Saturday, May 22, 2010

Best Master's Degrees for Finding Jobs

According to a study conducted by Forbes and reported May 19th, these programs offer the best salaries and employment prospects over the next decade based on salaries and employment increase and job growth over the next decade:

No. 1: Physician Assistant Studies
Mid-career median pay: $98,900
Projected employment increase: 39%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 57%
Common jobs: Nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, director of nursing

No. 2: Computer Science
Mid-career median pay: $111,000
Projected employment increase: 27%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 39%
Common jobs: Database administrator, software architect, information technology consultant

No. 3: Civil Engineering
Mid-career median pay: $98,700
Projected employment increase: 24%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 41%
Common jobs: Project engineer, senior civil engineer, structural engineer

No. 4: Mathematics
Mid-career median pay: $96,900
Projected employment increase: 22%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 51%
Common jobs: Actuary, statistician, high school teacher

No. 5: Physics
Mid-career median pay: $110,000
Projected employment increase: 16%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 44%
Common jobs: Physicist, medical physicist, senior systems engineer

No. 6: Information Technology
Mid-career median pay: $97,200
Projected employment increase: 29%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 39%
Common jobs: Information technology project manager, information technology specialist, software developer

No. 7: Human Resources Management
Mid-career median pay: $81,900
Projected employment increase: 22%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 47%
Common jobs: Human resources consultant, human resources manager, recruiter

No. 8: Economics
Mid-career median pay: $108,000
Projected employment increase: 19%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 38%
Common jobs: Economist, financial analyst, business analyst

No. 9: Geology
Mid-career median pay: $90,100
Projected employment increase: 17%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 44%
Common jobs: Environmental project manager, hydrogeologist, petroleum geologist

No. 10: Business (MBA)
Mid-career median pay: $109,000
Projected employment increase: 17%
Job growth, including replacement needs: 35%
Common jobs: Business development manager, management consultant, senior financial analyst


Monday, May 10, 2010

Hopeful Jobs Report for April 2010

The slight increase in the April unemployment rate belies the otherwise hopeful jobs report, which shows the payroll increased throughout the private sector and ahead of expectations.

The US Labor Department said jobs increased by 290,000 in April, well ahead of Wall Street's 180,000 forecast. The unemployment rate, however rose to 9.9%; it was expected to remain at 9.7%. The government also revised the number of jobs added in March from 162,000 to 230,000.

The manufacturing sector added the most workers since August 1998, and the service sector saw its highest gain since November 2006.

> The manufacturing sector added 44,000 jobs
> Professional and Business sectors added 80,000 jobs
> Healthcare and Leisure and Hospitality also saw increases
> Employment also rose in the federal government from continued hiring of Census workers

> Transportation and Warehousing dropped 20,000 due to a large decline in Courier and Messinger services

Unemployment is the most important factor in the economic recovery as jobless levels will determine everything from consumer demand to home prices to credit availability, but conditions may improve well before the progress shows up in the headline figure.

The report a day after the Labor Department reported first-time jobless claims fell by 7000 last week, to 440, 000, in line with expectations. The decrease was the third in a row the government reported, representing a hopeful sign that jobless market is falling.

Additional encouraging economic indicators, include:

> The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said the manufacturing sector expanded in April at its fastest pace in nearly 6 years.
> ISM data showed the services sector also grew in April, representing the fourth consecutive month of increases.
> Overall the economy expanded by 3.2% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said, the third straight period of growth.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top 10 High Growth Functions for Job Seeking Executives in 2010

ExecuNet has just published the 2010 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, and the executive recruiters surveyed identified the top high growth functions for executive job seekers in 2010 as:

  1. Business Development
  2. Sales
  3. Operations Management
  4. Engineering
  5. Marketing
  6. General Management
  7. Finance
  8. Consulting
  9. R&D
  10. MIS/Information Technology

Thursday, April 29, 2010

10 Laws of Enduring Success

I read Maria Bartiromo's, The 10 Laws of Enduring Success and was impressed by her life story, her interviews with well-known people from diverse backgrounds, her definition of success, and her guidelines for achieving success.

She describes how the definition of success has to be defined by each individual based on their values, goals, and desires. The stories of individuals exhibiting each law/characteristic are inspiring and captivating.

Her 10 laws include:

1. Self-knowledge: listen to your heart
2. Vision: plant your dreams on solid ground
3. Initiative: and keep rattling the cage
4. Courage: be bold, smart, and fair
5. Integrity: do the right thing
6. Adaptability: stay open to change
7. Humility: hold on to your humanity
8. Endurance: build your stamina
9. Purpose: know what matters most
10. Resilience: get up and move on

I would add a passion for what you do, willingness to work hard to achieve your goals, and the ability to ask for help when needed.

