Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Work Skills List Helps with Job Search and Career Choices

Putting yourself in the driver's seat with work skills....
Career Key's new "My Work Skills List" helps people with a job search, choosing a career, career change, and keeping up to date with a current career path.

This new, free, fill-in PDF is part of 7 Ways to Be Job and Work Skills Smart,  one of Career Key's most popular self-help articles on identifying skills.

When you fill out the list, you'll identify Foundation Skills you have and those you need to strengthen. You'll also learn about Motivated Skills and Dependable Strengths, those skills you enjoy using most and want to do more of in future jobs, career choices, and in your personal life.

The "fill in" capability of the form allows you to copy and paste lists of skills you find using the O*NET Code Connector. Just follow the directions in the "Make My Skills List" section of the article.

You'll be surprised at the quick payoff from doing this list, and the other activities recommended in 7 Ways to Be Job and Work Skills Smart.

Strengthening job skills is a critical part of our Free Agent Outlook on Work - putting you in the driver's seat, in control of your work life.  I know this is a less warm and fuzzy view of employers and the world of work, but we tend to be more realistic and entrepreneurial towards work and careers. Career Key author Dr. Jones's personal story shows why.  Voting with your feet, if at all possible, is a great option to have when working for someone else. In demand job skills make that possible.

Click on My Work Skills List to download the PDF directly.

Finally, we intend to release a new, related eBook on job skills later this year - so stay tuned or leave a comment that you want to be emailed when it comes out.

PRWeb has the latest press release about our new job and work skills article and My Work Skills List.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Can Make Your Career a Success

Larry and Jeanine, Naples, 1963

Falling in love with the right person can make your career and life a success.  Take my parents for example: Dr. Lawrence K. Jones (Larry), Career Key’s author and his wife Jeanine Wehr Jones.  In his words, Jeanine played a major role in his career, encouraging him to go to graduate school.  That decision led him to becoming a school counselor and then a professor in counseling education.

So Happy Valentines Day from Career Key!

If Larry hadn’t met Jeanine on the way to Turkey in 1963, Career Key probably wouldn’t be here.

"My Story," by Dr. Jones
Career Key's Mission
Our Free Agent Outlook on Work is greatly influenced by our belief in having a strong support system of family and friends to help us through the inevitable ups and downs of our work lives.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Make Liberal Arts A Successful College Major Choice

Forget the war on liberal arts! Liberal arts majors can make successful college majors. Follow the basic rules of a good career decision and plan ahead with these 10 actions:
  1.  Know what liberal arts majors are, their benefits and challenges;  
  2. Learn how you can benefit from Holland’s Theory, Holland’s college major environments, and the value of a close personality-major match. [Research shows it leads to success in college and greater career satisfaction];
  3. Get a better sense of yourself, your interests and goals by doing the activities we recommend in “How to choose a career”;
  4. Be job skills smart by filling in any gaps in your Foundation Skills during college;
  5. Crossover to lesser known fields to develop skills and knowledge from business, finance, computer proficiency, and statistics.  You can do that through volunteer work, coursework, and internships.  No excuses anymore – MOOCs make it possible to take free classes on your own time without the penalty of poor grades on your transcript;
  6. Combine an arts and humanities major with another more technical, career-oriented major that interests you in a growth industry like healthcare or information technology;
  7. Use LinkedIn Alumni to help broaden your knowledge about what graduates with liberal arts majors are doing with their degree. I guarantee you'll get some ideas;
  8. Decide on whether to go to graduate school with particular career goals in mind, based on real research based on informational interviews with current grad students and grad school grads, not hearsay.
  9. Begin networking as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to “be someone” to network. It is also not limited to job search – in fact, it’s better to network before you need a job. Bonus: you’ll simultaneously strengthen Foundation Skills.
  10. Make sure you are taking advantage of all the career services and academic advising resources your college or university offers.  I see a few complaints about what schools don’t do to help graduates. But the reality is, many students don’t take advantage of available services, they let one dissatisfying experience stop their momentum, OR they don’t take the initiative. These things all happened to me at one time or another – but I didn’t let them stop me. Don’t let them stop you either.

You might also find helpful:
Download this PDF to see popular myths about liberal arts majors debunked, courtesy of Seattle Pacific University’s Career Center. It’s great advice.
Graduate School in the Humanities: Just don’t go, the Chronicle
"Not all College Degrees are Created Equal", PDF report from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce
Top-Paying Liberal Arts Majors in 2012, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Using LinkedIn Alumni to Explore Careers and Majors

If you want to make a career change,  choose a career, or choose a majorLinkedIn Alumni is a helpful addition to other career information resources that opens your mind to career and education options.

Because LinkedIn Alumni is organized around schools and studies instead of occupations, it’s really best used as a turbo-charged “what can I do with a major in” career exploration tool. And despite the word “Alumni,” anyone can use it, college graduate or not.

Getting Started: First, click on LinkedIn Alumni and choose a college or university.  You don’t have to be a school’s graduate or current student to see information about its graduates. It could be a school you’re interested in attending, a big university near you, or a school you attended.

So although I didn’t graduate from North Carolina State University, I can still see what their graduates studied or majored in, their skills, the types of work they do, and where they work. I just uploaded a related video, "Explore Careers Using LinkedIn Alumni", on thecareerkey YouTube channel:

1. Look at the types of jobs listed for a field of study, exploring those that interest you.
After you’ve chosen a school, click on “what [graduates] studied” in the 4th column over.  You’ll see the graph adjust and narrow to graduates of that field.  I chose “Social Sciences”.  Notice that the study choices can be broad (like social sciences, which includes economics and sociology) or specific, like chemical engineering.

You can also start by narrowing results based on the type of job first, called “What they do”, and then field of study. If you’re already focused on careers in education, then start there.

2. Notice the types of skills most listed by graduates in a field of study.
When you choose a field of study, notice the column next to it “What they’re skilled at.” Take a note of skills you have on that list and those you don’t; this will give you ideas for ones to focus on and strengthen. (Our “Identify Your Skills” articles will also help you in that process).

3. After choosing categories of “What they do” and “What they studied,” look at individual job titles and profiles by clicking “3rd connections + Everyone Else” in the “How you are connected” column.

Scroll down to see the people listed. Are there any job titles that surprise you? Interest you? Consider these people as possible sources for information interviews.  Even if the person lives far away or there is no realistic way to make a connection to them, you might search locally for someone similar, working in a similar type of job.

To avoid getting overwhelmed by information, you’ll need to tailor your search to what interests you most. For example, you could get indicators of job outlook in certain geographic areas (where they live) and the most popular employers (where they work).  The best thing is to just dive in and look around.

Note: I found LinkedIn’s “Skills & Expertise” tool (under the “More” tab of the top navigation menu) to be less informative – the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET Code Connector has much more accurate, detailed information about skills careers require.  And LinkedIn takes its career descriptions from Wikipedia, not my first choice for career information.

For an overview of LinkedIn Alumni and the different ways it can be used, visit the excellent LinkedIn Blog post “Start Mapping Your Career with LinkedIn Alumni.”  I’m sure this is only the beginning of uses for this tool. Do you have other suggestions for using LinkedIn Alumni for researching careers? Please leave a comment.