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Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Career Change

 

When we leave school, college, or university, often we have no idea what we really want. We choose a job or career based on what our parents, friends, or career advisors say.

 

Then, ten years on, we find ourselves in a mediocre situation, with a growing sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction about our work and our place in it. Is it too late to change direction and do something completely new or different?

 

Of course not!

 

Life is changing rapidly and dramatically. New careers, ideas, and opportunities are popping up all the time. Things we would never have thought possible just a few years ago have become household favorites virtually overnight.

 

Who would have thought it was possible for the biggest taxi company in the world to own no taxis? Who would have thought that the biggest online retailer doesn’t have a single product of their own to sell? Who would have thought a whole new industry could be born simply from fast-food delivery?

 

What Do You Want?

 

If you want to change direction, at any age, the most important thing is to discover is what you really want out of life.

  • What interests you?
  • What fascinates you?
  • What do you feel passionate about?

 

Make a list on each of these important issues and see where they overlap or have commonality. Hidden in there somewhere are the basic elements of a complete change of direction for you.

 

When you really dig into your lists, it’s possible to create a basic plan of careers, jobs, and opportunities to explore that can lead you to a life of fulfilment and happiness.

 

If you pursue that path as long as it keeps you happy and fulfilled, you’ll never look back. However, there might well come a day when life changes and/or you change, and it might be time to change direction again. It happens all the time in this rapidly developing world.

 

Exploring the Idea of a Career Change

 

Once you’ve gone through your lists and found some careers that will fulfil your passions and interests, you’ll want to consider other aspects of them, too.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

 

1. Will it make me enough money?

You’ll want to consider how you’ll monetize your interest and what pursuing that aspect will entail for you. Do you want to get a new job in this field? Start your own business?

  • With the advent of social media and internet marketing, it’s possible to reach out to thousands of potential customers or clients all over the world without ever leaving home.
  • The potential of making money is certainly there, but you might need to retrain and learn some new skills to reach out and get it.

2. What will others think of my career change?

This is an age-old question that stops many people from making changes that could change their life for the better, forever. However, keep in mind that all the time that you’re worried about what other people think, say, or do, you’ll never be free.

  • Consider the maxim, “Whatever other people think of me is none of my business.” 
  • We have no way to influence what others think of us other than by setting a good example. Let them think whatever they want while you go out and get things done! Never let those who think it can’t be done interrupt those who are already out there doing it.

3. What am I willing to give up in order to create something really incredible?

Many times, you’ll find that preparing for a new career encroaches on your current life. If this is the case, weigh the costs of time, money, and effort against your current life to help determine which aspect is more important to you.

  • Would you sell your car to fund a program where you could learn new skills and explore new ideas?
  • Would you give up your evenings or your social life to reinvest that time in educating yourself in a completely different career or opportunity?
  • Are you willing to work weekends and evenings to study new concepts, ideas, or strategies?

4. Will I be good enough to make it work?

The very fact that you’re reading this says that you’re searching for change, reassurance about change, and that something is pulling you forward towards change.

  • You already considered that there is more to your life than that which you are currently experiencing, and you want to know what it is and get fully engaged with it, right?
  • Mindset is vitally important. Let your motivation carry you forward. As you take action, a positive mindset will help you overcome any obstacles that may arise.

 

Your life is entirely under your control and what you do with it is your decision alone. Get busy, make some decisions and take action, and keep moving forward with your ideas and intentions.

 

The answers may not come overnight, but as long as you pursue what interests you, fascinates you, and makes you happy, you will find the answers that you seek.

 

Beware of any criticism of your dreams and ideas from anyone you wouldn’t go to for sound advice. After all, opinions are ten a penny. Everyone has them, but opinions are not going to help or support you.

 

Be relentless in your pursuit of happiness and fulfilment. Go at it like your whole life depends on it. Because it does.

 

If you’d like some help with finding some opportunities for that career change, check our Job Search Engine.

