Friday, July 31, 2009

Worm Farming?

My fellow bloggers and I have spent the last few weeks providing what we hope is useful, timely information on topics ranging from apprenticeships to career mentoring to volunteering your way to a new career. Determining a new career path is serious business, but let’s take some time to have a little fun. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the most unusual and interesting job titles and careers out there. Check them out!

  • Furniture Tester
  • Cowpuncher
  • Snake Milker
  • Dog Food Tester
  • Bath Sommelier
  • Odor Tester
  • Fig Pollinator
  • Cheese Sprayer
  • Worm Farmer
  • Pet Detective
  • Tanning Butler
  • Neck Skewer
  • Hot Walker
  • Oyster Floater
  • Dice Inspector
  • Hair-Boiler Operator

When considering your career options, keep an open mind...your skills and interests might lead you somewhere unexpected!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fastest Growing Technology Companies in the U.S.

Even though there are an abundant number of high tech companies located in Silicon Valley, many others are scattered throughout the country. Career Transitions can help you identify technology specific job opportunities in your location. Use your CAREER TARGETS coupled with the Job Type and Location searches in the FIND JOBS section to zero in on hight tech jobs in your area.

Click here to view the Forbes list of the 25 fastest growing technology companies, including Illumina, Google, iRobot Corp., and Vasco Data Security International.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Career Transition: Entrepreneurship

Did you know that the average person will change jobs 10 times between the ages of 18 and 38? Considering the current state of the economy, it isn’t surprising that more people than ever are finding themselves in the position of transitioning to a new job or career. What you may find surprising, though, is that many people--from dislocated workers to recent retirees--are not only considering a career transition, but are preparing to launch their own business. Starting a business during a recession is not a new phenomenon. According to a recent study conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, more than half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America's fastest-growing companies. If you are interested in a career transition that involves entrepreneurship, consider making use of the resources provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA, which was created as an independent agency of the federal government, helps Americans start, build, and grow their businesses by offering information on everything from writing a business plan to obtaining financial assistance to connecting with other small business owners. They also provide free online courses and links to local resources to help get you started. After you check out the variety of free tools and resources provided by the SBA, be sure to read this story of 10 accidental entrepreneurs who turned unexpected business opportunities into successful careers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hot Jobs, Rising Salaries

Job seekers may consider several factors when evaluating whether a job is right for them, including work environment, company culture, the opportunity for advancement and growth, and job security. An additional factor that frequently tops this list is compensation. If the potential to see increases in salary is one of your career must-haves, check out this list of 10 hot jobs (as reported by for which salaries are currently on the rise:
  • Pharmacist
  • Research Scientist, Biotechnology
  • Project Engineer
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Civil Engineer
  • Physical Therapist
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Registered Nurse
The career overviews for these jobs, which include information on average salaries as well as projected growth figures and educational requirements, can be found in the CAREER TARGETS section of EXPLORE CAREERS in Career Transitions. You can also use the FIND JOBS section of Career Transitions to conduct searches and view listings of current openings in these occupations.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Clothing, Transportation Assistance for Job Seekers

Maintaining a professional appearance is one of the keys to making a good first impression at any job interview. Individuals who are unable to afford professional attire have the option of receiving assistance from one of several nonprofit organizations. Dress for Success, an international organization with nearly 100 chapters/affiliates, provides professional attire to women seeking employment. Each client receives one interview suit; additional clothing is provided when employment is secured. Men in need of business attire for interviews can receive assistance from Career Gear, an organization with affiliates in five states. State- and locally-based organizations such as The Career Wardrobe (Philadelphia) and Clothes That Work (Ohio) provide similar clothing services to job seekers in their areas, and the Salvation Army sponsors many local programs and events, such as this event in Phoenix, designed to help job seekers obtain the clothing needed to attend interviews.

Lack of transportation is another common obstacle for job seekers. Individuals who do not have a reliable form of transportation can benefit from the services offered by nonprofits such as Opportunity Cars, which helps individuals acquire an automobile to be used for finding and retaining employment. Similar programs include Goodwill’s Wheels-to-Work, a program that coordinates the efforts of local organizations to help individuals purchase low-cost cars. Other local organizations, such as The Saguaro Foundation in Arizona, offer job seekers free transportation to and from interviews.

