Job Seeker Blog

The best 11 jobs in America for 2017

Although the U.S. unemployment rate is near a 10-year low, not all jobs are created equal in the post-recession economy. Some professions and industries are pulling ahead of the pack when it comes to compensation and benefits, while millions of Americans continue to struggle with stagnant pay and limited job prospects.

So how does one find a lucrative job with plenty of career prospects? It helps to focus on three industries, according to a new study from employment site Glassdoor.

About half the jobs with the best prospects for 2017 tend to be found in technology, health care and finance, the study found. These careers are highly skilled professions that typically require college degrees or specialized training, which emphasizes the increasing opportunity divide between Americans with college degrees and those who didn’t progress beyond high school.

And because these jobs are resistant to automation, they’re likely to continue providing a good income and career prospects for years to come.

“These positions won’t be automated anytime soon,” said Glassdoor spokeswoman Allison Berry. “They’re all very highly skilled and require people to dig into what they are working in, whether that’s a data scientist or a pharmacy manager.”

Less-skilled occupations are increasingly feeling the impact of automation as companies turn to robots for manufacturing work, for instance. That trend is likely to expand into other industries. The World Economic Forum predicted last year that automation will cause 5.1 million job losses over the next five years.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, News, Personal

Compare Nonprofit, For-Profit Online Degree Programs

While there’s still a stigma against for-profits, the quality of education varies widely within the sector, experts say.

To some students, a for-profit online degree program seems like a risky option.

“I’ve seen a lot of reports for a lot of years about how for-profit schools have pretty much based their incomes on the ability for students to get federal financial aid,” says 30-year-old Matt Warner, a cybersecurity and information assurance master’s student at the nonprofit, online Western Governors University.

Though he’s personally hesitant about for-profits, he suggests prospective students focus more on factors such as cost and the degrees offered.

For California resident Carlos Ramirez, enrolling in an online doctoral program in health administration at the for-profit University of Phoenix was a no-brainer. Ramirez previously earned his bachelor’s and master’s at the school and was satisfied with its flexibility and student support.

Experts say in online education, a school’s classification as a for-profit versus nonprofit tells prospective online students little about overall quality.

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“I think it’s less about the sector and more on how attentive the institution is to meeting the needs of students, to understanding best practices, to preparing their faculty for this robust learning experience,” says Karen Pedersen, chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium, an organization aiming to improve online higher education.

For-profit institutions have faced criticism in recent years for questionable recruitment practices, low graduation rates and high student debt. Though employers today are becoming more receptive to accepting candidates with for-profit, online degrees, there’s still a stigma around them, experts say.

[Discover how employers view for-profit online bachelor’s degrees.]

“It’s a distinction that has gotten a lot of press over the last many years, and I’m not sure that it’s warranted,” says Betty Vandenbosch, president of the for-profit Kaplan University, which delivers many degrees online.

When for-profit online degree programs started becoming more prevalent around 1999, they accepted almost anybody who applied, including those who weren’t sufficiently prepared for college, says Kathleen Ives, OLC’s CEO and executive director, who has served as faculty for both for-profits and nonprofits. That, she says, contributed to low graduation rates and high debt for those who dropped out.

That initial focus primarily on corporate profits “has tainted much of the for-profit sector. And not fairly, because the for-profit institutions are just as diverse as the nonprofit institutions,” says David Schejbal, dean of continuing education, outreach and e-learning at the University of Wisconsin—Extension, which coordinates continuing education and online programs across 26 statewide campuses.

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posted in: Blogging, California, Diversity, EmployerNews, Florida, Georgia, Graduation, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, News, North Carolina, Personal, Wisconsin

College Won’t Train You for a Job, and That’s Just Fine

I’VE GIVEN STUDENT advice before, so some of this might not be completely new. However, it’s a new year with new students, so it might be useful to give some ideas to this year’s collegiate freshmen. Actually, here are four things for students to consider.

