Friday, January 31, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Firefighter

What Firefighters Do
Firefighters control fires and respond to other emergencies, including medical emergencies.

Work Environment
When not on the scene of an emergency, firefighters work at fire stations, where they sleep, eat, and remain on call during shifts that often last 24 hours. Many work over 40 hours per week. The work can be very dangerous.

How to Become a Firefighter
Firefighters typically need a high school diploma and training in emergency medical services. Most firefighters also must pass a written and physical test, complete a series of interviews, and hold an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. All firefighters receive extensive training after being hired.

Applicants for firefighter jobs typically must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. They must also pass a medical exam and drug screening to be hired. After being hired, firefighters may be subject to random drug tests.

The entry-level education needed to become a firefighter is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some class work beyond high school usually is needed to obtain the emergency medical technician (EMT) basic certification. EMT requirements vary by city and state.

Entry-level firefighters receive several weeks of training at fire academies run by the fire department or by the state. Through classroom instruction and practical training, recruits study fire-fighting and fire-prevention techniques, local building codes, and emergency medical procedures. They also learn how to fight fires with standard equipment, including axes, chain saws, fire extinguishers, and ladders.

Some fire departments have accredited apprenticeship programs that last up to 4 years. These programs combine classroom instruction with on-the-job-training under the supervision of experienced firefighters.

In addition to participating in training programs conducted by local or state fire departments and agencies, some firefighters attend federal training sessions sponsored by the National Fire Academy. These training sessions cover topics including executive development, anti-arson techniques, disaster preparedness, hazardous materials control, and public fire safety and education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Firefighters must usually be certified as emergency medical technicians at the EMT-Basic level. In addition, some fire departments require firefighters to be certified as an EMT-Paramedic. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certifies EMTs and paramedics. All levels of NREMT certification require completing a training or education program and passing the national exam. The national exam has both a written part and a practical part. In some departments, it is possible to earn these certifications after being hired. EMTs and paramedics may work with firefighters at the scenes of accidents.

Some states have mandatory or voluntary firefighter training and certification programs. 

Other Experience
Working as a volunteer firefighter may help in getting a job as a career firefighter.

Firefighters can be promoted to engineer, then lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, deputy chief, and finally, chief. For promotion to positions beyond battalion chief, many fire departments now require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, preferably in fire science, public administration, or a related field. Some firefighters eventually become fire inspectors or investigators after gaining enough experience.

The National Fire Academy also offers a certification as Executive Fire Officer. To be eligible for certification, firefighters must have a bachelor's degree.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Firefighters must be able to communicate conditions at an emergency scene to other firefighters and to emergency-response crews.

Courage. Firefighters are confronted with dangerous situations, such as entering a burning building, while doing their jobs.

Decision-making skills. Firefighters must be able to make quick and smart decisions in an emergency. The ability to make good decisions under pressure could potentially save someone’s life.

Physical stamina. Firefighters may have to stay at disaster scenes for long periods of time to rescue and treat victims. They must also be ready to respond to emergencies at any hour of the day.

Physical strength. Firefighters must be strong enough to carry heavy equipment and move debris at an emergency site. They must also be able to carry victims who are injured or cannot walk.

The median annual wage for firefighters was $45,250 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs will likely be intense. Physically fit applicants with high test scores and paramedic training should have the best job prospects.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Childcare Worker

What Childcare Workers Do
Childcare workers care for children when parents and other family members are unavailable. They care for children’s basic needs, such as bathing and feeding. In addition, some help children prepare for kindergarten or help older children with homework.

Work Environment
Childcare workers care for children in childcare centers, their own home, or the homes of the children in their care. Many work full time, but part-time work and irregular hours are common.

How to Become a Childcare Worker
Education and training requirements vary by setting, state, and employer. They range from less than a high school diploma to a certification in early childhood education.

Childcare workers must meet education and training requirements, which vary by state regulations. Some states require these workers to have a high school diploma, but many states do not have any education requirements for entry-level occupations. However, workers with postsecondary education or an early childhood education credential may be qualified for higher-level positions.

Employers often prefer to hire workers with at least a high school diploma and, in some cases, some postsecondary education in early childhood education.

Workers in Head Start programs must at least be enrolled in a program in which they will earn a postsecondary degree in early childhood education or a child development credential.

States do not regulate educational requirements for nannies. However, some employers may prefer to hire workers with at least some formal instruction in childhood education or a related field, particularly when they will be hired as full-time nannies.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Many states require childcare centers, including those in private homes, to be licensed. To qualify for licensure, staff must pass a background check, have a complete record of immunizations, and meet a minimum training requirement. Some states require staff to have certifications in CPR and first aid.
Some states and employers require childcare workers to have a nationally recognized certification.

Most often, states require the Child Development Associate (CDA) certification offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA certification requires coursework, experience in the field, and a period during which the applicant is observed while working with children.

Some states recognize the Child Care Professional (CCP) designation offered by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Candidates for the CCP must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, have experience in the field, take courses in early childhood education, and pass an exam.

The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) offers a nationally recognized accreditation for family child care providers. This accreditation requires training and experience in the field as well as a period during which the applicant is observed while working with children.

Many states and employers require providers to complete some training before beginning work. Also, many states require staff in childcare centers to complete a minimum number of hours of training annually. Training may include information about basic care of babies, such as how to warm a bottle, and customer-service skills.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Childcare workers must be able to talk with parents and colleagues about the progress of the children in their care. They need both good speaking skills to provide this information effectively and good listening skills to understand parents’ instructions.

Decision-making skills. Good judgment is necessary for childcare workers so they can respond to emergencies or difficult situations.

Instructional skills. Childcare workers need to be able to explain things in terms young children can understand.

Interpersonal skills. Childcare workers need to work well with people to develop good relationships with parents, children, and colleagues.

Patience. Working with children can be frustrating, so childcare workers need to be able to respond to overwhelming and difficult situations calmly.

Physical stamina. Working with children can be physically taxing, so childcare workers should have a lot of energy.

The median hourly wage for childcare workers was $9.38 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of childcare workers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth is expected due to increases in the number of children who require childcare and continued demand for preschool programs.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Electrician

What Electricians Do
Electricians install and maintain electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.

Work Environment
Electricians work indoors and outdoors, in nearly every type of facility. Almost all electricians work full time, which may include evenings and weekends. Although the work is not as dangerous as other construction occupations, potential injuries include electrical shocks and burns, cuts, and falls.

How to Become an Electrician
Although most electricians learn through an apprenticeship, some start out by attending a technical school. Most states require electricians to be licensed. For more information, contact your local or state electrical licensing board.

A high school diploma or equivalent is required.

Some electricians start out by attending a technical school. Many technical schools offer programs related to circuitry, safety practices, and basic electrical information. Graduates usually receive credit toward their apprenticeship.

After completing their initial training, electricians may be required to take continuing education courses. These courses are usually related to safety practices, changes to the electrical code, and training from manufacturers in specific products.

