My friends at March Consulting have created a totally free online virtual event called The Ultimate Guide to College. In this 7-day summit experience that starts this Thursday, September 22, the March Consulting team will be interviewing 15 experts (including me!) in their various fields of work that will leave you with a better understanding of today’s current college landscape, and a career beyond! Please forward this email to friends and family who may benefit.

Topics include: College Admissions, STEM, testing, financial aid, performing arts, athletics, and careers.

Be sure to watch my interview on September 28th, where I will be discussing how to make good educational and career decisions saving time, money and heartache.  Your future is in your hands! I give a shout out to all levels of education, including apprenticeships!

This summit is an excellent opportunity for a wide range of students (and parents) to be exposed to different options for their future in an informative, fun, casual, and distanced environment. I so encourage anyone wanting to catch up with what I’m doing, or even just what these trends are looking like currently to check it out!

It is FREE OF CHARGE, (all you have to do is register here): https://www.theultimateguidetocollege.com/

Check out this amazing new program, innovatively created for pandemic times!

Karen

I wrote an article early in the pandemic about suggestions on how to take action even when you think there isn’t much you can do during difficult economic times. I was pleased to present a mini-program about this at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Career Expo on August 20. Whether you are unemployed or simply unhappy in your current role, this high-energy video with props will give you some ideas.

The first half is the program and the second half is a practical Q & A. For a (slightly less fun) reading version of the program, click here for my earlier blog post.

I’ve been invited to be the featured program presenter for another Post-Gazette Career Expo:

Reinventing Yourself during Pandemic Times

Thursday, October 22, 11:00 – 11:15 AM

This will be relevant to both unemployed folks whose industries were impacted by the pandemic job market and employed folks who are considering a career change due to pandemic re-evaluation.

I wait and wonder

               For those who are furloughed

               Will I go back? Should I look?

               How I ache for the familiar that I took for granted

               Even the parts I hated.

I wait and wonder

               For those whose jobs may be insecure

               Am I next?

               In the meantime, I feel guilty as a survivor

               Even if I don’t like my job.

I wait and wonder

               For those whose jobs have ended

               What can I find in these turbulent times?

               I’m not sure where I fit and what to do.

               Even if I’m motivated.

I wait and wonder

               For those who have been unhappy

               How can I change now?

               Maybe I better just hang on

               Even if I’m beyond ready.

I wait and wonder

               For those who are happily employed.

               How can I process this turmoil?

               I feel privileged as well as overworked

               Even as I feel grateful.       

I wait and wonder

               For those essential workers on the front line

               How long can I do this?

               It is taking its toll

               Even as I know it is important work.

I wait and wonder

               For those who own small businesses

               Will I need to close my doors?

               I can’t bear to face lost dreams and lost faces

               Even if I worked more than I wanted.

I wait and wonder

               For those working at home with children

               How can I do justice to both jobs?

               I feel like I’m not doing enough

               Even when I’m doing my best.

May you rise up to self-awareness and self-care.

May you rise up to learning and loving.

May you rise up to hope and help.

May you rise up to compassion and courage.

               You are not alone.

©2020, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced with this entire by-line. Contact: Litzinger Career Consulting, Karen@KarensCareerCoaching.com, 412-977-4029.

Register and Research:

  • Register early to have the greatest access to materials.
  • Research whether it is on-line written chat or video chat.
  • Research employers, identify your top 5, take notes to use in interactions.

Technology Tips:

  • Review any written or video tips about the platform and event.
  • Test your technology equipment.
  • If video fair, have a clean, non-distracting background, computer camera at eye level height (use books to raise as needed), and screen arranged so you are centered on the video from shoulder to head.
  • Log-on early to explore the logistics and ask for help as needed.
  • During the event, review any additional event or employer chat rooms for up-to-date information and so you are not asking a question that has already been answered. Show your attentiveness by referring to what has been written.

