one may be able to determine if it is a career change that is necessary or if it is just time to take the career in a new direction.

One can find a free career test just about anywhere. The most common venue is of course the internet. These assessments are often simple, easy to navigate and can be part of a career center program. However, it is important to read the small print when taking this type of assessment. Many free career tests are actually devised for entertainment purposes only. Even if the free career test is legitimate, the results should still only be used as a reference, not as a concrete answer to an individual's career question. Those who find themselves wondering if they chose the right career may be comforted by the results. Those looking for a career may finally get the direction they've been looking for.

Sometimes a free career test is just an abbreviated version of a much larger test. While a general summary of the results is often given, to get a more in depth look at the results the test taker is required to sign up to a site or pay a small fee. While a career test is a very valuable tool for choosing a career, it is only part of what's available. Sometimes signing up to a career center website can help further the search by providing helpful career information. One can then explore if the occupations from their free career test offer what they are looking for in the way of daily duties or salary.

Everyone reexamines their career choice from time to time. A free career test can be extremely helpful as it does not require any fees or a great deal of time to complete. For those just beginning their career search, a free career test can still be helpful in getting the ball rolling. Using this type of resource can help prevent the costly mistake of choosing the wrong career. It can also help define if one would be better suited to a different occupation in the same industry.

Best Physical Therapy Training Leads to the Best PT Careers

Due to the rapidly growing needs in the medical and healthcare industries - especially in the different rehabilitative fields - physical therapists are in high demand.

With an aging population that continues to experience longer life expectancy, as well as continued advancements in these types of therapies, licensed professionals with training not only have a great job outlook right now, but are said to have one of the most personally satisfying, rewarding positions of all professions.

Becoming a physical therapist does take a lot of hard work and involve a substantial college career first, but for those who have what it takes, including the deep desire to help people, it is a career of choice.

Getting the Right Physical Therapy Training

Physical therapy education and training varies from country to country, although in all cases a physical therapist will obtain a postgraduate degree and receive doctoral credentials.

Depending on the intensity of the programs and their specific curriculums, these degree programs can be anywhere from 4 to 8 years in their entirety, and dependent on each country's laws regarding physical therapists.

To become a licensed physical therapist in the US, students must get a postgraduate degree in physical therapy, usually awarded today as Doctor in Physical Therapy (DP).

This involves 4 years of undergraduate school with an emphasis on those courses that will aid acceptance into the very competitive programs, and then between 3 and 4 years of graduate school, including required externship.

Graduated PTAs are required to be licensed in order to practice, so they must pass a board run, state-issued licensing examination before they can legally seek employment.

Enrollment to most PT programs is usually very limited, with most programs receiving many more applicants than will be accepted.

Acceptance into the best programs is highly selective and usually involves many different qualifications including academic scores, already having completed certain general educational courses in English, math and the sciences, having taken some specific prerequisite courses to prepare students for their education in physical therapy, numerous hours of volunteer work and clinical observation and many others.

Most PT programs recommend that students begin working on their qualifications as early as taking the more advanced English, math and science courses in high school, which can qualify them for early admission into some PT programs that offer it.

Specialty Education for Physical Therapists

Continuing with their education, it is possible for physical therapists to take further training by completing one of many available residencies, which will provide a much more intense period of education and training while working as a physical therapist, a sort of full time, doctoral working student.

Residencies are usually available in a number of different settings including cardiovascular and pulmonary specialties, neurology, orthopedics, geriatrics, pediatrics, sports medicine, women's health and wound care. They can involve anything such as research, community service, teaching and more, and usually take anywhere from 9 to 36 months to complete.

Completing a residency in a physical therapy specialty enables the PT to apply for board certification with the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (BPS).

To even further continue their physical therapy training, any PT who has completed a residency and is then board certified may then complete a specialty fellowship. Currently, there are specialties offered in hand therapy, neonatal, orthopedic, movement science and sports and athletics.

Fellowships are usually completed in 6 to 36 months and, upon reaching this most advanced level of education and training, a PT is able to seek employment as a specialist in one of the above-mentioned areas.

Salary Increases with Advanced Physical Therapy Training

Currently, the median income for physical therapists - the rate at which half of all PTAs are paid - is approximately $77,000 annually according to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The high-end range for salaries for physical therapists is as much as $110,000 or more, annually.

It is estimated that only 10% of all licensed PTAs, out of a population of close to 70,000 licensed individuals, take home earnings in this higher salary tier, most of which are either board certified specialists or have graduated a residency program enabling them to work in more competitive positions.

As with many healthcare careers, getting the best education and training from physical therapy assistant schools is going to be paramount in finding the best employment opportunities afterward.