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posted in: Blogging, News, Personal

TWITTER ENGINEERING SVP ALEX ROETTER ON DIVERSITY: “WE HAVE BLIND SPOTS”

IN A MEDIUM POST, ROETTER APOLOGIZED FOR HIS COMMENTS ABOUT DIVERSITY AT TWITTER, WHICH WERE DISCLOSED THIS WEEK BY A FORMER EMPLOYEE.

Earlier this week, a former Twitter employee took to Medium to disclose that he left his job because he felt diversity was not being made a priority at the company. As Twitter’s sole black engineer in a leadership role, Leslie Miley wrote that he wondered “how and why a company whose product has been used as an agent of revolutionary social change did not reflect the diversity of thought, conversation, and people in its ranks.”

Miley specifically singled out engineering SVP Alex Roetter: In response to a question Miley posed about increasing diversity in Twitter’s engineering sector, Roetter allegedly said that “diversity is important, but we can’t lower the bar.” Roetter also suggested that, to see where job candidates were being weeded out, Miley could create a name analysis tool that would use their last name to determine ethnicity. This idea was, to Miley, a huge oversimplification that ignored “the complex forces of history, colonization, slavery and identity.”

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posted in: Blogging, Diversity, News, Personal

Class of 2016 Graduates May Step Into Millennials’ Best Job Market Yet

Next spring’s college graduates may find employers awaiting them with open arms.

Employers say they plan to hire 11% more fresh college graduates for U.S. jobs this year than last, according to a survey of 201 employers from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which tracks college hiring.

Those projections align with a recent Michigan State University survey of more than 4,700 employers that projected a 15% increase in hiring for new graduates across all degree programs, including associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and professional degrees. The strong outlook reflects an economy on the rebound from the recession, the report said.

The new NACE report also dovetails with a recent study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, which found that job growth since the recession has been led by high-wage occupations, many of which require bachelor’s degrees.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, Graduation, News, Personal

5 innovative job search strategies

It takes a great job search strategy.

With the unemployment rate at the highest level in decades, its takes more than just a great resume to land a job. It takes a great job search strategy.

These five workers ditched the traditional job-hunting regimen—mailing out resumes and cover letters—in favor of more innovative methods. Try one of these job search techniques when looking to land your next gig:

Name: Marian Schembari
Old gig: Freelance writing in New York and Connecticut
New gig: Associate publicist at Jane Wesman Public Relations in New York
Smart strategy: Instead of responding to an employer’s job posting, she posted an ad for herself on Facebook, the social networking site, and used its microtargeting capability to home in on people who were most likely to offer her a job.

Her ad asked, “I want to work for Harper Collins, can you help?” Anyone identifying themselves as a company employee saw it on their page. Readers could click on a link that directed them to her resume. Though she wasn’t able to find work with Harper Collins, she did connect with 100 people in two weeks, including someone who was able to offer her a job.

Words of wisdom: Recognize that the best way to get a job isn’t always to apply for it directly. “I wasted so much time writing perfect cover letters and sending them into the Internet abyss,” she says. “You have to get out there in a way that people will come to you, not the other way around.”

Name: Nick Stowe
Old gig: Engineering studies student at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
New gig: A consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton now assigned as a contractor to the National Guard IT team in McLean, Va.
Smart strategy: While his peers were slogging through weeks-long internships, Stowe lined up externships, including one at Booz Allen, where he shadowed employees for two or three days. Employers got to know him better than they would in a short interview, and he wasn’t making a big commitment if the work wasn’t a good fit. He snared an internship as a result of the externship and then landed a permanent job.

Words of wisdom: You don’t need to be a student to line up an externship. “I think smaller firms are especially open to the idea of taking time out of their day to show you what they do,” he says. “When you show them you want to get an in-depth look at what they do, they really seem to like that.”

Name: Brian Singleton
Old gig: Canvasser for Greenpeace International in Boston.
New gig: Automobile sales consultant for Empire Hyundai, Fall River, Mass.

