Career Digital Launches Huge Career Site

I am so proud to be an affiliate of Career Digital, a new online site featuring "Career Insights and Advice," a comprehensive compilation of blog posts by today's careers experts. Offering all of the important categories for CareerDigitallogo job seekers and careerists, this site will help you conduct your job search and manage your career. 

With navigation ease, you may search by pertinent topic and get linked to careers experts blogs. Headlines clue you in to the information each blog post presents. No need to look further – now you may find answers to all you career questions in one place.

Career Digital launches today! Do yourself a favor and check it out!

You may even search the site from this blog! Just scroll down a bit.

Wishing you career success in 2011!

Meg

Four Ways to Make Sure Your Education Gives You A Good ROI

Teenagers are faced with making huge decisions including - how much loan debt do I want to incur as I go off to college? My guest blogger for this month tackles this problem in her post below. Hope it resonates. Meg

For graduating high school students, college offers a myriad of opportunities. In college, students can earn a degree that will ideally prepare them for a lucrative career. They can take classes that appeal to their specific tastes and interests. College studentThey can join and develop a powerful social network that will both bring them great friendships and provide them with professional contacts.

Unfortunately, with a college education also comes a higher cost. Tuition is rising and the interest rates on educational loans are higher. Nowadays, college graduates need to evaluate these costs and make sure they can get a good return on their investment. Many are, in fact, doing so, as recent studies show that less college seniors major in the humanities because these degrees offer them a lower earning potential in their career.

So, in this new and costly educational environment, what sort of advice can we offer to incoming college freshmen?

Research, Research, Research

College students should research their career options as early as possible in order to figure out what careers might offer them a better income. By figuring this out, they can plan a college path that gets them a degree that qualifies them for that career field. They have, of course, many resources available to them, the career services office being the most obvious.

Another great resource is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which gathers career data on income and job opportunities into a handbook online. Students can browse the careers or search for one to see what kind of options these careers may give them and what kinds of degrees and qualifications they’ll need to have in order to get the best job they can get. Such research could further help them decide if they need to pursue a graduate degree or not.

Select the Right Major

Once students have done their research, they need to weigh their career goals with their own desires to pursue what interests them the most. If they can find a major that prepares them for the right career while also allowing them to study what interests them, then that’s perfect. Most likely, however, they’ll need to make a decision. Do they major in a field that could get them a great job? Or do they major in a field that is really interesting to them, but might not be the best option for their career? I don’t know what others think, but my advice is that graduates should strive to prepare for a strong career. Doing so will allow them to earn an income that would allow them to pursue their interests on the side.

Enjoy Electives

If college students follow my advice, they should still be able to take classes that seem interesting to them. Many colleges require students to earn elective course credits. This will give students an opportunity to take classes in subject areas unrelated to their major, but still on a topic that really interests them. It’s a way to get that emotional and intellectual return on their investment, so to speak, while still giving them a good financial future.

Be Careful With Debt

Finally, college students should be careful with the kinds of debt they go into. Although this point deserves its own post, I can offer a little basic advice. At some point, college students will have to consider whether or not they should take on some debt in order to fund their education. If they have picked a major that promises them a good earning potential, then debt may be a possibility and worth the risk. However, if the major doesn’t necessarily offer the financial return, then debt will surely add to the stress.

The important thing to do as a college student about to go into debt is to manage that risk.

This guest post is contributed by Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of top online colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: katewillson2@gmail.com.

Are College Grads Prepared for Careers, Jobs, or Even Life?

My stepdaughter, like most college seniors, is looking forward to graduation as she starts the new school year. With the employment of recent college graduates at an all time low, many are choosing to stay in school and get their master degrees. But are these young 20-somethings selecting their master programs wisely? I'm the first in line promoting finding a career that lets you work your passion, BUT, employability and earning potential must be figured into the choice.

In my stepdaughter's situation, I almost bounced off the wall when she announced that she wanted to pursue a master in student activities. WHAT can you do with that? was my initial verbal reaction that I wish now I could retrieve and re-word. The most enjoyable part of her undergrad experience has been serving on the student activities board every year, so the choice seems logical to her. However, my concern is two-fold: First, will she be able to find a job in that field? AND Second, will that job pay enough so that she'll be able to pay off her student loans sometime before she retires?

I can't help but wonder if other parents are going through similar conversations with their college-age sons and daughters. In a previous life, I worked 12 years in student "activities" in post-secondary educational institutions – and I eventually got my bachelor degree in sociology. Are colleges and universities really looking for a master in student activities before hiring a student housing dean? Sorry, I'm still in a flabbergasted state over this. Like most parents (and stepparents) I want what's best for my girl – I really want her to be happy, healthy and self-sufficient. Not too sure a master degree in student activities will be what she needs to make this all happen.

From the blog, CollegeAftermath.com, comes the advice, "Whatever situation you find yourself in, the important thing is to be willing and able to step back and take a good look at the big picture." This advice is sound. Nothing is ever permanent, a concept 50-somethings have learned the hard way but that the younger generation has not truly experienced. But one thing is for sure – it's always nice to minimize financial loss whenever possible.

My advice to college students is to not assume that their bachelor degree is worthless so they feel forced into pursuing a master's program as the only solution. But if a master degree is what they really want, I plead with them to choose wisely. Do research to make sure this path will help you along your career journey. Make sure this degree will contribute to your life's purpose – oh, you don't know what that is? Find out before enrolling in any more courses!

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg

#Career Coach Musings on Office Politics

Office politics, that hated beast, is a dynamic that most people in the workplace can't avoid. Wherever people gather – office, church, even a camping club – relationships are formed and power struggles ensue. Everyone brings his or her personal agenda to a team or a group, an agenda filled with personal expectations that is rarely openly shared with all. These hidden agendas cause surprise and dismay to other group members who unintentionally step on toes or take an independent path.

Communication, or lack of it, determines who rises to the top of any group. Words with their shades of meaning get interpreted various ways depending upon one's perspective or hidden agenda filter. Words can be used intentionally to drive a personal agenda, forcing issues to the forefront or making others feel slammed. Body language is also a strong communicator indicating desired inclusion or exclusion of another's words, actions or presence. Lack of any communication leaves group members to their own imaginations to fill the void that can drive wedges between others in the group.

So, what does a person do? How do you fit or blend into a group? How to do find your place where others will respect and accept you? How do you keep office politics from hurting your career – or can the politics even help it?

Unfortunately, there's no magic wand you can wave to make everyone play nice. People are wired in so many different ways that there's no one recipe that will work for all. Over the years I have learned from work and other situations that authenticity is still the best policy. Speak up – be yourself. You'll feel better if you are first true to you instead of trying to play other people's games. That doesn't mean that you'll always "win" or be included in a group. There may even be times that you end of getting fired or have to walk away from a group. But in the long run, you will be the one who's taken the high road. After all, you have to live with you for the rest of your life.

I would love to hear how you manage group dynamics. Please leave your comments below.

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg

CAREER EVOLUTION, NOT CAREER REINVENTION

We hear a lot these days about the need to re-tool, re-train or re-invent ourselves into a new career to survive the workplace jungle. My suggestion is that we look at this process differently. Think of it as a "career evolution" that you're experiencing.

From global warming to global business, change is occurring rapidly. Many occupations have disappeared forever. But your skills and knowledge have not been lost. Your challenge is to determine how to transfer what you know into new occupations and new fields.

Look at your career as a small business – you are the CEO. Now, manage it! Create your career plan as a CEO creates his business plan. Look to the future; study the trends. Make your plan fluid and flexible. Relying solely on the past is not the ticket to future career success.