Archive | Self-Assessment

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Whether it’s a frugal desire to avoid the financial strain inherent in student life, or simply that you feel university isn’t the best path for you as an individual, there are many different ways to get your foot on the first rung of the career ladder that are worth keeping in mind when looking towards the future.

An apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to be trained on-the-job, learning as you go under the guidance of experienced workers already well established in the business. In addition to gaining job-specific skills within the industry that interests you, time will generally be kept aside to allow for some study in the relevant field (typically one day a week), making it a comprehensive way to learn about the role. To qualify, you need to be at least 16 and not in full-time education, meaning it’s an ideal alternative to an academic path for many people.

An internship works in a similar way to an apprenticeship in some respects, in that it’s a position offered to prospective workers that allows them to gain first-hand experience in the workplace itself. It differs from the former however, in that it’s typically carried out over a shorter period of time (anywhere from a week to a year), meaning less time commitment if you don’t want to be tied down right away, but also in that they are generally offered with the intention of hiring any promising talent into a more permanent position.

What’s more, since an internship is classed as a work placement, you will usually be entitled to payment of at least the national minimum wage throughout the duration of your position.

Working your way up
In lots of industries, it’s possible to apply for an entry-level role that requires little to no specific experience or qualifications, and to simply learn about how the industry works from the inside as you gradually work your way up through the company. This route may take a little more time, but it can bring with it a lot of job satisfaction as you are promoted up the ranks, and would leave you with an intimate knowledge of all areas concerning the business.

Classes and courses
It’s always worth checking out what classes and courses are on offer at your local college or night school. You can find all kinds of training groups and short-term qualifications that can sometimes require as little as a couple of hours, one evening a week for a few weeks, at the end of which you have newfound skills and certificates to put on your CV.

It would be foolhardy to think that everyone could just go it alone in their career and make a success of it right away. That’s not to say that self-employment doesn’t work out for a lot of people, however, and it is indeed a perfectly valid option worth considering. It requires a lot of hard work and self-discipline, but if you’ve got the drive to make it happen, it can lead to many perks, such as complete control over your own working hours and holidays, the ability to set your own rate of pay, and creative freedom with regards to the work carried out and the very business itself.

This article was contributed by guest author Julie Cheung.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Being a medical professional is not just a job, it’s a passion. Students who find themselves drawn to medicine are often well-suited for a career in this field, but it’s important to take the time to consider the factors that make up this profession. These eight issues should help a student narrow down whether or not a career in medicine is right for them.

1. Commitment to Serving Others

The first question any student should ask themselves before entering into a career in medicine is whether or not they want to commit themselves to serving others. Because medicine is geared towards saving lives, students must be passionate about making a difference in this way.

Service-oriented fields like medicine are perfect for students who want to make a difference in other people’s lives; however, not everyone feels the need to contribute to society in this way. That’s why students must first sit down and consider if a career in medicine is the best path for them.

2. Education

Entering the medical field requires a great deal of education. With 14 years being the average time a student spends in school and residencies in order to become a doctor, and with other positions taking between six and eight years, the time it takes to become educated enough to earn a position must be taken into account.

Students who want to specialize will often be in their 30s before they begin their careers as a licensed professional. Even then, these professionals are required to continually learn, evolving their practice as technology advances the field.

3. Salary

Salary is often one of the major factors in a student’s decision to enter the medical sector. With large salaries available for most jobs, it is easy to understand why. Surgeons and physicians can easily make over $100,000, while other specialties can earn more, even at the start of their career.

However, there are some factors that influence the salary of a plastic surgeon, physician, or other medical professions. This includes the cost of living in a certain region, education level, accreditation, licensing, previous work experience, and more. It’s also important to remember that many students enter the workforce with debt, meaning that much of their salary could go towards paying off what they owe.

4. Job Opportunities

Job opportunities in medicine abound, with the average annual growth hitting roughly 400,000 new jobs every year. That number is only climbing and the medical sector is the number one employer in the United States.

With that said, opportunities for specific jobs will remain competitive. Specialized fields often call for extra certifications; students should remember that when it comes to getting licensed for their profession.

