By: Mike LaBahn
Trying Things on for Size
In a person’s twenties, it’s common to dabble with a wide variety of jobs to determine the best fit for our personalities, skills and inherent talents. But in fact, most people really don’t make the biggest changes until their thirties, when the big questions start to hit home about how the rest of their lives will be spent. We may have initially gotten into a job for the money, and got complacent, placated and stuck. It’s at this point that people make some of the most life changing and dramatic upheavals to their lives under the banner of finding their true calling. When we look into the future and realize we are not on the road we want to end up on at the end of our journey, major changes aren’t far behind.
I know that certain circumstances outside of our control can be thrust upon us, and these circumstances can dictate most of the rest of our lives. Starting a family young, a death in the family, or some other life-changing event can steer us off course from our best-laid plans. But whatever the obstacle, none of that will matter if you come to end of your life and you say ‘if only…’
So many choices…
It wasn’t until the industrial revolution changed the landscape of our great nation that we, as free Americans with unlimited possibilities on the horizon, even started to ask ourselves ‘what do I really want to do with my life?’ Yes, it had been posed well before the dawn of that era in history, but for the very first time, the answer to that question seemed limitless. Women joined the workforce with more options than had ever been available to them in history. The emerging technology jobs began to appear. And automation made it possible to create, produce and ship more effectively than ever before.
It is in this cradle, this bastion of freedom and democracy and capitalism that we have worked for the right to even ask ourselves ‘what should I do with my life?’ A wealth of choices in every field had opened up. Medical advancements and the science behind it would double in its knowledge and application every decade or so. Not only was the creative mind of human beings bringing new and amazing things into existence for all to utilize and enjoy, the advent itself brought with it a whole new field of opportunities. Cars had to have car parts, tires, service, paint, etc. Computers and cell phones have to have moving parts, networks of people and infrastructure to sustain their use. The creations themselves spawned entirely new categories of work for people to seek out and specialize in.
Our grandparents, and in some cases our parents, could not conceive of such a life of choices and options only 50 years ago. Until that point, people in undeveloped areas, in large part, merely found work. They learned a skilled trade, or in more rural areas they got factory jobs or found whatever it was that would keep the food on the table and bills paid. Those that could afford college or medical school were in the minority. For generations before this one, our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents have toiled, sweat, and struggled to make a better life for the generation to follow their own. It was in this striving that meaning and purpose were found.
As we come to look at the generation of today, we see the culmination of those intense efforts being handed over to our youth. In handing over the keys to the kingdom, the generation of today did little to have to obtain it except reach out and grab it. The sacrifice, the scrimping and saving, and the blood sweat and tears have become but a distant story to them. There were depressions, wars, and rationing. There were social upheavals, political battles, and periods of intense suffering. The generation of today, in large part, did not have to sacrifice in any meaningful way for the choices now available to them. And it’s fair to say that it’s difficult to truly appreciate something if you haven’t worked for it.
Many have called the generation of today ‘the entitlement generation’. The ease with which the engine that is our country runs is something those born in this generation cannot imagine having to suffer or toil for. Many demand rights or access to things that their forefathers bled and died to attain. Are the youth of today doomed to falter for the generation to follow behind them? Absolutely not. No one is predestined to a fate that is not of their choosing. That is the simple beauty of the gift of free will.
Free will and an absolute abundance of choices simply means that this generation has a different kind of calling upon it. That calling is to preserve the work that has come before them, and to keep the momentum of the work laid out in front of them. A generation of wondrous and amazing advancements awaits, for it is the nature of man to strive, to create and to sustain, and I believe that is exactly what we will see out of the up and coming minds of this millennium. People of all ages should look positively to the future with the knowledge that they hold the keys to their own kingdom.
More information and resources can be found: www.collegelifeplanning.webs.com
As a high school student, you may think that you don’t need a resume until you are about to graduate from college and begin your search for a full-time job. However, high school students need resumes just as much as college students do. From getting into college to obtaining a part-time job, a resume is essential because college recruiters and employers alike want to see a brief summary of your abilities, education, and experiences. Here is what you should include in your high school resume.
Your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address should all go at the top of your resume. Be sure to use a permanent address and telephone number. Also, remember to use an e-mail address that sounds professional. FirstnameLastname@ is the standard format for an e-mail address when using it on a resume. Do not use an e-mail address such as email@example.com. It just doesn’t sound professional.
An objective lets college recruiters or potential employers know your main goal. If your target is a college recruiter, tailor your objective to that specific school. For example, your objective may be, “To earn a degree in Psychology at Boston College.” If you want to get a part-time job, you will need to modify your objective to that particular job, such as “To obtain a part-time sales position with Hollister.”