For those looking to specialize, their physical therapy training will be even more critical. Continuing education for higher qualifications in physical therapy is a long-term endeavor, but one with many professional and personal benefits for the right person.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Careers in Negotiations

As the global marketplace becomes increasingly diverse and people from all walks of life find themselves working together more closely than ever before, conflict may be inevitable.

Business leaders who understand the positive aspects of conflict can leverage the power of conflict resolution skills to build better teams, increase productivity and improve communication among employees. Possessing proven negotiation skills can set you apart from the competition and lead to a variety of career paths across industries.

Professional Paths that Utilize Negotiation Training

Negotiation training through a regionally accredited program can be an impressive addition to your leadership skills and may also be a door to its own career. Business leaders often rely on conflict managers to avoid costly litigation. If a career as a conflict mediator or professional conflict resolution consultant interests you, a certificate program in negotiation can be a great first step.

In addition to education, networking through a professional association is another way to make strong connections and build a future in negotiations. The Association for Conflict Resolution offers many excellent resources for networking and other opportunities to gain experience.

Developing strong negotiation skills is valuable for leaders across a range of popular career paths.

Human Resources Professional

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012–2013 Edition, the job market will remain strong for human resources specialists. Employment is expected to grow 21% by 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.

Providing training for junior team members is one way to utilize negotiation skills in the HR sector.

When it comes time to address conflict or other related tensions, the more you know about looking at conflict creatively, and being able to leverage it for a successful outcome, the better your personal performance is likely to be.

Legal Administration

To be effective, administrators in any field learn how to juggle conflict effectively in a fast–paced and detail–oriented setting. Negotiation training can help you gain a solid base for career advancement. Among the topics a reputable training program will likely cover: managing effective confrontations; creating a climate for healthy conflict; and understanding the power dynamics inherent in conflict.

These topics may be particularly useful to legal administrators seeking increased leadership roles in a law firm.

Vendor Manager

Vendor managers can find themselves managing conflict in the gray areas of contracts with vendors or negotiations for more effective delivery services.

Formal negotiation skills training can be put to good use in this area, allowing vendor management partners to find mutually positive solutions.

Sales Professional

An understanding of the landscape of conflict in a sales setting can be a powerful tool to have in your repertoire of sales strategies. When a sales professional feels resistance, it is important to be able to identify the root of the conflict. It could be an internal power struggle between two managers who are on different pages about what they need or it could be that the presentation you made to a midlevel manager is not translating well to the executives.

Having the communication skills and negotiation training to pinpoint the cause of resistance and conflict can turn good sales professionals into great sales professionals.

Negotiating a Path to Success

For professionals looking for ways to keep skills fresh and applicable in a constantly evolving global business environment, developing conflict negotiation skills can be a great asset in securing a competitive edge.

Negotiation training can address many of the needs of professionals across industries, from handling conflict in the workplace to personal negotiations related to professional endeavors. Engaging in lifelong learning and choosing advanced training in areas that address current business trends can show an employer you are invested in your future. It can also demonstrate your commitment to doing what it takes to stay ahead of the competition for yourself and for the organization that employs you.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Making the Most of Your Commute to Work

For many Americans, the average work week not only encompasses 40 hours, but also the added time spent commuting back and forth. This can make finding work–life balance a daunting task. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, on average, Americans spend more than 100 hours per year commuting. Add this up on a day–to–day basis, and often times you can be adding an extra hour or more per day to your work week, driving or on public transport.

While not everyone has the luxury of reducing or eliminating commuting time, it doesn’t have to be wasted time. There are a few strategies you can use to potentially "shorten" your commute, at least theoretically, and make it more enjoyable. Here are some suggestions you may want to consider as you make your way to work tomorrow.

Get lost in a good book. Reading is a great way to pass time and can help make your commute more pleasant. For those who drive, you may want to consider an audio book or a podcast. Choose a book that is fun, or opt for something more informative. It may be a good time to catch up with trade publications and books related to your job or career. Your commute is the ideal time to catch up on all the reading you’ve been meaning to do, but never have the time, which is why adding a good book to your commute can be both enjoyable and productive.

Make your commute a "workout". If you live closer to your office, consider using alternative modes of transportation. Can you bike to your office? Is your workplace within walking distance? If not, can you drive and park and then walk the rest of the way? While you may not want to make getting to work a job in–and–of–itself, if you incorporate your workout routine into your commute you not only get much needed exercise, you also reduce the time you must devote to your exercise regimen for the rest of the day.

Get a commuting buddy. Whether you ask a friend or colleague to join you, or decide to carpool, sharing commuting time with someone can make it much more enjoyable and less stressful. And if you choose to carpool, you have the added benefit of sharing the expenses of both gas and parking. The average household spent more than four thousand dollars last year on gas, and with this year’s gas prices tenuous, the cost may further increase in 2012.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Are You Being Paid Enough?