A Foolproof Formula for Cutting Down on Excessive Meetings

 

Since we’ve transitioned to so many work from home employees, meetings on Zoom, Citrix and every other platform have exploded. So many meetings can have an effect on your productivity. Are you unable to complete your work because meetings are eating up your time? One study found that the average senior manager spends as much as 23 hours of their week in scheduled meetings. The figures are even higher if you add in the impromptu gatherings that occur in most workplaces.

 

There are logical reasons for why meetings tend to multiply. They provide an opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other.

 

However, when they start to feel overwhelming or pointless, they may actually lower morale and productivity.

 

Imagine what your workday would be like if meetings were less frequent and more productive. Try these suggestions for transforming your approach to meetings.

 

Making Meetings Less Frequent:

 

  1. Consult your boss. There are steps you can take on your own to cut down on meetings. However, you’ll probably make more progress if you work as a team. Ask your boss if they’re interested in developing an overall strategy.
  2. Clear the calendar. Do you attend weekly meetings whose origins are shrouded in mystery? It may be time to start from the ground up. Review each recurring meeting to ensure that it still serves a valid purpose.
  3. Call first. Make a quick phone call to see if you can resolve the relevant issues before asking your colleagues to attend a meeting. You could also try handling it on your own or asking another employee for assistance.
  4. Create meeting-free days. Take a day off from the conference room. Some companies have made a commitment to at least one day without meetings each week. This gives employees more time for tasks that benefit from deeper thought and fewer distractions.
  5. Opt out. If you’re tactful about it, you may be able to turn down meeting invitations without causing any friction. Explain your conflict and propose an alternative like using project management tools or creating internal reference materials. It also helps to have a supportive boss.

 

Making Meetings More Productive:

 

  1. Prepare an agenda. Keep your meeting on track by circulating a written agenda. It will provide a sense of direction and help participants to stick to the main subject.
  2. Limit attendance. Most experts believe that meetings are more effective when they’re limited to about 8 participants. Larger groups often experience more difficulties with communication and decision making.
  3. Shorten the time frame. Why schedule an hour-long meeting when 45 minutes will suffice? Having less time encourages greater focus and fewer conversations about items unrelated to the agenda.
  4. Finish early. Give your colleagues an incentive to be concise. Make it a habit to end meetings ahead of time when the work is completed.
  5. Stand up. Try conducting some of your meetings standing up or walking around. You’ll be less likely to want to linger on a cushioned seat because you’re sleepy. You may also think and speak more clearly when you’re on your feet.
  6. Ban browsing. Do you want to join the ranks of companies that prohibit phones and other devices from meetings? On the other hand, you may be satisfied with a policy for muting phones and using devices only for tasks relevant to the meeting.
  7. Upgrade your technology. Then again, some technology may enhance your meetings. Use video conference calls and screen sharing applications to keep things interesting and accomplish more in less time.
  8. Provide leader training. Talk with your employer about providing training for employees who conduct meetings. It may help you to build morale and achieve your objectives.

 

Meetings can encourage collaboration and strengthen professional relationships. Work with your employer to ensure that your meetings are essential and successful.

 

If you’d like some help with finding some opportunities, check our Job Search Engine.

We often hear about the luck of the Irish and four leaf clovers. Do you believe in luck? Does it really exist? Here are a few thoughts as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, this coming Wednesday.

While you can’t change your luck in the lottery, you can change your luck in life. When you’re lucky, good things seem to happen by accident. Of course, luck is no accident. Lucky people give themselves the best opportunity to experience good luck. Lucky people expect success, work hard, and stay alert for opportunities.

