Owning Your Future

It’s back to school for high school and college students.  But they are not the only group that need to think about “back to school”.  All career professionals should be thinking about increasing their own value in the work place.  Generally speaking, there are sectors of the work world that refer to continuing your education or training for licensing as Professional Development or Continuing Education Units (CEU).

  • Physicians and nurses
  • Attorneys
  • Massage Therapists
  • Teachers and Administrators
  • Realtors and CPA’s

This list is certainly not complete, but you get the idea.  Some professions require that within a determined number of years, you are required to participate in classes or conferences in an effort to keep current in your field.  Some industries pay for their employees to attend these conferences or courses while others leave it up to the individual.  The important point here is WHY would you leave it up to someone else?

In a changing economic market it makes it more challenging for individuals to quantify their value to a company, but it pays dividends if you invest in yourself.  Firms, companies and organizations have scaled back their resources to cover the costs associated with on-going training for employees, but the value of you investing in you is enormous!  It not only increases your own intellectual value, but it elevates the employer’s perception of you as an individual and your willingness to increase your own potential.

Making decisions about college and career is never easy.  But there are things you can do to make it an easier process and a fun journey.

High school students….find a way to career shadow or volunteer!

College students….you too can volunteer, shadow or intern in an unpaid experience!

Returning to the workforce….take a class, shadow a friend, volunteer, FIND YOUR PASSION!

Most important, Own Your Future!

Need help figuring it out, click here to contact me!

Summer – Jobs – Opportunity

Whether your summer begins May 10th , June 7th or June 21st, the landslide of summer workers/participants will hit in full force.  You need to be prepared to submit applications and do interviews before everyone else.  So work backwards.  Identify your target date for starting work and work backward with your plan.  You will need time for interviews, phone calls, application completion, Internet or local searches and networking.  That means you start now mapping a summer plan.

There are some terrific web tools for identifying summer employers as well as tips for effective interviews.  Here are just a few:

www.quintcareers.com                Great for searching College Internship Opportunities

www.getthatgig.com                     Opportunities for students 16-21 years

www.teenjobsection.com          Interactive map of opportunities across the country

www.snagajob.com                       Getting and making the most of your job

The important thing about starting now is you begin looking at the opportunities.  And opportunities do not apply only to work.  Opportunities may refer to athletic team participation, experiences or internships.  What would you like to do?  Are there jobs/opportunities you are particularly interested in doing and things you just would not consider?  What transportation barriers exist or what options are available if a good opportunity presents itself?  How many hours a day will you be available to work/play/volunteer?  Is summer class part of the equation when figuring schedules for work?  Different employers will embrace your availability as a summer worker and as a student working to get ahead.  Others may find value in your performance and embrace the opportunity that you may be available for the next few seasons.  The here and now impacts tomorrow!

By starting your search now, you have some time to explore options and activate a network.  Just like business people network to expand and strengthen their own client base, students can network to find great summer opportunities through parents, relatives and family friends.  Now is the time to get started!

Owning Your Future

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.  Making that purchase brings a sense of pride, confidence and Ownership.

There are countless reports in the news and articles in papers or on the web addressing the skyrocketing costs of higher education.  But what is not being addressed is the fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.  If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Own your future.  Ownership is powerful!

Up 10%

I speak frequently about the ridiculous amount of student loan debt in our country. Not that there aren’t times and situations that they are warranted, but all too often they are a product of irresponsible choices.  Irresponsible meaning that students and families do not invest the time and effort into exploring options before they commit to majors and then change their mind.  In changing majors, you loose at least one semester, so the graduation target gets pushed back and the monetary investment gets extended.  The national average indicates that students will change majors 3-5 times in the course of their four-year degree, but in doing so they end up graduating in six years instead of four.

The newest data shows that loan debt has increased 10% over last year.  Here is a very cool interactive map that shows state-by-state the amount of loan debt and % of students with loan debt. http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/college/student-debt-map-2012/?iid=EL

Need help exploring your options and developing a plan NOT to be one of the statistics.  I am not a financial consultant, but I am  a college and career advisement specialist.  Contact me.

