Sunday, August 31, 2008

Manufacturing Jobs Still Need Talented Workers

Although the United States has lost millions of manufacturing jobs to countries like China, there are still well paying, job opportunities for hourly skilled workers in the manufacturing sector.

In a study on the issue, the United States Labor department reported that too few young people consider manufacturing careers and often are unaware of the job skills needed in the more advanced manufacturing environments.

As more and more baby boomers retire, the problem is expected to accelerate and many fear these well paying jobs will remain unfilled.

Some states, schools and businesses are collaborating to address this shortfall in skilled workers, directly through vocational training and workforce development programs.

State of Wisconsin - Created the "Next Generation Manufacturing"
Northwest-Shoals Community College in Alabama - Added a Welding and a Machine Tool Technology program.
Hamill Manufacturing - Invests an average of $120,000 per apprentice to try and train the qualified skilled workforce they need

Friday, August 29, 2008

Construction Careers in Oregon

The state of Oregon is trying to attract workers to the construction sector and have created an advertising campaign to do just that.

Associated General group of contractors are trying to reshape their industry and get new, younger workers into the profession.

Todd Hess, president of Todd Hess Building Co. and AGC chapter president says, “Construction has a solution for a slice of that population. … We’re looking for young people that love tangible rewards at the end of the day.”

The construction industry in Oregon is facing a shortage of skilled labor with half of its workforce expected to retire in the next 10 years. They are looking for young people who want to pursue construction as a career.

Here are options for construction training in vocational programs in Oregon:

Blue Mountain Community College
Central Oregon Community College
Chemeketa Community College
Clackamas Community College
Clatsop Community College
Lane Community College
Linn-benton Community College
Mt Hood Community College
Portland Community College
Rogue Community College
Southwestern Oregon Community College
Treasure Valley Community College
Umpqua Community College

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Technical Education and Vocational Training Has Value

BullsEyeResumes is a member of the The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). ACTE is the largest professional national education organization that is dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers.

Most high school graduates this year are still considering what life beyond high school has in store for them. As high school grads consider career options, they should know that there are huge advantages to post secondary Technical Education and Vocational Training.

When asked about the value of career and technical education in the FAQs on their website, ACTE cites the following statistics:

1. Career and technical education graduates are 10-15 percent more likely to be in the labor force.

2. Career and technical education graduates are also 8-9% more than graduates of totally academic programs, according to a 2001 Russell Sage Foundation study.

3. Students in career and technical education concentrations take more and higher level math classes than their general education counterparts, according to a 2002 NCCTE study.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Associate Degrees are Becoming Valuable

Did you know that more than 20% of all those individuals employed in Science and Engineering occupations have less than a bachelors degree?

Of the more than four million individuals employed in science and engineering in the United States as of April 2003, 17% listed their highest level of education as an Associates Degree.

According to the US Census Bureau, an Associate Degree holder earns an average of $1.6 million over his/her adult working life compared to high school graduates who will earn an average of $1.2 million beyond graduation.

It is not too late to get into an Associate Degree program this fall!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dara Torres - Over 40 and Fabulous

So I am an Olympics junkie - I admit it.

I have been, unashamedly, hooked for two weeks watching the world's best athletes perform at their peak.

One of my absolute favorites has been swimmer Dara Torres. At 41 years old, Torres is the first American swimmer to compete in five, yes count them - FIVE Olympics. Torres, who holds nine career Olympic medals, including the freestyle relay gold she won at 17 years old, is also the oldest swimmer to ever qualify for the games.

Last week I wrote about Usain Bolt and Micheal Phelps and felt that if you didn't yet know about Dara Torres - you should.

Why I admire her? Torres hung her swimsuit out to dry after the 2004 games in Sydney and assumed new roles. She ultimately got married, was divorced and worked as a sports broadcaster.

In 2006 Torres went back to work, resumed training and lost 36 pounds after giving birth to her first daughter.

