Advanced Searches Can Save Your Sanity

If you have ever been laid off, you may have had well-meaning, albeit misinformed, relatives and friends tell you to shop your resume around to local offices and employment agencies. Thankfully, this time-consuming and tree-killing way to job hunt is no more. Enter the job sites and job aggregators on the internet. Job sites are exactly what they sound like – sites that list all sorts of jobs. Job aggregators are like search engines that search job sites to bring you all the jobs in which you may be interested all in one place.

As a career consultant, I have witnessed job hunters give up on the job search before they even really begin because there are so many positions out there to which to apply. While some would debate whether or not all of these jobs are real jobs, the bottom line is that the quickest way to apply for a job is online. Time is critical when you have been laid off and you need that next job.

Boolean searches are one of the best methods to cut through the plethora of job postings and to find the ones you need. Don’t let the word Boolean make you nervous. It just means using some limiters in your search to make the results manageable. Most search engines, job sites and job aggregators have an advanced search function and how to use it to help you save time. Here are a few limiters that are easy to use:

*Double Quotes: Double quotes help you find listings with an exact phrase in them. For example, if you are looking for a position as a science editor, try “science editor” in your search. Not using double quotes might bring up something like science writer or business editor instead.

*NOT – The word “not” is a very useful limiter for those of you looking in career fields that have common job postings that are not quite what you want. For example, if you are interested in working in publishing, want to explore that field and know you do not want to do sales, try publishing and not sales as a search. Another way to weed out the publishing sales jobs is to use a job aggregator like simplyhired.com with an advanced search function that lets you list words you do not want in a job posting.

*Root and Stem Words – There are many titles that consist of various forms of root words. You can capture all different forms of root words by using a single asterisk.. For example, if you are looking for all job postings that list the words editor, editorial, editing, try edit* as your search. A stem word search uses two asterisks to bring up alternate word forms. Write** might bring up written, wrote or writing in a search. Another way to run this type of search is to use a job site such as monster.com which allows you to do an advance search listing different forms of a word in the title and keyword fields.

*Compound Boolean searches – Once you are comfortable using simple Boolean searches, you can move on to using a combination of these searches to save you even more time. For example, the search “science writer” and chemistry may bring up just the chemistry abstract writer positions for which you are looking.

Advanced searches can save your sanity and time, freeing you up to prepare for those job interviews you landed by using Boolean searches. Good luck!

Career Freebies/Discounts

So I was on Facebook the other day, scrolling along and I saw this: Free Pixar Renderman Software. This is great news for the animator wanna-be’s out there. But like most things free, there is a caveat: Renderman is a rendering engine. You still need a rendering application to use it. Get the FAQs to learn more.

This got me to thinking that there must be other free/discounted resources you can use in your career or career exploration. So I got back on the Internet, and this is just a small sample of what I found. I will add more as I find them, so check back.

* Free Shipping – While technically this isn’t “free stuff,” shipping is expensive, especially when you are working in small, rural areas where you can’t get to, say, a medical uniform store to shop. A1Scrubs will give you free shipping on orders over $100. Not a nurse or med tech? Search free shipping or supplies for your career in your favorite search engine and see what pops up.

* Search Engines – Bing – Search engines have jumped on the freebies bandwagon. Bing Rewards is a bonus point program where you earn reward points for searching with Bing. You then trade in your points for stuff like Starbucks and other restaurant gift cards that you can use for business meals or just to keep you fueled throughout your busy work day. Bing rewards will also allow you to trade your points for one free year of 100GB of OneDrive storage. This can come in handy if you use several mobile devices like a laptop and tablets to stay connected to the office. This offer ends June 31st.

* Search Engines – Google – Not a fan of expensive Microsoft Office? Then try Google Docs for free. It also has free Drive storage for the documents you create. Keep an eye out for other free cloud storage. Apple will give you 5GB of iCloud storage for your documents too.

* Teaching Tools – There are a plethora of teaching tools out there for all age groups. If you are a music teacher, a student, or a musician, Chromatik gives access to free sheet music. If you are a high school or college opera student in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Merola Student ConneXion Progam will give 40 students complimentary tickets to their events, but you must apply by May 4th.

* Career Discounts – You may find discounts on resources related to your career or on every-day items like food, drink and air fare. One example: Search military discounts online and you will find thousands of them. Not in the military? Try searching under your professional associations.

* Directories – Directories are useful for finding business contacts or for researching a career; however, the print versions are often expensive and out-of-date by the time they are published. Look online. Need to contact media talent? Go on over to AIR’s Talent Directory. The site also gives info on how to contact talent not in the directory.

*Start-ups – Thinking of starting your own business? The Small Business Administration – SBA has tons of free info, including funding options and the deal on capital and angel investors here. If you need to find an investor, Chubby Brain’s Funding Recommendation Engine will hook you up with capital and angel investors, financial institutions and grant sources. You need to request an invitation code, but it is free.