Prepare and Practice:

  • Prepare your “elevator pitch” including one sentence tailored to that employer demonstrating your research.
  • For written chat room fairs, prepare your pitch in advance so it is thought out and easy to cut and paste. You may prepare some template or individualized follow-up questions or closing as well, tailoring to the conversation.
  • Review typical questions you may be asked and prepared bulleted answers including examples, stories and results. Prepare questions to ask that demonstrate your knowledge of the organization.
  • If video, practice with a friend, in a mirror, or through Zoom recording option. You could post a few key points at the top of your computer or behind it.
  • Decide in advance who you want to connect with. Start with an employer of less interest and end with your top employer.

Professional Presentation:

  • In written chats, use correct grammar and capitalization.
  • For video, fully dress as if it is an in-person fair. Have a few inches visible to show professional dress
  • For video fairs, make sure to smile and periodically look directly at the camera. Arrange your screen so that the employer is centered and as close to the camera as possible.
  • Be patient and courteous with recruiters who may be fairly new at this too. Demonstrate your professionalism with statements of understanding.
  • If networking rather than job searching, share this and be respectful of time.
  • Ask for contact information, next steps, and time-frame. Consider asking for an interview.

Follow-up:

  • Send a thank you note (email is fine, hard copy can stand out) within 24-48 hours.
  • Follow any instructions given by the employer, such as applying on-line.
  • If you have contact information, follow-up a week after the fair or a few days after the timeframe the employer gave you re-expressing your interest, giving another copy of your resume, and asking about your status or interview timeframe.

More Stand Out from the Crowd Tips:

  • Reach out to your top five employers in advance whether on-line application or email so you can start your “elevator pitch” sharing your initiative.
  • Even without reaching out in advance, you could stand out by saying “You are one of my top five organizations of interest.” Then say why.
  • Connect with organizations of interest even if the vacancies are not of interest to learn about the organization culture and structure, and perhaps receive a referral to an appropriate department.
  • Circle back toward the end of the fair reminding the employer of who you are and your strong interest, again tailoring and demonstrating your knowledge of the organization.

©2020, Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced with permission including this full section. Litzinger Career Consulting contact information: www.KarensCareerCoaching.com, Karen@karenscareercoaching.com, 412-977-4029.

“The 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at 4-year degree-granting institutions in fall 2011 overall was 60 percent.”

People are often surprised by this data from a 2019 Department of Education report. I hope this information motivates high school students and their parents to think even more carefully about post-high school choices.

This summer may be an opportune time for high school (and college) students to engage in some reflection and exploration about education and career choices. My guess is that there are less opportunities for summer jobs because of the pandemic business slow down, so possibly more time for other activities. Even if not, students have more time now than during the school year for education and career counseling. I’d be happy to help with my four session High School Advising Package. Maybe a graduation gift for someone you care about? I’m now serving clients remotely across the country.

Besides the low 60% graduation rate, think about the debt of the 40% who didn’t graduate and have thousands of dollars of loans. Average student debt of those graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2019 was $29,900; some sources note higher rates. Loans were taken out by 69% of students. Click here for a link to the article that was updated in January 2020.

I was at a program this week by Steve Wize of Mental Fitness who shared data that 40% of college graduates are underemployed. While historically higher degrees indicate higher earnings, this could be shifting. Click here for the 2020 data on wages by education; note that the research is based on those 25 and over. There are many paths to success that do not require a bachelor’s degree. I shared options in the blog I wrote earlier this year, Top Careers that Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree. While there are many paths to success and happiness, I highly advocate some type of education beyond high school, whether a degree, apprenticeship, or certification.

Our country is at a crossroads, and I feel it is time to talk and share more. I’ve been inspired by the idea recently that’s it’s not simply enough to “not be racist” but we are called to be “anti-racist”.  I’ve also been affected by the phrase “White Silence = Violence.” I was reminded of the video I am inviting you to watch by a colleague this week. The video affected me profoundly a few years ago when I saw it at the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association conference. Click here for the video which also contains an article with additional insights.