Torres exemplifies to me, the courageous, older professional who returns to career form through hard work and discipline. Her success in the Beijing Olympics should be an inspiration to everyone who is considering career reentry.

Torres reminds us that it is entirely possible to compete effectively and that having heart and drive is not limited to numbers on a calendar. Check out this You Tube video where Dara Torres was featured as the ABC Person of the Week as she went through qualifying trials last year.

High School Sample Resume Objective

Do I need a Resume Objective?

Although you might mention your job objective on your application or in your cover letter, most employers still like to see an objective statement in the top 30% of your high school resume.

The resume objective gives your high school resume a focus and lets the hiring manager know what specific type of position you are seeking. One job search strategy that really works is to create separate resumes with different resume objectives for different jobs.

Here are a few templates to use:
1. [Name of department] where my skills can [identify a goal].
eg. [Front desk assistant] where my skills can [help to serve customers].

2. A part time position as a [name or type of position] allowing me to use my [state your qualifications]
eg. A part time position as a [camp counselor] allowing me to use my [experience as a babysitter for the last 2 years]

3. To use my [qualifications] as a [position title].
eg. To use my [web design experience] as a [part time webmaster].

Check out these high school sample resumes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do You Dance at Work Like Usain Bolt?

Much has been said for the last several days about Usain Bolt's performance at the Beijing Olympics and I know more will be said. Even controversal IOC President, Rogge couldn't resist chiding Usain Bolt, who now holds 3 world records, on his post run display of excitement.

Here is what Bolt had to say after Rogge shared his comments:

"It's good to enjoy yourselves. This is my work, this is my job. There is no point in doing your work if you don't enjoy it."

One of my favorite photos from the entire Olympics is this photo of a barefoot Usain dancing on the field and draped in a Jamaican flag.

Bolt's reaction to Bogge and this photo made me want to ask:

- How many of us still dance at work?
- When was the last time you danced at work?
- Do you know people who no longer dance at work?
- Do you know people who no longer even smile at work?
- How many of us long for a time to enjoy our work again?
- How can we recommit to being happy at work again?

I think many of us are laboring in unhappy places and dissatisfied with our own careers. Whether or not we agree with how Usain Bolt celebrates, it is clear that he is having fun doing what he does.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fall College Recruiting Check List for College Students

I hate to say it but the summer is just about over.

Microwave. Check!
Towels. Check!
Iron. Check!

This is pretty much the kind of checklist that students and parents are using this time of year as college studens head back to school!

College juniors and seniors going back this year, should consider another type of checklist if they want to land great entry level jobs or get accepted into competitive college internship programs next year.

As college students prepare to participate in on campus recruiting programs this fall, here are 5 things to put on a new checklist.

1. Understand personal traits. Include both strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of three strengths and weaknesses and commit to working on them this fall. Use career tests in your college career center if you need help.

2. Know what you value. Make a list of things that are important to you in a college internship program or in an entry level career beyond graduation. Nothing is unimportant if it means something to you. Include things like working conditions, benefits and training.

3. Take stock of your job skills
Make a checklist of skills that are important to succeed in the summer internship program or entry level career of your dreams. List your current job skills and the ones you need to acquire.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Michael Phelps Can Teach Teenagers

There is no debate about the awesome performance of Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics. I am in awe of the physical and personal strength Michael Phelps has displayed at these Olympic games.

It's not hard to see why Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have become big favorites.

As I cheered for him to win his eighth olympic gold medal, I was curious about his his past and the discipline he clearly developed as a teenager. I thought that there might be some lessons for high school teenagers who might want to emulate the success of Michael Phelps' career. Teenagers should start thinking about where they could be in four years for the London 2012 Olympics.

- Explore extracurricular activities in high school. Before starting swimming, Michael tried his hand at baseball, soccer and lacrosse, golf and even thought about trying out for football. Motivated teens can do anything with support and determination.