In today’s fragile jobs market it’s not uncommon for employees to take on multiple roles and responsibilities, working harder than ever. With lay-offs and consolidation of employee roles, this may prompt you to ask yourself whether you are being paid enough. Making an exact determination about your salary can be somewhat difficult in the shifting employment landscape; however, there are several strategies you can employ to determine if your salary does in fact reflect today’s market value.

Look at salary ranges on job listings and the web in general. Utilize job boards and the web to your advantage. You can search for job ads by profession and state and can cull salary information from these postings. While not all job postings will list salary ranges, many do.

Visit salary sites such as These online salary tools provide a range of salary information, broken down not only by profession but also state, and can provide a framework for compensation levels.

Set up informal meetings with recruiters or other hiring managers. While discussing your credentials, this is also an opportunity to ask about average salaries for someone in your role and with you level of experience. While you may not immediately be looking for a new position per se, these open discussions can provide an opportunity to obtain the information you seek while offering recruiters a potential candidate for future job openings.

Ask friends or colleagues in similar roles or companies. While many people may not be comfortable talking about how much they earn specifically, if you frame your discussion around the salary ranges in general, this may provide enough information to determine if your pay scale is comparable to others.

Determine whether salary alone is the main reason why you stay in your current job. Pay scales should not be defined by salary alone but also include all the other benefits your job may provide. This should include 401K plans and employer matching, stock or other incentive bonus programs, and medical plans.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Are You on the Right Career Path?

Regardless of what career level you currently find yourself in – seeking a new opportunity, unemployed, leaving school – asking yourself if you are on the right career path is one of the most frequent questions job seekers ask themselves throughout their careers. While the answer to this question may seem insurmountable at times, employing a strategy where you dissect the question. Breaking it down step–by–step may help.

First and foremost, the question you should ask is not "Is this career path right for me?" but rather, "What motivates and drives me?" Are you the type of person that is comfortable being in a leadership role? Are you looking for a job that pays the most, or are you most interested in job security? These answers will drive you closer in your job search.

Next, ask yourself "What am I most passionate and interested in?" While it is an old cliché, "do what you love and the money will follow" is good advice. Focusing on the things you like to do the most can lead you to your dream job.

Look to your hobbies and interests as your guide. This can be as focused as your love of the arts and photography, to your passion for organization. The first can lead you to a job in multiple fields – graphic designer, web designer and photographer – while the latter can take you on to pursue a career in events planning to project manager. The opportunities, when looking at what you love to do, can be endless.

Consider the time needed to invest in your career happiness. Change takes hard work, but can be doubly rewarding. Break down your skills and determine if you will need to invest time, energy – and maybe even money, in acquiring new skills or refining the ones you have. Take the time to assess your skills. This will require spending time researching careers and jobs to determine what steps you need to take to pave the way for achieving your goals. Changing careers is an investment that can produce large payoffs in the long term.

Finally, take another look at your current job and employer. Are there opportunities to remain where you are, whether in an expanded role or transferring to a new team? Are there on–the–job training programs that may lead you into a new role or expand your current job into an area that interests you?

All of these questions can help you better determine what career will make you most happy, and hopefully lead you to your dream job.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Best Jobs for Veterans

The unemployment rate for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan was 12.1 percent in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And young male veterans (those ages 18 to 24) have an even higher unemployment rate, or 29.1 percent, as compared to their non-veteran counterparts who held an overall unemployment rate of 17.6 percent. And compound this with the fact that veterans aged of 35 to 64, according to the BLS, make up nearly two–thirds of all unemployed veterans.

And as more veterans return from active duty, they will join other unemployed workers in their search to find jobs and support their families. While today's workplace is crowded with a high rate of unemployed job seekers, veterans possess unique skills that can serve them well in their job search.

As recently reported in, below are top15 jobs which are the most common professional veterans choose. These jobs require veterans to utilize their unique skills developed as a direct result of their military training, including leadership and organizational ability and deep knowledge of new technologies, to name a few.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Team Work: What it Really Takes to Create a Team Environment

The old mantra – "there is no I in team," although overused should be considered a sound philosophy all employees need adopt to succeed in today’s work environment. A streamlined workforce, mergers and acquisitions and countless other shifts in business necessitate that employee’s foster a sense of community with their peers. There are some simple steps you can take to build this team environment.

Start with respect. This includes respect for your peers, respect for schedules and deadlines and building a solid relationship with your boss. The first is self–evident; everyone expects to be treated fairly regardless of position within an organization, and this can be reinforced by providing each team member an equal opportunity to participate and be heard. Along these same lines, schedules and deadlines should also be adhered to. Meeting your deadlines means that you respect the schedules and deadlines of others and the objectives of upper management.