Over many years my church has discussed the uncomfortable and initially foreign concept of white privilege. This video illustrates it in a profound manner. I also realize there are issues with the video. When I first saw it, I wondered whether there was sufficient professional processing of what could be a traumatic event for the black students featured in the video.  An article I read recently questioned whether students gave permission, ideally before and after. Another article pointed out that since the video was more about the symptoms of white privilege and not the systemic structures and history that cause it, this gives a quite limited view.

I humbly share that I think this is a good “starting place” on our “marathon” of addressing our history of slavery and racism that still impacts our country today.  I feel that it is by touching hearts and hearing stories that we can move forward on our necessary journey of healing, our journey honoring the oneness of humanity and dignity of every human being. Synchronicity has me sharing this on Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, June 19, 1865.

  • Clarify goals – Although you may have an urge to get your resume out right away, take a little time to process your job loss and decide what you really want for your next steps.
  • Wait before networking – You may also feel an urgency to ask everyone you know if they know of any jobs.  If you take a little time to absorb the loss and clarify your goals, your contact will be better able to help you and you will come across clearer and more positive.
  • Tell a trusted few first – Don’t keep this from important people in your life.  Procrastinating on sharing the news will only be harder on you.  Plus you could use the support right now!  You also don’t want to indiscriminately tell everyone you see since your feelings may be too raw or you may not have a comfortable way of explaining the job loss figured out yet.
  • Apply for Unemployment Compensation – You have been contributing to this system, and this is what it is there for.  Apply on the first day after your last day of working.
  • Apply for COBRA or other health insurance – Be sure to take care of yourself and your family if you have one.
  • Review finances – This might include reviewing your retirement plan or making a budget once you know your severance package and unemployment compensation.  It might be anxiety-producing to deal with the topic of money at this point, but it is better to know where you stand than not know.  You may even be able to plan for taking some time off for retraining, healing, or figuring out career goals.
  • Organize a personal office space – Create a space in your home for your career transition paperwork and activities.  You may want to reorganize the existing desk space, set up filing bins or purchase a computer.
  • Keep a calendar – Although you will have a huge change in routine, you will still be having activities to keep track of.  Initially it may be more personal, but eventually you will be keeping track of networking appointments and interviews or setting goals on your calendar.
  • Stay connected with friends and colleagues – Eventually you will want to tell most friends, family and colleagues so you can get support and perhaps networking contacts.  Be sure not to isolate yourself.

Don’t wait too long – Taking a few days or weeks off after termination can be a reasonable choice if your circumstances allow for it, but waiting too long can increase

© 2008-2020, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh PA. Section from outplacement services Career Transition Workbook. All rights reserved. Permission given to reprint or share only in its entirety with this complete by-line and contact information: Litzinger Career Consulting, www.KarensCareerCoaching.comkaren@KarensCareerCoaching.com, 412-977-4029. For alternative use permission, please contact the author.

Whether you knew the termination was coming or were caught completely by surprise, there are a wide range of emotions you may feel.  Some people feel strong anxiety and anger about the termination or how it was handled.  Others may feel a sense of relief, either because it was not a good job fit anyhow or because the process leading up to the termination dragged on.

There is no right or wrong way to feel, but understanding and expressing your emotions in a healthy manner is necessary in helping you move forward.  Whether you are devastated or see it as an opportunity for new beginnings, it is still a job loss.  Even losing your daily routine or a family of coworkers are parts of the loss.  In our culture, people are often identified with career roles.  Upon meeting someone new, aren’t you often asked “What do you do?”  Not knowing what to say is part of the loss.

There are various theories of loss, but most originate from the work of psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and her book, On Death and Dying.  Although the original work focused on stages of loss, it is more helpful to look at these as possible areas of emotions that you may move back and forth through.  Here are some brief descriptions to help you understand and cope with these emotions.

