BOB LANKARD: Changes affect search
August 25, 2013 1:54 AM
by BOB LANKARD

Changes affect the way we live. Anyone who has grown up with grandparents will recall oft-repeated stories of their first phone, first TV or first computer.

Now, changes come at a much more rapid pace. These changes affect how we hunt for jobs and how we pick a college or post high school major.

A college junior told me she did not have career plans after she graduated. I was not surprised at her response because:

• Students change majors frequently without regard to the job market.

• Some recent graduates find they do not like jobs related to their majors and go on to something else.

• Others find jobs related to their majors scarce and end up not using their skills.

Is there a remedy for this apparent major/career disconnect?

The menu for selecting a college major is equal parts interest, career potential and aptitude for jobs in that major.

Choosing or changing a college major calls for the “eyes-wide-open” approach — researching the connection between college classes and the job market.

There is a lot of information about careers and majors out there. Some of the information has catchy headlines: “10 Degrees Hiring Managers Don’t Want to See.” Such articles provide information to prospective students, but parents and students need a more balanced view.

A more objective look can be found in the Wall Street Journal’s “From College Major to Career.”

Also, look at various college career services’ Web pages, where a prospective student will be able to see careers related to various majors.

The 21st century has taken us from millennial fears to the fiscal cliff. But these 13 years have brought job hunting changes that job seekers should consider:

• Internet. Yes, some used Internet postings in 2000, but use of the Internet to look for a job has increased exponentially. In 2000, it was common to go to the employment office and see job listings thumb-tacked to a board. Now, job hunters look for listings on the ’Net.

• Social media. A local county park filled an opening for a secretary. All applied using social media or email.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all become job-hunters’ tools. These sources are the first places some employers go.

• Computer scanning. “Write so you can catch the reader’s attention” was my old advice regarding r←sum←s and cover letters.

The 2013 advice is “use key words” because most likely your r←sum← will be read by a computer. The computer will look for words that apply to a specific job.

• Go mobile. Smartphones take cellphones to the next step. By downloading job-hunting apps such as Bump, you can perform all your job-hunting functions in one place.

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