 

Try these strategies and experience more luck in your life:

 

  1. Have high expectations. Things rarely work out better than you expect. Having high expectations increases the odds of something positive happening. If you’re not expecting something great to happen, you likely won’t notice the opportunity when it presents itself. Raise your expectations and enjoy more luck.
  • Low expectations are often met with bad luck.
  1. Visualize success. Keep your mind and expectations positive by visualizing a positive result. Image yourself with more wealth or your perfect partner. It’s easier to achieve that which you believe.
  2. Trust your instincts. You’re only consciously aware of a tiny portion of what’s happening around you. However, your brain is exposed to it all, even if you’re unaware. Your gut feelings are often based upon information outside of your conscious awareness. Trust your gut and you’ll experience more good luck.
  3. Take full advantage of opportunities. An opportunity is often the first stage of good luck. You have to take the next step to reap the full benefits.
  • What opportunities do you have right now that you’re ignoring?
  1. Face fear head-on. Good luck is often on the other side of fear. Those that are paralyzed by fear aren’t lucky. The bold and courageous find good fortune more than the rest of us. Face your fears and step out of your comfort zone. Fear is an imaginary barrier to receiving good luck.
  2. If you’re stressed or otherwise mentally occupied, you don’t have room for luck to appear. One great opportunity after another could present itself and you wouldn’t notice. It’s easier to be lucky when you’re relaxed, alert, and fully present.
  • Meditation and prayer are effective ways to relax and open your mind to all the possibilities around you. Spend time each day relaxing.
  1. Instead of waiting for lightning to strike, set aside time to come up with a spectacular idea. Your brain is great at finding solutions, so be clear in your intentions. Ask yourself the appropriate question.
  • “How can I increase my earnings by $25,000 this year?”
  • “What is the best way to find the man of my dreams?”
  • “How can I go back to school and still earn a living?”
  1. Work hard. The harder you work, the luckier you’ll be. The best way to avoid good luck is to be lazy. Get out in the world and stir things up. Luck will find its way to you.
  2. Be generous. Generosity has a way of finding its way back to you. When you’re willing to do things for others, others are more willing to do things for you. You never know how or when your generosity will be returned, so be kind to everyone you meet.

 

Being lucky isn’t an accident. Lucky people create an environment for luck to occur. A positive attitude, hard work, and high expectations provide the best chance for good luck to happen. Think about the people you know that are very lucky and those that are very unlucky. Compare how they behave and view life. Can you identify the differences?

 

Which way would you rather live? In any case, happy St. Paddy’s Day!

 

And, by the way, if you’d like some help with finding some opportunities, check our Job Search Engine.

 

The Secret to Leading a Successful Online Meeting

 

If you think it’s more difficult to lead a meeting when it’s conducted online, you have plenty of company. Nine out of ten meeting organizers say online meetings and virtual events are more challenging, according to a recent poll by the software company Slido.

 

Picture your own experience. One minute you’re looking at a spreadsheet, and the next you’re wondering what to eat for lunch. Maybe you’re even tempted to take a quick look at the carryout menu from that new  burger place.

 

Keeping a group engaged requires more effort when you’re logging in from separate locations.

 

Use these ideas to make your next online meeting a success.

 

Steps to Take Before Your Meeting:

 

  1. Choose video. For the closest thing to being in the same room, choose video. Attendees are more likely to stay alert when they’re on camera. Plus, being able to see facial expressions and body language enriches the discussion.
  2. Run a test. Safeguard precious meeting time by checking your technology in advance. Test for video and audio quality. Have microphones and other devices on hand if needed.
  3. Distribute your agenda. Ask attendees to read the agenda and supporting materials in advance. This gives them an opportunity to process their thoughts, plan appropriately for the meeting, and seek input from others if needed.
  4. Rehearse thoroughly. Practicing what you want to say will increase your confidence and enhance your performance. Record yourself if it helps.
  5. Be flexible. Ideally, each participant will log in from a quiet and private location. However, it makes sense to accommodate employees who may still be adjusting to remote work. That might mean having to feed a baby or reminding others to stay on mute when they’re not speaking.