  • Shock – You may have felt this as you were being told the news.  This can include the feeling of being numb and not even completely hearing or comprehending the conversation.
  • Denial – This includes being unsure that you understood the termination completely, or doing activities that include anything but moving forward on one’s job search.
  • Bargaining – This stage can include conversations or an expectation related to your employer changing its mind or calling you back in a different capacity.
  • Anger – This can be about the fact of losing your job or how it was handled.  Your angry feelings may be toward the company or toward specific individuals at the company.  You may even feel anger toward yourself in not anticipating the termination or being more prepared for a job move.  Find safe ways to express your anger, such as physical exercise or keeping a journal.
  • Anxiety – This is a common emotion associated with concern of financially being able to provide for oneself or one’s family.  You may also have anxiety about being able to actually find another job.  Taking action is important at this stage, so you don’t become paralyzed with fear.
  • Depression – This can occur when the full realization of the loss has set in.  Although it is common to have the “blues” sometime after a job loss, if there is chronic or recurrent low energy, loss of appetite or overeating, or disturbed sleep, this level of depression could indicate a need for professional treatment. Taking care of oneself is essential in this stage.
  • Testing – This involves trying out options or actions whether exploring a new career field or moving forward on the job search.
  • Acceptance – This is the point at which one finds a way to move forward, focusing on the future and not the past, ideally with a sense of hope.

© 2008-2020, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh PA. Section from outplacement services Career Transition Workbook. All rights reserved. Permission given to reprint or share only in its entirety with this complete by-line and contact information: Litzinger Career Consulting, www.KarensCareerCoaching.com, karen@KarensCareerCoaching.com, 412-977-4029. For alternative use permission, please contact the author.

(Gift certificates for personalized career coaching can help practically and emotionally.)

An April College Reaction Poll showed that ¾ of students had their internship or post-graduate work plans disrupted due to the coronavirus, with half having offers canceled.  Others had them delayed or moved to remote.

It can be easy to lose hope, but now is not the time to bury your head in the sand.  You want and need to keep moving forward with the job search so you are in the pipeline when the economy opens up.  Plus, there are indeed some industries and companies that are still hiring. 

You should also be thinking of additional activities to supplement your job or internship search activities to be ready for the interview question:

“How did you spend your time during the pandemic period?”

You don’t want “looking for a job” to be your only answer.

HERE ARE MY NINE TOP TIPS:

1. Clarify career goals, including back-up plans: College students are often not successful in the job search because they were so busy just getting through that they didn’t clarify what they wanted to do after graduation beyond “get a job and start paying back loans.” Sometimes students really don’t like their major, but feel it’s too late to shift since so much money was invested.  It’s never too late to shift, especially when you have decades in front of you.  Right now, many people are reinventing themselves so you are in good company. Because of the economic conditions, students may feel like it’s not realistic to find a job you’ll like.  Sure, you may need to think about back-up plans and compromise, but at least know your ideal target.  The reason knowing your goals and targets make you more effective in the search is because that is necessary for networking.

2. Never Stop Networking: Yes, this remains important and going on even during COVID times.  Some things never change. Networking still has a 50-80% success rate, much higher than the “black hole of the Internet.” College students may think of networking as only tied to LinkedIn, but that is just one vehicle of many.  The old-fashioned strategy of asking your parents (and other relatives, friends, neighbors, and college professors) “Do you know anyone who is in the ABC career field or XYZ industry?” is still relevant. Professional associations and college career offices are also good sources. Remember that networking is ideally about asking for advice and information not “do you know of any jobs.”