5. Lifestyle

All medical professionals have a stressful, busy lifestyle and often suffer from work overload. From physicians being on-call at all hours of the day to surgeons and nurses preparing and carrying out operations, to even technicians who have the job of ensuring medical technology is accurate, the lifestyle of a medical professional is not without challenges.

6. Cost of Training

Students who go into a medical career often need to attend medical school or other graduate programs prior to getting a job in the field. Because of the extra training, students in America often accrue a debt of $100,000 or more. This number is expected to rise with the annual increase in tuition.

Training for a medical profession is costly, but there is good news: there are a variety of loan forgiveness programs, scholarships, and grants to help ease the cost of schooling. Most students will still incur debt, however. That’s why the cost of training is a factor for students looking to specialize in the medical field.

7. Teamwork Scenarios

Becoming a professional in the medical field is about teamwork. Every professional in a hospital, clinic, or healthcare facility is a valued and integral member of a team that saves lives.

This means that students should think long and hard about whether or not they want to be a part of a team. Collaboration with others is critical, and medical professionals need to have a good working relationship with their colleagues in order to save lives, so a career in medicine is not for the independent-minded professional.

8. Personality Fit

Does a student’s personality fit really matter? In medicine, it can make a real difference. That’s because a student’s personality, goals, interests, and values can mold the kind of profession in medicine they decide to pursue.

Students who are compassionate, hardworking, and analytical make the best candidates. Health care is a person-oriented profession, so it’s important that a student can manage their temper, deliver news in a compassionate way, speak professionally and accurately with colleagues and patients, and more. By understanding their personality, a student can determine whether medicine is the right choice for them as a career.

Medicine is a challenging and rewarding career. Students will find themselves in a field that has a lot to offer them, both in personal and professional development. But it takes research to understand if this is a great fit for a student, so introspection is necessary before moving forward.

This article was contributed by guest author Jennifer Clarke.

Photo by on Unsplash

A lot of entrepreneurs and successful startup employees swear by starting businesses while you’re still a student. The philosophy behind that idea is that you’re ready to leap off the ground the moment you finish your education. While this sometimes works, you can never quite predict what life is going to throw at you. Everyone needs a backup plan – especially when dealing with something as ambitious as starting a business.

You’re Dealing with Time Constraints

Students are at least as busy as (or even busier than) business owners. This is especially true as graduation approaches. If you’re already devoting massive amounts of time to your education and you have a side gig to make some cash, you’ll be lucky to ever sleep again if you start a business. Some people won’t face the same kind of workload, and actually have the necessary time to devote to starting a business. If that’s not you, you’ll need to be able to find the time to keep yourself sane and healthy.

If you’re worried about time, start by focusing on long term planning. Devote your spare time to planning what you’ll do in the future, rather than actually implementing your plans. You won’t need an exit strategy if you haven’t actually started your business – there’s a lot less pressure when you focus on preparing for your future rather than building one from the ground up.

Your Education Might Take You in a New Direction

You’ve started a business, and things are difficult. You graduate, and you get a job offer that you would never have conceived being offered. You really want to take it, but you’re tethered to another obligation. What are you going to do? You don’t know what’s going to happen a few years down the road, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to live your dream.

If this happens, you’ll need to know you can safely leave the business. Co-founding your business with others might be your best bet. If one or more of you needs to leave, the business will still be able to survive. If things are going really well, you might even be able to find someone to buy you out. You’ll be free, and your former business might even wind up better because of it.

You Want to Be Careful With Costs

Being a student is expensive. You need to be able to keep your head above water while you’re finishing up your education. Student loan debt is very high in some parts of the world, and the financial juggling act that comes with learning can be a real nightmare. If running your business is costing you money or it isn’t as profitable as you need it to be, you have to be able to pull away quickly.

This is easy to do when you’re running a business like a profitable blog or an eCommerce service. You can always sell your website and walk away with some cash. You’ll be able to pay off what you need to pay off, or use that cash to carry you through until you land a stable and profitable position.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use your exit strategy. If you consider every possibility before you start a business, you’re more likely to be able to prevent or quickly resolve any hang ups you might run into along the way. On the other hand, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into – you’ll have a much easier time.

This article was contributed by guest author Amber Brunning.