Develop solid relationships. People are attracted to people they like; it’s a given. While work should not be considered a likability–contest, developing camaraderie with team members helps motivate and steer you toward success – both individually and as a group. Developing solid relationships with your peers builds this foundation.

Share tasks and responsibilities. Each member of a team has their unique role and responsibility within the group, usually based on knowledge and skill set. While you may be responsible for a single role within your team, working on group projects means that sometimes you will have to pick up some slack, and other times you may need to take a step back to let someone else shine. The objective is to succeed as a group.

Encourage open discussions. Issues are bound to arise and if left un–addressed can be made to fester. The best approach is to tackle issues with team members openly, as appropriate; work together to brainstorm solutions to problems. Discourage gossiping about team members. And if necessary, address issues with managers to try to find resolutions.

When you encourage everyone on a team to be involved in the process, you build the type of environment that will help you succeed. A team approach is most often the best approach.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Accessible Workplace: How to Discuss Your Disability in an Interview

Interview preparation is a necessary and sometimes difficult task for many job applicants. Whether you are participating in your first or twenty-fist interview, preparation is a core essential of the job search process. For those with accessibility issues in particular, along with prepping for the standard interview questions, you should also understand how – or if at all – to discuss your disability in an interview, and what a prospective employer can or cannot address.

While every employer may broach the subject of disabilities differently, all employers must adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The foundation of the ADA makes it unlawful for any employer to discriminate against a qualified job applicant with a disability – baring that the applicant meets the employer's requirements for the job including education, training, experiences, skills or licenses (if necessary).

You should also be aware of what the ADA defines as disability. This includes:1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits you, 2) having any record or history of a substantially limiting impairment, or 3) an impairment the employer regards as substantially limiting to job performance.

If you do have a disability that falls within these categories; however, you are not required to disclose it verbally or in writing. And you do not need to outline any disability in your cover letter or on your resume. In fact, it’s best to determine during the interview process itself whether or not to broach the topic of your disability at all.

For instance, questions about medications you take or other therapies you participate in should not be broached – by you and or any employer. Conversely, not disclosing a disability that may limit your ability in meeting the job requirements being outlined, or may impact the safety of co-workers is not recommended. If you are hired and your disability impedes your ability to perform your job – or may cause harm to yourself or others, this will impact you in the long run.

The best approach is to discuss all the requirements of the job during the interview, and at that point determine if your disability impedes in any way your ability to perform the job. The employer has the right to address any questions pertaining to your ability to perform tasks, and should your disability be addressed, any adjustments that may need to be made – including costs. And you have the right to request accommodations at this time as well.

Every employer and every situation is unique, and your willingness or need to disclose your disability will need to be made on a case–by–case basis. The best approach is to be aware of ADA regulations, prepared to discuss your disability – if necessary, and be confident in positioning yourself as a viable candidate if you meet the education and skills requirement of the job.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How the Overcrowded Job Market Is Changing the Mindset of Universities and Students

In today’s difficult economy, there are many qualified candidates coming out of top–flight graduate schools, but unfortunately there are not enough job opportunities waiting for them. The overall employment rate for the law school class of 2011 fell to its lowest level since 1994 – at just 85.6 percent. Even worse, merely 65.6 percent of law school graduates in 2011 found jobs that required bar membership in the first place, thus leaving 35 percent of law school graduates to either be underemployed or not employed at all. This problem of having too much labor supply, but not enough labor demand, is leading esteemed graduate schools such as Northwestern University, George Washington University, and the University of California’s Hastings College of Law to trim their admissions by taking up to 20 percent fewer students. There are a few notable exceptions, such as the University of Virginia’s 7th–ranked law program, which actually saw an increase in acceptance volume last year, but overall, schools are cutting down.

However, the negative effect of the decreased number of acceptances is mitigated by the fact that fewer people have been applying to graduate school, as their incentives of high starting salaries and guaranteed job opportunities have all but disappeared due to the competitive market. Rather than come out of graduate school in heavy debt and with few job opportunities, many people are losing interest in applying to law schools and MBA programs. Law school applications have dropped 14 percent from the previous year, and MBA applications have fallen by an average of 10 percent. By forgoing graduate school opportunities, these individuals are focusing on their immediate need for employment at the expense of improving their academic qualifications.

In order to prepare for the competitive job market, these days many undergraduates are choosing to focus on up–and–coming industries to work in and "job market ready" fields such as engineering and business, while focusing less on the humanities and arts. While declared majors in science and math have spiked up 94 percent since 2001, arts majors have decreased by 26 percent. As a result, universities have been shrinking the size of their humanities doctoral programs for years. For example, the University of Pittsburgh cut its master’s and doctoral programs in German due to a loss of interest and state funding. Students hope that concentrating in more practical fields will improve their chances of finding a job upon completing their undergraduate studies.