3. Leverage LinkedIn: This is a key resource both for networking and actual job vacancies. First make sure you have a solid profile, smiling photo, and references that you give and receive.  For networking, naturally see if any of your contacts is in or knows anyone in your career or industry of interest.  Ask them to introduce you for networking purposes; the clearer you are about seeking advice and not a job lead, the more willing they will be.  When you send an invitation to anyone, be sure to personalize it.  Choose a couple career interest groups to join; observe first and share a resource or comment if you can before reaching out to an individual or group to ask a networking question.  Lastly, tap the little known alumni feature for networking. Go to your college page, click on the Alumni link, and search by title, keyword or company. You can also include a city as a key word and filter by graduation year.

4. Join a Professional Association: Join one if you haven’t. Almost all professional associations have greatly discounted student membership.  Many allow recent grads under that category for up to a year, or ask for an exception.  Information provided can help you learn about a profession both for clarifying goals and for showing knowledge in an interview. Many have career resource sections and job vacancies.  Most importantly, they are a source of networking!  Whether you make a networking request of an author of an article or the president of the local, state or national group, you may more likely receive a response out of professional responsibility. It one of the very few “cold” networking requests that I suggest, and introverts are often more comfortable in this realm.  If you aren’t sure where to start, Google the specific phrase “professional association” followed by one or two words of your career goal. 

5. Tap Your College Career Center: You typically will have access to your center as an alumni.  Even if you feel there isn’t any help for your field or major, at least try and especially tap any alumni networking program as well as the vacancy list.  Having been director of a college career center, I often advise clients on how to best use their college services to complement my more personalized coaching. For example, a staff member may be able to give you a recruiter’s name of an organization they are connected with even if there is no current vacancy.

6. Volunteer Strategically: While volunteering is a worthwhile activity itself, to both serve and feel productive, I advise clients to choose the place and experience strategically.  What activities can be connected to your goals? What roles will allow you to have more interaction with staff members, even if remotely.  What meetings can you “sit in on” to learn about the bigger picture, even if your role is data entry or making phone calls? Are they open to supporting you having networking meetings with staff members?  You can treat this somewhat like an internship, even if the duties are not as significant.

7. Get into Gigs: Consider project or freelance work to learn skills and add content to your resume, portfolio and interviewing. Volunteering may do that for you, but you can also find gigs through freelancing platforms like Upwork.com, the most well-known. Click here for nine additional ones.

8. Upgrade Your Skills: Although you may be tired of being on-line, downtime is an opportunity to show employer you are using your time well by developing your skills.  Whether you upgrade your technology skills (more important than ever), take a writing course, or enroll in a workshop through a professional association, you are setting yourself up to feel good about yourself and impress a prospective employer. Many free on-line education platforms exist, although some have a mix of free and fee-based offerings. Click here for a top 10 and click here for a top 25.

9. Identify Hot Spots: Although the economy may feel frozen, in a recent meeting of career counseling professionals, we identified several industries that are hiring during and because of this coronavirus crisis.  These include Logistics & Distribution, Grocery and some Retail, Virtual Meeting Platforms, Cybersecurity, SaaS companies, Human Resources, Management Consulting, parts of Healthcare. 

I would be honored to help you think strategically about career planning for success and satisfaction.

And I would be happy to help you to create an answer that employers will admire to the question….

“How did you spend you time during the pandemic period?”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is sponsoring the Hiring Pittsburgh Digi-Me Virtual Career Fair to be held on April 29 and April 30. I’m excited they reached out to me to me to be a partner in co-presenting How to Prepare for a Virtual Career Expo on Tuesday, April 28 at 2:00 PM. Please share this blog with people who may benefit so they can get the links for more information.

At the preparation webinar, you will learn:

– What to expect from a virtual career expo and receive a live tour of the platform

– How to present yourself professionally as you make virtual connections with employers

– How to develop an elevator pitch to help you stand out from the crowd 

CLICK HERE to register for the webinar. Space is limited.

To get ready to stand out from the crowd even before the webinar, do register for the fair including a smiling photo, review the list of employers on the Post-Gazette Facebook page HERE, pick your top 3-5, and check out their web pages for current openings. Even if the employer doesn’t list an opening of interest, it is still worth registering to connect.

