The Job Search

3 Reasons to Attend a Job Fair

Job fairs create a wealth of opportunities for job seekers of all ages and educational levels in one convenient location. So, if you’re looking for a job and haven’t been to a job fair yet, here are the top three reasons you should attend one in your area.

Meet many different employers – Employers from different types of companies, businesses, and organizations have booths and displays at job fairs to recruit qualified individuals for a variety of positions. You’ll have the opportunity to meet all of the exhibiting employers, learn about their companies and open positions, and possibly apply for several jobs in one afternoon.

Gain experience – While you’re at a job fair, some employers may interview you on the spot. This will give you the chance to work on your interview skills and practice speaking with hiring managers as you introduce yourself and hand potential employers your résumé. You can also ask them to give you feedback at the end of an interview or conversation. Ask questions like: “Do you have any suggestions to improve my résumé or interviewing skills?” This experience will add to your confidence level.

Network with decision makers – If your dream job or company isn’t at the job fair, you’ll still benefit from attending. Take this chance to talk with hiring managers who are there, because they typically have many contacts in the community. They may have a friend who works at the company you want to work for, or know of a position you’d be interested in that’s opening up soon. You never know what contact will end up helping connect you with the right person.

The next time you see an advertisement for a job fair, remember these three reasons to go. You could land an interview, or even better, be offered a job. So get up and go!

3 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

You may think that phone interviews are easier to coast through because you don’t have to shake hands, dress up, or think about nonverbal communication. But, phone interviews can be tricky if you don’t prepare, are easily distracted, or pick the wrong place to answer your phone. Here are three tips to help you get through your next phone interview.

Be prepared – Just like with a face-to-face interview, you should take your preparation seriously. Familiarize yourself with the company, and find out who you’re interviewing with. Also, prepare questions to ask the interviewer, and practice answering commonly asked interviews questions. For a phone interview, make sure your phone is fully charged and has a good signal if you’re using your cell phone. If you can, use a land line instead. You want to be able to clearly hear the interviewers and have them hear you as well.

Stay focused – Schedule your phone at a time of day that will allow you to prepare, and pick an appropriate location to answer the call. Place yourself in a room or a corner away from distractions where you can fully concentrate on your interview. Put your résumé and cover letter in front of you so you can reference them if the interviewer asks you a specific question regarding either one. Have a pen and notepad ready so you’ll be better suited to take notes. Write down questions you think of during the interview so you can remember to ask them when it’s time. 

Limit background noise – Creating a distraction-free area will help you sound professional and stay focused. Phones can pick up background noises very easily, so be sure to limit what you can. For example, avoid chewing gum, drinking, or eating during the interview. It’s okay to have a glass of water available, but don’t gulp it loudly. Turn off the radio or television, and stay away from children and pets because they’ll only create unwanted noise and distractions.

Just like a face-to-face interview, a phone interview can lead you to a job offer, or keep you from landing a job. So, make sure to treat a phone interview with the same preparation and professionalism you would for an in-person meeting.

Fiction vs. Reality: The Top 5 Careers Featured in TV and Film

film careerFrom years of watching them on TV or the big screen, you probably have a pretty good idea of what a day in the life of an archaeologist or top chef is like, right? Like everything in Hollywood, the portrayals of these careers aren’t always based on fact. Check out some of the professions that get the most screen time and see how fiction stacks up against reality.

Attorney – Most attorneys in fiction are involved in criminal law – either prosecuting or defending high profile cases, usually involving murder, intrigue or conspiracy. In reality, lawyers practice in a variety of specialties such as tax law, estate planning and bankruptcy. In fact, many attorneys never go to trial and instead serve as legal counselors to individuals, businesses, non-profits and government agencies. To become an attorney typically requires a bachelor’s degree, three years of law school and passing a state bar exam.
Fictional Attorneys: Ben Matlock, “Matlock”; Elle Woods, “Legally Blonde”

Archaeologist – On the big screen, archaeologists are jetsetters who voyage to exotic locales researching ancient mysteries and legends. While archaeologists have been involved in some of history’s most exciting discoveries, such as the unearthing of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb, archaeology isn’t all glitz and glamour. Many archaeologists are employed by universities, museums and the government and hold positions as professors, curators and field researchers. When most people picture archaeologists at work, they envision “digging in the dirt” but many archaeology jobs also require a PhD and extensive hours spent researching and writing.
Fictional Archaeologists: Lara Croft, “Tomb Raider”; Indiana Jones, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

Doctor – People love hospital dramas – “House,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER” – are just a few examples of popular shows set in the fast-paced world of medical emergencies. TV doctors are often shown entangled in steamy romances or making risky medical decisions without their patients’ consent. In reality, most doctors would lose their licenses if they acted anything like the doctors on TV. Doctors are at significant risk for malpractice lawsuits and generally tread very carefully when making significant health decisions for their patients. While physicians do have the opportunity to improve their patients’ health on a regular basis, many doctors don’t routinely deal with life or death matters unless they work in the emergency room or an intensive care unit.
Fictional Doctors: Richard Webber, “Grey’s Anatomy”; Abby Lockhart, “ER”