Smart strategy: Not content with poring over job-hunting sites, Singleton turned to the microblogging service Twitter to see if he could find the latest job postings. He also did real-time Twitter searches by position and location (“executive assistant, Boston”) to pull up recent tweets.

After following users who posted about new job openings, he found one tweet mentioning a job posting he hadn’t seen before. He visited the company’s Web site, applied and got the gig.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, Personal

The Crazy Word that Guarantees Success

Sacrifice

At 7 feet tall, Kelly Olynyk simply stands out – and over everyone – in the crowd. But it’s not just his physical stature that separates him from the pack. As the starting center on the top ranked NCAA men’s basketball team from Gonzaga University, Olynyk is willing to do what most other people are not.

After two disappointing years with the Bulldogs, Olynyk did something relatively unheard of in college basketball. He decided to take a year off from all games and spent the entire season working on his skills and muscular development. Removing himself from competition gave him hours and hours of additional practice time, where he improved both his game and physical preparation. He turned himself from a boy into a man.

According to an interview in The Globe and Mail, Gonzaga’s assistant coach, Donny Daniels explained, “He sacrificed. That’s a crazy word nowadays. Very few people want to sacrifice. Kelly did.”

Daniels is right. In today’s world few are willing to make the required sacrifices that virtually guarantee success. We don’t want to sacrifice living in a larger home so that we can keep our mortgage payments under control. We don’t want to sacrifice getting a new car every three years in order to save money for wiser investments. We can’t imagine sacrificing the latest i-gadget that is on sale – we must have it now, no matter how much debt we accumulate. You can see how our inability to control our consumer desires and sacrifice creature comforts can get us into big trouble financially.

Likewise, when we take the easy road with our activity choices, we end up with pleasure in the short term but pain in the long run. We don’t want to sacrifice our morning 300-calorie coffee and donut habit, so we end up gaining weight. We don’t want to sacrifice missing an episode of the latest HBO mega-hit so we stay up late and sleep in. And we certainly don’t want to sacrifice fifteen minutes of sleep by getting up earlier in the morning when we could be working towards the more important goals in our life.

The unwillingness to make sacrifices in life slows, or even blocks our success. It practically guarantees failure.

But look at what a little sacrifice and hard work can do.

In high school, after a football injury to his non-shooting arm kept him off the basketball team all winter, Olynyk didn’t let this stop him. With his good arm, he dribbled, passed, and made 500 shots each day. He did this all on his own, alone. He persisted. The next season, even after he was back in the line-up and winning games, Olynyk would return to the court within hours after a tournament to continue working on his skills.

Today, after years working alone and sacrificing in the shadows, Kelly Olynyk is one of the best shooters in college men’s basketball- all because this young man was wise and willing enough to sacrifice.

You can’t have success without it.

Sacrifice used to mean something different. It was what we asked of young men on the battlefield, not the basketball court. In America alone, we asked the ultimate sacrifice of 405,399 men that did not return home after the war in Europe and the Pacific.

Sacrifice was once a sign of strength and nobility. In today’s politically correct world, asking someone to sacrifice anything is looked upon as unfair and unacceptable. You are labeled the bad guy for even suggesting that someone give something up in exchange for a purchase, experiences or learning a skill they desire.

How dare we ask someone else to make a sacrifice – even when it is for their own good.

Ironically, our decision to avoid sacrifice is making us less satisfied with life. According to a study called, “Does watching TV make us happy,” published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, “heavy TV viewers, and in particular those with significant opportunity cost of time, report lower life satisfaction. Long TV hours are also linked to higher material aspirations and anxiety.”

We avoid thinking and working because of the pain connected to each.

We unknowingly sacrifice – there’s that crazy word again – results and happiness in order to spare ourselves energy and pain. But if we would only choose the actions that require effort, simple, yet straightforward effort, it will bring us greater results and rewards – and even happiness – in life.