Image by AlexanderStein,

For many college graduates, the first step on the employment ladder is either unappealing or non-forthcoming. Those with a burning business idea are tempted to go it alone and put their entrepreneurial spirit to the test.

However, a common stumbling block in getting a new business off the ground is the lack of funds available to a recently graduated student. You haven’t had decades of lucrative work topping up your bank balance. Instead, you’re pretty much broke after years of expensive accommodation and tuition fees with only low paid, part time jobs to see you through.

But don’t despair. Your brilliant business idea needn’t founder. Here are seven ways you can find the funds to make your dreams a reality and get that start-up off the ground.

Work on Your Business Part Time
Many recently graduated entrepreneurs don’t put all of their eggs in one basket. They work at temporary or freelance jobs on a part time basis and spend the rest of their time working on their business. With a little money coming in, you can afford to live modestly and, hopefully, invest in your enterprise without your finances running into the red.

Rent Out Your Space
Make use of any spare space you have at home before and after you finish college. This could mean offering a room to host tourists visiting your city or renting out disused space for storage using a site like Spacer. Maximising your resources in this way is a great opportunity to stump up a little extra cash.

Buy and Sell Second Hand
Textbooks can be expensive. Buy them second hand from past students or through online stores like Amazon. And don’t forget to sell them once your own course has ended. Buying second hand items and selling items you no longer use can save you lots of money – and it doesn’t have to end at your textbooks. Clothes, furniture, kitchen appliances and business equipment can all be found much cheaper second hand.

Make Use of the Sharing Economy
In these days of interconnectivity, it’s easy to find people with whom to share or exchange resources. A new business owner no longer needs to rent out an expensive office from the get go. Co-working spaces are a sociable and low-cost place to start. Some companies are also keen to maximise the return from their own resources and will be prepared to rent out equipment on an hourly basis, which saves you from spending lots of money in initial outlay.

Get A Bank Loan
With the right idea, a strong business plan and a receptive bank, you could loan the money you need to start your business. You’ll need to conduct thorough research into the market potential of your product or service idea and put together a comprehensive financial plan for projected loan repayments.

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way to source funding for a new business and bypass the banks completely. You pitch your idea to hundreds of potential investors. They can then invest a lot or a little, giving you the financial support you need to get your idea up and running.

Get A Federal Grant
Small businesses within specified industries can sometimes be eligible for a federal grant. Government funds are allocated each year to support important causes, like medicine, education and social care, as well as new technologies. provides a directory of federal grant programs and details on how to apply for them.

Finding the funds for a new business can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle. There’s certainly a lot of hard work to do to find initial financial input for your company. The good news is there are plenty of avenues to explore. With the right idea, you’re sure to find the funds and make a success of your new business enterprise.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Lewis.

Image by Komsomolec,

School is more than a launchpad to a job or more school. School is fertile ground for students to explore careers through professionals who help them every day.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports student enrollment in higher education programs has increased dramatically since the start of the century. With students of all backgrounds and ages at an all-time high, becoming a school professional is an in-demand option for high job security.

Teachers use knowledge, curricula and their unique personalities to promote learning across a wide range of students. The close relationship teachers share with students is hands-on exposure to this profession. Teachers give students an advantage to see them in action on a daily or weekly basis. They often unwittingly inspire students to become educators.

State laws vary, but most high school teachers hold a four-year college degree and special certification. College and university professors will have advanced master’s and doctoral degrees.

A school counselor keeps high school and college students on track to graduate. These individuals are not only well-versed in the school’s curriculum; they are a treasure chest of knowledge about many career paths and higher education opportunities.

Counselors meet annually or regularly with students to plan out their progress. This role is perfect for people who enjoy being in academic environments and influencing students’ lives. While many schools have great in person programs, online counseling degrees are also becoming more popular. This means that the degree can be easier to attain while working in the field.

Librarians are the silent backbone of most schools. From stocking textbooks to securing information teachers need, librarians manage the school’s collection of books and materials. They order books, publications and digital media to enhance schools’ missions to educate.

Depending on specialty and focus, librarians can receive a wide range of master’s degrees in information science and library studies. The rise in digital media and archives has created a demand for librarians with recent degrees and certifications. Most libraries and schools look for degrees from schools\ accredited by the American Library Association.