CLICK HERE to register for the Expo.


Attendees can visit the virtual resource center during the expo. Here, attendees will receive assistance building their resume, can ask questions about the platform and can download a list of local support services.

CLICK HERE for a list of employers and positions that are updated daily on the Event Facebook Page.

Life has been turned upside down, crashing down the last weeks with the progression of the coronavirus, COVID-19. With states of emergency and businesses temporarily closed, the Department of Labor reported last week that 3.3 million people applied for unemployment in the past week, five times the all time high in 1982. The $2 trillion stimulus package will eventually give some relief to the unemployed and business community and it’s hard to keep up and know when resources will be coming.

With all that is going on, I would like to share some relevant resources to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

Don’t Quarantine Your Career: 7 Career Tips in COVID Times, my latest blog post: http://karenscareercoaching.com/2020/04/dont-quarantine-your-career-7-career-tips-in-covid-times/

Career Advice in a Quarantine podcast where I was a panelist: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6648289819447349248/

KDKA Radio Interview and Tips from March 27 (go in 30 seconds): https://kdkaradio.radio.com/media/audio-channel/karen-litzinger-jobs-specialist

Fortune article from March 27 about unemployment benefits from the stimulus rescue package: https://fortune.com/2020/03/27/coronavirus-unemployment-benefits-stimulus-package-who-eligible-when-start-how-much-long-faq-relief-bill/

Partner4Work, the region’s major workforce development organization (scroll to Job Seekers): https://www.partner4work.org/news/covid-19-resources/ 

Hopefully you’ve started adjusting to our new normal of isolation. Although parts of the job market are at a standstill, there are things you can do both for job searching and for thinking about a future career shift or further education.  Additionally, some industries are in big hiring modes, if you are in need of immediate cash flow; think warehouse, transportation, logistics, healthcare, food, pharmacy, and technology.  Now may be a good time to dust off or refine your resume, reflect on what you want out of your life and career, and consider adding to your skill set. Keep reading for my 7 career tips in uncertain coronavirus times.

Think: Be prepared, be ready!

I first started thinking about what makes sense to do during this time when a client emailed me even before the stay-at-home advisories asking “should we even meet about the job search since no one will be networking?”  At some level it reminded me of what clients say in December: “Should I even job search since no one will be hiring during the holidays?”  Even if not much hiring is happening, it good to keep things going since an according to the Department of Labor in 2019 an average job search took approximately five months. More time is needed if you are considering a career change. Some people may even have more time available for a networking conversation. In today’s new world of social distancing, people may actually welcome a remote opportunity to connect or may be in a more altruistic mood. 

1. Reach out for relationships and networking –Consider simply reaching out to someone you haven’t connected with to stay in touch and ask “how are you?”  Don’t forget to reply back.  My clients sometimes say they don’t feel like they can reach out to ask a networking question since they haven’t been in touch for a quite a while.  This is your opportunity to reconnect with people from long ago, and it won’t seem odd. When you do purposefully reach out for networking, remember that this is about seeking information and advice, not asking about job openings (they will tell you!). Offer support and assistance to others as well.

2. Reflect and reassess your goals – The upheaval may cause you to think about exploring a career shift for greater satisfaction.  Alternatively, you may have lost a job in an industry that is hard hit, and you need to explore a shift out of necessity. Typical steps of career exploration involve self-assessment, including interests, skills, personality traits and values/what you want from a job. Then explore and research career and education options, including the job market.

3. Build your skills – Through career research you may find a need to gain some skills for a career shift or to increase marketability.  Now may be a good time to catch up on the professional development reading you’ve set aside. New and free webinars are being offered to develop personal and professional skills.  Many free on-line education platforms exist, although some have a mix of free and fee-based offerings. Click here for a top 10 and click here for a top 25.

