Job Seeker Online Goldmine

1. Your book has a lot about interests and skill matching to jobs. Can you outline a good 'fit' for a job in those terms?

Thanks for the opportunity to reach your readers.

Job Seekers Online Goldmine has several free, interactive tools that put the career and job search process in the hands of the job seeker. The job seeker is able to identify careers of interest, learn how to obtain the training and education necessary to qualify for the occupations, and then use the employability skills they have in order to nab the job opportunity.

For most people the ideal job means that it fits their interests, skills and values. Using various assessments, a person can identify his or her characteristics and determine whether or not an occupation is a great match. A person who is matched to the right occupation tends to be more productive, stays on the job longer, and is much more content.

2. You have a very thorough approach to occupational requirements and resources and ways of searching for them. What are the fundamentals of researching an occupation?

Correct, it is important that a person understands what they are getting into. Several surveys suggest that most people would like more information about occupations in order to make the right decision. It's important for the employer also. A person who is in a compatible occupation tends to stay with the employer longer and will then minimize the cost for locating and recruiting a replacement.

The tools in my book suggest that research on occupations is usually based on skills, abilities, and interest areas, but other characteristics can be used such as examining a specific industry, using special tools and technologies, typical wages, whether the occupations is growing or declining in importance in the US economy, and several other characteristics. Using the suggestions in 'Goldmine', a person can search for occupations using dozens of different characteristics. They can decide what is most important to them and search based on their priorities.

3. Qualifications and education are integral to career moves. Your book deals with these topics systematically, including Shore Up Your Literacy Skills, Building Skills At Community Colleges, and Find Institutions With Specific Accreditations, among many others. We regularly have members on our forum trying to find their way through the maze online. What are the basics of finding what you need?

We are blessed in this country to have so many training and educational opportunities. The 'Goldmine' book points out some traditional and online courses and opportunities.

A job seeker should first determine what the training and educational requirements are for the occupation he or she is interested in and then go from there. Some jobs require just a high school diploma or some specific vocational training. Others require post secondary education.

For the most part, the more education and training a person has the bigger the paycheck and the lower the unemployment rate. Another factor a job seeker should consider is that learning and training should never stop if he or she wants to better ensure future employment in this global economy. For example for 2/3 of the jobs coming online in the US economy will require a Bachelor's degree or higher.

4. The internet is sometimes an oversupply of information. How do people use online searches effectively to find what they need in terms of employment information?

Well, what I did in producing 'Goldmine' was to spend many hours on the web looking at what was available to the job seeker and career specialist. I picked out those tools that were high quality and free. In the book I give step-by-step directions on how to use the tool to obtain specific information that the job seeker needs. This frees the job seeker and career specialists from spending time search the web only to find irrelevant information and much frustration.

The tools in the books are skills-based such as:

  • find occupations that match your interests;
  • search for occupations that match your skills;
  • use local services to improve your job skills;
  • choose the right college for you;
  • apply for federal student financial aid;
  • search for scholarships;
  • improve your resume writing skills;
  • find employers in a specific geographic area;
  • determine the pay for your occupation in another geographic area;
  • decide whether you are financially ready to retire….. and many more.

You can go directly to what you need bypassing what you don't.

5. Funding for training and education is a serious obstacle to many people. What are the best methods for funding with limited resources?

'Goldmine' provides information on several tools for finding grants, loans, scholarships, internships, and free courses. Community colleges programs are great values, but there are even many apprenticeship opportunities where you earn wages as you train. Also, many universities are now providing some of their courses online and without cost - even such institutions as MIT and Stanford. Getting education and training should not be an issue for someone who really is focused on getting ahead. With the increased availability of online courses, job seekers need to make the time and use their determination to complete any number of courses. Even soldiers stationed in Iraq are improving their skills by taking online courses. If they can overcome the obstacles, so can we.

6. At entry level in any career, getting started is usually the hardest part. The CV is usually a hard task. How should people at this point in their career approach creating a CV?

When I was in grad school, a professor told me that I should create a very detailed Curriculum Vitae that recorded all my education and training, and professional contributions. I'm glad I did that as it is an historical record of my accomplishments. I still keep it up to date.

