Think before you post!

In the last 10 years, employer use of social media to screen potential employees has increased 500%.  Career Builder shared in their annual survey report this and many other statistics that show the potential positive and negative impact of your social media on your employment status.  The internet and social media have come upon our culture like a raging river and you can get swept away by the negative impact before you realize it if you’re not careful.  Currently, the statistics do show that there is more negative impact from all this social media research for people that have posted, without thought, before they realized the impact.  But, in this case, knowledge is power – now you know – you can engineer and harness the power of the internet to your advantage.

Wouldn’t it be better to just keep all your profiles private?  If they can’t see it, it can’t count against you, right?  Not necessarily.  Two out of every five employers report that they are less likely to interview someone when they can’t find information about them online.  Like all the other statistics – this one is bound to increase in the future.  Think of it as a pre-interview. You have the chance to make a first virtual impression that can increase your chances of an interview and getting hired for a job.

Fortunately, not all employers are hunting for flaws and are happy to find treasure.  In fact, the report tells us that one-third of employers looking, found positive information that caused them TO hire a candidate.  You can harness the power of your internet image by posting information that accentuates your positives.  If your posts support your job qualifications, give a professional image, show a wide range of interests, and display good communication skills a potential employer will be pleased indeed.

So, if you already have a job you’re “safe,” right?  Wrong.  41 Percent of employers are using social networking to keep an eye on their current employees.  More than 1 in 4 have found reasons to reprimand or terminate current employees.  There is NEVER a good time to let down your guard – ALWAYS think before you post.

The moral of the story? Your internet image is in your hands (or keyboard, or mobile phone), whether positive or negative – guard it well and it can be a positive influence in your current and future career.

And the WINNER is….

STEMThere has been an on-going, all out war between Liberal Arts studies and what’s now known as STEM degrees for decades.  The most recent battles have clearly seemed to be edging STEM to victory.  We’ve all heard the arguments before and they are always black and white against the humanities –

“There are no jobs for Philosophy majors.”
“You can get that degree, but then you’ll never get a job.”
“There are no history major companies out there hiring.”
“What are you going to do with that, teach?”

I’m so pleased to say that a TRUCE can now be called!  Apparently, there is value to BOTH!! It’s a shock, I know!  According to this article from American Express Small Business Open Forum the answer is in BALANCE.  While the STEM skills are valuable, so are the soft skills developed in the humanities.  According to the author, employers are looking for a balance of both!
“The trend of employers looking for both field-specific skills and broad skills indicates that employees who combine a liberal arts major—especially an English major—with another major degree, such as business, science or technology, will have a competitive advantage. If businesses continue to look for  and hire such individuals, they will no doubt have a positive impact on the workplace by creating more diversity in an organization.”

So balance your liberal arts degree with a STEM certification or minor, OR
balance your STEM degree with a minor in English or other liberal arts major –

Either way let’s end the war and value ALL the different skills that make for a valuable employee!


Top Industry – Top Pay – Get on Board!

Maritime Industry-1Washington’s Maritime industry is big business – $30 billion worth of business!  That’s 57,000 jobs that pay an average yearly salary of $70,800 with only 5% requiring a 4 year degree.  Consider FOSS Maritime that maintains the largest coastal tug and barge fleet – they employ 1,600 and 1,200 of those jobs don’t require a college education with an average employee income for those jobs of $33/hour!  There are community college and apprenticeship training opportunities across Washington – from Bellingham to Spokane and many places in between!  Check out all the opportunities here:

Check to see if this field is a good fit for you using the tools on “The Match Up” and then get started on your future!

How far will you go?

Tom Hanks went from Bosom Buddy to movie screen hero – but just like the rest of us he had to start somewhere – in his case he started at Chabot College – a two year school in California.  Danny Marshall, Program Administrator for Workforce at the WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, shares a fantastic article written by Tom Hanks himself about his time at Community College.  There are 34 Community and Technical Colleges in WA where you can begin your journey – you can find one on The Train Up – How far will you go?

Begin With the End in Mind…

STAMPWhen you plan a vacation – you think about what that vacation is going to look like and plan and pack accordingly. You pick a destination based on what you enjoy or want to see. You pick a date or season ensuring good weather.  You pack the clothes and items that you will need when you get there. You get the tickets that will transport you to the destination. In short, you prepare so that your trip runs smoothly and is as stress free and enjoyable as possible. This same procedure can be applied towards our career plans. By beginning with the end in mind, we can maximize the chances of our career being as successful as possible.

The traditional mantra in America has been “Just go to college and you’ll do fine.” Unfortunately, this is just not always the case. Many college graduates go to school, get good grades and a diploma, and then find they are not really prepared for a job and have no marketable skills to get hired at the end. Some very successful careers don’t require a 4 year college degree at all. No matter what path you choose – 2 year, 4 year, trade school, or apprenticeship – in the end we all need to get a job. By figuring out the end first, in other words, the job or career we want to prepare for, we can intentionally inform our decisions and experiences to prepare us for that specific outcome and maximize our employment outcomes. Here are some things to consider as you plan .

First, pick a destination you’ll like.  Everyone knows someone who went through a training or educational program and then found that they really didn’t like the job on the other end. There are many great print and video resources that can help you get a good picture of what a job is like so you can find a vocation that fits your interests, skills, and values.

Second, verify a positive employment climate.  By pursuing a field that is growing – you can maximize the number of job opportunities available and anticipate career level and pay growth over time. Sometimes demand varies based on location – so you can find a location where your career field is in demand, or find a career field that is in demand in your location.

Three, pack the right experiences.  There are many opportunities through internships and volunteer work to get a taste of a career field before jumping in all the way.  These experiences can help you ensure you’ve picked the right destination!  As an added bonus, these same opportunities can help you build your resume and make great employment contacts that can be integral to landing that first job.

Four, get the right tickets.  Once you know your destination, you can find out what employers are looking for in the field and make sure that you have the right training, degrees, and/or certifications to get you where you want to go.  Along with job listings and career-information web sites, the career services office at your school is a great resource for finding out this information.

Thanks to modern technology, there are amazing internet resources to assist you in your career plan. The Match Up is a great place to start! By beginning with the end in mind, you can take intentional steps to increase the chances of a smooth trip to your destination.  BON VOYAGE!

What if I said that your new job could find you?

Did you knowWe put together a resume and cover letter, drop it off or email it out and then wait…and wait…and wait some more.  It’s like we are standing there, hat in hand, saying “Please like me.”  Every phone call not received and every resume sent off with no response feels like a direct hit to our self esteem.  Did you know that the number one source of that new job is from the people that probably already like you?  Until today, the last statistic I read was 58%, but according to U.S. News and World Report/Money more than 70% of people land their job through networking – or people in our established network of friends, family, and acquaintances.  Either way, both percentages confirm that NETWORKING is far and away the #1 source of a job – and, therefore, the number one place to focus your attention and energy.  GCF/Learn, one of the great employment resources you can access on “The Work Up” page of, writes, “A willingness to network and build connections will be the single most useful tool in your job search. Networking is considered to be the most effective way to find a job, but every person will need to build his or her own network differently.”  Learn the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of building your unique network to get the word out and let people know that you are looking and your new job just might find you!