What are the Top Careers for the Next Decade?

Want to stay ahead of the career curve?  Or do you have a high school or college student who is contemplating career choices?  Here are 13 Careers for the Next Decade from Kiplingers:

Federal-government manager: Especially in homeland security, energy and the environment, health care, veterans affairs and defense.  Common job titles:  program analyst, program manager and director.

Higher-education administrator: Even in tough times, many people continue to pursue higher education.  So manager types may find the job market better in higher education than in corporate America.

Program evaluator: Is Head Start really worth the taxpayer dollars?  Is it wise to train lab technicians online?  Program evaluators address such questions.

Corporate executive specializing in global business development or managing global workforces: Speaking Mandarin, Hindi, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic or Farsi is a plus.

Cognitive-behavioral therapist: Federal law requires that mental health now be covered as fully as physical health, but many insurers will cover only cognitive-behavioral therapy because it’s both shorter and, on average, more efficacious than traditional psychotherapy.

Immigration expert: President Obama has promised amnesty or “a path to citizenship” for the U.S.’s illegal immigrants.  Experts will be needed to figure out how to integrate millions of people who are typically poor, speak little English and have high health-care needs.

Researcher: Expertise in two or more of these subjects: physics, math, molecular biology, engineering and computer science are in high demand. Key specializations and examples of work in each area.

Health-information specialist: Health-care providers are switching to electronic medical records, using computerized expert systems to guide diagnoses and treatment recommendations, and collecting more data to evaluate quality of care.

Optometrist: This career offers a high patient success rate, good income, status and shorter-than-MD training: four years post-bachelors or seven years in a BS/OD program.

Genetic counselor: With personal DNA sequencing ever more informative and affordable, people face many more gene-related decisions which could also be moral decisions. Genetic counselors help people decide what to do.

Patient advocate: Help ensure the patient gets to see the right specialist, do research so the patient is better informed when talking to the doctor, educate family members on how to support the patient during a hospital stay, sort through the mountains of bills and, if necessary, negotiate fees.

Physical therapist: This career scores high on job-satisfaction surveys, thanks to one-on-one interaction that lasts longer than physicians’ average of 12 minutes per patient, tangible patient progress and reasonable work hours. Plus, as aging boomers sustain more weekend-warrior injuries and worse, the job market could strengthen, although cost-control pressures are resulting in increased use of physical-therapy assistants, who have less training.

Veterinarian: This career offers advantages over an MD career: shorter training, qualification to do a wider range of procedures, less paperwork and freedom from the uncertainties of health-care reform. Of course, your patients can’t describe what’s wrong with them.

I noticed that many of these jobs relate to some of America’s greatest challenges right now, which are likely to continue to grow, including:  security and defense, education, immigration, and health care.

Do any of these surprise or interest you?  Please share your comments below.

How to Use Social Networking to Advance Your Career or Business

Chris Brogan (www.chrisbrogan.com) wrote an excellent e-book on how to use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn, etc. to advance your career and business.  You can get your free copy here.

Sometimes, it Pays to Work for Free

Yesterday, I shared Four Things You Can Do TODAY to Help You Find the Work You Love in a Down Economy. They are:

  1. Build Your Personal Network
  2. Volunteer for a Cause or Organization You Care About
  3. Take a Good Look at Yourself
  4. Start that Business You’ve Always Wanted

I mentioned in that post that one of the best ways to change your life, and career, is to volunteer for a cause or organization that you care about.

This is a great strategy for those who are unemployed or under-employed, because it helps you build your personal network, allows you to immediately use your skills (or learn new ones), helps you to immediately live your passions, and if you’ve been out of work for a long time, gives you a boost in your self-esteem.

And…it just MIGHT lead to a job with the organization you’re serving with.  That has happened to me on four occasions.

The first time happened when I was a university student.  It was my senior year and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do, after graduation, with my degree in political science.  One day, I read in the newspaper about an organization in our community that had world-wide influence.  It was involved in public policy, economics, and freedom from a religious perspective – all topics that interested me as a student of political science.