Bleak as the employment market scenario would appear, there are a few bright spots. So where exactly are the jobs increasing? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment, including physicians and care centers, increased by 33,000 in the month of May 2012, and has risen by 340,000 overall this year. Transportation and warehousing added 36,000 jobs over the past month, and employment in wholesale trade rose by 16,000 in May 2012. Also, manufacturing employment has been trending up, increasing by 12,000 in May 2012, and has seen an overall increase of 495,000 since reaching a low in January 2010.

Job seekers should not get discouraged; these tough economic times are a challenge that can be overcome by staying vigilant, actively looking for opportunities whenever possible, and considering higher education if it is practical. America’s Job Exchange can help.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Technologies Spawn New Professions

The advent of new technology platforms continues to spawn the creation of jobs that were not present the decade prior. From social media, to blogs and mobile apps, the rise in new technologies means job seekers are required to learn new skill sets and become familiar with new platforms and industries. While keeping up with these new trends can be daunting – as they continually shift – they may prove useful to explore in terms of firming up job prospects for today and tomorrow.

One of the largest growth areas today is social networking. Many businesses are incorporating social media strategies into their business planning and, as a result, are hiring dedicated staff to manage their online communities – or carving our these roles with their existing employees.Jobs in Social Media can include everything from a high–level strategist who directs a business on ways to leverage their social media presence, to the tactical management of social platforms. While many a young graduate is well–versed on the usage of social networks, being up–to–date on social media trends, including best practices in using it as a branding vehicle, or advertising and using the platform as a sale channel, is where the expertise and jobs potential lie. Since corporations are looking to capitalize on and monetize social media, these are good skills to acquire.

Along the lines of social media, Blogging is also another high growth area. While anyone can go online and build their own blog, businesses look to professionals who have core writing abilities – or the ability to tap into an online network – to help them build their own content and drive traffic to their websites. If you are good at writing or want to carve out a career in this field, blogging can prove useful. The benefits of blogging are that it can also be done outside of the traditional 9 to 5 realm; and can be pursued as a part–time endeavor, or an alternate source of income.

With the growth in usage of iOS and Android devices, the demand for mobile apps is also exploding which is driving the demand for App Developers. This field seeks programmers and developers who can assist companies to build mobile applications for countless uses, and spans a vast array of companies and industries.

As with apps, Cloud Computing is also another high growth area, with many companies looking for assistance in building out cloud–based applications. Professionals in this area need to be well–versed in the Internet, data management, and network and security architecture and virtualization technologies. If you are seeking employment in the IT field, an understanding of cloud computing will be beneficial to future job prospects.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Starting Your Own Business – What You Need to Know

More than half of working Americans are employed in small businesses – those classified as having 500 employees or less. As the unemployment rate continues to stagnate, current job seekers and others may be considering whether it makes sense to start their own business or continue to rely on corporations to keep themselves employed. While there is uncertainty in today’s job market, people consider starting their own business for other reasons too, including the freedom and flexibility offered when you become your own boss. And with the internet as a cost–effective marketing tool, people are finding the options to starting their own business more varied than they were decades earlier.

If you are weighing a small business option for yourself, there are certain things to consider and steps you will need to take.

Plan Ahead

Planning to develop a small business means that you have to consider many factors – from the financial investment required to development of a formal business plan. In fact, if you are considering tapping into outside funding resources, you will need a business plan. Your business plan should include an executive summary which outlines your business model. A company description is also necessary, including the types of products or services you will be selling. You will also need to include a marketing overview, including key competitive factors. An overall strategy and implementation plan will be required, focusing on roles and responsibilities and the dates and timelines necessary to start your business. And you will also need to outline your management team and include a financial plan.

Sourcing Funding

Funding sources can be derived from several different avenues, including personal financing. If you do not have your own funding resource you may need to look to federal, state or local government agencies, all of which provide programs for small business start–ups. You may also look to local banking institutions to determine the types of small business loan programs they may have available.

Determine Your Location

Location is based on several factors and is dependent on the type of business you plan to run. If it is an internet–based establishment, you may not require a physical location; rather a home–based location may suffice. However, if you plan on hiring a pool of employees to support your venture, office space may be needed.

If you require a retail location to sell your products, you will need to determine the best location to drive foot traffic. Here you will need to consider multiple factors, including how will people get to your location – are you in a popular downtown area, close to a mall, or is there enough parking and access. What is the proximity to any competitors – or does the lack of competitors mean the location you choose is best suited for the products you will be selling. If you are opening a physical location, you’ll also need to research zoning and signage regulations for that specific area.