Redirecting Your Work Life

While much of the time I target high school and college students, this post is for anyone in college, the work force, or considering going back to work.  Frequently over the last couple of years I have addressed Professional Development as it applies to high school and college students.  But to the career professional or the “stay-at-home parent” getting ready to re-enter the work force, this broad term also applies.  Generally speaking, there are sectors of the work world that refer to continuing your education or training for licensing as Professional Development or Continuing Education Units (CEU).

  • Physicians and Nurses
  • Attorneys
  • Massage Therapists
  • Teachers and Administrators
  • Realtors and CPA’s

This list is certainly not complete, but you get the idea.  Some professions require within a determined number of years, that you participate in classes or conferences in an effort to keep current in your field.  Some industries pay for their employees to attend these conferences or courses while others leave it up to the individual.  The important point here is WHY would you leave it up to someone else?

In a shaky economic market it makes it more challenging for individuals to pay for such training, but it pays dividends if you do.  Firms, companies and organizations have scaled back their resources to cover the costs associated with on-going training for employees, but the value of investing in you is enormous!  It not only increases your own intellectual value, but it elevates the employer’s perception of you as an individual and your willingness to increase your own potential.

In an interesting twist from a decade ago, there are now new programs geared to those who are out of work and seeking new directions and opportunities or those who need a brief course to get licensed and into a new profession that requires less preparation time and resources often required by four-year or advanced degrees.

Want to know how to increase your value to an organization or get redirected?  Contact me.

Excellent Perspective

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about a year ago and they addressed the issue of financing college.  They have run many articles since, but this one was so impressive because they included professionals outside the realm of education or higher education who addressed areas of concern beyond their own “known career” of investment services. In five perspectives of advice to parents from five financial advisors, the first recommendation was, “Encourage your child to select a career first, and then a school.”  One of the advisors interviewed, Greg Gilbert, a financial advisor based in Atlanta, went on to make a statement so similar to what I have blogged about several times over the last couple of years when I encouraged students to seek out internships and volunteer opportunities.  He said, “The key is not just saying ‘Oh, I want to do this,’ but instead, really actively vetting out the [career] idea to see if it’s the right choice.”

Funding a college degree is an enormous commitment.  It can become bigger than expected if it is not managed effectively.  Investing in a career professional may mean spending a little up-front, but it will be a fraction compared to the extended tuition payments made when a four year bachelor degree becomes a 6 year bachelor degree  as a result of a student trying to “find himself” in the process.  Even students who believe they know the direction they want to take can be blindsided when the courses or internships turn out to be vastly different than they expected.

The business of running colleges and universities is big business.  Part of that business is your tuition dollars.  You can choose to make it a four year plan or an extended plan.  So, before you choose that college, make sure you have a career plan and that the college you choose will provide the biggest bang for your buck!  Your action “up front” can reduce extended costs and perhaps your own student loan debt.

Click here to read full article.

Click here to contact me for more information on career paths, colleges or college majors.

 

4 Considerations to Evaluate Summer Needs

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”  – Mark Twain

Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are on a path that can provide enormous opportunity and create background experiences that set you up for success.  So, as part of the plan, begin by evaluating your needs.

As a student, there are 4 Needs to consider when planning your summer.  Keep in mind, your plan may include parallel paths to meet these Needs.

1 – Financial Need – Do you need to make money for spending cash or are you in need of making money to be able to make expenses when you return to school?  Do you need to make money to pay for college?  If “financial need” is a primary concern for your summer, then getting started on your pursuit of summer employment is an immediate need given the competition that will be out there.

2 – Experience Need – Experience presents itself in many forms.  It can be an internship, externship, or participation with an organization.  Internships may be with or without pay, but the big payoff is experience with a company that can build toward future employment with them or at least the benefit of learning what you do or don’t want to do in your future.  Participation with an organization may be in the form of an athletic team and building skills and stats toward college or professional opportunities.  Either way, the experience is your primary need.