This CV would be good to use if I wanted to apply for a high level position in higher education, but that's not what they typical employer wants to see. They don't have time to read several pages of information.

A job seeker needs to create a resume, not a CV, which provides the right information that will help 'nail the interview.' That means to provide the right educational, employment, and skills history that related to the job the person wants. The 'Goldmine' book provides resources and tutorials that will help a person design a proper resume.

Alignment is the key - the resume needs to align with the job requirements to the degree possible.

7. What are the big things to avoid in online job searches and applications?

Don't lie or misrepresent yourself. Be sure you include the keywords used in the job description. If the resume is electronically scanned it is very important to use the keywords as that's what the electronic programs will be looking for. Some electronic scanning programs are confused by formatting features such as bolding, italics, underlining, and fancy fonts.

If a resume is posted on a general job bank site, a person may want to avoid providing some personal contact information as that could subject one to spam and fraudulent offers.

8. Career change is another big issue on our forums. Does it mean starting from scratch, or can people use prior experience as part of their CVs to show a range of skills? (We have a surprisingly large number of people, across all age brackets, having a genuinely hard time with career change.)

See my answer about CV, I prefer using a resume.

About change …… get used to it. The US Department of Labor projects that in today's economy, people will experience 10-14 different occupations and many more job across their life times. You may not want to change, but you may not be able to avoid it. Such conditions as offshoring jobs, catastrophic events such as hurricanes and fires, and economic conditions with companies closing or downsizing, can present you with an unwelcome change.

The tools in 'Goldmine' show people how their skills can be used in several occupations, so starting from scratch is not necessary. The best thing a person can do is to take advantage of every learning and training opportunity that comes along. This could come from educational institutions or from a current employer.

The more you know and can do, the more valuable you are to an employer.

9. Mature age workers are now a very common demographic in the job market, and many seem to be having real trouble getting jobs, either through age or the nature of the employment market. What are their best options?

Yes, mature workers are an economic force in this country and the trend is growing. The Bureau of Labor statistics projects that more than 21 percent of the labor force will be over 55 by 1014 - that's just a few years away! On the plus side the older worker has experience, maturity, and better understands a positive work ethic. On the negative side, sometimes older workers are fearful of or not skilled in the technology used in today's jobs. Many older workers resist doing things in a different way.

So what should an older worker do? Well it's back to that education and training concept. All workers need to keep upgrading their skills to stay employable for the long term.

Where the older worker might have a decided edge is in the people they have become acquainted with over the years. That sure helps in using networking to find new jobs, clearly an effective technique in the job hunting scene.

There is optimism for the job prospects of the older worker as a result of the boomer generation leaving the workforce. Employers will have great difficulty finding skilled workers due to retirements and new jobs coming online. Employers will need to create strategies, such as flexible daily and seasonal schedules, working at home, job sharing, part time consulting, etc. to keep the older worker working.

10. Your book covers a very wide range of US employment issues, requirements and opportunities. How do you see the US employment market evolving, in terms of job growth and the New Economy jobs coming onstream? (This is a question we're asking experts across a range of generalist and specialist fields. The idea is to give our members an overview of trends, which is notably lacking in mainstream media.)

The high growth, high wage jobs coming on line in the US economy will be requiring more education. The Bureau of Labor statistics suggests that only 13 percent of the new jobs will require a high school diploma or less.

Some people project that 90 percent of the jobs in today's economy will be automated in the not too distant future. Again, people need to be sure that they have skills and abilities that will be needed. For the most part that means the intent and desire to learn how to learn.

Jobs are being transformed and new ones are coming online because of technology, new laws, demographics, and business practices.

In the technology category, there are emerging occupations due to the introduction of computer graphics, genetics, imaging techniques, global positioning capability, and web technology. Laws such as welfare to work, telecommunications, criminal laws, and health laws are creating jobs such as job coaches, closed captioners, restitution specialists, and visiting nurses. The changes in demographics such as the aging population, two-income households, and focus on youthful appearance is creating the need for geriatric nurses, personal chefs, corporate concierges, and medical aestheticians. Changing business practices such as internet sales/banking and online learning are creating the need for privacy advocates, content experts, and instructional designers.

Using the tools in the ''Goldmine''book job seekers and career specialists can stay current with these new trends and changing conditions.