Most electricians learn their trade in a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. In the classroom, apprentices learn electrical theory, blueprint reading, mathematics, electrical code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. They also may receive specialized training related to soldering, communications, fire alarm systems, and elevators.

After completing an apprenticeship program, electricians are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own, subject to any local licensing requirements. Because of this comprehensive training, those who complete apprenticeship programs qualify to do both construction and maintenance work.

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • One year of algebra
  • Qualifying score on an aptitude test
  • Pass substance abuse screening
  • Some electrical contractors have their own training program. Although most workers enter apprenticeships directly, some electricians enter apprenticeship programs after working as a helper.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Most states require electricians to pass a test and be licensed. Requirements vary by state. For more information, contact your local or state electrical licensing board.

The tests have questions related to the National Electrical Code, state electrical codes, and local electrical codes.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Self-employed electricians must be able to bid on new jobs, track inventory, and plan payroll and work assignments.

Color vision. Electricians must identify electrical wires by color.

Critical-thinking skills. Electricians perform tests and use the results to diagnose problems. For example, when an outlet is not working, they may use a multimeter to check the voltage, amperage, or resistance to determine the best course of action.

Customer-service skills. Electricians work with people on a regular basis. As a result, they should be friendly and be able to address customers’ questions.

Troubleshooting skills. Electricians find, diagnose, and repair problems. For example, if a motor stops working, they perform tests to determine the cause of its failure and then, depending on the results, fix or replace the motor.

The median annual wage for electricians was $49,840 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of electricians is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As homes and businesses require more wiring,  electricians will be needed to install the necessary components. Electricians with the widest variety of skills should have the best job opportunities.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Civil Engineer

What Civil Engineers Do
Civil engineers design, construct, supervise, operate, and maintain large construction projects and systems, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

Work Environment
Civil engineers generally work indoors in offices. However, many spend time outdoors at construction sites so they can monitor operations or solve problems onsite. Most work full time.

How to Become a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree. They typically need a graduate degree and licensure for promotion to senior positions. Though licensure requirements vary within the U.S., civil engineers must usually be licensed in the locations where they provide services publicly.

Civil engineers must first complete a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or one of its specialties. A program accredited by ABET is needed in order to gain licensure, which is required to work as a professional engineer (PE). In many states, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology will also suffice as an academic requirement for obtaining a license.

Bachelor’s degree programs in civil engineering or civil engineering technology include coursework in math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, among other courses, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in a laboratory, and fieldwork.

More than one of every five civil engineers has a master’s degree. Further education after the bachelor’s degree is helpful in getting a job as a manager, along with the PE license and previous experience. For more information on engineering managers, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

Important Qualities

Decision-making skills. Civil engineers often balance multiple and frequently conflicting objectives, such as determining the feasibility of plans with regard to financial costs and safety concerns. Urban and regional planners often look to civil engineers for advice on these issues.

Leadership skills. Civil engineers take ultimate responsibility for the projects or research that they perform. Therefore, they must be able to lead surveyors, construction managers, civil engineering technicians, and others to implement their project plan.

Math skills. Civil engineers use the principals of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Organizational skills. Only licensed civil engineers can sign the design documents for infrastructure projects. This makes it imperative that civil engineers be able to monitor and evaluate the work at the job site as a project progresses to assure compliance with design documents.

Problem-solving skills. Civil engineers work at the highest level of planning, design, construction, and operation of multi-faceted projects or research with many variables that require the ability to evaluate and resolve complex problems.

Writing skills. Civil engineers must be able to communicate with other professionals, such as architects, landscape architects, and urban and regional planners. This means that civil engineers must be able to write reports clearly so that people without an engineering background can follow.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Civil engineers who sell their own services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia. A license is required to exercise direct control of a project and to supervise other civil engineers and civil engineering technicians. A degree from an ABET-accredited program in civil engineering or civil engineering technology is generally required to obtain a license.

Early in the licensing process, a civil engineer must take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination. After passing this exam and meeting a particular state’s requirements, an engineer then becomes a Civil Engineering (CE) Intern or an Engineer-in-Training (EIT). Afterward, depending on the state, civil engineers must have a minimum of experience, pass more exams, and satisfy other requirements to qualify as a CE Professional. Each state's licensure board for professional engineers, which can be found through these state societies of professional engineers, can give further details.

Civil engineers with ample experience may move into senior positions, such as project managers or functional managers of design, construction, operation, or maintenance. However, they would first need to obtain the Professional Engineering (PE) license, because only licensed engineers can assume responsibilities for public projects.

After gaining licensure, credentialing that attests to a Professional Engineer’s expertise in a civil engineering specialty may be of help for advancement to senior technical or even managerial positions.

The median annual wage for civil engineers was $79,340 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of civil engineers is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As infrastructure continues to age, civil engineers will be needed to manage projects to rebuild bridges, repair roads, and upgrade levees and dams.

Monday, January 27, 2014


The Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) is responsible for administering veterans' employment and training programs and compliance activities that help veterans and servicemembers succeed in their civilian careers. VETS administers the Jobs for Veterans State Grant program, which provides grants to States to fund personnel dedicated to serving the employment needs of veterans.

VETS field staff works closely with and provides technical assistance to State employment workforce agencies to ensure that veterans receive priority of service and gain meaningful employment. VETS also administers three competitive grants programs: the Veterans Workforce Investment Program, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, and the Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program. In addition, VETS prepares separating servicemembers for the civilian labor market through its Transition Assistance Program Employment Workshops.

VETS has three distinct compliance programs: the Federal Contractor Program, Veterans' Preference in Federal hiring and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). With respect to Federal contractors, VETS promulgates regulations and maintains oversight of the program by assisting contractors to comply with their affirmative action and reporting obligations. Although the Office of Personnel Management is responsible for administering and interpreting statutes and regulations governing veterans' preference in Federal hiring, VETS investigates allegations that veterans' preference rights have been violated. In addition, VETS preserves servicemembers' employment and reemployment rights through its administration and enforcement of the USERRA statute. VETS conducts thorough investigations of alleged violations and conducts an extensive USERRA outreach program.

For a complete listing of Veterans' Employment and Training Service regional and State offices, including addresses, telephone numbers, and key officials, visit

For further information, contact the Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment and Training, Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210. Phone, 202-693-4700. Internet,
Thanks for Serving!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Architect

What Architects Do
Architects plan and design houses, office buildings, and other structures.

Work Environment
Architects spend much of their time in offices, where they meet with clients, and consult with engineers and other architects. They also visit construction sites to review the progress of projects. About 1 in 5 were self-employed in 2012.

How to Become an Architect
There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Exam.

Earning a professional degree in architecture is the typical path to becoming an architect in all states. Most architects earn their professional degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program, intended for students with no previous architectural training. Many earn a master’s degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5 years to complete, depending on the extent of the student’s previous training in architecture.