I contacted them to ask if they had any internship opportunities.  I came in for an interview and was “hired” to begin working or them once or twice a week.  That was in January.  By April, with graduation approaching, they offered me a full-time position.  The internship was great because it gave both them and me a no-cost, or low-cost (they didn’t pay me a salary, but they did buy my lunch!) opportunity to get to know each other.  And it gave me the opportunity to prove my worth to the organization.

Three years later, while still working for that same organization, I began volunteering once every two weeks with an organization I learned about at church.  This group was involved in crisis intervention for mentally-ill homeless people in our community – people who, through no fault of their own, had “fallen through the cracks” of our community social service system and were living in abandoned buildings, along the railroad tracks, under loading docks and bridges.  After two months of volunteering with this organization every couple of weeks, I felt it was time to make a career move in order to work with them full-time.  This was a huge commitment because I had to raise my own funds in order to work with them.

Three years later, while still working for this organization, I began helping our church develop financial management, job training, counseling, and other programs to help low-income people in the church’s rapidly changing neighborhood.  Eventually, this led to a full-time position at the church.

Seven years later, while still working for the church, I was invited to serve on the board of directors of an organization that was involved in leadership development and economic and community development in indigenous Native communities in the U.S. and Canada.  A few years later, I was hired as the group’s executive director.

Is my situation unique?  Maybe.  But it does illustrates the power of volunteering to help you find the work you love:

  1. It allows the organization to achieve its goals through your experience.
  2. It allows you to make a difference and do what you love.
  3. It opens up doors of opportunity, either directly as in my case, or indirectly by putting you in contact with people who can be on the look-out for the position that is right for you.  This is especially important even if you have no desire to work for a nonprofit organization.  If you want to work in the corporate world, chances are good that the people you need to connect with are involved as volunteers or members at your local community, civic, charitable, and arts organizations.

Has anyone else out there secured a job, either directly or indirectly, through volunteering?  Please share your experience.

How to Find the Work You Love – Even in a Down Economy

In today’s economy, most people who are employed are glad to have ANY job – even if it is one they hate or feel unfulfilled in.  Because having ANY job is better than having NO job, right?

If this describes you, do you just resolve yourself to wait until the economy gets better before making a career switch?  Or is there something you can do now – TODAY – to find the work you love?

And if you’re unemployed right now, do you just take ANY job that comes your way, or can you really find your dream job in today’s environment?

Here are Four Things You Can Do TODAY to Help You Find the Work You Love in a Down Economy – whether you’re currently working or not:

1.  Build Your Personal Network – Today, with all the social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace, it is easier than ever to build your personal network.  That old roommate from college, whom you haven’t talked to in 15 years, just may know someone who has open positions that you’re looking for.

I’m not sure if it is still true today, but a few years ago, I read that only 12% of the jobs that are available are advertised.  The rest are promoted, and found, by word-of-mouth.  I know that’s been true in my own life.  Several of my previous jobs were not advertised.  In fact, some were created just for me.  I’ll tell you more about that another time.

So take the time to connect with old friends and acquaintances.  Let people know what kind of job you’re looking for.  Chances are, someone you know knows someone who is looking for you!  In fact, I just called a friend a few days ago to ask if they knew of anyone who could do some work for me.  They immediately had a person in mind, and I connected with them right away.

2.  Volunteer for a Cause or Organization You Care About – If you’re unemployed, or under-employed, a great way to build your network, use your skills (or learn new ones), live your passions, and find your dream job, is to volunteer for an organization or cause that you care about.

It could be your place of worship, a community or civic group, or another non-profit or non-governmental organization.  There’s always a chance that you might be hired by the organization you’re volunteering for.  That has happened to me on four occasions!

But even if that doesn’t happen for you, you’re now in a place where you’re doing what you love for a cause you care about.  You feel good about yourself and have a renewed sense of energy, making it easier for you to do the job that pays the bills, but you’re not so excited about.  And you’re meeting interesting people and building your network of connections.

