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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.