Dr. Randall Hansen is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home page of The Career Doctor.
If you have any career- or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue (05/10/02):
- Marketing help for teen interested in starting catering business
- Helping a teen who doesn’t know what to do with his life
- Switching majors to become a journalism major
- Preparing and using career/job portfolios
|Q:||Jen writes: Hello my name is Jennifer and I am 16 years old I love your ideas besides babysitting. I love cooking and I am actually quite good at it. I cook at home and I also have a class in school that I am doing well in. I was wondering if you could e-mail as soon as possible and tell me some things I should put on my flyer. Thank you for your help already I love the idea.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: For all you teens out there Jen is referring to my article Job Ideas for Teens 15 and Younger: Beyond Babysitting. The article is designed to help younger teens be creative in providing services around their neighborhoods in order to make some spending money. Of course older teens can also use these suggestions though many end up working in part-time jobs with local businesses and retail establishments.
So you want to start a cooking/catering business? Well before you begin you need to find your “hook” as we say in marketing. Who is going to buy your service — and why? I’m guessing busy single parents or working families may be interested as well as older shut-ins…but you know your neighborhood best so develop a list of potential clients of your service. Then you need to figure out why they would buy. Perhaps because you’re a time-saver perhaps a sort of “meals-on-the-go” approach or perhaps price.
Once you’ve developed your list of potential clients and a reason (or reasons) people would (or should) buy from you then you can develop your flyers. What do you put on your flyers? All the reasons why people should buy your service! Make sure people have an easy way to reach you.
But I should warn you flyers around your neighborhood might not do much to get you any business. You’re going to need to be creative in getting people to notice your business. Maybe that means giving each house or apartment in your neighborhood a free cookie or brownie with your flyer’perhaps an adult living in your house or apartment can host a “Jen’s Catering Business” party where guests can sample your cooking. With something like food most people are not going to buy until they’ve sampled your cooking.
Finally make sure — as I state in my article — that you satisfy your customers! Deliver your food on time and hot (or cold) address any complaints and work your butt off to please your customers. Not only will satisfied customers continue to buy from you but they will tell their friends and your business will begin to grow! Just remember that all businesses start out slowly so have patience with your new venture — and best of luck!
|Q:||Mike Foley writes: I am 19 turning 20 on June 22. My problem is I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I would be interested to know if you hear that a lot. Also I am interested to know if there are any career opportunities out there that don’t require a post secondary education. Thanks for your advice.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Most importantly you have plenty of time to find yourself’and who knows? You may not find yourself — your ideal career — until you’re 40…or 50. I really think there is way too much emphasis on teens and young adults to find the “one” career when in reality you will most likely change careers multiple times over the course of your life. So spend less time worrying about the ideal job and more trying to understand the types of passions you have about work.
My best advice is for you to take the six-step journey of self-discovery that I describe in detail in my article Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path. While you are not choosing a college major the same steps can be taken to learn more about potential careers — and jobs within those careers.
Do you need a college education to have a successful career? No. While more jobs are certainly moving to the service industry and white collar manufacturing sectors — which mostly require a college education — there are still plenty of jobs in the blue collar sector that do not require a college degree. And while the perception has been that blue collar jobs are on the decline I just read an article that discussed how blue collar jobs have actually increased over the last few years.
Finally don’t give up on college. Perhaps now is not the right time for you but studies show the real value of a college education not only in terms of success and wealth but in terms of quality of life. Please read our article What Good is a College Education Anyway? The Value of a College Education.
|Q:||Alessandra Arias writes: Hello my name is Alesandra and I have a fairly easy and general question for you. I am currently a student and am thinking about switching majors. I am not really sure what I want to do. I was thinking about majoring in journalism. With that major what jobs can I look into and what fields would be available to me? I look forward to hearing from you.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Journalism is a great major — and a great career field. I was a journalism major in college and spent a few summers working/interning with various newspapers and magazines.
The biggest benefit of a journalism major in my opinion is the process you’ll learn to view assess and write about the things around you. You’ll learn new research interviewing and communications skills. You’ll improve your writing abilities. Besides a job as a journalist with a journalism major you can have a career in public relations in community affairs in speechwriting in advertising in fund-raising in sales and more’You can find more information about a career in journalism by going to: What Can I Do With a Journalism Major? from the Office of Career Services at Georgia Southern University. You can also find some other career exploration resources by going to this section of Quintessential Careers: Career Exploration.
But perhaps the bigger question is why are you considering journalism as a major? What is your current major? Why did you choose it? What courses in college have you liked or disliked — and why? What course material gets you really excited and involved?
I would strongly suggest you take the advice I gave to the previous letter writer. Go and read my article on choosing a college major. Take your time going through the six steps of self-discovery’and perhaps the summer break from college is the perfect time for you to undertake this very worthwhile project. Go to: Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path.
|Q:||Jeremiah DeLlamas writes: I’ve got a question regarding portfolios. It will take a folder with nice plastic dividers to make it look really nice. It is something that I do not want to make and just give to a interviewer. Do I need to make plenty of them to leave with interviewers or what do I do with it. Thanks.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I truly love the concept of career portfolios and done correctly they can become powerful tools for job-seekers. Different portfolio experts have slightly different ideas about portfolios but let me give you mine.
First invest in a really nice three-ring binder with a cover sleeve where you can insert your name and vital contact information. Second formulate a plan for the organization of materials in your portfolio such as career summary mission and goals; traditional resume; scannable resume; skills sets; samples of your work; testimonials; awards and honors; transcripts; and other career-related information. Third develop a table of contents. Fourth using dividers or some other clever method place your material directly into the binder or in plastic sleeves made for three-ring binders. I suggest keeping the originals in safe-keeping and placing duplicates (or high-quality copies) in your portfolio.
You really need only create one portfolio. The idea is not that these are disposable but of lasting quality. Besides making a great first impression and showcasing your skills and abilities the other great advantage of a portfolio is that it gives you a reason to see the employer — so that you can retrieve your portfolio after the hiring manager has had a few days to review it.
Finally there is something to be said with how you present your portfolio in an interview. Don’t just simply lay it on the desk in front of the hiring manager. Wait for a question to arise such as a question about your level of skills or technical expertise where you can pull your portfolio out of your briefcase and walk the employer through it.
You can find more details and ideas in my article Your Job Skills Portfolio: Giving You an Edge in the Marketplace. And one more thing: portfolios do not just have to be print volumes; more job-seekers are also developing portfolios on the Web and on CD-ROM.