Steps to Take During Your Online Meeting:

 

  1. Greet each other. Log in early so you can spend your first minutes socializing. Small groups can ask for brief updates from each participant. Larger groups may want to introduce themselves. Knowing each other’s names and roles will make it easier to interact.
  2. Assign jobs. Giving each employee something specific to do reduces the risk that they’ll zone out. Rotate responsibility for taking minutes or using an app to collect questions. Ask staff members to prepare brief presentations on subjects related to their responsibilities and expertise.
  3. Engage a facilitator. Put someone in charge of keeping the meeting flowing smoothly. You can use a staff member or hire a consultant. Having a facilitator helps with guiding the discussion and encouraging active participation.
  4. Consider breaking out. Separating into smaller groups often leads to deeper conversation and greater inclusiveness. Choose video platforms with features that support such options.
  5. Vary the agenda. Attendees may start checking their Facebook page while listening to long speeches. Grab their attention with fun activities like polls and quizzes, as well as regular breaks.

 

Steps to Take After Your Meeting:

 

  1. Wrap it up. Online meetings are different because employees won’t be running into each other in the hallways afterwards for casual conversation. Spend your final moments reviewing what you’ve accomplished, including clarifying deliverables and next steps. Give each employee a chance to comment.
  2. Ask for feedback. For more input, send out a written evaluation survey. Ask each participant what they liked and what they would want to change.
  3. Send a podcast. Record your session, so you can give your team a podcast afterwards. It will help update anyone who was unable to log in. Attendees may also want to refresh their memory or have documentation to clear up potential misunderstandings.

 

The secret to leading a successful online meeting is making your session valuable and fun. Slido suggests using a game or quiz. Experiment with techniques that encourage interaction and collaboration. You’ll be able to accomplish your objectives while enjoying the safety and convenience of connecting online.

If you’d like some help with finding some opportunities, check our Job Search Engine.

Of course networking is important to help find the right opportunity.

 

But what does that mean? There’s no doubt that networking can give your career a good boost. Many employment opportunities are never posted, and they’re ultimately filled by someone that knew someone that knew someone else. It’s important to put yourself within that social chain.

 

With the internet, it’s not as important to network face to face, but it’s still necessary to get the most from your networking efforts.

 

Remember that everyone you meet is an opportunity to network.

 

Spend part of your week networking and making new contacts with these methods:

 

  1. Examine your current resources. You already know someone that is well-connected. Think about all of your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. Consider your entire social network. Maybe you’re a member of a church, Moose Lodge, or a local women’s group. Are you leveraging those contacts effectively?
  2. The key to effective networking is consistency and persistence. A little each day is more effective than a monumental effort every once in a while. It’s like going to the gym. You need to be consistent in your efforts if you want to see big results. Set aside time to reach out to people each week.
  3. Join relevant local and national organizations. Whether you’re a chemist, firefighter, priest, school teacher, or plumber, there are organizations that cater to your needs and interests. Become a part of them. In many cases, your employer will foot the bill. Do some research and see what you can find.
  4. Make use of social media. Linkedin.com is great for networking. Utilize social media and make your presence known to the world. Make contact with a few people regularly via social media.
  5. Be proactive. You can’t just stand in the middle of the crowd at a networking event and expect people to line up for the privilege of talking to you. The burden is on you to start conversations. Take the bull by the horns and mingle. You’ll get much better with practice.
  6. Learn to ask open-ended questions. It’s hard to maintain a conversation by asking questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”. Ask questions that require a detailed answer. You’ll find it much easier to speak with others when you use open-ended questions.
  7. Follow up religiously. Communicating with someone one time won’t do much for you. Reach out to the most promising contacts you’ve made and touch base. Stay in touch.
  8. You can’t expect to receive more effort and value than you provide. You truly receive what you give when it comes to networking. You won’t get much if you don’t give much. Make a real effort to help others.
  9. Focus on quality over quantity. Passing out your business card like you’re passing out car wash coupons won’t do you a lot of good. Everyone can see what you’re doing. Make an effort to make a few real connections rather than throwing a 100 darts at the wall. Quality counts.
  10. Connect others together. This can be especially powerful. Bring other people together. This is especially easy to do and can pay off down the road for your own career.
  11. Avoid selling or asking for anything. If every time you reach out to someone you’re trying to get something from them, people will tire of you very quickly. Instead, give them something. “I know you’re interested in the effect of the Trans Pacific Partnership on the trade deficit. Here’s an article I thought you might be interested in.”