If you are a job seeker in need of clothing or transportation, contact one of the national organizations listed above to receive information on how to apply for assistance.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Maintaining Self-Confidence During Your Career Transition

The stress of recently losing your job can at times be overwhelming. You may have feelings of grief, despair, and anger. As difficult as times may be, view this as an opportunity to reexamine your skills and see how they can apply to other occupations. Keeping a positive attitude and maintaining your self-esteem are important at this time. Professional social worker, Karen Rowinsky, provides these suggestions for keeping up your self-confidence.

  • Expect and accept negative feelings
  • Form a board of advisors
  • Change negative thoughts into positive affirmations
  • Take advantage of your time off

For more insight into these suggestions and additional tips on maintaining your self-confidence as you continue your job search, read Ms. Rowinsky’s article.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mentoring and Career Development

Once you embark on a career path, it’s important to find someone who can offer sage advice for your occupational advancement. That someone is oftentimes a mentor. As you gain experience, you may consider becoming a mentor yourself. Personal branding strategist and professional speaker, Lethia Owens, describes a successful mentoring relationship. “Mentoring is about sharing knowledge and experience with an individual, and, in this case, helping them improve career success. Mentoring builds communication skills for the mentor, as well as providing them with an experience that is viewed positively by organizations for their own career development. An individual who is mentoring another is, and is acknowledged to be, a leader and an expert in their field.”

Visit this site for more suggestions on building effective mentoring relationships and find out which critical qualities a mentor should possess.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Volunteering Your Way to a New Career

While volunteering for an organization is generally considered an altruistic gesture, it is also a valuable learning experience that can lead to different career opportunities. Steve Vetter’s friends thought he was losing two years of his life by volunteering with the Peace Corps after he graduated from college in 1966. His training with the Corps led to a satisfying career in international development. He’s now president and chief executive of a group that connects U.S. residents with people throughout Latin America on projects such as agricultural development and youth programs. "About 12 percent to 15 percent of professional jobs are in the nonprofit sector," Vetter said. "Almost all the people who work in those jobs began as volunteers. It's like baseball's farm team system. You can check out an employer and they can check you out."

To see how others have advanced their careers through volunteerism, read this interesting article from The Washington Post. You can also visit VolunteerMatch, an online database that pairs volunteers and nonprofits.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tips for Successful Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing is a vital tool for people seeking a second profession, or "recareering" as it's now known. But the process can be daunting and confusing. It takes a different set of skills from the ones you use interviewing and networking in your current field. To succeed at informational interviewing, follow these helpful tips.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Importance of Networking

When it comes to finding a job, nothing beats good, old-fashioned networking -- contacting friends, relatives and former colleagues, setting up face-to-face meetings in the hope of getting job referrals. Yes, it is awkward, but here's why it simply has to be done: At any given time, about 80% of all available jobs aren't posted in the classifieds or on job boards, says BH Careers International, a New York career-management firm. Check out these networking tips that can assist you with your employment search.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Recession-Proof Industries

We are in difficult economic times, but there still are many opportunities available in the job market. Whether you are currently out of work, or looking to make a career change, look to these recession-proof industries as possibilities for future employment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Internships for Mid-Career Professionals

While internships are typically thought of as a sort of rite of passage for the college student or recent graduate, mid-career professionals are the latest demographic to discover their value. Internships can provide the opportunity for career changers and dislocated workers to hone their skills and to try out a new career or industry before committing to it full time. They are also a good way for individuals to re-enter the workforce after an extended absence. Several companies, including Sara Lee, have created “returnship” programs for individuals with prior experience who are looking to re-enter the corporate world. Though the majority of internships and returnships are unpaid, many mid-career professionals are finding that the long-term benefits outweigh the minimal financial gain. Click here to read more about non-traditional interns who have made the experience work for them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Steps to Take Before Transitioning to a New Career

New York University career counselor Linda Stone recommends taking the following steps prior to transitioning to a new career:

  • Recognize that change is a process and that the pace of change varies.
  • Understand why you feel unfulfilled in your current job.
  • Assess your skills and achievements and figure out what you want to continue to develop.
  • Research and conduct informational interviews. Network.
  • Recognize that everyone has personal barriers and constraints in changing careers.
  • Develop short- and long-term goals with realistic objectives based on the first five steps.
Click here to read the stories of four recent career changers who are currently pursuing their dream jobs.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gaining Valuable Experience Through Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeships provide paid on-the-job training in more than 1,000 career fields. Offered in addition to classroom learning, apprenticeships are a great way to get a feel for the field you’ve been studying, while earning money and oftentimes, college credit. Apprenticeships can be valuable to both current students without any work experience and to those already in the workforce looking to change career paths. Possible careers range from electrician and plumber, to fire medic, chef, law enforcement agent, and over-the-road truck driver.