Teachers, counselors and librarians empower students and collaborate with each other on a daily basis. In addition to providing valuable services and guidance, these professionals are accessible to answer students’ questions about their jobs. An informational interview or few hours of shadowing will go far to demystify the indispensable roles they play.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.

Image by Wokandapix,

Many people dream of being a teacher, working with children and helping them to become successful individuals. While majoring in education, there are some key characteristics and tangible things that you will need. Each of these four items and qualities will help you to excel in your career as a teacher.

Communication Skills
As a teacher, you will interact with a wide variety of people. From the school security officer or police officer, to the principal and lunch personnel, knowing the staff in your school is crucial to being a successful teacher. In addition to communicating with your fellow teachers and the school principal, guidance counselor, and other staff members, you will also regularly communicate with the parents and caregivers of school kids. Excellent communication skills will be critical to success.

Required Education
Earning an online master’s degree in education prepares you to be a successful teacher. In many school districts, an online master’s degree in education is required in order to become a tenured teacher. By earning your degree online, you can fit it into your work schedule and still enjoy personal and family time. An online master’s degree in education can also help to boost your salary and job prospects.

Patience and Persistence
Some kids will not learn as quickly as others. A few of the lessons that you prepare may not be as effective as you had hoped. You will face these and other challenging situations in your daily life as a teacher. Patience will be key to working your way through them. You will also need to persist through the difficulties and keep on trying new things until you find what works.

A Passion for Learning
Great teachers have a passion for learning. They delight in watching others learn and seeing someone’s face change as a lesson “clicks”. You should have a lifelong passion for learning and discovering new things. Think outside of the textbook and consider some real-world ways to help kids learn. Your enthusiasm for the learning process will be evident to every child who walks through your classroom’s doors.

A degree in education will help to prepare you for what will happen in your classroom. Outside of your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, you will also need to develop or enhance some of your own personality traits. Enthusiasm, passion for your career, patience, persistence and excellent communications skills will take you a long way in your career as a teacher.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.

Image by Unsplash,

Starting a new career in any industry can be a scary endeavor, and that’s no less true for writing. Career writing is filled with uncertainty, more so than most other careers, but being a little more informed can help it seem less daunting. So if you’re a prospective writer, here are a couple of key points you’ll want to know before jumping in.

You Need to Read As Much As You Write
As a writer, you’re going to need to read just as much as, if not more than, you write. Reading is a writer’s way of studying their trade. It exposes you to different styles, new perspectives, and more advanced diction, while at the same time teaching you via the material that you’re reading.

You Need to Be Proficient in Grammar, Diction, and Spelling
Of course, if you’re going to be a writer, you’re going to need to know how to write well. Grammar, spelling, and diction are all extremely important aspects of writing, without which a writer cannot be successful. Luckily, there is software available that will assist you in the spelling and grammar departments; for example: Write!, which will spell check, autocomplete, expose grammar mistakes, count your words, and much more. All of this is necessary for any writer to be successful, as a writer that doesn’t follow conventions or makes many mistakes tends not to get very far.

There Is No Specific Path for Becoming a Writer
Being a writer isn’t like being an accountant, doctor, or teacher. Other careers – with predetermined degree expectations, wages, and hours – all have guidelines to getting started and advancing in that industry. A career in writing is entirely one’s own doing. You can get educated about how to write well, but that’s not going to get your work noticed. You’ll have to market yourself and prove your worth on your own. How you do this depends on what kind of writing you want to do. Every writer’s path is different, and getting to the endpoint – the point of success – is never easy.

You’re Going to Do a Lot for a Little
When you start writing, no one is going to want to invest in your work. You’ve got to prove your worth before people will be willing to spend money on you, and that can be done by offering up free work to small enterprises with the hope that someone will notice your skill. This may come in the form of writing for the local newspaper voluntarily, or starting a blog centered on your writing. You’ll start small, work extremely hard, and get paid little. But if you’re persistent, your hard work may very well pay off.

Research Is a Key Part of Career Writing
In order to write, you’ve got to know some things about your topic. This is true for all types of writing, whether business, creative, or web content. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’ll show through. For this reason, it is important to be willing to research and learn about your topic, especially if you want to be considered an expert in your subject.