Networking can be an effective way to begin the process of building relationships with potential employers. You can also get to know people that can give you referrals. Ensure that you’re also doing all you can for your network. The more value you can provide, the more you’re likely to receive.

If you’d like some help with finding some opportunities, check our Job Search Engine

Constructive Things To Do  While You’re Unemployed

 

If you’re unemployed and currently searching for a job, you already know that a big part of your routine is waiting around. Maybe you’ve let everyone from your old boss to your hairdresser know that you’re interested in a new opportunity. Maybe you’ve been attending job fairs, and you’ve even landed a few promising interviews.

 

Now, you need something constructive you can do while you’re waiting for the phone to ring.

 

In fact, given that some aspects of finding employment tend to feel like they’re beyond your control, engaging in meaningful activities could boost your mood and make you a more attractive job candidate.

 

Run down this checklist for things you can do for yourself and your career.

 

Things to Do for Yourself:

 

  1. Work out regularly. If you have free time on your hands, spend it at the gym. As you shape up your body, you’ll also find that exercise is a safe way to deal with the stress that comes with being unemployed.
  2. Connect with family and friends. Take advantage of opportunities to hang out with those you love. Plan a weekend outing with your family to visit parks and free museums. Invite a friend to join you on your morning run.
  3. Appreciate nature. Enjoying the great outdoors can lift your spirits and boost your energy levels. Do some yard work. Take a nature hike on your own or bring your children along.
  4. Read more. When is the last time you read a book for pleasure? Expand your mind by catching up on fiction and nonfiction titles. Visit the library to borrow the latest bestsellers or classics that you loved as a child.
  5. Clean house. Neat and orderly surroundings help to fight anxiety. Clear away the clutter that’s been building up in your closets and garage. Scrub your bathroom floor and air out your mattresses.
  6. Review your budget. Take a close look at your finances. Look for ways to cut costs on entertainment or utilities. Try using your hobby to earn some money by becoming a Russian tutor or a part-time caterer.
  7. Practice your faith. Find comfort and strength in your spiritual practice. It can help you to deal with the emotional and economic consequences of being jobless. Browse online for churches and meditation centers in your neighborhood or build a shrine at home.

 

Things to Do for Your Career:

 

  1. Take a course. See what kinds of classes are available at your local community college or online universities. You could study coding or basic accounting.
  2. Build your portfolio. What would make your resume stand out? Interview a thought leader in your field, and publish your work online or in an industry publication. Produce an educational video and post it on YouTube.
  3. Volunteer your services. Giving back to your community can increase your self-esteem and make you more attractive to potential employers. Participate in fun runs and food drives. Contact a charity that interests you and discuss how you could help upgrade their database or write a quarterly newsletter. Still stumped? Try a volunteer aggregation site like Volunteer Match
  4. Polish your online presence. Do you wish your LinkedIn profile attracted more traffic? Makeover your digital identity by updating your accomplishments and taking down any unflattering photos.
  5. Explore your options. Maybe you want to continue in your field or maybe you’re interested in taking another route. Review your experience and contacts with an eye as to how they could help you transition your career.

 

While you want to stay on top of any activities that will bring you closer to your next position, there are many ways to find fulfillment while you’re waiting for that job offer. Use the time you spend unemployed to keep learning and growing in your personal and professional life.

 

If you’d like some help with finding some opportunities, check our Job Search Engine.

Read This Before You Exaggerate in Your Resume Writing

 

There’s a lot of pressure to embellish your resume but lying about your qualifications could be disastrous. You may be confused about where to draw the line, especially if you’re new to the job market or returning after some time off.

 

If so, you have plenty of company. About 46% of adults know someone who has included false information on a resume, according to a survey by the staffing firm OfficeTeam.

 

It’s a disturbing situation because the risks and consequences of getting caught are so high. Hiring managers may notice inconsistencies between your online profile and your application or your new boss may have a conversation with one of your former coworkers. As a result, you could lose a job offer or even be fired.

