Category Archives: Career Coaching

Parents You Can Help Your Teens with Career Choices.

Parents want their children to be safe and secure as they venture out in the world as adults.  As a career coach who is very interested in career testing for high school students and young people in general I have observed how critical a parent’s role is.   One of the most important ways to help a child  choose the right major, school or career is to guide, but not pressure, them into making an informed decision.

College students change majors, often many times.  How are they able to select a major and career, if they have no life experience to help them?   It is an expensive activity to change majors and it often results in time and credits lost.   If a child enters college or technical school with an understanding of what the career option might offer, he or she can make a choice that is right for them.

To assist with this process there are several things a parent can do, starting in the middle school years..

Encourage volunteer work, extracurricular school activities, and part time jobs.  The more exposure a child gets to different tasks and work environments, the more she or he can decide if this is a good fit.   Young people develop a “career anchor,” which is when one is comfortable and satisfied with work.  The main way people define their anchor is to “try things on for size,” to see if they are happy and do well working with their hands on a project or selling a product for a school fund-raiser.

Try to reduce the pressure on the child.  Many adolescents become immobilized during the career search process; They feel that they have to select that “one perfect career,” that will match their every needs.   Since the current generation is expected to change careers multiple times in their lifetimes, there is no way to make that perfect, “forever,” selection.  I have always called my practice, “First Choices,” because I believe that the first career is only that first step in a world which will offer many opportunities, chances to shine and be noticed, and offered a path that might not even be anticipated today.    The more the parents can recall what it was like to be a teen trying to make one’s first adult decision, scared and unsure about what is right,  the less pressure will be exerted.  This gives room for a child’s own interests and desires to surface.

Get mentoring support.    Help your child be in situations where a more experienced family friend, teacher, community member or leader can offer advice and counsel.    Professional assistance through school guidance offices or private career coaches can be extremely useful in pointing out different paths and explaining the reality of many professions.

Assist your child in doing online research.  There are websites, such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook online at http://www.bls.gov/oco and  America’s Career Info Net at www.acinet.or which can inform about different career options, the typical duties, responsibilities and training, if the profession is growing or shrinking, the jobs with the most openings, the highest pay, etc.  There are excellent websites that can show what careers may be prepared for through different college majors.  Just keyword search “What can I do with a major in?” and there is a great deal of information available.  It can be fun to explore these websites with your child, learning together all the options which are offered.

Make sure he or she starts networking at an early age.  Encourage your child  to get to know different professionals from a variety of fields. Often young people are a bit shy about talking to adults, letting them know their special talents or desires. This is where parents can help.   Over 75% of jobs are found through contacts, people who may know others who are decision makers, have hiring power.   Encourage your child to keep in touch with anyone who helps along the way.  In the far future, he or she may be the one who knows about the perfect job lead when your child is ready to job search.

Taking those first steps is a very exciting and frightening time for a youth.   Although he or she might not say so, they are taking cues from parental activities and attitudes.  If career exploration is viewed as an exciting adventure, but one where information and contacts help make choices, your child will be able to develop the confidence to make an excellent decision. If it is assumed that he or so will success, do well in a career, find a niche, a child will take on that winning attitude.

 

Teens with Career Choices

Develop a state of the art resume

It is important to create a state of the art resume. The purpose of a resume is not to get a job; it is to obtain an interview,, that all important first step. In that interview you will be able to give much more detail about your accomplishments, show the great employee that you could be.  But first, you have to be chosen to receive that “face time.”  As a career coach in Atlanta and online, I see many of my clients lose sleep over their resume.   A little background knowledge about how resumes can work to your advantage can be calming.

If you are submitting your resume online (and believe me that is the least effective way to search), you have to gain understanding of how employers select candidates.    Employers use resume screening software in order to sort through the hundreds of candidates that apply on line.  To be selected you have to develop a list of keywords to place on your resume.  They can be verbs or nouns, but they are often very specific.  The best way to find out your keywords is to scan job postings for the type of job that you are seeking.  It is wise to target each resume to the type of job that you are seeking, which can be usually done through cutting and pasting.  You can use websites such as wordle.net where you can past on your job ads, and they will create a “word cloud,” which will show you pictorially the most important words.   Keywords for an accounting assistant job could be reconciled (verb) or accounts receivable (noun).

You will also want to decide which type of resume to use.  The three main resume styles are functional (skill based, often good for re-entry employees since it highlights skills more than recent jobs), chronological (lists employer most recent to least recent) and combination.  Whatever style you chose, you need to make sure the resume is grammatically correct and proof read, so it will not be immediately rejected.

Remember,  be patient and persistent.  Remember, to some extent job searching is a “numbers game,” so the more times your high quality resume is viewed, the greater your chances to be invited to an interview.

Careers, Creativity and Connection – a New Blog from a Career Coach

How should I start off a  brand new blog as an experienced career coach?  The prospect is exciting… Intriguing… maybe a little intimidating… Part of me feels that the sky is the limit.    The other part of me asks what the worldwide community might be interested in on the topic of career development.

As a career coach who does career testing and exploration for high school and college students, and young adults  I know that the important thing in any endeavor is to begin with what you love..with who you really are.  I am going to follow that good advice.   If I start with who I am, visiting, chronicling, and discussing what I love, this blog will be an adventure for me…and I hope, interesting to others.

So what do I love? I am deeply committed to creativity, lifelong learning, collaboration and connection.  Finding that spark of interest in a young client and fanning the flame is a thrill.  I love assisting people in determining their key strengths and to see new possibilities.  I have been known as a “networking queen,”  and I love “net-weaving,” connecting others for their mutual gain.   Not just locally, but all over the country. Life-long learning is a passion for me. Sitting at a bookstore with everything from art and jewelry magazines, new and past beloved fiction, career and self development books, in piles on my table, is one of my greatest pleasures. Reading them is even better.

So, I commit to make this blog a chronicle of my adventures in the world of career planning and development.  I intend to highlight some of the amazing people I run across.  They might be my courageous clients who are willing to learn about themselves and to grow.  It could be about other coaches and helpers with interesting specializations, celebrities that I  meet or read about, or writers that intrigue me and say something that applies  to career development.  I will throw in what I know about the youth culture and careers. I also will talk about the hottest careers out there and why they are so promising.

I plan to highlight people’s strengths and passions, with an eye to how and why they have succeeded.   They might be students who connected with the perfect major, entrepreneurs who have done well against the odds, or career changers. I am guessing that I will see similar patterns as to what makes them a success.  I cannot wait to hear what others find of to be of interest and are willing to comment and collaborate about. I plan to bring in guest bloggers to learn their perspectives.   I am thinking that we could begin to develop our own definition of the elements of career success. So, please join me in this exploration!