A typical program includes courses in architectural history and theory, building design with an emphasis on computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), structures, technology, construction methods, professional practices, math, physical sciences, and liberal arts. Central to most architectural programs is the design studio, where students apply the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to create drawings and three-dimensional models of their designs.

Currently, 35 states require that architects hold a professional degree in architecture from one of the 123 schools of architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). State licensing requirements can be found at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

All state architectural registration boards require architecture graduates to complete a lengthy paid internship—most require at least 3 years of experience—before they may sit for the Architect Registration Exam. Most new graduates complete their training period by working at architectural firms through the Intern Development Program (IDP). Some states allow a portion of the training to occur in the offices of related careers, such as engineers and general contractors. Architecture students who complete internships while still in school can count some of that time toward the 3-year training period.

Interns in architectural firms may help design part of a project. They may help prepare architectural documents and drawings, build models, and prepare construction drawings on CADD. Interns may also research building codes and write specifications for building materials, installation criteria, the quality of finishes, and other related details.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states and the District of Columbia require architects to be licensed. Licensing requirements typically include completing a professional degree in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Exam.

Most states also require some form of continuing education to keep a license, and some additional states are expected to adopt mandatory continuing education. Requirements vary by state but usually involve additional education through workshops, university classes, conferences, self-study courses, or other sources.

A growing number of architects voluntarily seek certification from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Certification makes it easier to become licensed across states. In fact, it is the primary requirement for reciprocity of licensing among state boards that are NCARB members. In 2012, approximately one-third of all licensed architects had this certification.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Architects must understand the content of designs and the context in which they were created. For example, architects must understand the locations of mechanical systems and how those systems affect building operations.

Communication skills. Architects share their ideas, both in oral presentations and in writing, with clients, other architects, and workers who help prepare drawings. Many also give presentations to explain their designs.

Creativity. Architects design the overall look of houses, buildings, and other structures. Therefore, the final product should be attractive and functional.

Organizational skills. Architects often manage contracts. Therefore, they must keep records related to the details of a project, including total cost, materials used, and progress.

Technical skills. Architects use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) technology to create plans as part of integrated building information modeling (BIM).

Visualization skills. Architects must be able to see how the parts of a structure relate to each other. They also must be able to visualize how the overall building will look once completed.

The median annual wage for architects was $73,090 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of architects is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Competition for jobs will be strong as the number of applicants continues to outnumber available positions.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Drafter

What Drafters Do
Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans. Workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Work Environment
Although drafters spend much of their time working on computers in an office, some must visit job sites in order to collaborate with architects and engineers. Most drafters work full time.

Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

Employers generally prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary education in drafting, typically a 2-year associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college.

Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) software. They award certificates or diplomas, and programs vary considerably in length and in the types of courses offered. Some institutions may only specialize in one type of drafting, such as mechanical or electrical drafting.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but typically include more classes in drafting theory and often require general education classes. After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics. Courses taken at community colleges are more likely to be accepted for credit at colleges or universities.

To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Drafters help the architects and engineers they work for by spotting problems with plans and designs.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they are helping to build are technically accurate to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work with technical drawings that may require solving mathematical calculations involving angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CADD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules

The median annual wage for drafters was $49,630 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of drafters is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022. Although drafters will continue to work on technical drawings and documents related to the design of buildings, machines, and tools, new software programs are making the work more efficient, thus requiring fewer workers. Competition for jobs is expected to be strong.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become an Automotive Service Technician or Mechanic

What Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics Do
Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.

Work Environment
Most automotive service technicians and mechanics work in well-ventilated and well-lit repair shops. Although automotive problems often can be identified and fixed with computers, technicians perform many tasks with greasy parts and tools, sometimes in uncomfortable positions.

A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically the minimum requirement for someone to work as an automotive service technician or mechanic. Because automotive technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, some employers prefer automotive service technicians and mechanics who have completed a formal training program in a postsecondary institution. Industry certification is usually required once the person is employed.

A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically the minimum requirement for someone to work as an automotive service technician or mechanic. High school courses in automotive repair, electronics, computers, mathematics, and English provide a good background for prospective service technicians. However, high school graduates often need further training to become fully qualified.

Completing a vocational or other postsecondary training program in automotive service technology is considered the best preparation for entry-level positions. Programs usually last 6 months to a year and provide intensive career preparation through classroom instruction and hands-on practice. Short-term certificate programs in a particular skill are also available.

Some service technicians get an associate’s degree. Courses usually include basic mathematics, computers, electronics, and automotive repair. Some programs add classes in customer service, English, and other necessary skills.

Various automobile manufacturers and dealers sponsor associate’s degree programs. Students in these programs typically spend alternating periods attending classes full time and working full time in service shops under the guidance of an experienced technician.

Most service technicians must complete on-the-job training.

How long it takes a new service technician to become fully qualified in the occupation depends on the person’s educational background. A period of 2 to 5 years is typical. It then takes an additional 1 to 2 years of experience for service technicians to become familiar with all types of repairs.

New workers generally start as trainee technicians, technicians’ helpers, or lubrication workers and gradually acquire and practice their skills by working with experienced mechanics and technicians.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all technicians who buy or work with refrigerants to be licensed in proper refrigerant handling. No formal test preparation is required, but many trade schools, unions, and employer associations offer training programs designed for the EPA exam.

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is the standard credential for service technicians. Certification demonstrates competence and usually brings higher pay. Many employers require their service technicians to become certified.

Certification is available in eight different areas, including automatic transmission/transaxle, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, engine repair, heating and air-conditioning, manual drive train and axles, and suspension and steering.

For each area, technicians must have at least 2 years of experience (or relevant schooling and 1 year of experience) and pass an exam. To become a Master Automobile Technician, technicians must pass all eight exams.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Service technicians must discuss automotive problems—along with options to fix them—with their customers. Because workers may depend on repeat clients for business, they must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Mechanical and electronic malfunctions are often due to misalignments or other easy-to-miss causes. Service mechanics must, therefore, account for such details when inspecting or repairing engines and components.

Dexterity. Many tasks that service technicians do, such as disassembling engine parts, connecting or attaching components, and using handtools, require a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Service technicians must be familiar with engine components and systems and know how they interact with each other. They often must take apart major parts for repairs and be able to put them back together properly.

Troubleshooting skills. Service technicians must be able to use diagnostic equipment on engine systems and components in order to identify and fix problems in increasingly complicated mechanical and electronic systems. They must be familiar with electronic control systems and the appropriate tools needed to fix and maintain them.

The median annual wage for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $36,610 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job opportunities for qualified jobseekers should be very good.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Carpenter

What Carpenters Do

Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures—such as stairways, doorframes, partitions, and rafters—made from wood and other materials. They also may install kitchen cabinets, siding, and drywall.

Work Environment

Because carpenters are involved in many types of construction, from building highways and bridges to installing kitchen cabinets, they work both indoors and outdoors. The work is sometimes strenuous, and carpenters have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average.

How to Become a Carpenter

Although most carpenters learn their trade through an apprenticeship, some learn on the job, starting as a helper.