 

You can avoid exaggerating in your resume writing and still present yourself as an outstanding candidate. Try these alternative strategies for making your experience and education sound as impressive as possible without stretching the truth.

 

Being Honest About Your Experience:

 

  1. Seek professional help. If you’re having trouble attracting job offers or feel like you need to market yourself more effectively, consider working with a job coach or a resume writing service. Someone with expertise in human resources can help you deal with weaknesses and showcase your strengths.
  2. List correct dates. Gaps in employment history are common these days. Explain how you used your downtime productively with contract work or volunteering.
  3. State your job title. What if you operated at a higher level than your job title suggests, or few employers would understand what it even means? Include the official label of your position as part of your resume writing, but back it up with additional details about what you actually did.
  4. Describe your role. You’ve probably been advised to focus on your impact and quantify your achievements. Use your judgement and ask others for feedback if you think you may be getting too creative. Persuading one customer to order a $20 entree instead of a $10 dish is different from doubling sales.
  5. Assess your skills. Is there a long list of software programs and foreign languages at the bottom of your resume? Be sure to describe your level of proficiency and fluency accurately. You may be tested during the hiring process or on the job.
  6. Consider your hobbies. Unless your pastimes are relevant to the position, you can usually leave them off. If you do mention them, pick activities you really participate in.
  7. Do volunteer work. Supporting worthy causes is a great way to make your resume stand out. If you’ve been neglecting your charitable side, it’s easy to catch up. Call a volunteer hotline or ask your neighbors about local nonprofits they like. You can also check aggregation sites like Volunteer Match
  8. Disclose your salary. You can get a raise without inflating your last salary. Many employers rely more on market value and their own budget in determining compensation. Practicing your negotiation skills will help too.

 

Being Honest About Your Education:

 

  1. Forget about grades. Outside of academia, few employers will want to hear about your GPA. On the other hand, you might want to brag about graduating summa cum laude if the facts bear it out.
  2. Declare your major. Cheer up even if the job ad specifies a different major than yours. Most companies are flexible about such matters.
  3. Complete your degree. Claiming fictitious degrees can be hazardous to your career. If you need additional credentials to advance, consider going back to school or taking additional courses at a local university or online.

 

Honesty is the safer policy when it comes to applying for a job. Design a resume that will help you sell yourself and double check the contents to ensure you’re painting an accurate picture of your background and potential.

 

If you’re in the market for places to submit your flashy new resume, check our Job Search Engine.

Imagine someone refusing to date you because you’re too kind and beautiful. Yet, when you’re job hunting, you may run into employers who tell you that you’re overqualified for the position.

 

How can you keep your impressive credentials and extensive experience from working against you? Follow these steps designed to help overqualified candidates land a job offer.

 

Applying for Jobs When You’re Overqualified

 

Hiring managers may toss your resume as soon as they see your executive titles or advanced degree. Be proactive about addressing common concerns, starting with your first contact.

 

These strategies will help you land an interview:

 

  1. Research openings. Be selective about where you apply. Look for companies with a track record of hiring employees with future needs in mind. If possible, target companies and positions where you’re likely to find engaging work.
  2. Pick a reason. There are many reasons for considering a somewhat junior position. Maybe you’re relocating or trying to break into a new industry. In any case, focus on your primary motivation and why it makes you a good match for your new employer.
  3. Edit your resume. You can be authentic while choosing which areas of your background to highlight or downplay. Simplify your language and omit irrelevant certifications and awards.
  4. Suggest staying power. Many HR departments will wonder how long you’ll stick around before finding a more attractive opportunity. Assure them that they’re not wasting their resources. Spell out your desire for a position with long term possibilities.
  5. Compromise on compensation. Similarly, there may be concerns about your salary requirements. Let them know that you’re flexible, even if that means taking a significant cut compared to your previous earnings.
  6. Consult your network. Do you have contacts who are familiar with the organization or prominent in the industry? They may be willing to give you valuable information and recommend you as a candidate worth hiring.

