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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Cognitive Careers

Historically there has always been a need for intelligent people, but the correlation between cognitive ability and compensation was never as strong as it is today. One could have been an astute lawyer, financial planner, or mathematician at the turn of the 20th century, but the economy just didn’t reward those people at the levels that can be done today. We’ve created a much more complex economy requiring well-informed, inventive, and knowledgeable people who can navigate and derive value from what is for many of us a puzzling network of esoteric information in so many areas. The employment appeal for smart people is high and growing.

For years we have heard about high unemployment rates and at the same time we’ve heard there is not enough talent to hire for hard to fill positions. The jobs that are vacant seek individuals with know-how in management, engineering, data analysis, and many other areas where information processing, creativity, and workforce resourcefulness is called for. Professionalism is deepening across fields that include medicine / healthcare, the law, higher education, the sciences, the military, advanced manufacturing, and finance. Routine and relatively low-skilled operations will not bring competitive advantages to these career categories. Only accelerated thinking will.

As a result we are seeing the growth of an educated class. According to the U.S. Census Bureau only 4.6% of the U.S. population had attained bachelor degrees or higher in 1940. Today it is 32%. As this educated class continues to earn at relatively robust rates it appears to create an impression of inequality and disenfranchisement, such as we see being exploited in our current presidential election. However meeting the cognitive demands of a more intricate and perplexing economy requires educated people. Blaming the successful is not enough to improve the lot of us all. Directing one’s individual energies to where the expertise is most needed will.

The number of us prepared to meet the demands of the globalized cognitive economy is not enough if we are to continue being among the world’s leaders in innovation, business, and social transformation. Without relatively easy access to higher education for those with the potential to take the most advantage of this opportunity we all lose. Let’s agree that lifelong learning is essential for each and every one of us and entry into a college experience that challenges and pushes us to maximize our cerebral capacity benefits us personally and collectively.

However the expense of college is too high and makes going prohibitive for too many Americans. The cost of college has risen too much and too fast. To put this cost hike into perspective the New York Times Economix blog shows that since 1985 the cost of general consumer items has jumped 200+%, gasoline prices have risen approximately 300%, and medical care 350%. But college tuition and fees-575%! Are you kidding me? How is this in our best interests? This destructive level of inflation needs to be controlled. Our long term economic development relies on it.

Start Job Search

Get Focused on What You Want

It’s all about your target. What are you going after? Without this, watch out for endless job board roaming (yikes). When you actually do find what you want, you risk confusing the hiring manager with your lack of focus. They’ll want to know you are in it to win it ONLY with them. Spend some time getting focused on your target.

Get Clear on Who You Are

It’s all about your professional brand. Those in a position to hire must perceive you as the best person for their job – simple as that. One way to know if it’s a branding issue is if you’re not hearing back from the online application process OR your network. It’s very likely that they just don’t know how to help you because you are not aligning your fit to your target.

Identify the Best Tools to Support Your Job Search

There are more tools than ever available to job seekers depending on the bite-sized part of the search they are focusing on. If it’s the online job search and finding jobs, try job boards.

One of the most powerful professional branding tools ever is LinkedIn since most hiring managers will likely stumble upon your profile before they ask for your resume. As a rule of thumb, you should be appearing in hiring manager searches and receiving connection requests from your target industry. If you aren’t, you’ll want to consider spending more time on profile optimization. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the other features/benefits available via LinkedIn.

Another tool I’m loving is Jobscan. This tool is designed to scan your resume for keywords so you know how to optimize your resume for ATS systems (in case you find yourself being lost in the job board black hole). If you’re not sure about your resume keywords, I STRONGLY recommend you give Jobscan a try!

Contact Your Network

While the idea of networking may terrify you immensely, it still remains that your best chance of landing a job quick is through the people you know. This should be your entry point with every application if possible. Start by making a list of everyone you know and reach out accordingly based on the nature of the relationship. You don’t want to email blast your network but rather address each contact strategically. If you need more networking tips to feel comfortable, at least start by jotting down the names of your offline and online (LinkedIn) contacts. This is a great first step in seeing the possibilities that exist even before you head to the job boards.

International School Employment

1. Evaluate how necessary it is to take up an international teaching job

Jobs for teaching English abroad are the most common, but you can also find other openings. To start the process, it is important that you take the time to think why you want that international school job. What makes it better than a local teaching job? Are you ready for the move and what effects might that have on your life? Traveling to take up a teaching position abroad is more suitable for single teachers compared to married ones who might end up leaving their families behind for extended periods of time. Before even starting your search for a job abroad, ensure that you are up for the challenge.

2. Find out how legit the job and the school is

The last thing you want is to travel only to find that the school is not what you expected. Find out as much as you can about the school and also the job in question before applying. The internet is a good place to look it up and from the reviews on directories and other sources you will be in a position to know how genuine the offer is and how competitive or good the school you are about to join us. Think also along school curriculum and how qualified you are or how possible it will be for you to teach probably in different curricula from what you are used to.

3. Evaluate the salary package

Most teachers choose to teach abroad because of the benefits they get in terms of the salary package. But even when looking at the salary offered for the position, it is very important that you consider the cost of living in the country or region you will be teaching in as well as the local taxes that directly affect your salary. Salary ranges for teachers vary from place to place and it is also important to remember that whereas some offer housing or utilities as part of the salary package, some may not offer such. Think about airfare, medical insurance, tuition for children you are tagging along, transport allowance and professional development training benefits. Make sure that the salary you are bound to get is indeed reasonable enough for the international move you make.

Find a Job Fast

The way to get out of a job search and into a great job fast is to hit it hard and be aggressive. You’ve got to talk to people, be your own best advocate, and learn to sell yourself for the job. You’ve got to learn to think of yourself as a product that someone, somewhere really needs. If there ever was a time to step out of your comfort zone, this is it.

What are some of the fastest ways to find a job? Without a doubt, the best, most direct way is contacting the hiring manager directly. The secret is contacting them whether or not you see that they have a job posted. This can be scary for some, but it is truly the most effective way to get an interview. It uncovers hidden jobs (estimated at approximately 70% of all open jobs at any given moment) and gets the attention of the person who can actually hire you (the hiring manager). Other good ways? Networking is one… but don’t think it’s only limited to those related to your career area. LinkedIn is another good one (but then again, that’s another version of networking).

Job boards and career fairs are what many people do, but they are less effective than you think. What you need are new ideas and fresh angles for lots of different paths to finding a job. How about: going to your previous boss, going to companies you interviewed with in the past, job shadowing, or YouTube?

You’ve got to think outside the box a bit in today’s competitive market. The more job leads you uncover, the more interviews you’ll get. You’ll boost your feelings of power and confidence, as well as your chances of getting a great job offer (or several job offers). You will have choices over what job you take, which gives you tremendous control over your own career, as well as a superior negotiating position when discussing salary, benefits, or bonuses.