Chef – With the growing popularity of the Food Network and shows like “Emeril Live” and “30 Minute Meals,” more people are getting a taste for cooking. The rise of celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Giada De Laurentiis has also created increased interest in the profession. As you probably imagined, there’s more to becoming a great chef than just a love of eating. To become a successful chef, a person must demonstrate creativity in the development of new flavors and recipes. Artistic sensibilities are essential in preparing food that not only tastes great but looks appealing as well. Respected chefs build their reputations over time by consistently creating dishes that restaurant-goers and critics alike applaud.
Fictional Chefs: Monica Geller, “Friends”; Kate Armstrong, “No Reservations”

Forensic Scientist – Do you love solving mysteries? If so, you’ve probably been intrigued by TV shows like “CSI” and “Without a Trace.” These programs feature law enforcement agents solving murders, kidnappings and other high-profile crimes using the latest technology in forensic science. The real-life career path for a forensic scientist is broad – from medical examiner to crime scene investigator and from forensic psychologist to composite artist. The daily job functions and experience required for a position in forensics depend on which field a person chooses. For example, medical examiners spend much of their time conducting autopsies and medical school is a prerequisite. Many jobs in forensics require at least a master’s degree.
Fictional Forensic Scientists: Dana Scully, “The X-Files”; Temperance “Bones” Brennan, “Bones”

While the Hollywood-version of these jobs is often more glamorous than the real-thing, it can still provide a basic introduction to many interesting professions. Just make sure you do your own research before pursuing a career based on what you’ve seen on TV or in a movie, otherwise you might be disappointed to find out not all archaeologists carry whips and that Chihuahuas aren’t generally brought into the courtroom.

5 Dream Jobs and What it Takes to Land Them

What’s your dream job? Do you fantasize about being a stuntman, secret agent or maybe a marine biologist? Even if your dream seems far-fetched, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve. With enough determination and a bit of luck, your fantasy job could be closer than you think.

Find out what it takes to make it in our five featured dream jobs.

1. Video Game Tester – Is your idea of a perfect day getting together with some buddies and playing the latest video game? To score the job of a video game tester, you’ll need to have more than just a passion for playing Halo or Grand Theft Auto. You’ll also need the technical abilities to evaluate games’ design and functionality. If this is the field for you, you can gain the skills you need by attending a trade school offering specialized training in video game animation and development.

2. Tour Guide – Do you love to travel and have a spirit for adventure? If so, your perfect job might be as a professional tour guide. To excel as a tour guide, you’ll need to have excellent hospitality skills as you’ll be spending the majority of your time with tourists who are paying a premium for your services. You’ll also need knowledge of the areas you’re touring and the physical stamina to lead the journey. Wondering how you can get an “in” as a tour guide? Cruise ships, museums, national parks and popular tourist attractions often employ tour guides.

3. Wine Taster – Being a wine taster isn’t about getting free drinks, although that’s often a perk of the job. Professional wine tasters must be able to do more than just enjoy a fine glass of chardonnay. They must be able to describe and evaluate the wine based on flavor, aroma, age and complimentary foods. To gain the necessary expertise to review wine, enthusiasts should pursue training offered at wine academies. It’s also important to possess writing skills in order to create thoughtful reviews of samples. 

4. Movie Critic – Do you fantasize about being the next Roger Ebert? If you’ve got a knack for providing smart commentary and persuading others to share your opinions, the job of a movie critic might be right up your alley. However, it’ll take more than just a passion for popcorn and Goobers to succeed in this field. To become a movie critic who viewers trust, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the film industry, a penchant for critical analysis and sharp writing skills. Entry-level jobs in this field are usually found at local newspapers or radio stations.

5. Personal Shopper – Are you a shopaholic? Does the thought of getting paid to spend a day at designer boutiques sound like a dream come true? Personal shoppers are often employed at upscale retail stores and help customers select items based on their unique styles, budgets and current trends. Some personal shoppers are also employed by individuals, such as celebrities. In this role, they are often referred to as stylists. To succeed in this field, it’s helpful to have a comprehensive understanding of retail and fashion.

What’s your dream job? Share your idea of a perfect job in the comments section below.

Baby Boomers – A Chance at a Second Career after Retirement

As the oldest of nearly 76 million Baby Boomers reach retirement age in 2008 and less than 50 million workers replace them in the workforce, there are many reasons why, besides the impending worker shortage, employers are scrambling to hire and retain this maturing workforce.

