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National Career Development Month

November is National Career Development Month! The National Career Development Association (NCDA) of which I am a member tirelessly promotes the benefits of Career Development for everyone! An interesting fact is that all Career Development practitioners see a career as a person’s whole life, not just their “jobs”. One of the things that my clients find surprising is that they need to look at their life as a whole and continuing career. Many times our career roles overlap. The roles we play as Parents, Workers, Volunteers in our Communities, Children to our own Parents, Students, Homemakers, Spouses and Hobby Enthusiasts can coexist happily. We place different importance on these different roles at various times in our lives, but they are all part of our career in its entirety. I find that thinking of our lives this way can give us a healthy perspective. For more information about this theory of career development check out the work of Donald S. Super and his “Career Rainbow” theory in particular. Here’s a graphic that illustrates his theory: Does this help put your career in perspective?

By |November 13th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on National Career Development Month

How to avoid interview nerves

Do you get nervous at interviews? You are not alone. Most people do. However, some people don’t. Those that don’t probably have a personality that thrives in pressurized and social situations. However, they also have a different attitude toward interviews than those that get nervous. Here are some tips that help you manage your fears:   1)   You have nothing to lose – literally. Before you go into the interview you do not have the job. The interview gives you a chance to get the job, but if you don’t get it you have not lost the job. You are no worse off than before the interview and you are better off in the fact that you have learned from the experience. 2)   An interview is a social interaction. Answer the questions but remember that you are interacting with another human being. In normal conversation we ask questions too, so make sure you keep things conversational by asking the interviewer about their experiences at the company etc. 3)   If you are unsure of the location of the interview, give yourself plenty of time in case you get lost or delayed. You might even want to do a dry run of the journey the day before to make sure you know the way. 4)   Be prepared. Make copies of your resume and other materials you bring with you to the interview. 5)   Research the job and the company beforehand. But remember the interviewer will not expect you to be encyclopedic about the company – bring notes with you if you want to consult them during the interview. 6)   Remember that you can only do your best, you cannot control all the elements that will go into […]

By |November 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on How to avoid interview nerves

Thinking out of the Box

Where will your next job opportunity come from? Maybe not from where you think.   Alternative careers can be viable alternatives for many people, but they are so used to thinking of themselves in one role that they don’t recognize opportunities when they are right in front of them.   Even if you are in a job right now, do this exercise: Imagine that your job (the entire industry even) became obsolete. What else could you do? Be wide ranging and as “pie in the sky” as you want to be. You may be surprised at some of the alternatives you can come up with. This could be a fun thing to do with your friends and family. Ask them what they could see you doing. What do you do that they love? Are you known for the holiday parties you put on every year? Are you the person that always brings the best dish to pot luck dinners? Are you the person that keeps in touch with people and organizes all the get-togethers? Are you the person that others turn to when they have problems? There may be ways to use these skills in a job – what kinds of jobs would they be? Have a brainstorming session.   From this point you can figure out what you would need to do to have a realistic chance to work in one of these jobs. Maybe you’d need to go to school, maybe you’d need to volunteer to get some relevant experience. You certainly would need to start networking with people that could help you.   What would your “out of the box” career be? Please comment and let me know!

By |November 7th, 2014|Career Planning, Job Search Advice|Comments Off on Thinking out of the Box

Consistency is the key to job search success

After speaking to countless job seekers over the years, one thing is clear. Those with perseverance get new jobs faster. The ability to keep at it in the face of discouragement is key. While some people wallow in misery for a week after each job rejection, unable to bring themselves to send out another resume, others redouble their efforts and move on to new opportunities.   My advice is: no matter how disappointed you are, you must keep to your plan! If you have made a plan to send out 10 resumes per day and make 5 follow up calls/emails, you must do it even if you are feeling down. You must pretend to be upbeat, even if you are not and 9 times out of 10 you won’t have to pretend for long because the act of moving forward will get you into a better mood.   A healthy way to think about it is that every time you apply for a job your goal is to get an answer – yes, or no. Even though “yes” is the preferred response, a “no” gives you closure and allows you to move on to the next opportunity.   Realistically, you will get a lot of “no’s” on a job search, so the quicker you can recover from your disappointment the more effective your job search will be.   Personally, I use lists to keep me motivated. Each company I approach is put on a list and stays there until I hear back with a definite yes or no. My objective is to get the companies of the “maybe” list and into either the “yes” or “no” list.   What do you do to keep going? […]