In the education section, list the schools you have attended. Be sure to include your GPA if it is a 3.0 or higher. You can also mention any academic honors, awards, and/or recognitions that you have received. These can include honor-roll recognitions, essay-writing awards, science competitions, etc.
The experience section should briefly give an overview of work experience that has taught you valuable skills. In this section, include: title of position, name of organization, location of work (town and state), dates of employment, and description of work responsibilities. Be sure to use action words to describe your job duties, such as sold, created, processed, etc. Since many high school students do not have a lot of work experience, you can also describe class projects in which you have learned important skills or even leave this section out all together and concentrate on the education/academics and additional information/extracurricular sections.
Additional Information/Extracurricular Activities
The additional information or extracurricular section should be used to place key elements of your background that don’t fit in any other section. You may want to include: special skills, leadership roles, volunteer experiences, participation in sports, band, yearbook, etc. This section is where you can demonstrate your uniqueness.
Be sure to ask people if they would serve as your reference before you give their names out. You do not need to include your reference information on your resume. A statement at the bottom of your resume that says, “References available upon request,” is sufficient.
Having a resume in high school is just good sense. You never know when a recruiter at a college fair or a potential employer might request one.
Find this and more resources at: http://www.collegelifeplanning.webs.com
Making a career plan is a matter of matching your skills and interests to an occupation to create a career goal, and then deciding the steps you need to take to reach that goal. Here’s a sample:
My Career Plan:
To become a civil engineer. To design, plan and supervise the construction of buildings, highways and rapid transit systems.
- Bachelor’s degree in engineering
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Analytical mind
- Capacity for detail
- Presentation skills
- Writing skills
- Knowledge of physical sciences and mathematics
- Accreditation by Licensing Board
Current Skills and Interests
- Summer worker for Smith Construction Co.
- High school mathematics courses
- High school science courses
- High school writing courses
- Experience working as a team
- Gave presentations in high school courses
Plan to Reach Career Goal
- Bachelor’s degree
- Attend the University of Texas School of Engineering
- Job experience
- Continue working for Smith Construction Co.
- Seek internships through university career placement office
- Join campus organizations for engineering students
By: Clare Kaufman
A dollar saved is a dollar earned. But a dollar invested in a college degree offers an even greater return: a lifetime of dollars earned. The right training program offers wealth, job security and a chance to develop professionally. The following degrees offer the highest return on your investment — both in terms of earning power and career happiness.
College degree investments by the numbers
Each year in the classroom expands your earning power and career opportunities. The U.S. Census has the numbers to prove it. College degrees offer the following average return on investment (ROI) across all disciplines:
- Associate degree. In as little as eighteen months to two years, you could boost your income by 30 percent. Associate degree programs are widely available online to accommodate mid-career adults. They offer some general education, but typically focus on the applied vocational training you need to advance your career.
- Bachelor’s degree. A total of four years in the real or virtual classroom will earn you a bachelor’s degree. This undergraduate degree offers the biggest leap in earnings, with college graduates earning an additional $23,300 per year, or $2.1 million over a lifetime, according to Census estimates.
- Master’s degree. In many fields, the best opportunities and highest earnings go to people with a master’s degree. A year or two of advanced graduate training can set you apart from the competition on the job market and help you lock in a higher salary. Advanced degree holders earned 2.6 times as much as a high school graduate, according to the U.S. Census’ last comprehensive study of educational attainment in 2002.
- Professional degree. A professional degree offers the most dramatic leap in earning power. The Census report estimates a lifetime income of $4.4 million, nearly four times the total earnings of a high school graduate.
These are the sort of returns that would make a financial analyst jump for joy. Choose a high-demand career path, and you’ll set yourself up for even more impressive gains.
Five paths to career training ROI
The following degree programs offer the most bang for your educational buck:
M.B.A. degrees have a reputation for driving salaries and careers straight into the upper echelons. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which charts M.B.A. earnings each year, “2008 business school graduates reported a median salary increase of 39 percent over their pre-graduate degree salaries.” In addition, 54 percent of M.B.A. alumni report receiving a promotion within five years of graduating.
Make the most of your M.B.A. ROI by keeping costs as low as possible. Online degrees make it easy to earn while you learn. The GMAC survey found that 75 percent of M.B.A. students work more than 35 hours a week. Also, 70 percent receive financial aid to help with the tuition bills.
