Career Options

College Isn’t for Everyone; So, Consider These Options As Well

College is expensive. According to U.S. News, the average tuition and fees at an in-state public college comes out to $9,716, compared with $35,676 for private colleges per year. Public, out-of-state schools cost about $21,629 on average per year.

Despite these high sticker prices, survey results from Movin’ On Up, the Express Employment Professionals blog for job seekers, and Refresh Leadership Express’ blog for business leaders, found that parents are still pushing their children to attend college.

Interestingly, 33 percent of business leaders and 33 percent of job seekers (coincidentally the same percentage) said that their parent/guardian encouraged them to achieve a four-year college degree or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 66.7 percent of high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities in October 2017. These relatively high college attendance rates resulted in soaring student loan debt. As noted in Forbes, according to Make Lemonade, more than 44 million U.S. borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Global News notes that Canadian students collectively owe over $28 billion in student loans.

Although college can be the perfect choice for many students, it isn’t right for everyone. At the very least, high school graduates should be aware that educational opportunities other than college exist. These include attending career technical or trade schools, and getting into the skilled trades, among other options.

Why opt for Career Technical Education (CTE)?

  1. CTE-trained workers are in demand.
  2. CTE leads to high-paying jobs.
  3. CTE is affordable.
  4. CTE keeps the country competitive.

In a recent article, the BLS outlines several blue-collar jobs and their associated median annual wage, many of which are comparable to those received by some college students. These include:

  • Electricians: $54,110
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers: $64,070
  • Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: $52,590
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical, and executive): $35,590
  • First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers: $55,060
  • First-line supervisors of production and operating workers: $58,870
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers: $40,240
  • Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products): $56,970
  • Insurance sales agents: $49,710
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers: $69,620
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers: $61,050

Blue collar workers are happy. A recent study conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals found that 86 percent of blue collar workers are satisfied with their job, with 85 percent believing their life is heading “in the right direction.”

Encouraging your children to attend college may be the right choice for your child, but it’s more than worth it to let them know about other available opportunities. College isn’t for everyone, and other good-paying options exist.

Staffing Companies Can Help

If you’re a graduating senior trying to figure out if college is right for you, or a parent looking to help their child along their career path, contact Express Employment Professionals. We work with clients every day and know exactly what they’re providing for employees. And we never charge a fee to applicants.

We also provide Job Genius, an educational program designed to teach young adults how to successfully enter the workforce.  Take a look at our video about hot jobs with high school diplomas and apprenticeships.

After that, contact a local Express office, register online or check out our app today to get started.

 

An Intern at Any Age

Is a later-in-life internship right for you?

Remember the movie The Intern? It wasn’t full of superheroes throwing trucks or giant dinosaurs eating people, but it was a great flick nonetheless.

Robert De Niro plays a retired executive who has trouble adjusting to his empty schedule and decides to join a senior citizen intern program. The film is hilarious, but has plenty of heart, too.

Ok, enough with the film review (although, yeah, you should absolutely see it). The interesting bit here is that The Intern is not too far off the mark. Plenty of people, not just seniors, are looking to get back into the workforce. In fact, many of those over the age of 40 have chosen to explore internships (or returnships, as some folks call them).

Why?

Here’s what Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelaunch, an organization dedicated to assisting people with re-entry into the workforce, had to say on Today.

“These are a great vehicle for people returning to work. The word ‘internship’ is just a label, but it really covers any kind of short-term, non-binding work arrangement.”

Not convinced? It’s true that not getting any sort of payor compensation can make the concept hard to swallow. However, here are a few reasons you might want to try a later-in-life internship.

Experience

When you spend years out of the workforce, the world keeps on moving. Industries change, new technology is created, and cultural values shift. The workplace is constantly evolving, and the place you left behind could be completely different in just a few short years.

An internship allows you to learn about all of these changes without being overwhelmed by a full-time job. You can continue to learn and develop as you practice your craft.

Networking

Although there is a trend of older interns popping up here and there, they are still relatively rare on a per company basis. That makes you stand out as someone unique. Which makes you memorable, which makes the connections you form at your internship all the more valuable. If there isn’t a full-time position available at the end of your internship and that’s something you’re interested in, these individuals could help you find something at a different company.

There are also professional organizations available for aspiring interns to join. National Intern Today has a great list!

Freedom to Explore

Maybe you don’t know what you want to do. You’ve had kids, watched them grow, and now you’re ready for that next step. You didn’t hate the job you had before kids but it would be great to try something new. Internships allow you to do that.

