I work with many young clients who are very uncertain about what vocational and educational path to follow. Providing individuals with valid and reliable career inventories is an excellent way for young people to determine their vocational and therefore educational focus. These instruments are normed for individuals 14 years of age and older. While I wholeheartedly believe that individuals who are 17 years of age and older should consider taking these assessments, I believe they are not indicated for individuals between the ages of 14 and17. Rather than take a formal assessment, these younger individuals need to find out as much as possible about the world of work . This specifically means that they need exposure to as many types of industries and careers as possible. It’s impossible to have an interest in something that you have no knowledge of. I suggest then that young people consider the following to develop their career interests: job shadow, engage in informational interviews, read books about specific careers, view documentaries, and talk to friends and family members about what they do for a living. Vocational interests from a psychological perspective solidify by the age of 24, yet some people at this age still have very underdeveloped interests which is a result of a lack of exposure to different jobs and industries. This is why exposure to different careers is so important. If you know young people looking to determine their vocational path, please have them look at the following website:
Of course anyone over the age of 17 is welcome to contact me for a professional assessment.
In job seeking many people make the mistake of approaching their resume and cover letter with what they (the job hunter) are seeking from an employer, rather than communicating how they can be an asset to the employers organization. As mentioned in a previous post, listing an objective in a resume is not relevant to conveying how you can assist your potential employer and also limits the opportunities for which you might be considered. Furthermore, in cover letters, I often see statements such as, “I am seeking this opportunity to further my career,” or “I’ve always wanted to work for a company like yours.” Other poor statements include, “I am looking to break into the entertainment business and see this job as a great opportunity,” or “I’m looking to change careers.”” Gently said, the employer is not interested in knowing how they can help you further your career. Rather, they are interested in knowing how you can fulfill their employment needs. Your cover letter and resume then needs to link your experience to specific job duties that are listed in the job announcement for which you are applying. Each cover letter and resume is different and specific to a particular job posting. If you are not receiving positive responses to your job applications, please consider changing your resume and cover letter approach to reflect how you can meet the needs of your potential employer.
A common mistake that I find when reviewing a clients’ resume is the inclusion of a general objective statement. An objective statement weakens a resume for two reasons. One, it limits the scope of work the applicant can obtain. Let’s take an overly simplified example to illustrate the limitations of an objective. Objective: “I am looking to find an entry level position in administration to build the foundation of my career in business.” This limits the scope of work the employer may consider hiring the applicant to perform. Perhaps the organization has a opening for an entry level events planner as well. By stating a desire to work as an entry level administrator the applicate has precluded the possibility of being interviewed for the event planner position. Secondarily, an objective statement often conveys what the client wants from the employer, rather than stating what the applicant can do for the employer. Gently stated the employer is not very concerned about how they can help you further your career, rather they are interested in what you can do for their organization. Job seekers need to change their paradigm of thinking and create a resume that reflects how they can serve the employer rather than how the employer can further their career.
Many clients forward me their resume in frustration that they are unable to procure an interview, much less a job offer. One of the reasons for this is an improperly written resume. A huge mistake that I find in most resumes is a summary of qualifications. A summary of qualifications weakens a resume as often this list is the opinion of the job seeker. For example, a summary statement may be: Hard working, dedicated professional. While this might be true, their is no evidence to back up the statement. Rather than offer this opinion, I suggest clients’ tie summary statements to a specific job and list an outcome if possible. Using this example, a bullet point pursuant to professionalism and dedication may look like this: Sold dental equipment exceeding sales quota by 10%. Notice the statement is specific and tied to an outcome. Now it needs to be placed as a bullet point under a job that the client has held or currently holds. With this specific, outcome driven statement, the employer now has a great deal of information about what the applicant can do for them; the bullet point proves that the client is a hard working, dedicated professional rather than offering just an opinion.