A two-year nursing degree offers a fast track into one of the fastest growing careers in the nation. The nursing profession is adding an estimated 587,000 jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other occupation. This historic demand is driving salaries up. In 2008, nurses earned $65,130 across the nation. California nurses have seen their average salary rise to $83,040.
Job security and robust salaries more than offset the costs of a nursing school education. With coursework available online and at local colleges, the associate degree in nursing combines medical education with hands-on training at a local clinic.
According to the Department of Labor, engineering bachelor’s degree holders command the highest starting salaries of any college graduate. You can expect an entry-level salary of at least $50,000. Choose the right engineering specialty, and you could see that amount double in five to 10 years. Nuclear and petroleum engineers both boast six-figure median salaries, with computer hardware engineers not far behind.
In addition to the salary, engineering graduates in high-demand specialties can expect job security. Environmental and biomedical engineers lead the pack with over 20 percent growth predicted through 2016.
You could spend seven years in college and professional school to become a lawyer — or just two years to become a paralegal. Paralegals are assuming many of the responsibilities previously reserved for attorneys — preparing documents, performing legal research, writing reports and more. Essentially, they serve as the attorney’s right hand.
With a two-year paralegal studies degree, you can earn a salary in the neighborhood of $48,740, the 2008 national average. With experience, paralegals can earn upwards of $70,000. In addition to the financial ROI, a paralegal studies degree could afford job security. The Department of Labor predicts 22 percent growth in paralegal jobs through 2016, much faster than all other occupations.
Four years studying financial management can do wonders for your own finances. Accounting has become a high-growth career, thanks to a new generation of federal regulations and reporting requirements. A bachelor’s degree in business or accounting can help you build the analytical and quantitative skills to qualify for an accounting degree.
To keep costs low and ROI high, consider starting with an associate degree in accounting and working toward your bachelor’s degree online. You can gain employment as a junior accountant, working alongside an established professional until you complete your college degree. Accountants earned an average salary of $65,840 in 2008.
A college degree may be the most important investment you ever make. Knowledge and applied skills increase your value in the economy, enabling employers to pay you more throughout your working life. Stocks may tumble, home prices may fall, but you can count on your career training to pay dividends throughout your working life.
By: Marissa MacKenzie Longstreet
If you have determination, a good work ethic and enthusiasm, then maybe you wouldn’t mind scoring a solid career sooner rather than later.
By enrolling in a community college, you can open yourself up to a world of career possibilities that require just a couple of years of schooling.
Here are three career options you can pursue at a community college.
Being well-organized, interested in law and personable are among a paralegal’s characteristics.
A paralegal, put simply, is a legal assistant. Paralegals conduct interviews with clients and witnesses, draft legal documents, conduct legal research and summarize depositions, testimonies and interrogations.
At the Community College of Denver (ccd.edu), paralegal students are required to participate in a six-credit-hour internship before earning their degree.
One student there helped research a project dealing with police use of taser guns, says Stacey Beckman, professor and department chairperson.
“The ACLU lawyers ended up using her research in their briefs and press conferences on the issue,” Beckman says.
On average, paralegal salaries range from $33,920 to $54,690. Beckman says that paralegals with specializations or experience can make upwards of $90,000 per year.
When your job revolves around healthy teeth, it’s hard not to smile.
Dental hygienists provide preventive services, such as dental prophylaxis, patient education, application of topical fluoride treatments and dental sealants, says Margaret Six, director of the program at West Liberty University (westliberty.edu). Before dental hygienists get their licenses, they must complete a National Board exam and Regional Clinical Board exam. In preparation for these tests, students undergo clinical experience.
The average earnings of a dental hygienist are between $24.63 and $35.67 per hour.
Whether it’s Aunt Mable visiting (complete with sloppy kisses and cheek pinches) or dog sitting your neighbor’s not-so-friendly Rottweiler; you’ve been required to be hospitable once or twice.
If these occasions went well enough to impress Mom and Dad, then maybe it’s time to consider a job in hospitality.
Earning this degree, says David J. Barrish, assistant dean at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College (jsr.vccs.edu), is “increasingly a springboard for students intent upon opening their own bed & breakfast, bakery, restaurant or catering business.”
With a job that requires you to work with people constantly, you’ll encounter a variety of situations. That’s why on-the-job experience is expected of a hospitality major.
The average salary of those in the hospitality industry depends on which career you choose. Income can range from $35,000 to $65,000 depending on your career path.
Marissa MacKenzie Longstreet is a student at Finger Lakes Community College (flcc.edu) and was an intern for The Next Step Magazine.