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Once you’ve completed your English course at school, college or university, it will be time to start thinking about what kind of career path would be most suitable given your skills and personal interests. Luckily, a lot of different companies require their staff to have excellent spelling and grammar abilities, so the possibilities really are endless. Still, sometimes it’s a good idea to hear suggestions from other people, which is precisely why I’ve written the article you’re reading today. You obviously want to aim for the best paid position possible, and so the ideas featured before could serve to give you the inspiration needed.
You might think that working in a library would be a bit boring, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Librarians are responsible for categorizing titles, dealing with loans and placing orders for new publications they know will go down well with their clientele. On top of this, you might be surprised to learn the salary is usually very attractive.
2. Primary School Teacher
If you enjoy spending time with children and helping them to increase their knowledge, becoming a primary school teacher could provide you with all the job satisfaction you’ll ever need. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll need more than a basic English qualification from ECOT to score a job like this, but that’s still a brilliant place to start on this career path. In most circumstances, you’ll need to complete a full three year degree course in a relevant subject, and then enroll on a 12 month teacher training course to hone your skills.
3. Writer / Author
As you’ve spent so long learning how to spell and use grammar properly, it might make sense to capitalise on these skills by becoming a full time writer or author. Selling books is tough, so you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching the markers before settling on the subject of your first title. However, these days you can find well paid work with many of the internet’s top marketing agencies, who are always on the look out for new talent.
4. Professional Editor
You could turn that last idea around on its head and start a career as a professional proofreader and editor. Obviously, you’ll need an impeccable understanding of language to make a success of this, but as many top publishers pay in excess of £30,000 to editors for their most anticipated titles, this role could leave you with enough money to retire early and enjoy the good life.
Okay, so, every English graduate probably dreams of working at a top fleet street newspaper, right? Well, this goal may not be too far beyond your reach. While there are often thousands of candidates for vacancies in this industry, you stand just as much chance as the next person, so start contacting your favourite companies now to find out about the next round of interviews.
Just remember, your destiny is now in your own hands, so you must to everything you can to make it a fruitful one. And anyway, If all else fails, at least you’ll know how to fill the forms in properly at the jobcentre.
Cheers for reading guys!
Sam Gatt, a UK-based contributor who writes on all things business and career related.
I have been out of the workforce for almost three years. I have been taking classes to pursue a degree and now that my course load will slow down to half time, I want to get some part time employment in my chosen field. I am concerned about my resume. It does not reflect any experience in this field and does show the gap in my employment. What are some creative and truthful ways to dress my resume for success so that a potential employer can see I am strong candidate candidate?
Hi Shane –
The first thing to remember is that your resume is a marketing document, not an informational document.
Its purpose is NOT to present a general summary of everything there is to know about you.
Rather, its purpose is to present the most relevant information about your qualifications (education, experience, skills and characteristics) in meaningful and accessible ways.
Here are some quick tips:
Your Contact Information
Provide your name, email address and one phone number. If you have a LinkedIn account and you maintain that account, you should also list the URL to your LinkedIn profile in your contact information. Don’t provide multiple email addresses or phone numbers, and only include your mailing or physical address if you can find a compelling reason to do so.
Warning! I saw it on a resume template is NOT a compelling reason!
Ask yourself: Does a potential employer really need to see this information in order to consider me for employment? If the answer is “no,” leave it off your resume.
If you are using your education at the catalyst for a significant change in your career path, put your education before your experience. It is more relevant to where you want to go with your career, so it will be of greater importance to potential employers. I assume that you are pursuing a degree that related to your chosen field. (I certainly hope so!). Use your Education section to highlight relevant coursework, experiential class projects, academic achievement, etc.
Don’t assume that potential employers know anything about the degree you are pursuing. You have to explain it to them.
Ask yourself: What about my education do employers need to know in order to consider me for employment? Focus on that information in your resume.
Your past experience may not be directly relevant to the types of jobs you wish to pursue, but it does say something about your maturity, dependability, professionalism, ability to work well with others, ability to deliver quality service, and a variety of other skills and characteristics employers value and seek in potential employees. Use your Experience section to illustrate (through examples) the qualities, skills, and characteristics you offer.
Don’t simply list job description information! Job descriptions say nothing about you – they are all about the job itself. Your resume should be about you.
In describing your experience, focus on YOU and not on the the positions you held.
Your Time Away from the Workforce
You mention that you have been out of the workforce for three years AND that you have just transitioned from being a full-time student to being a part-time student.