Develop a Marketing Plan

Marketing techniques again will be determined by the type of business that you open, but some of the main marketing tactics will be consistent regardless. From word of mouth to advertising, your marketing plan needs to include all elements that will drive customers to your products or services. Consider everything from advertising in offline print publication, radio and TV – to search engine marketing to drive traffic to your web site or your local retail location. Social media is also a cost–effective and highly utilized medium. You may want to look into advertising on Facebook, or promoting your business via Twitter, blogs and other social media platforms. Whether you have an online business or not, a web site is one of the most necessary marketing tools required for promoting any type of business today.

Understand the Legal and Tax Requirements

When staring a small business you should be aware of all the legal implications. First, you will need to establish your business as a legal entity. If you are developing new ideas – otherwise know as intellectual property – you will need to protect them. If you are developing a new product or invention, you may need to develop a patent.

You should also understand tax laws and regulations. If you have employees you are required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Employer Tax ID from the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes. Visit the IRS’ website for more details on the tax implications for small businesses.

Register Your Name

Depending on the type of business you are running, you will need to register your name. This may also include registration of a domain name, if you plan on developing a website.

Understand Your Role as an Employer

As an employer, you need to withhold, deposit, report on and pay employment taxes – all of which is submitted to the IRS.

You should also be well–versed on employment hiring laws. These laws protect employees and prohibit discrimination in employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnic/national origin, disability, or veteran status. These laws are enforced by the United States Department of Labor.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Preparing For and Making a Career Change

In my youth, I observed that, in England at least, most people wanted to get out of their jobs. Their "career", whatever it was, only existed to get a regular income. The millions of people who did the football pools, and later the lottery, were a testimony to the "let me out of here" dreams of the majority. "Win the pools, and retire."

Times may have changed in general, but the fact that most people are not content with their jobs has remained unchanged. Career, employer or job change, or early retirement, are in the minds of tens of millions of people across the world. Only a small minority will ever actually go full out for a career change; it is far too easy just to plod along doing the same old things in the same old place.

However, some people are more serious. These are the people with "get up and go" who actually do get up and go. These are the people who really do change their working lives, sometimes drastically.

Why Do Some People Want to Change Careers?

There are many possible reasons for wanting a career change. The following are just a few of the more common ones.

1. To some people, being in the same job, or even the same type of job, for too long is just unthinkable. I certainly fall into this category, and personally think total career changes can be a vital contributor to a satisfying life. I always want to learn something new, and do something new, once I have mastered what I was doing before. New challenges are an essential part of every day life.

2. Midlife career changes might be the result of a sort of career midlife crisis. This can particularly be so for someone who has always done the same job, and suddenly realize their years are slipping away and they have really done very little with their working years.

3. Dissatisfaction with a current employer, either in terms of recognition, prospects or pay.

4. Boredom is a common cause of wanting a career change.

5. Lack of fulfillment in the current career or employment.

The above are some of the broad reasons people may seek a career change, but each individual is likely to have a different mix of reasons to consider changing their career.

Tips For Preparing for a Career Change

There are many sources of career change advice, both online and offline. Sometimes this can be given on an individual basis, or just in the form of written material which you can consume at your leisure. As a career is a personal matter, and all individuals are different, then personal consultation is better by far. However, advisors are individuals too, and the advice may vary from from career counselor to career counselor.

The quality and quantity of career change advice available to you offline will vary greatly between countries and localities, and you may find that some of the online advice is, at least in part, to one country, particularly the US. However, the following career change tips can apply to anyone, anywhere, and are based on my own experience; they may not appear anywhere else, might be considered unconventional, but are designed to get you thinking and planning well in advance for one or a series of career changes:

1. Travel as widely as possible. I do not mean go on vacation with a million other holiday makers on a well trodden path, but broaden your mind, experience and understanding through traveling in other countries of various cultures. It is best to travel alone for maximum experience. With hindsight, I am sure that my travels as a 20 year old and younger helped to give me the flexibility and adaptability to make a sudden move from one life direction to another. When traveling freely, you can always go just where you want to go, and the same can be true of your working life, or careers, if you have that flexible attitude from the beginning.

2. Most people have interests and talents that are quite separate from their primary career ambition. Always try to develop those skills and talents in parallel to your existing or imminent career. The more skills you have, the more knowledge you have, the more likely it is that, when the time comes to make a career change, it will be that much easier.

3. When in a chosen career, always add new skills and keep up to date with developments in that career. The opportunity may come along for you to specialize within that career, or diversify from it.

4. Plan your life in 5 year blocks. It is amazing how much can be achieved and changed in 5 years. My own life and working life bear little resemblance to even 7 years ago, and has changed drastically in the last 4 years. Formulating a 5 year plan for yourself at 20, 25, 30 and so on can be a great help in getting your prepared for all sorts of changes and developments. When formulating that plan, consider your career options during that coming period, and what you can do over that 5 years to prepare yourself for a career change beyond that 5 year period.