I’ll admit, I’d rather be checking sports scores or lying in my warm bed at 5:37 a.m. than sitting at my kitchen table and putting the final touches on this difficult-to-conclude article.

But that would kill my soul. Writing, no matter how painful it can be at times, is a near-spiritual experience. Nothing, no matter how acutely enjoyable, can compare to the joy of a finished product, an improved skill, a life touched, or a person changed.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, News, Personal

The Secret To Success?

First, Let’s Define “Success”

I remember years ago being asked to be one of several people to contribute to an article intended to answer the question, “What is the Secret to Success?”

Putting aside my personal opinion that there is no one big, overarching, magic bullet-type secret — but rather a set of proven principles — there was something else to consider.

You see, while I was honored to be asked, I also realized that — by the very nature of the question — there is an inherent problem. And that is, before one can legitimately answer the question and hopefully provide some helpful information, the very term, “Success” must first be defined.

If you’re a regular reader of mine you might be rolling your eyes right now knowing I would say that. Otherwise, you might think I’m simply being “nitpicky.” I don’t think so. I believe that if it’s not defined then the very answer is going to be confusing. And, the confusion will become more and more exaggerated with each different answer.

Why? Because both the writers and the readers could be coming from very different perspectives.

You see, ten different people can each have their own definition of success. As a result, one person’s answer; based on their own personal belief system, will be misunderstood and taken out of context by the others, operating out of their personal belief systems.

This is why you’ll sometimes hear someone say, “Success isn’t everything” when what they really mean is, “Money isn’t everything.” (They have defined success as being money, and only money.)

A Well-Known Example or False Premise?

There’s a very famous saying along these lines attributed to Albert Einstein, which I have little doubt that he either never said, or it was taken out of context. The quote is, “Strive not to be a person of success but rather a person of value.” Unless Einstein saw “success” as only being money (and it’s doubtful he did) he would not have said this. If one is a person of success, they are indeed a person of value.

By the way, “Success” also happens to be one of those terms that is contextual in nature. In other words, it’s substance changes depending upon the situation.

For example, in a baseball game, one team wins and one team loses. The team that wins was “successful” in terms of the win. While the team that lost may have “successfully” improved its performance from last time, they were not successful in terms of the game’s result.

If you have a goal of losing 10 pounds within three months and accomplish that goal, you were — by the nature of the thing — “successful.” If you lost nine pounds you were not successful in reaching the entire goal. You were 90 percent successful.

Several Definitions of Success

The above examples defined “Success” as: “The accomplishment of a desired goal.” It also included various degrees and interpretations of success.

Now some other definitions, in different contexts from the above.

One of the first definitions of this term I’d ever heard was from the great Earl Nightingale on his audio program, Lead the Field. He defined Success as “The progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.”

In his book, Wooden, co-written with Steve Jamison, John Wooden, the famous UCLA record-setting basketball coach defined Success as “Peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” What’s very interesting is that, despite his enormous propensity to win basketball games…his focus was not on winning; his winning was the result of what he focused on; mastering the fundamentals in relationship to his above quote.

My father cites Wisdom of the Fathers from the Talmud, where it asks, “Who is Rich?” and then answers, “That person who rejoices in their lot?” Seems to me that anyone who rejoices in their lot is certainly successful. In this case, “rich” is different from “wealthy” though there is no reason why being one should preclude being the other.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, News, Personal

How to Ace a Job Interview

Impress any prospective boss

During the course of my business career, I have interviewed literally hundreds of candidates for various positions. Some people make the cut. But more often, I wind up saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I can think of dozens of reasons I might pass on a particular candidate. Maybe she’s rude during the interview. Maybe he shows up in jeans and a T-shirt to meet with me. Or maybe she just doesn’t have that “it” factor I’m looking for.