Be ready to have that conversation with potential employers.
Be ready to talk about how you are using the opportunity away from the workforce to get more education, to become more skilled and to become skilled in new areas.
Whether you left a job to go back to school or your job left you, you decided to take advantage of the opportunity to become more employable! THAT is a good story! That is the kind of story potential employers like to hear.
Your Interests and Hobbies
Be careful including hobbies and interests on your resume. Make sure they are serving a legitimate purpose.
They show I am a well-rounded person with diverse interests is not a strong enough reason to include hobbies and interests on your resume.
If you are a very competitive person, and competitiveness is a characteristic employers in your field seek in potential employees, including a hobby that fuels your competitive spirit can be a good thing. Competitive sports, for example.
If you are a history buff and a rich knowledge of history is a beneficial in your chosen field, include this information on your resume.
If you are a marathon runner, and you are seeking employment in fields that require personal discipline, endurance, individual effort and perseverance, include this information on your resume.
Get the idea? Everything on your resume must serve a specific purpose. If it doesn’t serve a purpose – take it off your resume!
Answer this One Simple Question
You stated in your question that you want employers reading your resume to see that you are a strong candidate. Look at everything you are thinking of putting on your resume and ask yourself:
How does this information show employers that I am a strong candidate?
If you don’t like your answer, see if you can refine/restate the information truthfully so that it will show you are a strong candidate.
If you can’t find a way to effectively refine/restate the information truthfully, it probably doesn’t belong on your resume.
Two last bits of advice:
- Seek out the assistance from the career coaches and counselors on your college campus. You will find they can be really helpful.
- Check out my Resume Writing Guide and the sample resumes in my Resume Gallery. Combined they offer a lot of examples of how to effectively present your qualifications in resume format.
I have a Bachelor’s in Marketing, two Master’s degrees (Mass Media and and MIB) and a Ph.D. I can’t seem to get a single interview when sending my resume online. I am frustrated. I have consulted experts, and they all agree that my resume format is OK. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Armando –
I can sense your frustration, That said, I can’t tell you what you are doing wrong unless I know what kind of work you are seeking and how you are going about your search.
I do know this: Simply applying online for jobs and hoping for interviews is not an effective job search strategy; it is a small part of an effective job search strategy, but not a strategy unto itself.
You also mentioned that you consulted experts … what are their areas of expertise? Just because someone is expert in one field, does not make them an expert in all fields or in job hunting or recruiting. So, be careful to evaluate all advice you receive (including advice from me!), because not all of the advice you receive is good advice!
With that caveat – here is some of my advice:
More is not necessary better when it comes to education
You are certainly well educated. You have four degrees! Unfortunately, more education does not necessarily mean more marketable or more desireable to employers. The qualifications you offer must make sense to potential employers and must be relevant to their hiring needs. If someone needs to hire a chemical engineer, they are not going to care that you have a Ph.D. in Computer Science.
Also, does your series of degrees tell a coherent story? Are the degrees in related fields? Do they complement each other? Or, are they in widely different fields and unrelated? As a job seeker, it is your responsibility to help potential employers understand who you are, what you offer, and what you want.
While one employer might look at your resume and say: Look at how well-rounded and highly educated he is!
Another might look at it and say: Why did this guy get degrees in three different fields? He’s all over the place!
It’s not about the volume of the education. It’s about the relevance.
Resumes are not “one size fits all” documents
Most employers do not hire “renaissance men”, so a generic, all-encompassing resumes are not typically effective job search tools. They might be exceptionally well-formatted, well-written and free from typographical errors, but if they are full of information that is not relevant to the hiring employer, they may actually hurt your cause. I recommend that you focus your resume to feature those aspects of your education, experience, skills and characteristics that are relevant to the employers you are targeting. Leave the rest off.
You may need to have a few versions of your resume, so be prepared. Don’t waste time customizing a unique resume for every job, but do make sure that the resumes you send are written to present your qualifications in terms relevant to the employers and kinds of jobs you are seeking.
Employers hire based on what they need, not on what you offer
Employers hire to meet specific needs when they have those needs. They do not usually hire people when they are available just because they are available and have strong general credentials. If you have what employers need, and you tell your story well, you will get considered for available opportunities. It really is that simple.
If you tell a clear and compelling story about your qualifications, and your qualifications align well with the needs of hiring employers, you will get interviews. If your story is unclear and/or your qualfications do not align well with hiring needs, employers will have no need or desire to interview you.
It’s basic, supply and demand economics.