You can start an internship in a completely different field. Or start in something you know fairly well and branch out.

In an article on Stuff, Lorna Hendry, a graphic designer, talks about her experience as an intern for a children’s publisher after traveling around Australia with her family for three years.

“The internship was annoying initially because the publisher was keen to use my design and art skills, which I was trying to leave behind. I was getting really grumpy because I felt that was not what I was there for. I whinged to the staff member who organised the internship and she encouraged me to stick it out. Within a week the publisher asked me if I’d like to write a book for them about penguins. And who wouldn’t want to do that? How good are penguins!?”

Have you ever held a later-in-life internship position? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Top 3 Seasonal Work Opportunities

Do you hear that? Turkeys are gobbling and sleigh bells are jingling…

Although seasonal hiring is going on year-round, the end of the year is especially full of tantalizing opportunities. From holiday banquet servers and retail employees to event security at the big game, there’s something for everyone.

These jobs are a great way to pick up some holiday cash. Some even come with the possibility of being picked up for a full-time position.

Without further ado, here are our top seasonal work opportunities for the rest of 2018.

Banquet Servers

What do these last few months of the year have that makes them particularly powerful? Two of the biggest holidays of the year of course! Thanksgiving and Christmas are huge seasonal hiring opportunities, due to the increased need for positions of all stripes and colors.

This includes banquet servers. Do you love turkey? Do you like people? Do you like spreading holiday cheer through the power of fantastic food? This might be the pick for you.

Banquet servers perform all serving responsibilities during an event. This usually includes the serving of food, restocking and cleanup, as well as set up and tear down for the event.

Qualities to have include good communication, a sunny attitude, and being able to follow direction well.

Retail

With end of the year comes Black Friday and the ensuing holiday shopping season. Retail employees serve as the first line of defense against these excited shoppers.

Retail employees can cover a range of responsibilities depending on the type of store they are working at. However, a few common responsibilities include greeting customers, assisting with customer questions and concerns, using the store’s unique inventory and payment technologies, and adjusting or restocking displays.

Retail employees should know as much as possible about the products they are selling, be willing and happy to listen to and help employees, and have a high stress tolerance (especially during the holiday months).

Event Security

Do you love that feeling of enthusiasm and solidarity that comes with a big sports game? Or maybe the annual state fair is your go-to celebration. Perhaps concerts are your go-to hobby. How about taking those hobbies to the next level with an event security position?

Responsibilities can vary depending on the individual position and venue, but common duties include monitoring the event for any signs of unrest or rule-breaking, assisting individuals with directions, directing foot traffic, and escorting troublesome individuals out of the venue.

A security officer should be calm, cool, and collected. Prior security or military experience is a plus.

Contact Express Employment Professionals

Looking for the perfect seasonal job? Express can help you find the type of job that fits for your needs and abilities, and you’ll never pay a fee for our services and support.

Contact a local Express office or register online today!

Do you always follow up after interviews? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

Poll Results: The Most Popular Part-Time Jobs

Which job should you choose?

Fulltime work isn’t for everyone. Some workers are at a point in their lives where they want to spend more time with their families and less time at the office. Others need to be able to balance taking care of children or sick relatives with earning a paycheck.

For those looking for something different than the traditional 8-to-5, part-time work can be a great option.

Last month we conducted a poll asking voters what type of part-time work they would consider.

The Results

Professional/office position came in first with over 27% of the votes, followed by data entry with 21%, and customer service/call center in third with 17% of the votes.

Other results included:

  • Food service: 8.5%
  • Warehousing/assembly line: 7.4%
  • Retail industry: 6%
  • Other: 3.5%
    • Choices included house cleaning, working from home, and quality engineer
  • Taxi/ridesharing driver: 1%
  • I will not consider part-time work: 1%

What does this mean?

For much of our audience, part-time work is a great choice for later in life. Industrial positions are harder to do, so desk jobs become attractive. Taking a few hours to work behind a cubicle or in a call center is worth it to be able to spend time with your family.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S and Canada with over 800 locations. If you have any questions about part-time work in your area or job search in general, feel free to contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Are you a part-timer? What kind of work do you do? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Career Change

Are you ready to make the big leap?

You don’t like your job. You’ve known for a while, but hey; it pays the bills! Plus, it’s not like you hate it—you just wish you were doing something else. It’s simply not the right fit.

One day something changes. Maybe you’re placed on a special project where you don’t feel qualified. Perhaps your friend tells you about their new job and everything clicks. It’s even possible you were inspired by something on TV. Whatever the reason, you want to make a career change.