This is a book that I enjoyed and would recommend to others.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

22 Most Revealing Interview Questions

  1. What have you been criticized for during the last four years?

  2. Did you agree or disagree with the criticism and why?

  3. Where would you like to be in three to five years?

  4. And how do you expect to get there?

  5. How would you describe the most and least ideal boss you could choose?

  6. How would you describe yourself with three adjectives?

  7. How would your subordinates describe you in three adjectives?

  8. Do you think you praise enough?

  9. What would you do if you detected it a peer falsifying expense records?

  10. What would you do if the company you just joined gave you $3,000 to spend during the first year in any way you felt appropriate?

  11. If you have a choice, would you rather draw up plans or implement them?

  12. State three situations in which you did not succeed. Why?

  13. When you fire somebody, what would be your key objective? Why?

  14. What personal need do you expect to satisfy by accepting this position?

  15. What would you like to change in this job to make it ideal?

  16. We all fib occasionally. Would you say something that is not entirely true? Give me three examples when you did.

  17. What benefits can be expected from threatening an employee to do better?

  18. If you encountered serious difficulties on the job for which you are now interviewing, what would they be?

  19. What are three things you are afraid to find in this job?

  20. We all have negative areas we would like to improve. Do you agree? If you do, could you give me three areas in which what you would like to improve?

  21. How do you motivate people?

  22. When do you think you have arrived? (definition of success)

    Source: Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door – Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You by Harvey MacKay.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Interview Checklist

To help you in pre-interview, interview, and post interview planning, I have developed an interview checklist.


  • Try to schedule the interview for the last available day at your best time of day keeping in mind that the last person interviewed has an advantage.

  • Get a good night’s rest the day before.

  • Try to work out in the morning to help improve your alertness and relax you.

  • Create a contact sheet for each company with names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

  • If a recruiter is involved, arrange a pre-meeting to help prepare you for the interview.

  • Review your videos of your simulated interviews (if you have them).

  • If any forms are needed, complete them in advance.


  • Shine shoes and check fingernails.

  • Get a haircut or a style … bring a comb or brush.

  • Wear a suit with shirt and tie or blouse. Don’t dress casually, even if they tell you it is casual Friday. First impressions really count and it isn’t casual for you until you get the job.

  • Coordinate accessories (including watch, umbrella if necessary, etc.).

  • Wear a minimal amount of jewelry (watch, wedding ring).

  • Don’t wear cologne (your interviewer might be allergic or just intensely dislike it).


  • Read recent articles on the prospective company.

  • Research the company web site for latest news and press releases.

  • Know the company’s most recent annual and quarterly sales and profits.

  • Google people you will be meeting for background on them.

  • Know how to pronounce the names of people who you will meet.

  • If possible, learn the names of the receptionist and administrative assistants.

  • If this is a second interview, review notes of past meetings.

  • Review the day’s business news so you have something to talk about.

  • Create a list of good questions you will ask the interviewer.

  • Check e-mails for any last minute rescheduling just before leaving.


  • Cell phone – turn off before interview, or even better, leave it in your car.

  • Portfolio or padfolio.

  • Resume copies on quality paper (at least 6).

  • Copies of reference list (6) and letters.

  • Business cards.

  • Blank paper or notebook and pens.

  • Breath mints or spray.

  • Your personal calendar for scheduling follow-up meeting.


  • Plan to arrive several minutes early.

  • Check the weather report in case you need to plan on extra time.

  • Google a map and either pre-drive or investigate road congestion.

  • Investigate parking practices.

  • Identify the correct building entrance.

  • Anticipate going through security and having to wear a visitor badge.


  • Eat something like a power bar or piece of fruit beforehand.

  • If possible, know the menu in advance.

  • Don’t order an alcoholic beverage or food that is difficult to eat.


  • Do a once over in the mirror for hair, makeup, teeth.

  • Pay attention to your posture.

  • Have an idea of appropriate, positive opening comments.

  • Put on a warm, relaxed smile.

  • Prepare to give a firm, dry handshake.

  • Take a deep breath and believe in yourself.


  • Give a firm handshake and warm smile.

  • Never put anything on the interviewers desk.

  • Respond with problem, action, result statements whenever possible.

  • Try to keep your answers no longer than 2 minutes.

  • Turn negatives into positives when asked about weaknesses.

  • Have good eye contact.

  • Be prepared to ask questions.

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to meet with him or her and express your interest in the position.

  • Ask when the decision will be made and what is the next step.

  • Give a warm smile and a firm handshake.


  • Anticipate beforehand how and where you will debrief yourself.