A high school diploma or equivalent is required. High school courses in English, mathematics, mechanical drawing, and shop are considered useful.

Most carpenters lear
n their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. In the technical training, apprentices learn carpentry basics, blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. They also may receive specialized training in concrete, rigging, welding, scaffold building, fall protection, confined workspaces, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-hour safety courses.

After finishing an apprenticeship, carpenters are considered to be journey workers and may perform tasks on their own.

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for a person to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work
  • U.S. citizen or proof of legal residency 
  • Pass substance abuse screening
Some contractors have their own carpenter training program. Although many workers enter apprenticeships directly, some carpenters start out as helpers.
Some apprenticeships offer special programs for veterans.

A number of 2-year technical schools offer carpentry degrees that are affiliated with unions or contractor organizations. Credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count toward an associate’s degree.


Because they are exposed to the entire construction process, carpenters usually have more opportunities than other construction workers to become independent contractors or general construction supervisors.

Carpenters seeking advancement often take additional training provided by associations, unions, or employers. Also, it is increasingly important to be able to communicate in both English and Spanish to relay instructions to workers.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Self-employed carpenters must be able to bid new jobs, track inventory, and plan work assignments.

Detail oriented. Carpenters perform many tasks that are important in the overall building process. Making precise measurements, for example, may reduce gaps between windows and frames, limiting any leaks around the window.

Manual dexterity. Carpenters use many tools and need hand-eye coordination to avoid injury. Striking the head of a nail, for example, is crucial to not damaging wood.

Math skills. Because carpenters use basic math skills every day, they need to be able to calculate volume and measure materials to be cut.

Physical stamina. Carpenters need physical endurance. They often lift heavy tools and materials while standing, climbing, or bending for long periods.

Physical strength. Many of the tools and materials that carpenters use are heavy. For example, plywood sheets can weigh 50 to 100 pounds.

Problem-solving skills. Because all construction jobs vary, carpenters must adjust project plans accordingly. For example, they may have to use wedges to level cabinets in homes that have settled and are sloping slightly.


The median annual wage for carpenters was $39,940 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of carpenters is projected to grow 24 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increased levels of new home building and remodeling activity will require more carpenters.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to become a Computer Specialist

What Computer Support Specialists Do

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.

Work Environment

Most computer support specialists have full-time work schedules; however, many do not work typical 9-to-5 jobs. Because computer support is important for businesses, many support specialists must be available 24 hours a day.

Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.


Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge, but not necessarily a postsecondary degree. Applicants who have taken some computer-related classes are often qualified. For computer network support specialists, many employers accept applicants with an associate’s degree, although some prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services often require a bachelor’s degree. More technical positions are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science, but for others, the applicant’s field of study is less important.

To keep up with changes in technology, many computer support specialists continue their education throughout their careers.


When they start out, computer user support specialists often work on simple problems. Over time, they learn more about the software or equipment they support and advance to positions that handle complex questions. Advancement can take anywhere from several months to a year, depending on how complicated a position is and how fast the specialist learns.


Many of these workers advance to other information technology positions, such as network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales.


In May 2012, the median annual wage for computer network support specialists was $59,090. The median annual wage for computer user support specialists was $46,420 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of computer support specialists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. More support services will be needed as organizations upgrade their computer equipment and software.

Important Qualities

Customer service skills. Computer support specialists must be patient and sympathetic. They must often help people who are frustrated with the software or hardware they are trying to use.

Listening skills. Support workers must be able to understand the problem that their customer is describing and know when to ask questions to clarify the situation.

Problem-solving skills. Support workers must identify both simple and complex computer problems, analyze them, and solve them.

Speaking skills. Support workers must describe the solution to a computer problem in a way that a nontechnical person can understand.

Writing skills. Strong writing skills are useful for preparing instructions and email responses for employees and customers, as well as real-time web chat interactions.

See also:  Computer Operation Clerk or Computer Clerk

Friday, January 17, 2014

Career Exploration Series: How to Become a Database Administrator

Database administrators (DBAs) usually have a bachelor’s degree in an information- or computer-related subject. Before becoming an administrator, these workers typically get work experience in a related field.


Most database administrators have a bachelor’s degree in management information systems (MIS) or a computer-related field. Firms with large databases may prefer applicants who have a master’s degree focusing on data or database management, typically either in computer science, information systems, or information technology.

Database administrators need an understanding of database languages, the most common of which is Structured Query Language, commonly called, SQL. Most database systems use some variation of SQL, and a DBA will need to become familiar with whichever programming language the firm uses.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is a way to demonstrate competence and may provide a jobseeker with a competitive advantage. Certification programs are generally offered by product vendors or software firms. Some companies may require their database administrators to be certified in the product they use.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most database administrators do not begin their careers in that occupation. Many first work as database developers or data analysts. A database developer is a type of software developer who specializes in creating databases. The job of a data analyst is to interpret the information stored in a database in a way the firm can use. Depending on their specialty, data analysts can have different job titles, including financial analyst, market research analyst, and operations research analyst. After mastering one of these fields, they may become a database administrator.


The median annual wage for database administrators (DBAs) was $77,080 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,930, and the top 10 percent earned more than $118,720.

The wages for DBAs vary with the industry in which they work. In May 2012, the median annual wages for database administrators the top five industries in which these administrators worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance  $85,880
Computer systems design and related services 84,550
Management of companies and enterprises 82,290
Information 81,800
Educational services; state, local, and private 63,620

Almost all database administrators work full time. About a quarter worked more than 40 hours per week in 2012.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics

Job Outlook

Employment of database administrators (DBAs) is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth in this occupation will be driven by the increased data needs of companies in all sectors of the economy. Database administrators will be needed to organize and present data in a way that makes it easy for analysts and other stakeholders to understand. However employment growth may be slowed by new software tools that increase the productivity of DBAs.

The increasing popularity of database-as-a-service, which allows database administration to be done by a third party over the internet, could increase the employment of DBAs at cloud computing firms in the computer systems design and related services industry. Employment of DBAs is projected to grow 48 percent in this industry from 2012 to 2022.

Employment growth for database administrators is expected in healthcare industries because, as the use of electronic medical records increases, more databases will be needed to keep track of patient information. Employment of DBAs is projected to grow 43 percent in general medical and surgical hospitals from 2012 to 2022.

Job Prospects

Job prospects should be favorable. Database administrators are in high demand, and firms sometimes have difficulty finding qualified workers. Applicants who have experience with the latest technology should have the best prospects.

For more information visit

Thursday, January 16, 2014

There are Plenty of Free Resources to Help You Get Your Career in the Right Path

Employment and Training Administration (ETA) programs, resources and online tools can help you find a job regardless of whatever stage of the job and career development you find yourselve in.