But is it really possible? You have a steady job right now. Is that worth giving up in pursuit of your dreams?

Here at Express Employment Professionals, we see people like this every day. Talented individuals unsure if a career change is right for them. Ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea of whether starting a new path is the best choice.

What Do I Not Like About My Current Position?

Before you quit your job to head out into the job search jungle, figure out why you’re unhappy with your current position in the first place. Is it the company culture? Your job duties? Your boss? It’s possible that your problems with the job could be solved by changing departments within the same company, or discussing the issue with your boss.

You’ll also want to make sure that the problems you have with your current job aren’t going to pop up again in your new job. Learn the type of company culture you enjoy, and what kind of boss you can learn from.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal?

Never quit a job because you’re unhappy in the short-term. First, figure out what it is you ultimately want to do in the future. It’s never too late to start working toward a new dream—however, you need to know the steps required to get there.

While you keep working at your current job, plan for the future. If you want to switch into a new industry, research the industry online and discover what common career paths look like. Take online or after-hours classes if you can. Really get a feel for the job you want and what a career path in that job looks like. The goal here is to make sure the job switch sticks—you don’t want to hop from job to job.

What’s the Downside?

Even if you’re sure you want to begin a new career path, you need to recognize it might be difficult. You’ll need to make new professional contacts, learn a new set of skills, and understand an environment that might be completely different from what you’ve experienced before.

Make a list of pro’s and con’s. How will the new position affect your family? Is there going to be a longer commute? Being realistic about the challenges of changing careers can ensure you run into fewer surprise landmines down the road.

Contact Express

Once you’ve answered these questions and are sure a career change is right for you, contact Express Employment Professionals. Our recruiters will listen to what you liked and disliked about your past position, and use that information to help you find the right job for you.

Staffing companies offer both full-time and part-time positions. This means you could even find a great temp job in your chosen industry before you quit your current job. Think of it as a sneak peek of what a career in that field could look like.

Have you ever experienced a career change? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

What to Do When You Really Are Overqualified

Your interview felt perfect. You knew all the answers and your resume was shining with experience. But you didn’t get the job. They said you were “overqualified.” It wasn’t an excuse. They meant it. You really and truly were overqualified.

Think you may be overqualified for the jobs you’re applying for? Here are our top tips to help you ace your next interview regardless.

Make Sure You Want It

Before doing anything else, you need to figure out whether you actually want this job or not. There are two main reasons companies turn away overqualified applicants. The first is lack of funds. They don’t have enough money set aside to pay what your experience is worth. The second is that you could be a flight risk. A late career change may be seen as a risky hire. They don’t want your time at the company to be a short detour from your main career path.

So before even applying to a position you’re overqualified for, decide why you want the job. Is it because you’re ready for a career change? If so, make sure you realize it could mean a pay cut. What matters is where you are in your life now. What you want now. Not your past salary or education. And be prepared stay at this job for at least a few years. If this is what you want, you need to commit.

Leverage Your Network

Now that you know you truly want this, it’s time to let your network know. If your potential interviewers are skeptical of whether you actually want the job or not, it’s time to bring in backup. They are more likely to trust a mutual acquaintance over a faceless applicant.

Your network can also help you find job opportunities. You might have a contact out there with a friend who would love to hire someone overqualified, but just doesn’t have the budget. You’re a perfect fit, but your contact won’t ever know it if you don’t tell them!

Tailor Your Resume

A resume is usually a chance to go all out. It’s a chance to shine, to list all of your accomplishments for the world to see. But when you’re overqualified, perhaps not all of those accomplishments are related to the position you’re applying for. It can be difficult for human resources to sift through a packed resume to find which accomplishments match up to the position.

A resume tells a story. It paints a picture of you as a potential employee. But if there are too many brush strokes, the end result might be a painting that’s too fancy for the room in which it’s being placed. Consider your words carefully, and customize your resume for the position. Focus on skills first, then accomplishments.

This is where staffing agencies can help. Recruiters are your advocates and personal brand ambassadors. Their insider knowledge allows them to highlight and promote your most marketable skills. As noted by Bettye Taylor, a recruiter from a local Express office, “a recruiter can sell the transferable skills where they will be noticed, versus those skills being glossed over when submitting a resume to a website.”

And retooling your resume can show real results. “Many times I’ve had candidates reconstruct their resume from a chronological one to a functional one, highlighting those top three to five transferable skills and functions, and then list accomplishments and achievements under those,” she says. “You won’t believe what a difference that makes.”