- Be flexible. Flexibility is a skill that will help you well beyond graduation. If your high school lacks the facilities or support the sport you love, find ways to participate outside of school. Phelps swam for North Baltimore Aquatic Club in Maryland

- Be disciplined and willing to work hard. Those two behaviors will help you set and attain goals well beyond high school graduation. As a high school junior, Michael Phelps worked out up to 10 times weekly and in preparation for the Beijing Olympics, trained 2-5 hours daily.

- Be willing to challenge established processes. At 15, Michael Phelps became the youngest swimmer in almost 70 years to compete for the United States. To gain a spot on the olympic team, Phelps competed with and beat swimmers, many years his senior.

- Use weaknesses to your advantage. Michael Phelp's mother, Debbie Phelps says that her son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). "He was an energetic boy who drove his teachers crazy," she says in an article for the Baltimore Sun.

- Know that you are never too young to be outstanding. At 15 years and 9 months, Michael Phelps was the youngest US male swimmer to turn professional and the only swimmer to break five world records in one meet, and qualify for the olympics in six events.

- Be a team player. Michael Phelps has won 8 gold medals in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing not by winning only individual races. Three of his gold medals came because he worked with a team of swimmers in the Men's 4x100 Freestyle Relay, Men's 4x200 Freestyle Relay and the Men's 4x100 Medley Relay.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Usain Bolt's Chest Thump Heard Around the World

Can you remember a time in your career when you defied the odds, stayed calm under pressure and performed like you planned or dreamed? Even if most of us can think about a time when we were at our best, we probably didn't do it under the watchful, hopeful eyes of millions of people worldwide in the Beijing Olympics.

My regular blog readers know that I was born and raised in Jamaica and have lived in the United States for the last 22 years. Even though my husband, and I love dearly our adopted homeland, the United States, we can't help but feel a tremendous amount of pride in the way the sprinters from the land of our birth, Jamaica, have performed so far in the Beijing Olympics.

As I watch Usain Bolt, winner of the Men's 100M final sprint in Beijing, "thump his chest" before he even crosses the finish line in world record time of 9.69 seconds, I think I know exactly what he is saying to himself. He is saying, "Is me dat!"

Translated for my American friends, that chest thump and outspread arms, meant, "I did that".

Some of the announcers called it bragging. Those of us who know the history of Jamaica and the spirit of the Jamaican people, know that it is not about bragging. It's about reinforcing to one's self that barriers exist only where one sees them. It is about acknowledging his own accomplishment, whether the rest of the world notices it or not. It's a kind of self assuredness that says, "I am in control of my destiny and I can do this, whether or not the world thinks it possible." It's what I call a personal high five.

Of course as a career development professional, I can't help but be inspired by the way athletes like Bolt, perform under tremendous pressure. I wonder what kind of career advice we can glean from such a performance. We get nervous in, when we have to do presentations at work or when we get assigned the important accounts or projects at the office. I don't think we ever get over the initial jitters. Here, on the other hand, are professional athletes at the top of their game who are performing with the whole world watching. It certainly gives us pause to check ourselves as we put the pressures of our own jobs and our workplace stress in perspective.

The key point to remember is that when we see Jamaican sprinters, like Usain Bolt, perform well on the world's stage, we are actually witnessing the end result of hours of preparation and practice. What we see in a few seconds of brilliance takes place years after Bolt made the decision to put himself, his body and his credibility on the line to achieve a personal best and execute this amazing feat.

Bolt's body, by the way, is 6 feet 5 inches tall; well outside of what tradition has deemed good for sprinting. If that doesn't deserve a personal high five, I don't know what does.

Looking at Usain Bolt doing what he does, makes me think that career nirvana is indeed possible for all of us who are willing to do the hard work to prepare for our own big show.

It may not be the Beijing Olympics of 2008, but we owe it to ourselves to do what it takes to be ready!

How do you get ready? When was the last time you gave yourself a personal high five?