* Job Training – Free job training programs do exist. For example: if you want to break into hospitality and food service, read Magdalene Chan’s blog, Job Search Central. The blog entry is from 2012, but the phone numbers should still be current.

*Libraries – Libraries often have career centers with free information and workshops. Try your alma mater’s career and academic libraries, as well as the public library. Not near a central library? Check your public library for e-membership  programs like the one at NYPL.org. It is free, and you can borrow anything in the library ebook database or in-person at the many city libraries. You must live in NY state to take advantage of this program, but other states may have a program like this as well.

*Career Help – Some career associations will provide limited free career coaching. Check with your college career center too.  State or county career programs are another option. One resource is the Science, Industry and Business Library – SIBL in NYC which provides limited pro bono/free career coaching.

Obviously, this post is not an exhaustive list of career freebies, and you have to read the fine print so you won’t be disappointed. It is meant to give you some ideas on how to find the resources you need. And, hey, searching is free, right?

 

 

 

Fashion is the Career Passion

What is it about fashion that excites and engages us? People have such visceral responses to fashion trends, either loving or hating them. We also cling stubbornly to our favorite outfits or wardrobe pieces long after their trends have faded and they have started falling apart. Just ask someone who has tried to “borrow” a sibling’s favorite piece of clothing. They know the passion that these articles inspire.

That passion carries over into fashion careers as well. There is something about these careers akin to those in music and art that allow people in the industry to immerse their personalities into their day-to-day jobs, to tap into who these people really are. And a fun part of these careers is literally being able to wear your personality on your sleeve. Just looking at what designers wear whether they are on the street or at an awards show is a visual feast.

The beauty of fashion careers is that it does not take just one type of person to bring trends to the public. Introverts and extroverts need to apply. Numbers people, artists, supply chain managers, writers, marketers, retailers, distributors, graphics designers, web designers, colorists, tailors, shoe makers, textile crafters, CAD-types and automotive designers all are welcome and needed in the fashion industry. Automotive designers? Really? Yup. It is a little-known fact that the CAD or computer-assisted design software that automotive designers use is also used, with some modifications, to design footwear. You will see shoe design and automotive design influencing each other in the “bumped out” front ends of SUVs and the sleek, stream-lined silhouettes of running shoes.

Think that the fashion industry is too shallow or narcissistic for you do-gooder, public service types out there? Well, not true. Beyond all the industry charity galas, fashion needs you too. Fashion designers and manufacturers have solved some of the most stubborn medical problems, including footwear to prevent diabetic ulcers and clothing with special pockets to hold and protect insulin pumps. Fashion does contribute to the greater good. Just ask the Bolivian women who have found a way to knit heart parts for children with defective hearts.

And fashion influences can be seen in myriad other careers as well. Check out Fashion and Architecture Meet in a Night at the Opera to continue exploring these interesting influences. Enjoy!

Creating the New Face of Arts Education

When I was a kid growing up in the parochial schools of Rochester, NY, we had music and art classes several times a week. They were a mandatory part of the curriculum. You were also encouraged to join whatever music ensembles that existed and expected to play at several school concerts per year.  Sometimes there were more students in the concerts than were in the audience. We received a great foundation in music without traveling to lessons and without extra lesson or instrument rental fees or auditions for private music education. When I got to high school, I just took it for granted that all high schools had their fair share of extremely talented young singers and musicians and the means to cultivate that talent.

I  guess I never realized how fortunate we were to have that kind of education available right where we were in school. I cannot believe how much this has changed now. When I worked in higher education, I watched my music work-study students struggle to find student teacher placements in the local school system. The same for student art teachers. My friends’ kids now get their arts education primarily outside school from private teachers. But what about those kids who do not have the resources: money or access to teachers? It disturbs me to know that there is young arts talent out there who will not have the same great experiences we had.

I can go on about how studying music and arts benefits everyone, not just kids. However, you can do an Internet search and read up on that for yourself. Yet, as people bemoan the loss of arts education in our schools and the lack of funding for arts programming, the need for arts education is still very real. If funding for arts education is not returned to public school systems, then we need to find a way to reframe this problem to come up with viable solutions.

In addition, the old school model of higher arts education which emphasized education and arduous practice to make it to the top has not produced a plethora of graduates who have enjoyed better career satisfaction over the years. A large number of music graduates go on to a career in something else. Music and arts schools are still turning out graduates who may be skilled at music and arts, but little else, making it hard to make a living. Those schools who are offering business and entrepreneurship classes should be thinking of ways to fill that educational gap created by the slashing of arts education from the curriculum. It would fill a need for school kids and provides jobs for their graduates.