3.  Take a Good Look at Yourself – Now is a great time for a little self-assessment.  What are your unique skills and abilities?  What are your personality traits?  What are your values, dreams, and passions?

Taking the time to know who you are and what you want out of life will help you in every aspect of your life – not just your career search.  Don’t make the mistake of just settling for the job you went to school for (if you don’t like it anymore), or the one you thought would pay the most money.  There is no lasting fulfillment in that.

Check out my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design for strategies to help you assess your current reality, identify your skills, abilities, and personality traits, and clarify your values, dreams and passions.

4.  Start that Business You’ve Always Wanted – If you’ve aspired to start your own business someday, either full or part-time, that someday is TODAY!  It has never been easier to start something small and grow it big…whether it be retail sales, consulting, Internet sales, services like cleaning or cooking, etc.  Lots of websites offer help in how to do this.  Even the government does, through the Small Business Administration.

Which one of these tips, to help you find the work you love, have you tried?  Or which one sounds like something you want to do? Why or why not?

You might also like:

3 Ways to Keep Your Resume Off the Pile of Death

The last few posts here at Life Compass have been career-related, and the next few will continue on that theme. This might seem curious for some readers who are used to other “lifestyle design” sites that mostly talk about how to be independently wealthy, live like a rockstar and travel the world.

Don’t worry – if that’s your dream, we’ll cover topics that’ll help you get there…like how to start your own business full or part-time, and how to take bold action to achieve your dreams.

But for many, their dream life isn’t about self-employment necessarily, but about doing the work they love and creating more balance, freedom, and fulfillment in their life and work.  For many, their lifestyle design plan may include switching jobs or careers.  So that is a topic that we’ll definitely talk about here, too.

A friend mine at FreeMoneyFinance recently shared some tips on the best techniques for writing a resume.  His post, and the comments that followed, got me thinking about a bigger question related to resumes:

How to get your resume noticed, and how to keep it from ending up on the “resume pile of death” with the other 500 resumes the company has just received.

One thing that will set you apart from the others is creativity in how you deliver or package your resume.

Here are three creative tips to get your resume opened first:

  1. Send it via Priority Mail or FedEx. Sure it’ll cost you more, but your resume will get attention immediately.
  2. Send it in a unique package – one that fits the industry or company, somehow relates to a benefit you’ll bring to the company, or creatively expresses the reasons why you want to work for them.  This won’t apply to everyone, but if it does for you, use it.  For example, if you’re applying to a food service company, send your resume in one of their food containers (clean, preferably!), and put a “new and improved” banner across the top.
  3. Send it in an oversized package, or put something “lumpy” in the package. Lumpy mail creates intrigue.  (And sadly, in today’s environment, it can also create fear – so I’d stay away from using any white, powdery substances!)  You might include a few mints and a note that says, “I know some job candidates can leave a bad taste in your mouth during the hiring process, but I won’t.  Here’s why….”  Then list three bullet points on why they’ll want to talk to you.

It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway…you can get as creative as you want in getting your resume at the top of the heap – and these techniques will certainly help…but once that door is open, you’ve got to be prepared for a great interview by phone or in person.  If you missed yesterday’s post on How to Get a Competitive Edge at Your Next Job Interview, click here.

Do you have any other ideas on how to get your resume opened first?  Please share your comments.

Need a Competitive Edge at Your Next Job Interview?

Job Interview PicWith unemployment rising all across America, it seems like there are literally 500 job applicants for every half-way decent job that’s available.

If you’re currently going through the job search process…or you think you might be next…you MUST learn how to gain a competitive edge over your competition.

Hall of Fame Speaker Patricia Fripp recently interviewed Al Hops, creator of The Interview Edge, who shared his tips on how to excel and be successful at a job interview.

They recorded the interview and are offering two free 20-minute audio lessons. Now you can learn how to utilize Al Hops’ Acing an Interview formula of “Perception, Observation, and Preparation” to get an EDGE!

Click here to download the free audio lessons from Patricia Fripp’s site.