3 – Volunteer Need – This one is of particular importance to high school students but should not be dismissed by the college student.  Volunteering speaks to your character.  Many high schools require community service as part of their graduation requirements.  Universities look at volunteerism as one element of consideration when admitting students.  Companies look at your community involvement as commitment, community outreach and opportunities to be seen as a positive extension of their own business.  Assess your schedule and your need to increase volunteer capacity.

4 – Education Need – Do you need to take summer courses?  Does your graduation date indicate that you are on track with completing your diploma or degree on-time?  Do you want to get ahead on your timeline?  Assessing your summer needs for education is important for maintaining an “on-time” graduation date.

Evaluate your needs and take action now!  Break it down and break away from the pack!

 

Time Management – Putting You Ahead of the Game

Time management is one of the most critical issues facing college students, so you can’t wait to get there to get it under control.  It is also an imperative for being an effective employee.  If time management is a challenge for you, get a planner/day timer and start using it.  Begin with the end in mind!

College students who are seniors and facing graduation and the workforce in the next 2-3 months, you should be in “full pursuit” of that 1st full time job.  Attending college job fairs on campus or in your local area are good options and are all well underway.  Don’t forget those career-finder websites, but remember that if you use a headhunter service, ask about the fees!

College juniors, you may not be ready to secure that first post-graduation job, but attending job fairs is quite beneficial from the experience perspective.  Get out there and see who is hiring, who might have internships for senior year, and the projections for hiring next year.  Get business cards from those whom you are interested in maintaining contact.  It’s a great way to build a relationship!

High school juniors, do you need to register for the SAT or ACT?  The opportunities are diminishing for this year, so manage your time effectively.  Seniors, many of you are in wait mode and anxious for acceptance letters.  But that doesn’t mean you are on cruise control.  Grades need to stay strong, and if you are undecided about those colleges, be sure to do your homework evaluating the programs at each and making note of potential scholarships once accepted.  Need to connect your natural abilities to a major area of study?  Contact me.

Managing your time can put you ahead of the game, not just in the game.  The competition is steep out there, so begin with the end in mind!  Eye on the prize!

5 Tips for Locating Internships, Externships and Career Shadowing

Internships, externships and career shadowing are great experiences for learning, vetting out what career possibilities make sense to you, and establishing links for future employment.  But I get asked, “What is the difference between internship, externship, and job shadow?”  Typically, externships are much shorter and unpaid.  They can be a couple of days to a few weeks in length and are primarily job shadowing experiences.  The extern is an observer.   A job shadow is typically a one day event and again, the individual is an observer.  However, an internship is usually at least a semester in length and may or may not be a paid position.  The intern is assigned duties that mirror what an employee in the position would be expected to do on a regular basis.

So how do you go about finding these great opportunities?  Here are 5 Tips for locating or creating an internship, externship or career shadow experience:

#1 – Employers of your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or any extended family member.  Activate your network!  Remember, it may mean you create the experience on paper and present the proposal.

#2 – Family friends and their businesses

#3 – Businesses you frequent and like their product or service

#4 – City or County government offices

#5 – Quintcareers is a great website with links to tons of opportunities, job skill and interview recommendations as well as a zip code activated link for locating internship opportunities in your desired hometown or college town.  Internmatch is another as is Summerinternships.com

Got a great internship story?  Comment here and generate ideas for others.  Or, if your company hires Interns or promotes shadowing experiences, please share those as well.  It’s all about networking!

Ownership

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.

Then we reach our twenties and begin dreaming about that first house or townhouse.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen: the jobs we’ll do, making those deposits, establishing credit lines and finally making that first purchase.

For both of these big investments we take “Ownership.”  When it comes time to make the big investment in a college or vocational education, we need to be just as diligent and committed.  We need to take Ownership.

There are so many articles about the rising cost of college tuition, the affordability issues and the decreasing funding for financial aid or even performance incentives through state programs.  But what is not being addressed is that fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.

If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Ownership is powerful.