The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Readers: Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert 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 of The Career Doctor.
Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis. If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (6/30/06):
- Making sense about how to best use the Internet in a job-search
- Attempting to get job offer back that job-seeker already declined
- Exploring careers working with children while still in high school
- Determining the cost and value of an average MBA degree
|Q:||Anonymous writes: Sorry to bother you but can you tell me how I am supposed to find job leads on the Internet? I am so frustrated right now about finding a job. Call me dazed and confused over this whole thing.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: For most job-seekers the Internet is just one of several tools you should be using to find a new job. The Internet — all the vast number of job sites — offers no guarantee of finding that perfect job. And many job-seekers spend way too much time searching online than performing other activities that are much more likely to lead to job leads and job interviews. For the very latest insights on this topic please read the 2006 Quintessential Careers Annual Report: New Twists and Turns Mark a Decade of Internet Job-Hunting.
Let’s start with the Internet. The best way to use this tool is for research. Yes it probably makes sense to post your resume on one or two of the major job boards including our own Quintessential Careers Job Portal as well as a few of the niche sites (industry-specific or location-specific). It makes more sense to go to the career centers of major companies and conduct research there (as well as apply to jobs that interest you). Job-seekers can find a wealth of information about organizations by spending a little time online. For more information read my article Step-by-Step Guide to Researching Companies.
Your most valuable tool of job-hunting however is still networking. Of course you can network both online and in person. Think of career networking as relationship building. All you are doing when networking is making connections with people; you are NOT asking people for jobs. Instead you make connections and share information. When you are actually job-hunting some of the information shared will be job leads. Network with your family friends former co-workers and bosses and alumni and former professors. You can also network with larger groups of people in community and religious organizations with professional groups and associations and at social events. There are also numerous social networking Internet sites. For more information check out these Key Career Networking Resources for Job-Seekers available on Quintessential Careers.
Finally let’s not forget the old school but still very viable direct contact method where you identify a set of employers research their needs and obtain the name and title of their hiring managers (not HR) and send them a directed cover letter and resume.
Read more in my article published on Quintessential Careers 10 Ways to Develop Job Leads.
|Q:|| Michelle writes: I recently declined a very attractive offer a few weeks ago. The salary was a substantial increase along with the title. However there was a significant reduction in company holidays which led to my ultimate decision to decline. My current job allows for a lot of flexibility if needed but my career options are limited.
After declining the offer I’ve been second guessing it ever since. Is it to late to go back to the offering company? What are your thoughts/suggestions? Am I wasting my time on something I’ve already turned down?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: In marketing we have a term called cognitive dissonance. It’s a sensation of unease that consumers feel whenever they make a high-risk purchase and start second-guessing their decision. And that’s what you are feeling now. You chose the safe option to stay with the boring and safe job with lots of flexibility over the great career move with more time commitment.
I have to say though I have never heard of a job-seeker declining a job offer solely on the number of company holidays. Perhaps you could have negotiated more vacation time which would have given you the same results in the long-run but that’s a moot point now. Before you contact the employer though make sure you do really want this offer.
I would say your chances are slim to none for receiving the offer again. You can certainly try especially if you were extremely polite and left the process on good terms. But by now I am sure the company has moved on to their next candidate — even if they were gracious enough to give you another offer.
You obviously are not totally happy in your current position yet it obviously has some nice benefits for you. Is there any way to approach your boss and see about carving out a new position for you? Perhaps your boss does not even know that you are feeling so bored in your job.
|Q:||Tiffany writes: I was wondering if there is a way I could get help with like what career I want. I want to know so I can take the class in high school that I need. I want to really do something with kids like be a baby doctor so is there anyway you can help me and find out what I need to do and I want to know like the salary and how many years of college medical school and stuff?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Can I preface my answer with a mini-lecture? I think there is way too much growing pressure on teens to choose careers while in high school. I mean at age 15 how can one truly know enough about oneself to choose a career where you expect to be happy for the next 40 years? I deal with folks in their 40s and 50s who have still not discovered their true career passions!
So it’s great to do as much self-discovery as possible and it’s great to do career research but can we let teens be teens? And do we really need to legislate that high schools force students to choose career tracks? Enough already!
Lecture over. The best thing you can do is to begin exploring careers focusing on children such as pediatric medicine. Why not start with your own doctor? See if you can conduct an informational interview and learn all about his/her job? But there are also plenty of other jobs that deal with children such as teachers social workers librarians counselors and so many others.
If your research leads you to stay with pediatrics know that you will have four years of college and four years of medical school. And you need to be strong in the sciences get great grades (now and through college) have strong communications skills and score high on the medical school entrance exam. If you attend a college with a strong pre-med program they will offer you a lot of guidance.
Not that salary should be a deciding factor but on average according to the Association of American Medical Colleges doctors make about $160000 annually.
For now focus on taking math and science classes in high school and conducting as much self-exploration and career research as possible.
|Q:|| Alice writes: It’s a great pleasure to read your articles on Quintessential Careers. I have several questions about an average MBA program.
Do you have the information or would you please tell me where to find the information? Thanks.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: The value of the MBA degree ebbs and flows partly with the economy partly with the supply of job-seekers with an MBA partly with the demand for the MBA credential but I personally believe that for those job-seekers looking to make the next step up the corporate ladder it is an invaluable tool for success.
MBA tuition varies depending on the type of program you are seeking but you can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re lucky you may have an employer who is willing to pay for your MBA in exchange for some commitment to stay with the company for a few years beyond the completion of the degree. In that situation you won’t have the costs but you also will not see a big jump in salary.
The other option is to pay for the MBA on your own. If you have solid work experience before completing the MBA you should expect to see a decent bump in salary (anywhere from $10000 to $30000 or more) — and recoup your tuition costs in one or two years.
As for placement it again depends on the MBA program. Some of the top schools have quite a few recruiters who seek out those grads. In other programs placement is not so strong. It’s best to do your research and ask each program about its placement record.
Get more information in this article published on Quintessential Careers: The Master of Business Administration: Is the MBA Worth the Time Effort and Cost?