5. Have a program of self improvement to increase your confidence and prevent or overcome fear. Many people stay in the same job far too long, because of fear of change. Using meditation and relaxation techniques can help in this area of your life.

6. Keep control of your finances, and develop a financial success system . Always budget effectively, and never spend beyond your means. Always think in terms of building your assets. Saving from your monthly and income, and learning to invest wisely, can help you build wealth while most of those around you are borrowing, overspending, and digging a financial grave.

Why is a financial success system important when it comes to career change planning? Poor finances can be an inhibiting factor in making a career change. If your finances are in good shape, and you have adequate reserves, you have more time to switch successfully to a new career, even a new way of life. Financial fear can be a big drawback to making a career change.

By adopting some or all of the above tips, you should find yourself better prepared in the future to make a career change. Hopefully, that career change will be one that has evolved from your own desires, your own plans. However, sometimes career changes are forced by redundancy, technical developments in your chosen career, companies being taken over or going bust, outsourcing or other change in your working environment. Be prepared.

This career development article article was written by Roy Thomas, owner and part author of the Routes To Self Improvement website.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Industrial Maintenance Careers

Are you interested in a career in industrial maintenance? If you're the right person for these types of jobs, you'll probably have no trouble finding work as there are many tasks that need to be performed in the world of work. If you are a problem solver, love to work with your hands, are mechanically inclined and have always been intrigued with machinery, this may be the career field to utilize your talents.

Workers who choose this employment path are drawn to figuring out how things work and how to fix them when they break down. The classifications for skills required can be divided into five parts including welding, electrical, mechanical, automotive and general prevention tactics. Individuals who train for this job take courses and obtain experience in a variety of ways. Here are some things to think about:

- What a worker may need to do during his daily rounds: There are lots of hands-on repair tasks that must be performed. This may be in a manufacturing plant, factory, or in a segment of the automotive industry. Techs are intimately involved in safety, maintenance and installations of all types of machines. Reading plans and performing mathematical equations will also be required in most of these positions.

- Training possibilities: There are multiple training possibilities for the different types of jobs. An individual can get a two year Associate's Degree in Industrial Maintenance. He or she can also obtain a one year certificate in specific areas such as hydraulics, welding, automotive mechanics, power plant maintenance, surface or underground mechanics. He or she can get on-the-job training or learn about various aspects if enlisted in a branch of the military.

- Aptitudes and Abilities: Individuals should be adept at working with their hands, reading blueprints, mathematics, be handy with tools, be great problem solvers, be able to follow directions and communicate effectively with others as well as being physically strong. Since an individual will be lifting lots of heavy items, being in good physical shape and able to tote heavy poundage will be a must. If a person is planning this type of career, it would be wise to begin weight training, doing pushups or starting on a fitness regimen to build upper body strength.

- Classes to be taken: An array of stimulating classes would be taken in order to become degreed or certified. Some examples include those in blueprint reading, computer technology, hydraulics and pneumatics, motors and controls, machine installation and maintenance, industrial controllers and the programming of them.

For individuals who are interested in industrial maintenance and who have a natural aptitude at mechanics and math, this field could be a great career choice. There are always going to be machines in every industry that need to be maintained, repaired and installed. If a person thinks he or she is the right person for the job, obtaining the proper training can start him or her on the path.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why You Should Take Advantage Of The Resources For Immigrants

A lot of men and women are entertaining thoughts of migrating to Canada each and every single day. The situation is no longer favorable, particularly in the third world countries. It has become quite difficult for a lot of people to find a decent job, in order to have finances to sustain their needs and wants. Because of this, it comes to no surprise why these individuals begin to entertain thoughts of leaving their home country, in order to obtain greener pastures. We are all well- aware of the fact that migrating to another foreign land can be challenging. You will be technically the foreigner there. You won't know anyone, and you would need to adjust to an entirely different culture. Although it can be difficult and challenging, people still prefer to migrate to Canada. If you have intentions of legally moving or working there, you need to see to it that you do your research, and take advantage of the available resources for immigrants.

One of the best places to start your research is on the internet. Ever since its advent, a lot of men and women's lives have become easier. Even if you do not have enough time because you are too busy with the kids or with your job, you can still find a few minutes every day to work with your computer and laptop. When conducting your research, you need to see to it that you find out what are the requirements that need to be met, and the documents and papers you need to secure. You should also find out what classification of immigrant you can belong in, so that you will be able to simplify your search. When you are able to determine this, you can start securing the documents and requirements that will be useful for your application. Keep in mind that there are a lot of immigrant classifications, here are some of them:

- Skilled workers
- Family sponsorship
- Investors
- Entrepreneurs

Moreover, you need to see to it that you find out as much as you can with regard to the culture that is being practiced in the employment of your choice. Keep in mind that it will be different from what you have been accustomed to in your own country, which is why it is imperative that you find out as much as you can, so that you will know what actions and behaviors are deemed appropriate and not. Finding out as much as you can will also help you adapt quickly.