But many who seem to have the whole package still get passed over when they’re looking for a job. Because of that sad fact of life, young people often ask me for advice about how to ace the interview process. In fact, I got one such e-mail just the other day. Evan from Seattle wrote:

“Thanks so much for continually providing outstanding content and practical advice. Reading ETR is one of the first things I try to do once I get in the office. Thank you for pushing all of your readers, and especially me, to achieve more.

“I am 25 years old and graduated from college in English Literature, just over a year ago. While going to school, I worked for one of the major retail chains, which allowed me to pay for my own schooling. Straight out of college, I landed an internship with a promising but small start-up company. After my internship, the company hired me on full-time in marketing, where I have since been working. Though the company continues to grow, I often feel bored, a bit underutilized, and unchallenged. I have spoken with our CEO and other coworkers to see if there are more responsibilities I can take on, but to no avail.

“I am considering changing companies, and am looking into pursuing an opportunity in a more established Fortune 500 type firm. Being an English major (as opposed to having a specialized Business degree) gives me a certain degree of insecurity when applying and interviewing for jobs. Do you have any rock-solid advice on the job interview process? I know a few of the basics – like remaining calm and collected while selling my best qualities and showing how I will help improve the company. What else might you recommend?”

Here’s my response to Evan. (And if you are in a similar situation, pay close attention.)

First of all, Evan, before you jump ship, examine what is going on in your current position. You say you obtained an internship straight out of college – and after the internship, you were hired on full-time in the company’s marketing department. You also said that you have been out of college a little over a year. So you only have a year’s worth of marketing experience.

If you came to me as a job candidate and you told me all that… along with the fact that your employer’s company continues to grow (during a time where the majority of start-ups are failing)… and mentioned that you have asked others in your company (including your CEO) for more responsibility to no avail, I would wonder the following:

* Are you doing your current job to the fullest?

That means doing the tasks you don’t like to do… and the tasks you may not think are important but are still a part of your job.

Just yesterday, an ETR team member told me that he did not think he was moving up fast enough. During our discussion, I named three very specific responsibilities of his job that he has yet to do on a regular basis or has not done at all. I explained that until an employee does his or her current job to the fullest – and does so with pride and enthusiasm – I will not move them up or assign additional responsibilities. I did, however, make sure he knew why those tasks are important and how, by doing them, he would help our company’s bottom line.

* Do you have a good attitude?

I have written about this before in ETR.

Do you come in and complain about being bored and underutilized? Remember, not only does everyone dislike a complainer… they avoid complainers like the plague.

* Are you a team player?

If you have completed your tasks for the day and you see someone struggling to get work done, do you offer to give them a hand… regardless of how large or small their task may be?

Can you honestly answer yes to all the above questions, Evan? If not, you may want to take another look at how you’ve been approaching your current job. But if you can, then it is time to start looking.

And here’s some advice for your job hunt that will help you impress any prospective boss.

How to Ace a Job Interview

1. Don’t be intimated because you were an English Literature major and not a Business major.

I majored in Theater Arts in college, and that has worked to my advantage throughout my career. My theater background taught me how to look at situations, procedures, and challenges and make them my own. It taught me that things don’t have to be done the same old way. More important, being a theater major taught me how to think clearly and concisely. And that offering an idea that may not be useable at that particular time was better than offering no idea at all. The things I learned as a result of my major have helped me make a conscious decision to surround myself with people and companies that encourage and promote good ideas.

A business degree can certainly be helpful, but it is not necessary. The ability to think on your own and come up with good ideas should be more important than any degree in the eyes of a potential employer.

2. Do your homework.

I am always taken aback when a job candidate shows up for the interview without first having checked out ETR’s website. If they don’t do the basic footwork up front, my feeling is they would not go the extra mile if they got the job.

So before you interview for any position, go to the company’s website. Use the information on the site to get a good understanding of their business. Look at their product line. Study their marketing. If they have an e-newsletter, subscribe to it. If they have a blog, read it.

But that’s not all the homework you should do. You should also go to the company’s competitors’ websites to develop a broader understanding of their industry. In the Internet Age, there is simply no excuse for not knowing this stuff – the stuff that will make you shine during the interview.