One last thing: I strongly recommend you review my post Four Job Interview Questions You Must Be Able To Answer.
If you can answers these questions, you will be poised for success.
How can I most effectively follow up on an introduction to a potential employer?
I briefly met a man who owns a small holding company in my home town. We exchanged cards, and he asked me to send him my resume.
What is the best way to follow up?
Timing is everything! The longer you wait, the greater the possibility the potential employer will forget he met you. So, here is my advice:
Follow up within 24 hours
Strike while the iron on hot! That is, follow up while this potential employer still remembers meeting you. If you wait too long, he will forget his offer to review your resume, and you will develop a reputation as someone who doesn’t follow through in a timely manner.
Remind him who you are
In the email or letter that accompanies your resume, remind him who you are and why you are contacting him. Very likely, he is a busy guy who doesn’t remember the details of every meeting or introduction. Bring him back into the moment. Remind him it was his idea that you follow up with your resume.
Be brief and to the point
Don’t go into a lot of detail. He already wants to see your resume. Don’t feel the need to include the details in the body of your email.
If he told you to send your resume, do so! If he asked for a resume and references, provide that. If you follow the instructions he gave you – no matter how informal those instructions may have been – you will show that you know how to follow instructions. You will show you are dependable.
Toot your horn a little bit. Give him reasons to review your resume immediately. Don’t go overboard here, but take the opportunity to market yourself a little.
Ask for the next meeting
Conclude your email with a request for a next meeting. Regardless of whether this potential employer has current openings, he can be a valuable professional contact for you immediately or down the road. Ask for a meeting. The better he knows you, the more willing he will be to consider you for a job now or in the future (provided, of course, that you make a good impression in the meeting!).
Following is an examples of how you might craft your email follow up:
Dear Mr. Smith,
It was a pleasure meeting you last night at the Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting reception for ABC Corporation. I enjoyed learning about how you started your holding company and grew it into the successful enterprise it is today.
Thank you for taking interest in me and my career. As I am sure you will recall, I will be completing a bachelor’s degree in business and finance in May and am eager to begin my professional career in business with a local company such as yours.
Per your request, I have attached my resume to this email for your review. I am eager to visit with you again and learn more about possible opportunities with your company.
All of my classes this semester meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I am most available to meet on Tuesdays and Thursday. I will call your assistant next week to inquire about scheduling time on your calendar. In the meantime, please feel free to call or email me.
I look forward to continuing our conversation!
Can you point me to the right tools most commonly needed for welders. I have a hood, gloves, half round file, leathers, goggles, glasses, adjustable T-square, tip cleaners, folding rule, and tool bucket. What else do I need?
I have to admit, welding is not my area of expertise, but your question gave me the opportunity to show how easy it can be to find information while looking for a job when you know where and how to look.
A basic Google search
I googled your question. A lot of useless info came back to be sure, but the following news release came up, as well:
The information is a little old, but it is sound.
It is amazing how valuable the most simple of searches can be. Not always, of course, but often.
Company and Industry Discussion Forums
The news release mentioned above was produced by a company in the welding industry, so I searched for more companies and found some company and industry discussion forums that proved very valuable. One offered a good reminder that you have to make sure you are asking the right questions if you want valuable answers. The following response was very enlightening:
An Iron Worker Welder will carry much different tools than a Machinist Welder, and an Aerospace Welder will carry no tools. You need to be more specific with your questions.
Check out the Welding Design and Fabrication Discussion Forum and company discussion forums, like Miller Electric’s MillerWelds that answers the question What tools should one own as an apprentice welder fabricator?
And, finally – check out YouTube
I found the following very helpful video: The 10 Must Have Hand Tools of Every Welder
Hope this helps!
I just finished the coursework for an MBA in Marketing, and I’m really struggling finding a career opportunity. I have experience in sales, customer service and banking, but my interests are in education and finance. Every job I want seems to require 5-10 years of experience. I can’t even get employers to look at my resume. I’m so frustrated. What do I need to do to make myself more marketable?
Hi Dawn –
It can be very frustrating when you are trying to transition from one industry to another. Here are some tips that I think will help you make yourself more marketable to employers:
Focus your message and keep it relevant
Employers won’t understand you or what you offer unless you help them – particularly when you are trying to change fields. If your resume is a simple historical record of what you have done and where and when you did it, it is telling the employer who reads it that you want to do what you have always done. If your resume presents your accomplishments and qualifications in sales, customer service and banking, why would an employer think you want to work in any other field?