Whether you intend to migrate for work or educational purposes, you need to take advantage of the various resources, because these can greatly help you learn what you need to know about Canada and its culture.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Management Skills That Get You Noticed

There's no shame in admitting your management skills aren't up to par. In fact, there's something exciting about a potential Office Hero who understands they need to grow in order to improve, impress, and inspire. Self-assessment is the first step on the ladder of success and one of the important management skills you need. By spotting opportunities for growth you can work toward becoming the person you want to be (both in your professional and personal life). Not only that, your boss will notice your drive and your work mates will admire your dedication.

Capitalizing on the Need for Effective Management Skills
Now more than ever companies are wanting to promote from within. Doing so eliminates the costly recruitment process and also gives them access to employees that are already on-board and up to speed. As Meghan Bro, Forbes' leadership contributor, recently noted, it takes a new hire up to two years (#1) before they hit the performance level of an insured manager. By promoting from within, companies have access to candidates that help them bridge transitions without missing a beat.

But those employees--the ones who have the management skills to fill leadership openings--are hard to come by. Why? As Victor Lima wrote in Forbes (#2), "the diverse skill sets that go into making someone an effective manager are not always easy to find rolled into one person."

The good news is you can build those attractive skills into your own repertoire. When you showcase them in your everyday performance, your bosses will notice. You'll become one of those sought-after leaders and be the first in line when an opportunity to promote from within arises.

Jumpstart Your Professional and Personal Development

Where should you begin? With the skills you already have! If you want to grow in a professional capacity, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, just build on the foundation that's already there.

We all have an internal perception of our prowess but it's important to know how you're viewed by your work mates. Joseph Dolman(#3), a behavioral statistician, says multiple streams of feedback are essential in order for us to identify potential opportunities and build upon them. "We all need feedback to be successful. We're like a GPS: With only one satellite, the GPS can't predict your location." Dolman continues, stating that "with only self-insight to rely upon, you can't be sure if you're in line to become the Janitor or the CEO.'" Dolman says seeking out feedback, rather than just taking what we're given, is essential for professional growth. Managers, peers, colleagues, and direct reports are all excellent sources of feedback and tapping into them all will give you the variety you need in order to piece together a true account of your current management skills.

But it's also important not to overlook crucial "soft" skills when building your managerial foundation.

Balance AA€Sara€ and AA€Sofia€ Management Skills

On-the-job experience will earn you the technical skills you need to succeed but being a good leader isn't just about technical knowledge. It's about incorporating knowledge with finer "people skills." MAD Office Hero leadership tools can help you develop an appropriate balance of skills (both technical and intangible) and teach you to never stop adapting. Soon you'll be making a difference at your workplace and your boss will notice how you're becoming an Office Superhero - one that's ready to fill the next leadership position that opens up.


Creative Occupation

I earned a communication degree and have worked in (healthcare marketing for most of my life.

I was proud to have a communication degree. Actually, I was about the only one in my family that had gone off to the big city to get a communication degree. I still have the sheep skin to show for) it. It took me several years to pay for the piece of paper.

And, when I got my first job, I was excited. Since then, it has been a dog-eat-dog career but I've enjoyed doing.

And, to be totally candid, I'd made a respectable living for my family. Oh, I missed a few ball games but I was able to pay the bills. As I think about it, I'm sorry about the things I missed and wish I could have done it differently.

After this normal working arrangement, I discovered about something that was exciting€¦.something that allowed me to be creative€¦AA€¦and something that provided me with a great income.

I was a little worried that I could keep the money coming in without the traditional job but I've been surprised to see there are more than one way to skin a cat.

Now, I have so much appreciation for my life. I can be at the dance recitals with my family.

The better thing is that I have income coming in while I'm with the kids. And, the ability to come and go is the amazing thing.

With a degree, I have some skills that helps me in my new web-based marketing job. But, I wouldn't have to have a education to do this job. If you have talents, you can do it! You obviously have talents or you wouldn't be reading my career path.

I can still use the things I learned in my college classes. When I went to training, there wasn't all the web. But, as times have moved forward, I'm able to use the formal training in a progressive.

Thank you for reading my story. I think you'll be thanking me after you've explored this. I won't say it - but it is so simple and easy. So, don't put your life on hold with getting an education. Just start making money.

Really, you don't need to know fractions to bring home the bacon. You just have to have social marketing interests. And, honestly, almost everyone uses social networking these days. So, why not get income from something that's fun.

Check out this marketing career today.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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