By |November 7th, 2014|Career Planning, Job Search Advice|Comments Off on Consistency is the key to job search success

No Pain – No Gain (groan)

OK, it’s a cliché that has been so overused in fitness and physical therapy. However, it tends to be true. I’m going to apply it to career transitions – which might make you look at things differently.   Change is painful. Anytime you want to get out of our comfort zone and try something new, you can be sure that it won’t be easy. That doesn’t mean to say it won’t be worthwhile, although sometimes it takes a long while for the results to be seen.   Everyone’s natural tendency is to resist change and avoid risk, but sometimes the biggest risk you can take is to stay where you are.   As a nation, we are moving into new waters in terms of the global economy. Our own robust US economy is not what it was. Corporations have lost the will to be socially responsible, and productivity and competition is fierce in the market place of every single industry.   This all adds up to a more uncertain career path for all of us. So what can you do to ensure our financial stability in the future? My advice is to not only have a plan B, but to start that plan B before you need to.   Do you have a potential second income source that could tide you over if you, or your spouse/significant other lost their main jobs? Most people do not.   A Plan B is not always related to our main career path, but it can be. However, it is not easy or comfortable for us to start a Plan B when we don’t need to. We have to be prepared to put time, energy and maybe some money […]

By |November 5th, 2014|Career Planning, Career Selections News, Job Search Advice, Recruitment|Comments Off on No Pain – No Gain (groan)

Alternative Careers for PT’s and OT’s

I’m hearing from a lot of Senior PT’s and OT’s who are concerned about productivity trumping patient care in every setting. In Long-term care facilities, I hear that pressure is being put on therapists to produce high RUG scores for patients and provide therapies that are not realistic or beneficial to the patient. In Outpatient, I’m hearing about unworkable patient quotas. From all settings I’m hearing concerns that recent graduates are being introduced to their profession in ways that do not uphold the ethical standards of the past and, knowing no better, they are complying.   At the bottom of these concerns are the financial realities that drive organizations to seek to maintain ever-increasing profits even as Medicare and Private insurers alike make it more difficult to get reimbursed for treatments.   Currently I’m working with several senior clinicians to figure out alternative career routes that use their skills and education but do not compromise their ethical standpoints and patient care standards.   There is no “cookie cutter” solution, every person is different in what they bring to the table in terms of skills, past experience and personality. For most, a drop in salary is not something they want to consider so I’m advising many to make long term plans that might involve working 2 jobs for a while. For example – putting 10 hours per week into developing a consulting business or working some per diem hours in a different setting, or taking classes to get qualified in a needed specialty such as Hand Therapy, or finding a niche area for patients willing to pay directly for specific therapies that insurance does not cover.   One thing is sure – the aging baby boomers […]

By |November 5th, 2014|Career Planning, Career Selections News, Job Search Advice, PT and OT News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Alternative Careers for PT’s and OT’s

Career Advice for Students

The job market is so super competitive right now that unless you leave college with some meaningful experience, you don’t stand a chance of getting hired. However, the elusive internships are few and far between so what to do?   Here are some suggestions for you if you can’t find an internship:   Start your own business! Figure out how to do something related to your ultimate career goal on a shoestring. Find like-minded students to help you out. Pool resources, time, skills and see what you can get going. Don’t put money into it (or borrow money from your parents). See if you can bootstrap yourself into something with no commitment but time and energy.   Volunteer your time at non-profits that can give you some transferrable skills.   Be a consultant – become a subject matter expert on something that fellow students need to know. Read everything you can about the subject. Give talks to groups of students and convince them to consult with you privately – the fee will be to write a glowing testimonial about your expertise that you can put on your resume and social media profiles.   Start a club that has something to do with your ultimate career goal. Recruit members, set up meetings, events etc. This is a great resume building activity.   Find a mentor. Network with people at least 20 years older than you! Make friends with people who have already “made it” in the industry in which you seek to work. Your alumni directory is a great resource. Find out when the 20 year reunions are taking place at your college and find a way to interact with the attendees – maybe you can […]