Be Honest

When it comes to the actual interview, be honest. Address the elephant in the room. Let the interviewer know why you’re interested in the position. If it’s because of a career change, let them know why you’re making that change. Tell them that you’re really in this for the long haul.

And be positive! Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by thinking they’ll just tell you you’re overqualified. Interviewers want to see that you’re an actual human being they would enjoy working with. So be real!

Have you ever been rejected due to being “overqualified?” Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Should You Quit Your Contract Job?

Is a full-time job more your speed?

Gig work (also known as contract labor) can be great for those looking for flexibility. If you have a family to support and prefer stability, however, it might be time to look for something full-time. But first, do some research to figure out what type of labor is best for you. After all, the perfect choice depends on your own unique circumstances and financial situation.

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key pros and cons of full-time work. And don’t forget to check out last month’s blog to see what we have to say about gig work.

Full-Time Labor

Pros

1.       Stability

When a person is working full-time, they don’t need to worry about where their next gig is coming from. As long as they do their job well and the company stays afloat, they’ll keep getting a regular paycheck.

As a full-time employee, one can expect their employer to be in charge of withholding income taxes and handling social security and Medicare deductions. Many full-time positions also come with additional benefits such as a 401 (k), profit sharing, or childcare reimbursements.

Contractors have to handle all of these responsibilities themselves. This takes both time and money. Although contractors are sometimes paid more to do the same work, it’s may not be sufficient to make up for these additional responsibilities.

2.       Existing Corporate Ladder

The gig economy does not provide a career path blueprint for workers to follow. In order to get anywhere professionally, contractors have to create their own career plan. Since contractors will never receive promotions, they need to create their own opportunities.

As a full-time employee, there will most likely be certain career thresholds in place. Employees can work with managers to set goals and expectations. They are also free to look at other positions in the company and work toward those positions.

3.       You’re Part of the Family

Being full-time means putting a personal stake in the future of the company. It is assumed employees will want to grow and learn with the company and that they are in it for the long-term. As a result, management will usually promote teamwork. Social nights, group projects, group lunches—activities designed to make each employee feel like part of something bigger than themselves.

Contractors do not always get this same treatment. They usually aren’t there permanently, and recognition programs cost money. Although it’s a financial decision rather than a personal one, it can still hurt to be seen as an outsider.

Cons

1.       Less Flexibility

Full-time employees are expected to work a certain schedule, regardless of how long it actually takes them to get their work done. This isn’t neccesarily a bad thing, but some positions come with plenty of down time in between tasks. An employee might even finish all of their work for the day in five hours. This can become frustrating and boring for some workers.

An employee isn’t his own boss with full-time work. Vacation, lunch breaks, sick leave—all of these are controlled by his or her employer. If a set routine isn’t for you, you might want to look into contract work.

2.       More Stress in the Short-Term

Full-time employees are expected to be a long-term asset to the company. To be good employees, they need to constantly up the ante, learn more, and apply it to their position. They also typically have more responsibilities than contractors.

Contractors, on the other hand, typically don’t have to deal with the hustle of full-time positions. They don’t need to worry about who likes them or where they are in their career path (at least as it applies to a single company). They are there to do one job, do it well, and move on. Their stress comes from finding the next gig and managing their life, not the rigors of office life.

Contractors know the terms of their position. They know when it will start, what they need to accomplish, and when it will end. Everything is clearly delineated (in the short-term at least—long-term is a different story). Not so for full-time employees. Goals may be set and worked toward, but the how of it is much more nebulous.

3.       You’re Part of the Family?

Here we are again. This one is both a pro and a con. Families aren’t always happy after all. Being a full-time employee necessitates bonding with managers and coworkers. Otherwise an employee can be seen as a loner.

However, if the girl in the cubicle across the way hates them because they took her friend’s job, there isn’t really anything they can do about it. Same goes for finding out that the company culture is completely against their values.

Contract workers are more or less free from these office politics. If a contractor does run into a toxic work environment, they just have to wait it out until their next gig. A full-time employee, on the other hand, has to either suck it up or once again plunge into a complicated job search.

Is a full-time position for you? If you find the very idea of a set schedule hair-raising, you should probably look into gig work. But if you hate surprises and crave consistency, full-time work can provide that for you. You’ll become part of a community, with its own rules, regulations, people, and culture. It’s far less volatile than contract work, and you usually know what to expect in the long-term.

Have any opinions on full-time work? Let us know about it in the comments below!