You Should Have an Auxiliary Income
A career in writing can be dry, in terms of your income, as you are starting out. You’ll have to prove your worth before people will be willing to pay you anything considerable for your work. That being said, having a part-time job, or other source of income, to supplement your needs is helpful so that you don’t go into debt while trying to break into writing. Family support will work too, if available. When your prose starts making a sufficient profit, drop that extraneous income and focus on writing.

This article was contributed by guest author Daniel Smith.

Image by Steinar Engeland,

There is no excuse not to sharpen your digital skills in this modern day. The Internet has made many things possible; among them the ability to study for free to attain all manner of skills – right at the comfort of your space. The most marketable skills are digital skills because you have to keep up with the times. The best part is that no matter who you are or where you are, you can enhance your professionalism by acquiring a wide range of digital skills. This article documents eight digital skills you can learn from home, absolutely free.

1. Touch Typing

Every person should consider this wonderful skill. Touch typing will make you very proficient when it comes to typing on your computer. You will rely on muscle memory rather than looking at the keys. This is the sure way to type super-fast while eliminating major errors. Whether you are working for a company or for yourself, typing fast and effectively will save you both time and money – not to mention that you’ll be the envy of your friends. It is a great skill to get started with. Test your typing speed online and study touch typing if you do not have an impressive speed. This skill is free and a quick search online will reveal exactly where to start.

2. Product Management

Product management skills allow you to manage or coordinate the processing of digital products. This means you can manage teams from the idea level to launch, whether for sites, apps and even wearable technology. Product managers will oversee the process while working with designers, marketers and developers. How to seamlessly do this will be made possible by your digital skills in product management. The good news is that you can study this online, free of charge. You will get excellent insights that allow you to stand out from the crowd. This skill will also see you successfully learn how to use relevant tools; to facilitate the collaboration of your team. Virtually anyone can attain this skill and it is worth taking full advantage of.

3. HTML and CSS

Having some coding skills is definitely the best thing you can do to add value to your profession. HTML and CSS are the two most important coding languages that are used to build websites. HTML is the foundation and many people who have mastered this skill have learned it online for free. CSS is the next level of coding and it will play a role in bringing various features to a website. After learning these skills, you will be able to enhance a brand the right way by building the right outfit for the online space. You can do this for your brand or for that of your employer. Again, you do not need to be very intelligent to master this skill. You only need to have a keen need to learn, and some time to spare. Learn absolutely free online and enhance your skill-set.

4. Photoshop

There are many people who are familiar with Photoshop but have never gotten around to using it. The truth of the matter is that if you have never used it, it can be a bit intimidating. Photoshop skills will go a long way in helping your products in a number of ways. From designing websites to apps and social media images; Photoshop skills will save you money. This is because you do not have to hire someone else to do this for you. Additionally, you can create designs that you actually like as you customize your products. Photoshop skills can be acquired for free and searching online is the best place to begin your skill acquisition. The good thing is the Photoshop is highly user-friendly.

5. SEO

Without Search Engine Optimization skills, you can be sure that your online website marketing endeavors will be compromised. You need to know what makes a good site suitable for the search engines. There are all manner of tactics employed by site owners to remain relevant online. Through SEO, you are able to learn the right ways to fully optimize your site in a sustainable manner. From SEO content to analytics, there is so much to learn. Thankfully, you do not have to pay for it online. Acquiring a wealth of experience in this area will enable you build very strong brands. Keep in mind that keeping your skill up to date is the way to go; there are so many SEO elements that crop up daily in the ever-changing digital environment.

6. Digital Marketing

Marketing products and services digitally has become the order of the day, as companies are able to make sales and big profits. Learning how digital marketing works will also propel you in the right direction if you are looking to engage this field. In reality, we all engage in digital marketing for one thing or another. Learning the best practices will give you that extra edge that will keep you ahead of the pack. This area aims to grab the attention of digital customers for better product visibility. There are all manners of tactics to employ and studying free online will allow you to attain these crucial digital skills.