Your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profile and other job search marketing materials should present your qualifications in terms and language relevant to the fields you wish to enter.
When you say you are interested in education and finance, what exactly do you mean? If you can’t describe what you mean in detail, you can’t expect employers to figure it out.
Focus your message on things relevant to prospective employers, and you will see more success in your job search.
Speak the employer’s language
You will earn credibility with potential employers if you can show them you understand their world. When you can speak the language of their business, they have great confidence that you understand the culture of their industry. If you want employers to understand you and what you offer, you have to make the effort to understand them. Learn about their companies and their industries.
Learn to speak their language, so you can understand them (and so they will understand you).
Look in the right places
Often, people get frustrated looking for a job because they are looking in the wrong places. While you can find a lot on Indeed.com, you cannot find everything. If you have a niche interest, look at the niche job boards and related resources. If you are looking for jobs in higher education. Look at resources focused on that industry. For example:
The Chronicle of Higher Education Online Job Board
National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Position Announcements
National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP) Job Announcements
PhDs.org – Finding a Job
Student Affairs.com Position Listings
If you are interested in finance, check out the resources in my blog post – What can I do with a degree in Accounting and Information Systems?
There are many places to look – make sure you look in the right places.
The kind of experience is more important the number of years of experience
Employers are more concerned that you have the kind of experience they need, than they are concerned that you have the number of years of experience spelled out in the job description; so take those date ranges with a grain of salt!
If it says 5-10 years of experience, they mean they need candidates with some experience, professional maturity, and – of course – the skills they are seeking. Translation: Entry-level graduates and inexperienced candidates need not apply!
If you believe you can legitimately make and defend a case for your candidacy, then apply for the job.
By the way, the word “legitimately” is the most important word in that sentence. Wanting a job and feeling qualified for it is different from wanting a job and being able to make a case for yourself as a qualified candidate.
You must be prepared to make a persuasive and compelling argument that you deserve to be considered. If you cannot do that, perhaps you should not apply for the job.
So – to sum this whole blog up into one sentence:
The better employers understand you, what you offer and what you want,
the better chance you will have of getting hired.
Hope these tips help,
Like many of my fellow May 2014 graduates, I am hoping to have a position lined up when I graduate. I am completing a B.S. in Construction Management. When is the best time to apply for a full time position before I graduate? Also, how do I indicate in a cover letter that I won’t be available for a full time position until after graduation?
Hi Matt –
A lot of students have these same questions. Your first question has a variety of answers; the second is pretty straightforward.
When should you start looking for a job?
The shorthand answer: When you are in a position to say “yes” if you are offered the job?
Companies recruit in different ways and on different time frames for different types of positions. So, your timing depends upon the kinds of work and the types of employers you are targeting.
If you are targeting corporate employment (the kinds of jobs that dominate on-campus interviewing schedules on college campuses), they you should start actively applying in September and October because that is when those employers are recruiting to fill those kinds of positions. When large corporations are setting targets for their entry-level hiring for the year, they plan months in advance because they can. Smaller organizations do not have that flexibility.
In most cases, employers hire when they have immediate vacancies to fill, and they try to fill these vacancies as quickly as possible; that usually means within 4-8 weeks of the position being posted. They have an immediate need, and they need candidates who can start in the immediate future – not 6-8 months later, after they graduate.
Look at the industries you are targeting. How do employers hire in these industries? Do they recruit entry-level candidates and make offers well in advance or do they hire “just-in-time” to meet their needs?
Some employers have the latitude to recruit candidates in the fall for jobs that will not start until the following summer. If these are the employers you are targeting, your job search should have started already.
Most employers hire when they have positions to fill and look for candidates who can say “yes” and start soon thereafter. If this is your case, your job search should really start picking up steam about 6-8 weeks before you graduate.
How do I indicate in a cover letter that I won’t be available for a full time position until after graduation?
In presenting your qualifications in cover letters. state clearly when you will complete your degree and be available for full-time employment. Statements like the following:
In May 2014, I will complete a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management and will be available for full-time employment beginning June 2, 2014.
I am available immediately to interview in-person, via phone or via Skype. I will graduate in May and can start work at any time after May 23rd.
As I am currently completing my degree requirements, I am available immediately for part-time/contract work and can begin full-time employment starting June 2, 2014.
These are just a few examples of how you might address the “availability” issue in cover letters. Be honest and take the opportunity to tell employers when you are available to interview and begin work.