By |November 3rd, 2014|Career Planning, Job Search Advice, Resume Tips|Comments Off on Career Advice for Students

The Benefits of Doing Good

When we think about volunteering our time to help others, we really shouldn’t be thinking of ourselves, yet we gain undeniable benefits that go beyond the personal gratification we get from our deeds.   Don’t get me wrong, personal gratification is a biggie and maybe our prime motive, however here are the other benefits we gain – especially if we are out of work:   1)            Better mental health – Studies have shown that by focusing outwards on helping others and not dwelling on our own problems can stave off depression and negative thinking. (http://huff.to/19RBCTM) 2)            Socialization of any kind is a benefit when we would otherwise be doing nothing. 3)            Networking comes in many forms and maybe some of our fellow volunteers, recipients of our help or organizations that coordinate the volunteers could be potential sources for job leads. 4)            Volunteering boosts our resume – a period of unpaid employment is better than a period of unemployment (and makes us look good too) 5)            We may learn new skills and gain new experiences that help our job search. 6)            If we choose a cause that we are passionate about we will experience job satisfaction like never before. 7)            We can use volunteerism as a way to explore different kinds of work without risk – for instance, if we have always worked behind a desk but wondered if we would be happier working in a more physical job, we can volunteer at something that is more physical to give it a try. 8)            If we are working in a job in which we are unhappy, volunteering can give us an outlet that makes our paid employment more bearable – we stop being defined by our […]

By |November 3rd, 2014|Career Planning, Job Search Advice, Resume Tips|Comments Off on The Benefits of Doing Good

Crazy things people do at interviews

Being in the business of finding people jobs for 30 years has been very rewarding, but every now and again somebody does something bizarre that surprises even me!  Here are a few examples of things that people have done in interviews that really had me scratching my head: Taking out a Danish pastry and eating it while being interviewed. Stopping to have a beer on the way to the interview (beer-breath is not a promising sign). Bringing their Mom to the interview (Mom followed the candidate into the interview room and answered all the questions for him). Carrying a kindergarten appropriate lunch box into the interview and leaving it there by mistake. Wearing an evening gown because the recruiter advised them to “dress formally” for the interview. Do you have any surprising stories to share about interviews?

By |October 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Crazy things people do at interviews

Exploring your networks

A big mistake that a lot of job seekers make is to assume that their business and personal networks are separate.  When networking for career opportunities, they look at their former colleagues, bosses and fellow professionals.  However, since you never know where a job lead will come from, it is equally important to network among your social circles. If you need any proof of this, just ask around and find out how people got hired into their jobs – you will find out that a large number found their jobs through a referral from a  friend, family member or acquaintance from their social circles. Here are some examples of your potential networking areas: Family Friends House of Worship Your kid’s school’s PTA People at the Gym Old college buddies Your hairdresser Clubs you belong to Parents of your kid’s friends Neighbors Local library patrons In fact the more socially active you are the wider your network will be.  If you volunteer a lot in your community, your network will be abundant!  If you have kids you might not have time for a lot of outside activities for yourself, but just think how many activities you take your kids to!  Network with the parents watching the soccer game!  In fact, your networking will be best if you are someone who “goes the extra mile” in all of your social interactions.  Be the parent who organizes the end of season party for the team!  Be the person who visits homebound members of your House of Worship.  Be the person who helps Seniors navigate the computer systems at the local library.  Be the person who organizes Alumni get togethers in your area. Need more suggestions?  Contact Career Selections […]

By |October 30th, 2014|Career Planning, Job Search Advice, Recruitment|Comments Off on Exploring your networks