Interviewing for Jobs When You’re Overqualified

 

Congratulations on getting this far in the process. Now, you can sell yourself to your potential employer, so they’ll see your capabilities as an asset rather than an obstacle.

 

Try these techniques:

 

  1. Show enthusiasm. Being arrogant or demanding will make a poor impression. Let employers know that you’re excited about the possibility of working with them and eager to make a genuine contribution.
  2. Describe tasks. Be specific when you’re discussing your past responsibilities and how they correspond to your new role. Show employers that you understand their expectations and feel comfortable with them.
  3. Explore growth potential. Some companies may be open to upgrading a position for a candidate who can take on additional responsibilities. Listen to their needs so you can propose appropriate solutions. Maybe you can generate additional income or train and mentor other team members.
  4. Reassure rivals. What if your new boss has less experience than you or seems to view you as unwelcome competition? Tell stories that show you value learning from others and can take direction.
  5. Try it out. Many companies want a new hire to stay on the payroll so they can recoup their investment. However, there are also situations where a shorter time frame may be mutually beneficial. You might work on one project on a contract basis and see where the relationship goes from there.
  6. Stay positive. Job hunting is often filled with rejections, whether you’re overqualified or struggling to gain experience. Seek support from family, friends, and job clubs. Take care of your mental and physical health. Remember that your efforts will pay off if you persevere.

 

Be prepared to dispel misperceptions and doubts when an employer says you’re overqualified. Find a company that will appreciate your potential and give you the opportunity to take on new challenges.

And, if you’d like some help with finding some opportunities you may be qualified for, check our Job Search Engine.

Go to school, get good grades, attend university, all so you can get the “good job”! Yeah… whatever!

Even before COVID-19 took 2020 off the rails, the current employment landscape no longer requires the traditional four year college degree to be successful. And let’s face it, going to college isn’t for everyone. It’s still possible to land a successful career path without spending the time and money to get a four-year undergrad degree. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), during the period between January and October of 2019, 66.2% of the 3.2 million 16 to 24-year-olds who graduated high school were enrolled in a college or university. That’s a fairly large number, but only a little more than half. Which means the remaining ones who weren’t enrolled in higher education is also a large number. 

If the whole idea of chasing an advanced degree for another four years isn’t your bag, then have a look at these alternatives.

Get a job

OK… let’ s get the obvious one out of the wayt. A significant number of career tracks don’t require any kind of degree at all—and many of them pay quite well. And since you don’t have to spend a penny on higher education for them, they’re even more attractive. Just a few of the options that you may not have considered: physical trainer, loan officer, insurance sales are all options straight out of high school. That’s not to say you won’t need some training or certification, none of which will take four years, and you’ll likely get paid to do it!

Seek out an apprenticeship or fellowship. 

Getting paid to get entry level real-world experience is perhaps the biggest appeal of getting a fellowship or apprenticeship position. They are an excellent way to kick start launching your career path. At a minimum, they’ll give you an idea of what working that field will look like if you decide to pursue it long term. Two resources that can help get you started are the U.S. Department of Labor website, apprenticeship.gov where you can learn more about apprenticeship programs for a wide range of occupations. Another option is profellow.com, which is a database of more than 1,300 fellowships from around the world. 

Volunteering

There are a myriad of options to volunteer, no further away than a quick web search. Most nearly any organization that you’re a good fit with will be glad to have you. While you’re volunteering, not only will you get the emotional satisfaction of giving back to the community, you might even discover some hidden talents you never knew you had. 

Enroll in community college

Here’s an idea… it’s possible to land a position with a six-figure salary with a two-year associate’s degree from a community college. Now that your interest is piqued…it’s true! A two-year degree and training at the Federal Aviation Administration academy can lead you to a position as an air traffic controller. The median wage for them is about $120,000 according to info from the BLS. A solid position for a short-term investment, that won’t break the bank in college tuition. 