There is, however, some good news for employers. According to studies, nearly 80% of Baby Boomers plan to work in some capacity well past retirement age, either part-time or full-time with flexible schedules. In addition to easier schedules, Baby Boomers are expected to venture into new career paths. Some want less stressful or labor intensive careers that will allow them to incorporate volunteer work and family time, and others want learn something new that will continue to stimulate them mentally.

For Baby Boomers interested in changing careers, or continuing to work after they reach retirement age, Forbes recently released a Top 20 Jobs List. Below are just a few jobs that are in high demand for Baby Boomers.

Nursing:  $20-60 plus based on training, level and specialization
Health Care Administration:  $10-15 per hour for clerical; $20-30 for professional; $25 plus for managerial positions
Teaching Aide:  $8-$15 per hour based on level of responsibility and qualifications
Merchandise and Grocery Retailing:  $8-15 per hour for sales associates and customer service; $15-30 for supervisor or manager
Office Clerical and Administrative:  $9-12 for entry clerical and administrative; $12-16 for skilled administrative staff
Franchise Business Owners:  earnings vary based on several factors

With so many Baby Boomers planning to stay in the workforce, many employers are finding ways to accommodate this generation and entice them to work for their companies. AARP recently released a report of the best companies for employees over 50 to work for. To check out the list, click here.

Are you planning to work or change careers after retirement? Does your employer provide benefits or incentives for older employees to stay with the company?

The Great Debate: Return to School or Get a Job. How to decide your next career move

Are you struggling with your job search and getting frustrated because you haven’t landed a job, even though you have the education? Many graduates of high school, college and vocational schools have a hard time finding jobs, even after completing their degrees. Some get so frustrated that they want to head back to school to better their chances of finding a job in a different field. But before you decide to go back to school and pursue a new career, try some of these tips to turn your job search into a success.

Evaluate your situation – Take a look at where you are now, what experiences you’ve had and where you want to be in the future. If you’re looking for a job in a field that you don’t currently have any experience in, find ways to get that experience by volunteering, interning or taking an entry-level position. If you’re considering going back to school, look into the opportunities that a new career could offer. Another degree may not promise a job offer, higher salary or professional growth, so decide if it’s worth it to stick with the degree you have and just gain experience in that field. You may have to make a few sacrifices along the way, but the sacrifices you make now will pay off in the future by helping you land the job you want.

Update your résuméRésumés create a lasting first impression. If you’ve submitted résumés to several employers and have yet to receive an invitation for an interview, pull yours out and see what updates or changes can be made. It’s important to grab the attention of potential employers, so don’t be afraid to ask someone else for their input, or contact a professional to help you. Co-workers, friends and family members can offer ways to improve your layout, design and content. Going back to school to add another degree will look great on your résumé, but if you lack the experience needed for the position, your extra degree won’t guarantee an employment offer or even an interview.

Practice interviewing – If you’ve been looking for a job for a while and have been to several interviews but haven’t received a job offer, your interview skills may need some tweaking. Ask someone to practice with you and have them ask questions that are frequently asked by employers, specific to your résumé and pertain to the job you’re interested in. When you practice with others, they can help you identify areas that need to be improved and can offer hints to help you really sell your skills to a potential employer. Going back to school won’t help you master interviewing or land a job. Practicing your interviewing skills is easier and less time consuming than school, so consider taking this step to improve your job search before hitting the books.

Finding a job can be a challenge for anyone, but it’s possible to find a job in your field. Before you give up and head back to school or switch careers, try these tips to improve your job search and land the job you want.

Were you able to find a job right out of school? How did you successfully land a job? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.

3 Benefits of Relocating for a Job

Moving to a new city for a job has its perks along with its downfalls. Most often, the career opportunities you find will outweigh the discouraging side of relocating. Here are three advantages to encourage you to take the leap and look for a job in a new city.

A better job market. The job market differs from city to city and field to field. If you’re struggling to find a job in your area, consider looking for an area with a better job market in your desired field. Your chances of landing the job you want can increase if you move to a thriving metropolis or search for jobs in multiple markets.

Career opportunities. Some locations are better for specific careers than others. So, if you’re set on a particular career and there’s limited availability in your area, make the move to an area that offers that job. Not only will you have more opportunities to find a position in that career, you’ll also improve your chances of advancing in the field as more opportunities are available in a city that offers your career choice.

Growth potential. When it’s time for a promotion, relocating may be your only option to stay within your current company or organization. If your company has many locations, relocating can open up career options. Higher-level positions might only be in other cities, especially if you’re eyeing a position at your organization’s headquarters. If you choose not to move, you may limit yourself in the long run. Moving can set you on the fast track for a move into higher management.

Whether you’re struggling to find a job or are ready to take the next step in your career, relocating might just be the best path to new career opportunities and long-term success.

Have you relocated for a job? How has your career benefited from the move? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.