Additional Resources:

- Jamaican Athletics: A Model For the World - Written by Jamaican, Judge Patrick Robinson of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

- Jamaican athletes: Why do they run so fast?
Written by Jamaican attorney and former senator, Delano Franklyn

Thursday, August 14, 2008

5 Good Reasons to Meet Employers This Fall

Many college students overlook opportunities to meet employers on campus. Many are not aware that the fall is probably the busiest time in a college career centers with employers doing interviews with students for summer internship positions and entry level careers after graduation.

Too many college students only attend employer events events when they actually want to be hired. That may be too late if the competition has already met hiring managers at previous campus events.

Here is how and why you want to meet employers on campus this fall:

1.Convenience. College students can attend employer events between classes. Taking a quick walk across campus to spend 15 minutes with a hiring manager in the college career center is a good way to meet potential employers.

2.Stress free meetings. Meet recruiters, employers or hiring managers at information tables or classroom visits before you have to meet them at the on-campus job interview.

3.It demonstrates your positive “go-getter” attitude. Employers are impressed by students who know about campus visits and show up if even for a few minutes between classes to make a networking connection.

4.Branding your campus . To keep your preferred employers coming back to your college campus, show up to employer events. If employers experience low attendance of college students for events, they may drop your school or academic major from their recruiting schedule.

5. Get feedback on job search strategy. If you are job hunting and want some free career advice on to improve job search strategy, stop by and meet recruiters who can help with college resumes and job interview preparation.

Whether you are a college freshman, sophomore, junior or senior the career center values your visit to employer events. Meeting you will keep employers coming back to your campus.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Interview Tips for Teens

Here are 10 interview tips for teens and high school graduates. More Interview Preparation tips are available at via High School Interview FAQs.

1. Visit the career counseling office at your school and ask for a list of sample interview questions.

2. Visit the company website and do some research about the job. Ask anyone you know who may already work with the company.

3. Practice your answers to sample interview questions before the interview.

4. Prepare interview attire and avoid wardrobe malfunctions. We know you are a teenager, but your dress does say a lot about you.

5. Arrive early for the job interview. Bring pen, paper and a copy of your resume on clean resume paper if you have it. If you have good white paper then use that.

6. Be polite with everyone you meet at the interview site. Be courteous to the secretary and other workers.

7. Speak clearly during the job interview and be positive with your body language. Don't slouch in your chair.

8. Prepare some questions for the interviewer. Write these questions down before the job interview.

9. Have names and contact information for personal references to complete a job application.

10. Be sure to follow-up with a thank you note. Most hiring managers feel that an email is a good way to do that. Keep it professional!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Show Career Training Benefits on Your Resume

Career colleges offering career training and vocational training specialize in hands-on job training programs to prepare you for a career. They can quickly help you build on current job skills, acquire new job skills and draft a successful job search strategy.

Here are some of the skills that your vocational resume should showcase as you complete your career training program and begin job hunting.

1.Projects and practical, hands-on classes
Career training focuses on teaching you the skills you need to hit the ground running in the job market. Career placement services in career training programs know what practical hands-on experience employers want and can help you include those into your resume.

2. Time Management
Career training programs can be an intense commitment of time. Completion shows good work ethic, motivation and commitment. Employers should see that on a vocational grad's resume. Talk about if you have worked full time while in school.

3. Flexibility
Some career training and vocational training programs offer on-line and on-site classes at different times to suit students who have to work around family commitments. This demonstrates flexibility on your part and a willingness to come out of your comfort zone.

4. Determination and Motivation
The fact that you were determined and motivated to successfully enroll and finish career training or vocational training program is a characteristic that employers will value and look for in new candidates.

5. Buzz words
As you complete your career training program and get ready for job hunting, beef up your knowledge of specific industry “buzz” words and phrases. Use these industry "buzz" words in your resume to demonstrate industry knowledge. Recruiters and Hiring Managers will be using these "buzz" words to screen resumes to find the right candidate. You should use them too!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Career Coward's Guide to Changing Careers - Piotrowski

I read The Career Coward's Guide to Changing Careers by Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed and thought you might like it as well.