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, News, Personal

6 Crucial Benefits to Negotiate Besides Salary

Find out what is negotiable

Many inexperienced or nervous job seekers fail to negotiate their starting salary. Those who do often toss figures back and forth and gloss over - or forget entirely about - the value of the full compensation and benefits package they’re being offered. “Within our industry, when we talk about compensation plus benefits, we mean salary as well as workplace perks,” says Thomas Anderson, the human resources director for Houston Community College and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management. “That means your health care coverage, potential life insurance, retirement savings, vacation time and more.”

Just like many employers can modify an original salary offer, there are also many employers who might negotiate your benefits terms. “Compensation and benefits are different in the private versus public sector,” Anderson says. “The public sector is financed by tax funds, and so its compensation structure is more regimented.”

As part of your research when job seeking you should investigate what compensation packages are possible. Sleuth around to learn what’s appropriate compensation for someone in your field with your level of experience and working in the metropolitan area where you hope to be employed. Then do a deeper dive into the workplace culture and available benefits for the place you’re hoping to work.

Keeping all those considerations in mind, here are the benefits you might negotiate in addition to salary.

1. An earlier salary review. Trying to finagle an earlier performance review as well as the possibility of an earlier salary review is an easy way to salve a low-ball offer. But when framing your haggling, remember that most employers review salaries yearly. “Nine months would be the target,” Anderson says. “Three months is awfully new and probably won’t work, but I have seen people also try for six months.”

However, take this one off your list of things to negotiate if you’re satisfied with your offer. Asking for an early salary review on a salary that both you and your hiring manager know is inflated will make you look arrogant and greedy.

2. Better or different equipment and software. There are some workers who probably have never thought to ask what types of office equipment is standard, what operating systems the devices run on, what programs are regularly installed and how that equipment is supported. But these are very astute questions to ask in today’s working world. Accessibility to certain equipment and software could be especially crucial for employees who will need to travel frequently. “Depending on the job you’re seeking, you might want to find out about these [devices] during the interview process and not when negotiating,” Anderson advises.

But remember: Asking for a company cellphone because you’re expected to be on call is within reason, but asking for an iPhone with an unlimited data plan could be pushing it, particularly for an entry-level employee. “Many companies offer laptops, phones and tablets for certain employees, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone ask for a specific type of phone or tablet. Saying that you only use Apple products could come off as snobbish and kill your job offer,” Anderson says.

3. Flex-time and telecommuting. You won’t catch a hiring manager off guard by asking for a non-traditional work schedule or workspace, not in an era when work-life balance is all the way in and the concept of face time is all the way out. However, Anderson notes that the likelihood of receiving a flex-time and/or telecommuting schedule is still up for debate - we’re also still in an era when many companies dole these perks out based on clout. “Ask yourself, ‘How replaceable am I?’” Anderson says. “Someone at the executive level has a greater chance of receiving these types of benefits because they’re not as easy to replace, and their skills are at a premium. Entry-level employees will have a more difficult time negotiating something like this.”

Before you form your mouth to utter “summer Fridays” during negotiations, find out how the company’s current employees rate their corporate culture and work-life balance. It’s unlikely that you’ll receive a special compensation as a new employee that none of the existing employees have.

4. An expense allowance. It’s possible that your job is willing to reimburse you for money spent while traveling for work or when completing assignments, and it certainly won’t hurt your job chances to make inquiries about this is if you’re weighing a job offer that requires extensive travel. Remember that for these types of professionals, work-travel expenses that range from gas mileage to frequent flier miles, and even corporate credit card access, are up for discussion.

There’s also room for employees to negotiate receiving an allowance for on-site parking fees or public transportation, Anderson says. “A caveat with this one, and with any of these, is to do your research,” he insists. “Know about the employer and their culture. You don’t want to make any request that’s going to be counterproductive.”

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posted in: Blogging, EmployerNews, News, Personal

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