Money is a motivator. While it may not be your primary motivator in getting a college degree, it certainly is a factor to take into consideration.
Why? We all have bills to pay, and eventually you are going to have to pay off those student loans!
The time and money you are spending on your college degree is an investment. Invest wisely if you want a good return on that investment.
AdviserOne offers rankings based on data collected from 1,000 universities that highlight top highest-paying majors. Eighty-eight percent of the schools surveyed had more than 5,000 students. If money’s on your mind, you’ll probably want to avoid Child and Family Studies, which had an entry-level salary of approximately $37K, or roughly $18 per hour.
For more than $18 per hour, the following highly paid jobs may interest you and your future bank account:
- Average Hourly Pay: $67 per hour
- A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is responsible for administering anesthesia to patients. They work with dentists, podiatrists and anesthesiologists to safely administer anesthesia and other related medications.
- Average Hourly Pay: $42
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $63K
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes electrical engineers as professionals who design, develop and test the manufacturing of electrical equipment. This includes radar, motors, navigation systems and power generation equipment. Electronics engineers design, develop and test electronic equipment, including communications systems, such as global positioning (GPS) and satellite systems.
- Average Hourly Pay: $40
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $59 per hour
- In this engineering discipline, engineering professionals apply principles of physics and materials science in order to analyze, design and develop mechanical devices and systems. It may also involve the production and use of heat and mechanical power.
- Average Hourly Pay: $37
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $60 per hour
- Accountants keep track of an individual’s or company’s money and often provide tax preparation services. Most accountants focus on a specialty area. Accounting specializations include government accountants who assist enterprises conducting business with the government, internal auditors who validate the financial records within a company, management accountants who keep track of earnings and cash flow and personal accountants who keep track of tax and financial information for individuals and small companies.
- Average Hourly Pay: $33
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $57 per hour
- Two popular political science concentrations include American Politics and International Politics. According to North Carolina State University, American Politics courses help develop skills for students passionate about professional education, law school, political or administrative careers, and business careers in companies that work with the government. Students interested in the legal profession, advocacy, international corporate organizations and careers in government would be suitable for a concentration in international politics.
Computers and IT
- Average Hourly Pay: $36
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $56 per hour
- This category includes database designers, computer programmers and computer security professionals. As our continued reliance on computers grows, so will the need for professionals in this industry.
Business Administration and Management
- Average Hourly Pay: $32
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $52 per hour
- Business Administration professionals require a business administration and management degree as well as good organizational skills and communication abilities.
Management Information Systems and IT
- Average starting income: $63,000
- A business degree can help you snag a lucrative and in-demand IT job offering pay well worth your tuition investment.
- For more information on online business degrees, you can go to: http://www.collegeonline.org/online-degrees/business-mba/index.html
- Average Hourly Pay: $28
- Pay for Top 10 percent: $49 per hour
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics communications category includes media and content writing, editing, photography and broadcasting.
- Average Hourly Pay: $31
- Degreesthatpay.com reports a high national demand for nurses. Many hospitals and other health care institutions are reimbursing nurses up to 100 percent of their tuition costs. Not only does nursing pay well and offer job security, it also provides personal job satisfaction because you’re helping ill patients in need.
Marcia from DeVry University asked:
What can I do with a Master’s in Educational Technology if I am not working in a school district? How can I get an internship or experience in Instructional Design?
Want a quick overview of the field of Educational Technology?
Check out the following two videos. You will see potential pathways both within and outside of school districts.
How do you find a job or internship in instructional design?
Look where the opportunities are likely to be posted. In this case, that means educational-focused online job boards and trade publications and through related professional associations. I have listed a lot of options below for you to review to get some ideas.
Where do you start?
If you are looking for an internship while you are in school, the geographic scope of your search is probably going to be limited to your local area. Translation: You probably need to intern near where you are in school, right!
In this case, look to the colleges and universities. and (if there are any in your area) educational publishers, online training and software companies and game developers. All of these types of organizations probably have people working in some form of educations technology, instructional design or user interface design – the need for instructional designers goes beyond the your local school district. Talk to folks in these worlds to get first hand information on their fields (this is called an informational interview) and inquire about internship opportunities.
Chances are, most of these internships will not be posted on the big national job boards. Some of them might not be posted at all. Some won’t even exist until you ask about them.
Where do you begin?
- With research to learn as much about the field as you can
- With that first phone call, email or visit to someone in your area working in educational technology
- With a plan of action for pursuing job opportunities
I hope this information helps you get started.