Here are some of the questions the book addresses, which I know might be on your mind as you consider a career change.

-How will you identify a new career?
-Where do you research new careers?
-How to make the decision about what to pursue?
-Why do you want to make this change
-How can you make the transition successfully and as painlessly as possible?
-What excites you now and why now?
-Did something change in your life that is inspiring this new direction?
-How do you build a bridge from where you are in your life to your new career
-What about risk, rewards, payoff, how much time? Burnout?

What I loved about the book?
Good tips, quick read, easy to go back to certain pieces, reuseable, samples and worksheets!

It's my recommended reading this month!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Your Teen Resume Says About You

Teenagers need resumes for all kinds of reasons including looking for part time jobs, applying to college and applying for scholarships.

Regardless of the reason the teenager is writing the resume, most jobseekers teen resumes are basically looking for the same behaviors. If you are writing your first highschool resume, think about what you want the reader to think about you. Here are three personal traits that an employer could see from reading between the lines on your resume.

Error Free
An error free high school resume will say that you are a teenager who pays attention to detail. Not only are you conscientious enough to write a resume, you took the time to get help proofreading and correcting your resume.

Work Ethic
If your resume shows that you are a full time teen student who is juggling extra curricular activities, coursework and volunteer work, the employer will get a sense that you have strong work ethic and you are reliable.

Your high school resume is a good place to show all of the academic awards and recognition you received. An employer would be impressed if they read a teenager's resume that shows outstanding achievements.

Does Online Education = On Campus Education?

For me? The answer is Yes. Online education = on campus education experience!

I was debating with a colleague about online versus on-campus education. Many of us who have experienced both, realize there are pros and cons for each approach and that it really depends on the individual’s needs. I debated my colleague’s point that there is a stronger sense of community developed in on-campus education with other students rather than in online education programs.

That was not the case for me. For eight of the ten years between my first associate degree and my MBA; I was a full time parent and the on-campus experience was a big hindrance for me. As a parent, I had no “extra” time for the on campus education experiences that others speak about.

My days were spent racing from class, to car, to work, to kids’ school and to home. Since I was on campus just for class time, much of my communication with professors or student affairs was "virtual" and conducted via email or telephones anyway.

There was nothing more frustrating for me than to have to take a day from work to go back to campus during “business hours” to take care of college business. College business like parking tickets every semester, because I needed to park close to a particular building so I could pick up my kids on time. In fact, I had to delay my MBA official completion one whole semester, since I did not make it on campus to pay an $18 fee to get my MBA project thesis bound.

I felt great camaraderie with classmates in the few online classes I was able to take. For me there was immediate kinship,once we recognized we were all in the same online education boat, so to speak. It was always a pleasure for me to meet someone again in another class and even better when we got to meet in person, as we did sometimes.

What do you think about the online education vs. on campus education experience debate?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fastest Growing Careers up to 2012

Vocational training is an exciting option if you are looking for an education that will have you in the marketplace in a relatively short time.

Roxanne Ravenel in her article - 7 Tips for Jump Starting a Stalled Job Search, said this, "According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. jobless rate soared to a four-year high of 5.7% in July 2008 and the average job search took more than four months to net results".

If you or someone you know is looking for a career education or vocational training program, here is the list from the Department of Labor of the fastest growing careers. There may still be time to apply for a vocational program starting this fall.

1. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
2. Physician Assistant
3. Medical Assistant
4. Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
5. Computer Application Software Engineers
6. Physical Therapist Aides
7. Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Instructors
8. Database Administrators
9. Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
10. Dental Hygienists

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Consider Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants are administrative support staff that works out of their own offices and assist small business owners, telecommuters and executives. Virtual Assistants are independent contractors, and therefore are expected to provide their own office equipment and workspace. Typically, they are paid on 1099's and have to handle their own taxes. Through the use of modern technology, Virtual Assistants can provide many of the same services as in-house administrative assistants from remote locations.