7. Social Media Management

There is no question that most of us use social media. However, what many people do not have are the right skills to use social media while capitalizing on the potential gains. In this respect, social media management skills are pivotal and will allow you to perform better. From Twitter to Facebook and Instagram, there are endless social media channels to talk about. In light of this, knowing how to handle your social media engagements is a digital skill that you can learn online for free.

8. A New Language

Learning a new language may not sound like a digital skill. However, because we are living in a global village, learning a new language can open up an array of opportunities that will enhance your life. To this end, learning a new language for free online will not just help you appreciate another culture, but it will give you an economic edge as well.

This article was contributed by guest author Adam Fort.

Do you know that over 60% of employers actually look at a potential employee’s social media profiles in order to help make their final decision? It is important that all job seekers know what is on their social media accounts and steps they can take in order to have their social media actually help with their job search. Here are some tips to keep in mind when updating your profiles.

Image by Melissa Swanson

This article was contributed by Stevenson University.

Image by StartupStockPhotos,

According to a study by MarketWatch, 80% of US students have part-time jobs while they’re in school. Many of those jobs are in retail. Students are attracted to retail jobs for a whole slew of reasons – flexible scheduling and demand, for starters. But one of the things that makes many students fall in love with the work and pursue a future in small business is that there’s no formula for success. They have to learn to listen to their customers, observe their behaviors, anticipate their desires, and then buy, sell, and market accordingly. It’s not a multiple choice test; the work is delightfully nuanced. Small business success is all about instinct, education, and hard work. A little bit of good luck doesn’t hurt either.

There are two camps of students and/or prospective students who consider retail degrees as a part of their formal education: the novices and the seasoned business owners. Retail novices are those recently bitten by the retail bug and interested in pursuing it as a first career. The more seasoned variety are business managers and owners who are already actively involved in retail and want to improve the big-picture aspects of their work. People in both of these categories have unique needs and goals, and tend to be drawn to different area of study.

Retail Novices
These are the high school and college students who take a part-time job at a small business to help ease the burden of tuition, and fall in love with retail in the process. They are the indigo children of the retail world, the ones store owners secretly hope might want to take over someday in the distant future. They’re the ones who are innately skilled with Facebook marketing, selfie tickets, and naturally take cues from global tech trends like Pokemon Go.

An all-around retail business management degree can be extremely informative for early-career students like these men and women. A business degree helps train those who are inexperienced or less-experienced in a retail setting about things like how to manage a staff, decision-making, and merchandising.

While the coursework for a retail management degree might feel redundant for a seasoned retail employee, for a newbie it’s a fast-track to understanding the inner workings of a business and culture.

Seasoned Retailers
It goes without saying that in retail, experience goes a long, long way. If a lifetime shop owner attended a class about retail management, they’d likely spend most of it nodding their head, rolling their eyes, and silently muttering, “Yup, yup, true” and “Got it.”

For a person already succeeding as a retailer, an entry-level college course wouldn’t be much more than positive affirmation and a few new tips. Most small business associations can offer as much, often for free.

But that’s the thing about education: there’s always more to learn. One just has to get creative about the avenues.

Big retailers like REI and Whole Foods are known for hiring people with MPAs, Masters in Public Administration, because they have excellent minds for policy and managing the various aspects that keep a business running smoothly. Online MPA degrees are a popular choice among nontraditional students — like store managers who want to become owners but can’t stop working in the interim — because it’s an online degree offered by some of the most reputable higher education institutions around. Traditionally, MPAs were thought to be exclusive to those who wanted to work for the government or nonprofits, but the retail world has already benefited greatly from the expertise that comes from an MPA degree.

It makes perfect sense really. No matter the size of a shop, it’s always a bit of a microcosm of social wellbeing. If the public is thriving, more people spend money. If the public is stressed-out and riddled with anxiety, retailers will encounter more difficult customers than usual.

When it comes down to it, any form of education is a good thing. A degree in the arts, while not generally considered one of the top money making degrees, will greatly benefit a student by refining the way he or she sees and expresses him or herself in the world. And a unique voice is a huge asset to small business. Business degrees have modernized. Students, whether they’re traditional students or online students, now have more freedom than ever before. And small businesses around the nation are reaping the rewards.

This article was contributed by guest author Katie Kapro.