Career, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education, offers information on what to do once you’ve narrowed your field of choices down and how to obtain an apprenticeship in your location.

If you’re worried about working full time on top of taking a full-load of classes, don’t be. Many apprenticeships offer flexible scheduling of in-the-class learning and on-the-job training, varying by industry, educational institute, and employer. The average length of an apprenticeship is four years; however, depending on the field, apprenticeships can last as long as six years. An apprenticeship should be considered an investment in experience which can set you apart from the rest of the field when applying for positions with potential employers.

Visit the U.S. Department of Labor and Registered Apprentice sites for more information on apprenticeships.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Affordable Schooling Allows Job Seekers to Chase Their Dreams

For some job seekers, making the decision to transition to a new career will involve a return to school. Programs created via federal stimulus money have made going back to school--whether that be a community college, university, or other specialized training program--an affordable option for many. One example of stimulus money in action can be seen in Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind initiative, which provides qualified individuals with up to two tuition-free years at any community college or university in the state. Similar programs are popping up at colleges throughout the country. At Lorain County Community College in Ohio, the “Make Your Lay Off Pay Off” program offers individuals the opportunity to enroll in tuition-free continuing education classes, college credit classes, and job training workshops. Rebound, a program recently implemented by South Suburban College in Illinois, provides tuition-free classes to help train dislocated workers for in-demand occupations such as pharmacy technician, teacher’s aide, and computer technician. While the focus is often on the negative consequences of the struggling economy, job seekers and dislocated workers have discovered the silver lining--the chance to explore a new career and chase their dreams by going back to school. Check out this article for a list of other colleges offering free or reduced tuition programs.

Libraries Becoming Career Centers

The fact that you’ve logged on to Career Transitions indicates you already have some awareness of the value of the library as part of the job hunt process. But are you really making the most of what your library has to offer? Beyond the books and DVDs, many libraries now offer job seekers the opportunity to build their skills via free workshops, computer classes, and career counseling sessions. Check out the articles below to see how libraries in Louisville and Brooklyn have been transformed into career centers and are making a difference in the lives of job seekers in their area. And after you’ve explored Career Transitions, be sure to discuss career resources with your librarian to ensure you are fully benefiting from your library membership.

Louisville Free Public Library Opens Job Shop

Brooklyn Public Library Provides Key Resources for the Unemployed

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Self Assessment, the Key to Successful Career Planning

The self assessment process is an integral part of career planning whether you are embarking on your first career or preparing to transition from one occupation to another. A self assessment of your values, interests, personality, and skills can help guide you to a more fulfilling career. Career planning professional, Dawn Rosenburg McKay, stresses the importance of a values inventory. “Your values are possibly the most important thing to consider when you're choosing an occupation. If you don't take your values into account when planning your career, there's a good chance you'll dislike your work and therefore not succeed in it.” Visit this site for more helpful information from Dawn on the self assessment process.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Un-Retirement: Renewing Your Career After Retirement

It’s never too late to transition to a new career or to follow your passion. A recent survey showed that some 9.5 million retirees are currently considering re-entering the workforce. Some retirees are headed back to work to secure extra income, while others are simply looking to fill their time.

If you are one of the retirees considering a return to the workforce, there is reason to feel optimistic about your job search. In addition to the valuable resources you’ll find in Career Transitions, there are numerous job sites that specifically target retirees and the over 50 professional. There are also programs designed to assist retirees, such as AARP’s National Employer Team, which consists of over 40 companies that actively recruit mature workers. Retirees and mature workers in a lower income bracket can receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Senior Community Service Employment Program, which provides work-based training at non-profit and public facilities, including schools and hospitals.

While the idea of un-retirement may be daunting for some, it is important to keep in mind that your skills and experience are incredibly valuable assets!

To help narrow your job search, be sure to check out this list of the top 20 retirement jobs and industries.