4. Upgrade your technology  – As part of developing your skills, give some special attention to technology since this is a necessary and marketable skill.  Learn tips on how to use and present your best self on video platforms like Zoom. Free conference call tools are another resource to learn about and use, even if just for family calls. This may also include upgrading your physical technology with better audio equipment. Employers are always looking for people comfortable with technology. Sharing that you’ve recently learned new tech skills will be a plus for your job search, especially if you are a mature job seeker.

5. Polish your presence – Revise your resume, making sure it is current and targeted to your goals. Enhance your LinkedIn profile by completing sections, inviting links with personal messages, giving and requesting recommendations, and participating in interest groups related to your career. If applicable, update or add to your professional website or portfolio.

6. Take action – Keep applying if you are in search mode even if you think people aren’t hiring or won’t respond. Don’t just bury your head in the sand. Recognize that the hiring process may take longer. Follow-up periodically to stay in the game and show interest.  Get creative. I recently advised a client applying for English instructor positions to send the department heads a few relevant, inspirational passages from literature as a follow-up.

7. Take care of yourself and others – Stay connected with people, get adequate rest, eat healthily, exercise, get out in nature, enjoy a favorite hobby, read inspirational material, meditate or pray. Take care of others too, such as calling relative, friend, or neighbor, sending someone an uplifting message, or volunteering safely if you can.

We’re all in this together and hopefully we will come out stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.

I am happy to help you whether for career and education goals or the job search, whether an immediate need or planning for the future. To keep us all safe, I am working remotely via video or phone. Call me at 412-977-4029 to explore or schedule. Gift certificates are available.

Don’t quarantine your career! 

Think: Be prepared, be ready!

Since I was interviewed twice in two months regarding the high cost of college, I thought I would share some top jobs that don’t need a bachelor’s degree. Most people are shocked to learn that of those entering a bachelor’s degree (thinking it will be four years), the actually graduation rate SIX years later is just 59%. Career counseling can help save individuals and families time, money and heartache! Do be sure to graduate from high school, and some type of training, certification or apprenticeship is a yes!

Employment Projections 2018-2028. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 4, 2019 News Release,

Of the 10 fastest growing occupations, projected 2018-2028, the first five do not require a degree:

  1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers, 63.3% increase, $42,680 median wage May 2018
  2. Wind Turbine Technicians, 56.9% increase, $54,370 median wage May 2018
  3. Home Health Aides, 36.6% increase, $24,200 median wage May 2018
  4. Personal Care Aides, 36.4% increase, $24,020 median wage May 2018
  5. Occupational Therapy Assistants, 33.1% increase, $60,220 median wage May 2018

CLICK HERE for the rest of the top ten and the full news release.

Highest Paying Jobs without a Degree, Best Jobs U.S. News and World Report, January 7, 2020

This data is part of a comprehensive report with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and interviews. The report includes information on mobility, stress, balance, unemployment rate and job links to vacancies.  Helpful is more salary data beyond the median wage, so can give a more realistic view of starting salaries. Job growth is noted at the end of the job descriptions, so keep reading. Numbers of actual expected to be created is important to know in addition to growth because if it is a very small field, even with rapid growth, opportunities may be limited.

Top 10 highest paying jobs without a degree:

  1. Patrol Officer, 5% growth with 34,500 jobs, $61,380 median wage
  2. Executive Assistant, -19.8% growth losing 123,000 jobs, $59,340 median wage
  3. Sales Representative, 1.7% growth with 23,300 jobs, $58,510 median wage
  4. Electrician, 10.4% growth with 74,100 jobs, $55,190 median wage
  5. Wind Turbine Installer, 56.9% growth with 3,800 jobs, $54,370 median wage
  6. Structural Iron and Steel Worker, 11.5% growth with 9,200 jobs, $53,980
  7. Plumber, 13,6% growth with 68,200 jobs, $53,910 median wage
  8. Hearing Aid Specialist, 15.9% growth with 1200 new jobs, $52,770 median wage
  9. Sound Engineering Technician, 1.6% growth with 200 jobs, $52,390 median wage
  10. Brick Mason and Block Mason, 9.7% growth with 8400 jobs, $50,950 median wage

CLICK HERE for details about these jobs, the rest of the top 25 jobs, and specifics about report methodology.