  • Have stationery and postage ready for handwritten thank-you notes. Send thank you notes to everyone with whom you have interviewed, and, if possible the receptionist or gatekeeper. Even if you e-mail a thank you, send a handwritten note within 24 hours.

  • If a recruiter is involved, know how to reach this person for a debriefing.

  • Keep written records of how the interview went, what your strengths and weaknesses were, and how you might address some of the questions in the future.

  • Follow-up with a phone call.

For more information visit or check out Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door by Harvey MacKay.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Try to Fool Resume Scanners (Applicant Tracking Systems)

One of my clients recently asked me about loading her resume with keywords in white at the top and bottom of her resume. Apparently some outplacement firms are recommending this to achieve higher placement when scanned by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Be aware that resume scanning equipment is extremely sophisticated. You will be caught, your resume will be sent to the bottom of the pile, you will be seen in a bad light, and probably will be prevented from ever getting an interview with this employer or recruiter.

All of the keywords that are important or your resume should be clearly stated in your profile, core competencies, value offered, experience, and/or education sections of your resume. Don't be fooled into trying to fool a system that is extremely sophisticated. If you have a really good resume that quantifies skills and accomplishments and provides Problem-Action-Results (PAR) statements you should not need to try to trick the system.

If you follow the guidelines of good job searching, you probably won't be sending your resume to screening software as much as others. You will be networking by phone and in person. Y ou will be talking, communicating, building relationships, gaining leads and getting your foot in the door through referrals, recommendations, and the personal interest and assistance of those who know and respect you.

Remember, an honest resume that focuses on your skills and accomplishments combined with networking and making personal contact with people who you know or want to know, is your greatest technique for finding your next job.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Job Search Dangers in Social Networking

If you are using social networking on sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter be aware that anything you communicate online can and often will be accessed by current and future potential employers. Words are powerful tools, and they can be powerful in preventing you from getting your next job.

If you are seeking employment or will at any time in the future, do not undermine your chances by:
  • Complaining about your boss, coworkers, or customers
  • Expressing feelings of being overwhelmed by your work
  • Using unprofessional language, including swearing
  • Exhibiting obnoxious or drunken behavior
  • Discussing activities that are illegal or show bad judgment
  • Providing questionable photos of you and your friends

Remember anything you write on these sites is accessible to employers forever and will be used to determine your desirability for a position. Don't hurt your chances of getting the job you really want.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keep Learning and You Will Increase Your Chances of Getting a Job

Learning continually is essential to ensuring your success in the job market. You can find a lot to help you grow your skills through free videos and podcasts online and through free classes at the library. Your library card will also allow you free access (often from home) to expensive databases that you can use as resources in your job search. Your librarian is also a valuable source for finding information. One of the most valuable things I learned is college is that the only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.

Consider taking university classes. You can take many of these online.

Join Toastmasters or take Dale Carnegie courses to hone your public speaking and sales skills.

Keep abreast of current events and new advances in healthcare, business, and technology no matter what your field.

If you are in a technology field by the your third year of college much of what you learned in the first year will be obsolete.

Never stop learning and you will be much more marketable.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Great New Book for All Job Hunters - Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door

Since most people have 3-4 careers and 10-12 jobs by the age of 40 according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it is important to continue building your job-finding skills. Proactive preparedness is a much better plan than reactive panic. This week, I read the perfect book to add to your library if you are an X Generation, Y Generation, or Baby Boomer – Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door – Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You by Harvey MacKay.

This book is an easy read with short chapters, anecdotal stories, and great tips to boost your skills in planning and conducting an effective job search. Harvey MacKay reinforces much of what I have been telling my clients for over 15 years, including:
  • The best method of finding a job is through networking by phone and in person (66% of all jobs are found this way).

  • The best online network is

  • To remain marketable, you must continue learning.

  • Be willing to offer assistance to others.

  • Anger is only one letter away from danger. It can be destructive if it isn’t dealt with.

  • Believe in yourself. You are never a failure until you think you are.

  • Don’t take rejection personally and remember, all you need is one yes!

  • Use your computer for researching industries, companies, employers, and specific individuals but don’t spend valuable time that you could use for networking in person on the computer.

  • Take extra copies of your resume to the interview. (I say at least 6).

  • Be prepared to answer and ask specific questions at interviews.

  • Dress professionally even if you are told it is casual Friday. First impressions really can make a difference and casual is only for after you are hired.

  • The last candidate interviewed has a greater chance of being offered the job.

  • Send a handwritten thank you note within 24 hours after the interview, including one to the gatekeeper. This can be the deciding factor.

Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door also provides lists and tools to help you maximize your chances to capture a job in this competitive market in which there are 6-8 candidates for every position.

I recommend this as a must read book and a great gift.

For more information visit