Many small businesses with limited funds find that Virtual Assistants offer convenience and value for some of the following reasons:
- Lower costs because of no employee-related taxes, paperwork, insurance, or benefits
- Virtual Assistants have their own office space and equipment costs.
- Pay by project or hourly based on the time spent.
- Ability to add extra staff during seasonal or peak times.
- Support on as needed basis, with fast turn around time.
- Round-the-clock schedules available.

Read a comment from a reader at JibberJobber who offered these resources for those who want to consider becoming a Virtual Assistant.

Rat Race Rebellion

Here are some others:
Dc Virtual Office Solutions

As with all career options you explore when reentering the workforce, be careful and do the required due diligence. Be wary of services that are collecting up front fees.

Follow up on the Interview Weakness Question

A few weeks ago I made a reference to a posting about handling the weakness question in the interview. I also addressed the issue in my blog at Secrets of the Job Hunt where Judy Smyer shared the following comment;

Comment by Judy Smyer
Are you a great match for the position? Are you confident you can do the job? If so, that pesky 'weakness' question creates an opportunity. It opens the door for you to confirm your belief that the job plays to your strengths.

You can back that up by a) demonstrating how you will help the organization achieve its objectives, b) giving a pertinent example of one of your professional accomplishments, c) listing your consistent areas of achievement, or d) reviewing your qualifications as they compare to the position requirements.

If pressed by an unskilled interviewer who feels the need to wring a ‘weakness’ confession from you, then by all means don’t fall back on the ‘cheesy’ workaholic answer.

If you feel you have to toss a ‘weakness’ bone, be creative. Although you must be authentic and be yourself - a job for which you are uniquely qualified! - you’re never obligated to say anything negative about your product (you).

As mentioned in Marcie’s post, you might pick a minor professional area that’s not essential to the position in which you are pursuing or intend to pursue more training, or do more research.

When you hold the keys to successful interviewing - preparation and perspective - the ‘weakness’ question will fall into place, along with all the others. Know the company, the industry, and the job market. Be prepared to show you’re a good fit for the culture and to paint a coherent picture of your value proposition - specifically how you can and will help the company make money.

10 Misconceptions about the Myers Briggs

Many college career centers use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help college students as they make the decisions about careers and majors.

Breanne Potter does a great job covering many of the misconceptions about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Breanne consults with corporate and government organizations that use the MBTI to help employees improve productivity and enjoy greater job satisfaction.

Feel free to email Breanne any questions you have about the MBTI®, Strong Interest Inventory®, FIRO-B®, TKI and CPI™ or assessments she uses.

Synopsis of the top 10 misconceptions: (Breanne does a good job explaining why each of these are misconceptions and how to modify your thinking in the complete article).

1. The MBTI is a personality test
2. I can take the MBTI online for free
3. The MBTI says I am one type, but I feel I am another type
4. We can use this to select new employees
5. I am one of 16 types, but I feel I am more unique than that
6. I should change careers based on the result
7. If I had a high score in one area it must mean I am really good at that
8. I have changed my type several times
9. I can guess what someone's type is going to be
10. If my team members all have the same MBTI type, we will be the best team ever

As with any career assessment tool, honest self evaluation is really the key to change.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Poor Communication Skills Could Cost You the Job

It is never too early to start thinking about how your communication skills can impact your job - be it a part time job while in school or in your life beyond graduation.

Here are the places in a part-time job or job search where communication skills play an important role.

In the telephone interview
In a face-to-face interview
When you are interacting with your boss
Interacting with co-workers
Working with customers
Resolving customer issues
Asking for clarification of instructions

If communication skills are a weakness for you, consider a speech class, a leadership role in a school club or joining the debating society at your high school.

Bookmark for tons of additional advice and resources to help build job skills for teens.

Source - Satisfying Career - Happier Life