10 Highest Paying Jobs without a College Degree Paying more than $79,000, April 24, 2019

Also sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with just slightly older data, these fields are also worth a look:

  1. Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers, $94,730, 7% growth
  2. Nuclear Power Reactor Operators, $94.350, -10% growth
  3. First Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives, $89,030, 7% growth
  4. Power Distributors and Dispatchers, $86,410, -3% growth
  5. Commercial Pilots, $82,240, 4% growth
  6. Detectives and Criminal Investigators, $81,290, 5% growth
  7. Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrical Repairers, $80,200, 4% growth
  8. Elevator Installers and Repairers, $79,780, 12 percent growth
  9. Power Plant Operators, $79,610, 1% growth
  10. Media and Communication Equipment Workers, $79,580, 8% growth

CLICK HERE for the article, including brief descriptions. It was source from prior Bureau of Labor Statistics data which had projections until 2026 rather than the more current 2028.  This is a good example of how employment projections data changes, so career decisions should be based on more than wages and growth because the job market can change. Making sure you have skills and interests that fit is important too.

In this past Sunday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article (link at end), I was interviewed about the impact of the high cost of college on education decision-making. Though I commented on the realities that most can no longer afford to go to college to “find themselves,” I do believe that a life choice should be more than simply a well-paying, in-demand job.  Yes, a person needs to know job market information, but if you are miserable or unsuccessful, that’s really not enough for the long term.  A poor career choice can negatively affect your relationships as well as mental and physical health. There are many education paths and levels that can lead to success and happiness.

Making grounded education and career choices involves FIRST looking at yourself in terms of interests, skills, values and personality and THEN exploring what is out there that relates specifically to you, not the whole world of work.  Career counseling helps individuals do this through insightful conversation, career research, and exercises, including career inventories (which by the way are not meant to ”tell you what you should be” even if you wish they would!).

I love helping high school students through retirees answer the question “what do I want to be when I grow up.”  And if you are thinking of going back to school, it is especially critical to be clear and grounded before investing time and money.

Speaking of money, HERE IS THE LINK TO THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW ARTICLE.  Lots of good data there!

I love that so many alternatives to New Year’s resolutions are emerging. For decades I have done a yearly reflection and set intentions and a theme.  This year I am writing a full page of an affirmation daily in a special notebook (inspired by Louise Hay) relating to my theme. Since manifesting involves feeling and faith, I verbally say the affirmations with emotion as I write; if I need help believing it, I recall a time in the past when I was in that space. My theme for 2020 is Manifesting Abundance and Joy Joyfully.

Three of my affirmations this year have been:

-I serve people with authentic love and prosper.

-I welcome financial abundance from Infinite Source.

-I am already prosperous and create more.

This notebook exercise is a self-designed 10-week course related to financial prosperity, though, abundance means more, of course, than money: good health, love, friendships, etc. My home equity loan for a $10,000 roof last year has been a personal motivator!

A few years ago, I created an affirmation from a five-step process that was quite helpful when I said it daily with emotion and belief. I share it with you as an example in case prosperity is on your intention list this year:

“I attract financial abundance of all types, including work that is of service to others, effortless, and deeply meaningful to me and uses my gifts optimally.”

It has been invigorating to read prosperity wisdom from many sources, which come from deep spiritual and psychological perspectives.  It is also exciting to think about how I can use more of my prosperity to bring joy to others as well as me.

I wish you inspiration and insight as you create and manifest intentions that bring you joy this year!

P.S. If you know anyone who wants to be happier in their career/job or more successful their job search, I am grateful for referrals.