Explore what is available by choosing a topic below.
Assess Yourself
Searching for a career that's right for you? An important first step is to assess your skills to help you make the right career choices.
Explore Career Options
Looking for a career or interested in changing careers? Find resources and online tools to help you with career decisions.
Gain Experience and Credentials
How do you prepare for the career of your dreams? Explore programs and tools to find the training you need.
Find a Job
Want to find your next job? Job search takes time, energy and preparation. Use online tools and resources for a successful job hunt.
What are your career plans? Are you finalizing plans or just beginning? There are a variety of resources available specifically for you.
Deal with a Job Loss
Dealing with a job loss? Take advantage of resources and programs that provide assistance to help you.
Know Your Rights as a Worker
Do you have questions about the laws that protect you as a worker? Find resources with the information you need.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Is not too early to start thinking about summer jobs.. We love these sites! Features seasonal jobs in camps, resorts, ranches, and other adventurous places (Would you like to be a sled dog guide on the Jackson Hole Iditarod?) Be sure to check the minimum age and if housing or transportation are provided before you apply. This site lists volunteer positions across the U.S. Search jobs by age range--for example, students 13 and older can find opportunities in blood drive assistance, peer education, or tutoring. Tons of jobs, especially in the retail sector. Click on "Advice for Teen Job Seekers" for info on age issues in the working world, descriptions of different jobs, tips for negotiating wages, and advice on how to get ahead in your job. Find jobs in the U.S. government, including the Supreme Court, Budget Office, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and more. Use the site's search engine, then click "Summer" or "Intern" at the top of the page to find the positions available to your age group. You can also check the "Agency Info" tab to find out more about each different government office. Outdoor, resort, and adventure jobs. Check the minimum age requirements--many opportunities are available only to applicants who are over 18. Focuses only on part-time and summer work for teens. Search by zip code to find open jobs, and register in order to apply directly through the site. Groovejob also features a resume-builder and tips on writing a cover letter. Lists jobs at summer camps throughout the country. Search for "Counselor-In-Training" positions to find open jobs for high school students. A guide to improving your skills through summer and part-time jobs. Explains why certain jobs make more money than others, how to gain the skills you need to get the job you want, and even includes a section on computing skills. Lists some of the most dangerous jobs for teens, plus tips for working teens and their parents.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dreamfedjob Tips to get Ahead

  • Do not expect the boss to know what you have done, document it.
  • Make a list of all the extra tasks you are doing outside your job description and rank them in order of what your boss views as important.
  • Friday afternoon is a good time to ask for a pay rise because the boss can then spend the weekend worrying that you might leave.
  • It will also give the boss time to go over your pitch and to work out how she or he will justify your increase to his or her boss.
  • Use phrases such as 'I would like you to think about' and 'at an appropriate time'
  • If you get bad news, make sure you have a reaction plan ready. You do not want to say something you will regret.

  • Think carefully, research and prepare.
  • Job-change challenges to be considered include current and future prospects as well as the need for new and helpful networks.
  • Any gaps in training need to be addressed.
  • The focus of the resume should be changed to highlight any transferable skills relating to the new job.
  • Preparation and practice for an interview will build confidence. Preparing the right answers will impress a new employer.

  • A performance review can be a valuable tool for employees to talk about issues in the workplace, such as overtime, workload, culture of the organization and anything else that impacts their role.
  • If the relationship between employee and manager is good, then any issue from the workplace can be discussed.
  • If the relationship is not good, then be careful as to what you say because you don't want it to be used against you.

  • To be promoted, you have to be seen as being a leader in your office and/or your field.
  • Workers who want to be promoted need to have a strong profile within the organization.
  • Don't be invisible.
  • Join industry groups within your particular specialty, attend industry events and present at a conference.

  • The first is flexbility in being a 'yes' person rather than a 'no' person.
  • These are people who are inclined to be more embracing of new challenges and doing things that may not be in their job description.
  • They might not think it's their job but they are prepared to do it and have a can do attitude.
  • People who rely on workers need to have the confidence that when a worker says they'll do something, they'll deliver what is committed to the highest possible standards.
  • The ideal employees need to be low-maintenance and not at the door every five minutes complaining about things.

  • Workers need to look internally to see what kinds of variety motivate and stimulate them.
  • They need to understand the need that's driving them first to determine the best action to take.
  • It may be that they can get their motivation back in the workplace or outside the workplace.
  • Employees should look at opportunities to shadow a colleague, take on new projects and/or get involved in a new area of work.
  • Also consider a new hobby or activity to spend the weekend, or improving self development through a training course or networking.
  • Workers can also assess if they need a greater sense of belonging or competence or something which will bring them new confidence, such as a new job role or project.

  • To fast-track your career, make sure that you are efficient in tasks that will help your manager the most.
  • Find out what your manager regards good performance and train constantly in your strengths so you can more effective.
  • Take risks and step outside your job role.
  • Make sure your actions are regarded constructive, not just attention seeking.
  • Identify a well-regarded senior person at work from whom to seek career advice and return the favor by loyalty and respect.
  • Be a problem solver, not a problem finder.
  • Smile a lot. Others notice and favour happy people.
  • Volunteering, extended holidays or to take it easy due to work burn-out.
  • To raise a career break with your boss, have a clear plan before you go to him/her. Don't be vague.
  • Have some solutions to problems your absence may cause. Develop an understudy, identify others who could do your work, or suggest casual or contract recruitment.
  • The benefits to the organization may include the saving of your salary, if you're not replaced.
  • You return refreshed and with renewed commitment.
  • Often people underestimate the benefits of networking internally, or within an organization.
  • Networking is based on the premise that people buy from people that they like, know and trust.
  • Effective networking must consist of developing rapport with people that may result in an exchange of goods, services or information.
  • People rarely get promoted just for doing their job. They need to be noticed, too.
  • To get ahead in the workplace you need to be noticed for the right reasons.
  • Other ideas include to make your boss look good, look the part and stand up and speak up.
  • Working smart means getting the same results in less time.
  • You'll get the most by changing your speed, increasing focus and organizing to do things in parallel.
  • You bring your full focus to one task and build momentum until you're producing results like nobody's business.
  • Eliminate your major distractions of email, telephone, visitors and yourself for a few hours.
  • People are less productive when multi-tasking. We feel busy, but most of that busyness is spent switching from task to task.
  • You can find ways to arrange work so many things are happening at once.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Manage the Manager

At Dreamfedjob we believe that difficult bosses can be handled without handing in a resignation letter.

We have identified four types of challenging employers and how to work with them.
MICROMANAGERS have trouble delegating tasks and when assigning a project, this boss tells exactly how, when and where to do it.
The Fix: Trust is usually the issue so try to do everything in your power to build it. Don't miss deadlines, pay attention to details and keep your manager informed.

POOR COMMUNICATORS provide little or no direction, so assignments often have to be completed at the last minute or redone because goals and deadlines were not explained clearly.

The Fix: Diplomatically point out that providing more information upfront will avoid undue stress and save time for everyone in the long run.

THE BULLY wants things his or her way or no way at all. Bosses like this also tend to be gruff and easily frustrated.