Monetize a hobby

Something you’re already passionate about, a hobby or something you’re interested in to an even deeper level, can turn into a full-time money making career for you. This has become quite popular as the Internet has opened up so many opportunities.It has also served to level the playing field for a lot of people like artists, musicians, and photographers. You could even take to the level of launching an actual company.

Join the military

Statistics from Military.com show about 180,000 american young people enlist for active duty in the U.S. military each year. The bare minimum requirements are a high school diploma or equivalency (GED) and passing a physical examination. There are also a wide range of career options in the military beyond the obvious combat related positions, everything to support them is also available. Finance, supply and logistics, medical, equipment maintenance and logistics…the list goes on and on. All of these fields are available in all six branches of the military, the Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Space Force. 

Go to a trade school

You’re not really into the whole suit-and-tie, carrying a brief case idea? Blue-collar jobs are a great alternative to the traditional college route. A trade school can be a great option to enter a solid, professional track. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, industrial inspectors or a long list of other options can be reached within a year and allow you to get started quickly. 

Take a gap year

Actually deciding to take some time off before entering the workforce can make you more attractive to a potential employer. Gaining the street and life experience from traveling the world and learning about other cultures can be a powerful asset. Check for yourself at the American Gap Association. They’re a non-profit that researches the impact and before of young people taking a gap year. An overwhelming number who did report that they acquired skills to help them succeed in their chosen field, made a significant impact or helped them decide what field they wanted to pursue.

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Education remains a  significant concern in today’s world, even for the new generation. Let’s explore the value of a two year degree program in the market!

Most college students are concerned about further education and choosing a degree is the most confusing thing. An endless list of degrees is available in the market, which is sub-categorized into two major categories. One of them is an associate degree program, and the other is a bachelor’s degree program. The significant difference between these two categories is that an associate degree is for two years, and a bachelor’s degree is for four years.

The biggest confusion is whether the students should choose an associate degree program or a bachelor’s degree program. And if the students apply for an associate degree program, will it be  financially prudent or not. Here’s a little guide for people who want to know if a two years degree has any value in the market or not. Without any further delay, let’s have a look!

Career-focused degree programs:

A good thing about this two-year degree program is that these degrees are the best for career-focused students. The students whoVarying levels of education are acceptable in the job market want to step into the market just after completing their education should select a two years degree program. You can confidently step into the market, having skills in your hand. So, if you choose career-focused two years degree programs, you can serve well in the market just after completing your education.

Less expensive education:

Another benefit of choosing a two-year degree program is that you don’t have to spend money lavishly to get admission in the four-year degree program. These two years degree programs are less expensive as compared to four years degrees. So, if your budget is less, you can afford an extended degree, you can apply for a two years degree. You can early complete your studies and start your professional career.

Shortcut to career after education:

The best thing about a two years degree is that you can easily step into the professional market after acquiring skills for two years. Call it a shortcut to your professional career if you want, because you don’t have to wait for four years to complete your degree and then start your career. In this way, it is the best option for people who want to begin their jobs to support their families quickly financially.

Limited fields:

The one thing that you have to keep in mind is that a two-year degree has only limited fields. The following is the list that you can apply for in a two years degree program.

  • English composition
  • Natural science
  • Social and behavioral science
  • History and government
  • Humanities
  • Ethnic studies
  • Communication
  • Computer sciences

With some minor changes, almost all institutes prefer these subjects to add to the associate degree program list. If you want to do any of these courses, you should apply for an associate degree program. Otherwise, if you want to be an engineer or doctor, you can’t make it happen with an associate degree program.

Last words:

These are some of the best factors you want to keep in mind when you want to select two years of degree for your future studies. And it goes without saying, one of the most important things that you must not take for granted is that no matter what your education’s duration is if you don’t take it seriously, you can’t make it work for you.

Your dedication to your education is something that will take you to the heights of success. So, one can’t say that a two year degree has no value in the market because the fact is that there are significant positions for associate graduates. Don’t look down upon a two-year degree program because many people in the market are proof that a two-year degree program is of great importance!

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