One general solution is promoting portfolio careers for new graduates where they do some performing, some educating, some entrepreneurial programming, etc. My experience is that these graduates are chockfull of ideas, and their proficiency with computers and the Internet can only help. Teaching lessons online or through community schools of music and arts, albeit not new ideas, are some ways to keep arts education going and graduates employed. However, there must be other ways to provide arts education to those people who can’t afford private instruction on their own.

Enter big corporations. I was in a local toy store over the holidays where they did free demonstrations with their musical instruments and arts and crafts kits. Obviously, it was shilling at its finest, designed to get the kids’ parents to spend money. However, every kid who stopped by to participate in the demonstrations learned something, regardless of whether their parents bought anything or not. These demonstrations also brought people together to share ideas, different ways to create Rainbow Loom bracelets or how to record rhythms on a synthesizer, for instance.

Maybe these corporations have hit on a way to sell while educating. However it happens, we need an approach, grassroots or corporate, to bring together the students who need arts education with those who are newly educated and beyond who can provide it.

Green Careers: Engineering

If you like to solve problems and develop new ways of, well, doing almost anything, an engineering career may be for you. Increasingly, the focus has been on “green careers,” ways to sustain the planet and to strive to keep our global economy healthy. These kinds of jobs are about more than just math and science, and they do not necessarily promote more expensive processes to get the job done. Green engineering jobs exist in almost all areas of the economy. These include:

Waste Management: Some engineers create the infrastructure such as large pipes and valves that handle waste water and sludge, while others examine how to keep waste moving through the system while detoxifying it. Recycling engineers create ways to move recycled materials through the recycling facility, sorting, baling and preparing materials for reuse. Hazardous waste management engineers develop the processes to safely dispose of hazardous waste such as chemicals and waste water that are the products of mining. Specialties include structural, chemical, environmental and mechanical engineering.

Energy: Engineers interested in energy conservation are interested in finding ways to use energy more efficiently. For example, an engineer can look at ways to alter electrical appliance parts such as a refrigerator’s insulation to make it use less energy. Engineers involved in finding green, renewable energy sources are also looking to contain costs of harnessing that energy and of disposing of any waste created by that energy source. For example, hydrofracturing of shale can produce natural gas. It can also contaminate ground water which is very difficult and expensive to decontaminate once polluted. Engineers try to come up with the least expensive process that will not lead to ground water contamination. Specialties include chemical, environmental and mechanical engineering.

infrastructure: Civil engineers figure out the best ways to build roads, bridges, dams tunnels, sewage systems and buildings while minimizing the negative impact on the environment. Specialties in this area include structural, environmental, geotechnical and transportation engineering.

Health and Safety: Air, water and food controls are put into place because engineers find ways to test them for safety. This includes developing the tests and test kits to determine whether air is safe to breathe, water is safe to drink and food is safe to ingest. Specialties in this include: mechanical, chemical and environmental engineering.

Check out these resources to learn more about green engineering careers: Green Career Links at Green Career Transitions.

What is STEM?

STEM is the abbreviation for the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It can refer to curricula or to careers in these disciplines. They are grouped together because skill sets in each discipline often combine to make up a degree or career. For example, aerospace engineering draws on science, computer information technology, engineering and mathematical principles. These disciplines are also grouped together because they require similar skills such as quantitative analysis, reasoning and problem-solving to master them.

So why the emphasis on STEM in school curricula? These are the disciplines that keep the US competitive in world markets and keep us at the forefront of technology. However, many leaders think we are falling behind in these areas. Enrollment in college and university STEM programs is down, and the percentage of women in these programs is still low.  However, some fixes for these problems do exist. More emphasis is placed on STEM disciplines at all levels of American education from primary to college. Role models in the form of female STEM faculty are now hired more frequently and are more highly visible at the higher education level. Mentoring programs for women with both male and female mentors are another key solution to the problem of how to draw more women into STEM careers. Paid research projects and internships also help keep both men and women studying in STEM disciplines. But the help should not stop there. Career services offices at the nation’s colleges and universities should actively seek to develop relationships with companies that can use these students’ skills. Career counselors should also offer workshops and one-on-one’s about how to project a professional image and interview for STEM careers.

Want to know more about STEM careers? Check out the O*Net Online.

So You Want to Be an Astronaut?! Science Internships and Opportunities

You know how in my last blog I told job searchers that they need to keep searching through the holidays? Well, the same goes for students looking for internship opportunities. I know, I know, y’all are stressed with finals right now, but bookmark the following site to look at over your school holidays. It makes applying for opportunities so easy!

OSGC EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES BLOG

This blog will tell you how to apply for a NASA summer internship in aerospace engineering, as well as give you resources for science opportunities. Have fun! It’s a great site.