The Fix: Stand up for yourself. The next time they shoot you down, calmly explain your rationale.

SABOTEURS undermine the efforts of other workers and rarely recognize individuals for a job well done. This supervisor takes credit for employee ideas but places blame on others when projects go awry.

The Fix: Ensure your contributions are visible to senior management especially so that your role is not overlooked.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Facebook is Great but Maybe you Shouldn't 'Friend' your Manager

You would never walk into your boss's office and show him a photo of yourself drunk at a party, or half-naked on a dance floor.Yet that's effectively what you could be doing by being Facebook friends with your boss.
A survey by Dreamfedjob found that 35 per cent of Washington DC and Northern Virginia employees say they are comfortable being friends with their boss on social networks.

However, that attitude could be naive. While social media has helped foster a more interactive and sociable working environment, it is completely blurring the boundary between people's personal and professional lives.  Our advice to you is that before you `friend' your boss, colleague and client, you need to think about the long-term implications it could have on your professional life and career development.

The survey of 125 Information Technology and medical professionals and hiring managers also found that 27 per cent of Washington DC and Northern Virginia  employers admit to checking potential candidate's Facebook profiles before offering them the job.

Given this reality, candidates need to be aware of their social-media footprint when applying for jobs.
As a general rule of thumb, if there is anything online that you don't want your colleagues or boss to see, you should remove it.

 Dreamfedjob has the following tips to help workers and jobseekers manage their Facebook presence:

1. You're tagged in an embarrassing photo
Untag yourself and change your privacy settings so photos can be seen by only your close friends.

2. You're ``friended'' by the wrong people
It might be best to accept friend requests from colleagues to avoid offending them, but add them to a work list and adjust your privacy settings so you can effectively separate your professional life from your personal life.

3. You're considering ``friending'' your boss
It may seem like a natural extension of amiable office small talk, but think twice before ``friending'' your boss. It could become awkward for both of you.

4. You want to join various groups
Join groups that interest you, but if you don't want your colleagues to see the groups you join, remember to adjust your privacy settings.

5. You would like to be a fan of certain pages
Becoming a fan of pages on Facebook is visible to anyone who can view your profile, so avoid becoming a fan of any page you are uncomfortable sharing with your network.

6. You love games
Stop and think before playing social-network games and posting the results to your Facebook page. Do you want professional contacts to know about your Candy Crush Saga latest score?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

With Graduation Months Away Here are Some Tips on Creating the perfect Graduate resume

Think of your resume as a one or two page ad. The purpose is to sell you, the product, to potential employers. Continuing the analogy, if the flyer is attractive and interesting enough, it will pull in leads; for you, that means interview calls.
Like any academic paper you’ve ever submitted, you need to follow some layout, structure and content rules to ace the resume writing assignment.

Some common resume mistakes you should avoid:
  • Don’t start your resume by writing “RESUME” at the top of the page.
  • Don’t use ‘I’ or ‘me’ in your resume.
  • Don’t exceed two pages.
  • Don’t use full sentences; use bullets instead.
  • Don’t use more than one font.
  • Don’t use any fancy fonts.
  • Don’t use more than one bullet style.

Your resume should contain certain basic sections.
Contact Details - Center your full name on top of the page. It’s okay to fully capitalize your name. You should provide a phone number and email address. Keep the email address professional. A variation of is a good idea. Providing your physical address is optional, but makes a good impression.

A Targeted Position Section - It’s a good idea to let the person scanning your resume know right away what kind of job you’re looking for. If you’re seeking an entry-level position in the Accounts department of a mid-sized organization, say so.

A Key Strengths Section - A list of 3-5 bulleted points outlining your skills and achievements would help in making your resume stand out. As a recent graduate, employers won’t expect a lot of practical experience from you, but you can let them know that you are skilled and professional. Some transferable skills that most employers look for include teamwork, leadership, communication, and computer. Spin your experience to demonstrate these skills.

An Education Section - Start with your highest qualifications first. Include the dates, name of university/s, degree title e.g. BA (Hons) English, and the grade you are expecting or have achieved, if it’s high.

You can include any subjects you studied that are relevant to the job application in addition to your thesis/dissertation research or project work. Mention time spent abroad or work placements attended as part of your course.

For school education, include dates, name of school and/or college.

An Experience Section - Here you can include your relevant experience from areas including:
  • Internships
  • Research papers/projects
  • Volunteer positions
  • Summer jobs
  • Self-employment
  • Leadership positions in sports or extracurricular activities
  • Campus activity positions
  • Fraternity/sorority/social club positions

Focus on accomplishments, not responsibilities. Use action verbs that portray energy and forward movement. Back up your claims. If you’re an “excellent team player” demonstrate how you assisted your team in accomplishing a tough job. An employer wants to know what you’ve achieved over and above what’s expected of you.

References - It’s common to close your resume with a variation of “References available on request.” Don’t write the names and contact details of your references on your resume. You’ll be sending your resume out into the world. It might be counterproductive to expose your references to contact from just anybody, especially if they are busy or highly-placed people. Keep this information for the later stages of your job search.

Proofread - Once you’re through with your resume, proofread. Using the spellchecking function in your word processor is a good first step. Then read it through yourself, and get a couple of friends to go over it. Zero errors help in making a good first impression, and your resume is the first impression your employer is going to get.

Go get'em!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Before Forwarding your Resume, Think About Who or What Will Be Reading It.

Strange question you may say, but one of the many challenges of writing a resume is that you don’t know how many people will read it and what their role is in the selection process.

A resume is a static document that is often seen by a number of people.

If your resume is to stand out in a market increasingly overcrowded with job seekers, don’t just focus on the requirements of the role. Think about who is actually reading your resume.

Resumes for Recruitment consultants

For recruitment consultants a brief resume is better. Right now many recruiters are struggling to survive. Their clients are listing fewer jobs and consultants will often compete against each other in a race to fill those jobs.

Few people realize this but, consultants do not always read all the resumes that hit their desks. They may just look at the best five near the top of their pile then quickly invite a lucky few into interview.
If you’re applying for a job through a recruitment consultant your resume must make it very obvious on the front page what you have to offer.

If you respond to a consultant’s online advertisement, never just hit “apply now” then wait. Always call before you send your resume to find out more about the role and to tell the consultant when to expect your application. Refine your resume based on that chat. Call after you send your resume to make sure the consultant reads it. You can then cover off any concerns/questions he or she may have.
Once the consultant invites you in for interview you can then question them about the role to craft a resume more targeted to the job role. Questions should focus on the challenges involved in the role as well as what is involved in the hiring/screening process.

Try to find out what the next stage looks like, who will be interviewing you, what their concerns will be and how time poor they are. You can then work up a resume to take into the next interview with the “client” – that is, the employer. You can refer to this resume in interview and leave it with the employer at the end.

There are good reasons to refine your resume after a consultant interviews you. The biggest one is that all companies or government agencies for that matter, want you to have done your homework. But often the only time you’ll find out the name of the consultant’s client (the employer) is after you’ve sat in front of the consultant. Only then can you go away and look all over the potential employer’s company website and read anything online to relate your skills to the challenges ahead.
Another reason to do this is that a consultant may re-type your resume. Often this is a task left to an administration person. It will generally be based on a standard template and the quality of that new resume can vary from good to bad.

Resumes for employers - HR managers, team leaders, managers

If your resume is going directly to a large company or government agency, they will have internal recruiters or HR staff reading it. As a general rule, you’ll need to spell out your achievements clearly to make it easy for this group to on-sell you to their internal “client” – the person you would be working for.

If your resume is going directly to a manager or team leader they will be interested in both your achievements and some specifics on how you achieved what you’ve claimed.

“Achievements” are the things you did in a past job that you were not paid to do. Use bullets to list items such as staff awards, special commendations, suggestions you put forward, scoped out or helped to implement that led to cost savings or an increase in revenue, access to new clients, higher levels of customer service, time efficiencies and so on.

Please note that meeting a target is not an achievement - it's doing what you are paid to do. Exceeding a monthly target is an achievement. Achievements show potential hirers what you are made of - and what they can expect you will do for them.

Resumes for Networking

You’ll need a completely different approach to resume writing when you are using your networks to find a role.

For example, when you are canvassing people for opportunities, sending out a fully fleshed out resume may see your opportunities limited to what you have down on that piece of paper.
Instead take a blank page when you have your first meeting with someone to research a company or an industry. Fill that with answers to the questions you may have. If this meeting goes well, you may be asked to provide your resume. Then you can go away and put something together based on your research.

Resumes for government

However, there are times where your resume isn’t so closely scrutinized. Government interviews are one example.

Government jobs require candidates to answer “selection criteria”. While in the private sector the resume is commonly used to cull and shortlist candidates for jobs, in the public sector, the most important thing is how well a candidate addresses the selection criteria.

If your written responses don’t address the requirements of the selection criteria you may not get an interview even if you have the most dazzling resume.  While you may be stressing about your resume, the recruiting panel will be stressing about reading the volumes of the “claims to the position” they’ve received, which is what they call the responses to the selection criteria.

The panel will generally only read your resume for context if they need to find out where you gained your skills if you haven’t spelt this out clearly enough in your responses to the selection criteria formelly called “KSAs”.

Last word on resumes
A final thing to consider when you’re thinking about who’s reading your resume is that no matter who that audience is, perfect spelling and grammar is a must. 

Assume every person reading your resume is busy with many tasks on their plate and so will appreciate an easy to read and engaging format.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year, New Resume

Did you know that during an initial job search, more job opportunities are lost because of a poor resume than any other single factor? Is your resume up to part? Find out below.

Does your resume get past the gatekeeper?

The majority of companies and federal agencies use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes, as they are looking for specific words and phrases that the company has identified as key to the position. If those key words are in your resume, you'll get passed along to the next step - hopefully a real person. If those words are not in your resume, sometimes that can be it.

You can get these keywords by using the job description as your guide and reviewing want ads and federal job announcements for comparable positions to see if they contain terms that you haven't included in your resume.

Therefore, in order to penetrate the job market, or landing an job with the government if that is what you are after, your resume needs to be targeted and tailored to a specific role, while clearly highlighting your strengths and qualifications. Targeting the resume will increase the ranking that you receive against other candidates. The higher the ranking, the higher the chance of interview.

Does your resume pass the 10 second test?

With the number of job applicants today, recruiters and hiring managers are more time poor than ever before. Do you know how long they initially spend on your resume? About 10 seconds! Within those first 10 seconds they will know if your resume is worth their time. So, how do you entice them to keep reading? You need to sell yourself.

Today's job market is complicated and there's definitely a need to have a resume which communicates your true value. You need to highlight the areas of your experience and explain what is the value added proposition you have to offer - employers really want to know what value you can bring to their team. So give clear performance indications as to how your actions drove business / project(s) forward. This all needs to be delivered in a clear and concise way though.

Also, key information should to be showcased on the first page of your resume, preferably in the top 1/3 of your resume if you can. It is essential you use keywords specific to your professional goals and aspirations. Keywords are critical for communicating you have the 'right stuff' for the job.

Does your resume format and content position you as the best candidate?

A clean, easy-to-read layout with plenty of white space and logical organisation appeals to busy recruiters/potential employers who need to grasp the essential information and rapidly make a 'yes', 'no' or 'maybe' decision about the candidate.

If your resume is plain, a few formatting changes such as design elements, design headings, a bigger and better font style and better layout of information would improve it slightly.

You could try adding bold, italics and other type enhancements to draw visual attention to notable information. But be careful. Overuse of type enhancements will instantly devalue the visual presentation and cloud a prospective employer's initial reaction.

Also, to keep the reader's attention, it requires some impact information to sell YOUR value which can be done through design elements. For example, if you're in sales, a great way to demonstrate your expertise in this area is by incorporating graphs into your resume. This approach can yield more impact than reading text copy alone, with the result being more interviews.

Will your resume secure you the job?

Getting the job will ultimately be up to you and how you perform in the interview. The objective of your resume is to secure an interview – after that, it's up to you, so make sure you are prepared.

And lastly, every resume you submit should be specifically targeted to the position you are applying to. By developing a resume for multiple roles, you run the risk of having a resume which is too broad, resulting in recruiters overlooking you as they are unsure of where to place you.

The competition is fierce and in order to penetrate the market, your resume needs to be targeted and tailored to a specific role. Unfortunately there is no getting around this, as this is what your competition will be doing and a recruiter/potential employer will choose the candidates that meet the roles specific requirements.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014! Are you Ready for a Career Change?

The decision to change jobs or careers can be motivated by many factors, including the start of a new year! Perhaps you have decided it’s time to pursue your passion, or you have been offered a dream role. More often than not, the drive to change is prompted by dissatisfaction with one or more elements of an existing job. We, at the would like you to consider the steps below to move your career in the right direction.

Determine Your Reasons

To ensure you are changing jobs or careers for the right reasons, it is essential to reflect on your motivations. It may be time to take that next step if you:
  • Are bored, disengaged and unchallenged?
  • Are not making use of your talents?
  • Have limited opportunities for growth or variety?
  • Are under extreme pressure and feel trapped?
  • Have no job security or sense of fulfilment?
  • Feel consistently stressed, isolated or unsupported?
  • Are unsatisfied with your salary and cannot negotiate an improvement?
  • Have a workload that deprives you of a ‘life’ outside work?
Explore Your Options

Once you understand what is driving your decision, you might find that your issues can be resolved without moving. Perhaps you could ask your manager for more (or less) responsibility, request an internal transfer to learn new skills, or simply take a holiday to get the break you need. If you cannot improve your situation within the company or agency, you should consider:
  • A new position in the same agency or company
  • The same position in a new agency or company
  • A new position in a new agency or company
Plan Your Move

Planning your move increases the likelihood of a smooth transition. Moving to a position that is more suited to your talents and interests can be fulfilling, however you must also consider the costs. Will the change involve taking a pay cut? Being out of work for a period of time? Accepting a lesser role to begin with?

Scan job announcements and talk to people in the industry to find out what opportunities are out there and whether your skills can transfer easily. If you have prepared for the change, start the new year in the right direction by making sure that you made the decision for the right reasons and the benefits clearly outweigh the costs, then it is time to make your next move with confidence. Good luck!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Basic Interview Questions you Should Know how to Answer

As the new year begins, there are 1000s of candidates looking for jobs right now and employers know that they don't have to compromise. They will persevere until the right candidate comes along who ticks all the boxes.
If you get called up for an interview, make sure you have the answers to tick all the boxes. Interview questions have become complex and are tougher than ever before. So avoid stumbling and stuttering your way through your answer when the interviewer asks you a question and respond with a confident answer.
How to prepare for tough interview questions
  1. Tell me about yourself

    This is your elevator pitch, your opportunity to succinctly reference your academic qualifications and how you gained your skills/experience related to the role you are applying for.

  2. What do you know about this company?

    Make sure you've done your research and looked at their website and/or asked people who work there about the company, what it stands for, the culture and why they like working there

  3. Tell me about any recent developments that have occurred in the marketplace that may affect our business

    Look at industry news / trends to understand the industry landscape

  4. How would you add value to our company?

    Think about the role you are applying for and match your skills, experience and qualifications to show you have what they want. Go the extra mile and add how you were proactive at Uni or at your previous jobs in organising or leading initiatives to bring people together for charity or other activities

  5. Give me an example of when you had to solve a problem at work, how did you do it and what was the outcome?

    You'll have lots of these. Think of relevant problems that relate to the position you are applying for so you can show how you've overcome or handled the situation.

  6. What is your biggest achievement in life?

    I'm sure you've had many of these too. Pick out sporting, academic, voluntary, charitable or travel related example.

  7. Tell me 3 main weaknesses you have

    Everyone hates this question and it could be asked in a different way to elicit your weaknesses. Always turn your weakness into a positive. For example: Public speaking is a weakness, however I have joined Toast Masters, a Debating team or speak at a Networking group which has improved my confidence.

  8. Why should we hire you?

    Avoid the obvious answer - because I'm the best person for the job. Reiterate the skills, experience and/or academic qualifications you have and how you will add value to the company. Include your interest in the industry and based on your research you share the same work ethic and believe in the product/service.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In this Job Market your Age is your biggest Asset

Are you frustrated by missing out on interviews and jobs? Is your age a concern for you? Do you fear getting a “no” and being rejected before or after an interview? Would you like to know how to secure the job that you want?

It’s Time to Start Using Your Age to Your Advantage

We are fortunate to live in a diverse society with people from different cultural, religious and economic backgrounds. Unfortunately, sometimes with this diversity comes personal prejudice.

Conscious or unconscious, we are always going to be faced with the challenge of personal bias. However, this is not to say our ‘differences’ can’t be used to our advantage.

While age discrimination does exist, we cannot help but sometimes feel mature jobseekers are their own worst enemy.

Looking specifically at the job market, too often mature jobseekers lament that their age is preventing them from getting a job. But perhaps maybe, it is their own personal bias working against them? Instead, a proactive and positive approach needs to be taken whereby the jobseeker can prove to the respective employer, that their age is an asset rather than a liability.

Here are a couple of tips from our awesome staff on how you can use your age to your advantage:

Does your resume make you look older than what you are?

Your resume is often the first impression you impose on your prospective employer, so it is imperative you get the message right here. Don’t feed any bias by listing 20+ years experience you may have in something that is completely irrelevant to the role you are applying for. Remember, the person who is reading your resume wants to know how you can fit in and contribute to the organisation – not how you have contributed in the past. Focus on highlighting achievements in various roles rather than responsibilities.

One of the biggest myths about mature jobseekers is that they are reluctant to change. Therefore you need to be able to demonstrate that throughout your career you have adapted and embraced new ways of doing things.

Stop apologizing – start selling

This is something we all need to be conscious of but even more so, those who may be suffering low self esteem. It appears when we doubt ourselves our natural defence mechanism is to apologize for it. In the case of a mature age jobseeker this happens more often than not.

Identify the aspects of your past that worry you, then, spend some time thinking about the positive attributes you gained from each of those experiences. For example, you may have worked in the same industry for over 20 years or been with the same agency just as long. But during that time you learnt to adapt and evolve with the company or agency. You may have also contributed to shaping the organization's culture by taking on informal mentoring roles with your younger peers.

Don’t simply fall into the trap of seeing exactly what the recruiter sees on the page. Acknowledge what you may think would be unappealing and have a positive spin ready for it.

The key to successfully securing a job at any age lies in your ability to effectively market yourself as we reiterate below.

An Attitude of Success

More and more employers are hiring on the right attitude. Often when two candidates have the same technical skills and experience, the one with the right attitude will stand out and succeed at interviews. Creating an attitude of success begins with your thinking. Fear of rejection or fear of getting a “no” is the major reason preventing people from doing well before and after interviews. If you have a fear of rejection, you may find yourself doing or saying things in an interview which has the other person respond with a “no,” and so they reject you anyway. Once you resolve these fears and limiting beliefs, your confidence will grow and you will more easily secure the job you want.

Watch your self talk

If the chatter in your brain is constantly negative, after a while you will start to believe it which will impact on your behaviour, and prevent you from securing a job. Think about your self talk. What are you saying to yourself as you talk with potential employers? Are you thinking that they are not interested in your skills or that age is an issue? Are you questioning the value you offer? Or are you worried about being too pushy, therefore procrastinate about taking action? Instead, start to fill your mind with positive thoughts using this simple technique:
1. With your eyes closed, think about your next eg. interview – where, when and with whom it will be.
2. Be clear about your outcome for that interview. What would you like to achieve at that interview?
For example, if it is a first interview, your outcome may be to secure the second interview or to be short listed.
3. Imagine a movie screen in front of you and see yourself in the movie like an actor/actress at that interview with the other person at the location of your interview.
4. As you watch the movie, see that interview turn out exactly as you would like it to be, hear the conversations you would like to hear and feel exactly how you would like to feel.
5. Notice how you now feel better about that interview when you focus on what you want, and how you now look forward to it. Open your eyes feeling good about your interview.
Highly successful people and athletes use this technique to visualise a successful event or game. Research shows those athletes who visualise rehearsing and having a successful game do as well on game day as do athletes who have physically rehearsed and practiced prior to the game! If you would like your next interview to be a winning one, do what successful people do – mentally rehearse success to attract success.


An employer is always going to hire someone based on the organization’s needs, not yours. They want to know how your skills and experience can be used to solve their problem. Regardless of your age, if you bring the expertise required to the table plus an attitude of success you will always present as a potential candidate.