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What’s an Unpaid Internship Worth Anyway?

June 19th, 2013 by admin in Careers, compensation, education, employment, internships

With all the attention being paid in the last week to the value of unpaid internships, NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers set about to determine what the relative value of each is. Read the rest of this entry »

The Beginning of the End of Unpaid Internships?

June 12th, 2013 by admin in Careers, corporate culture, internships


The ruling of a solemn federal district judge may herald the end of what some consider the objectionable practice of unpaid internships.

The decision by Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that Fox Searchlight, the movie studio responsible for Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Descendants had erred in its decision not to pay two interns on the set of the movie “Black Swan.” They were essentially regular employees. Read the rest of this entry »

Hiring the Best Person for the Job

November 29th, 2012 by admin in Careers, colleagues, employment, jobs skills, Uncategorized

A new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review suggests that employers are often more focused on hiring someone they would like to hang out with than they are in hiring the most competent person for the job.

“Of course, employers are looking for people who have the baseline of skills to effectively do the job,” said study author Lauren A. Rivera, an assistant professor of management and organizations and sociology at Northwestern University. “But, beyond that, employers really want people who they will bond with, who they will feel good around, who will be their friend and maybe even their romantic partner. As a result, employers don’t necessarily hire the most skilled candidates.”

Although Dr. Rivera is quick to point out that the findings don’t mean unqualified candidates are being hired, the findings might give pause to those who are concerned about employement shortages and competitiveness.


Certificates Instead of College, Who Benefits?

June 6th, 2012 by admin in compensation, employment, jobs skills, majors

 In a new study released today by the  Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that certificates are the fastest growing form of postsecondary credentials in the U.S., increasing from six percent n 1980 to 22 percent of awards today.

Certificates are more affordable than college, usually taken less than a year complete and can mean a higher salary.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Start-Up of You

February 15th, 2012 by admin in Books, Careers, entrepreneurs, innovation, jobs skills, Uncategorized

Released only yesterday,  The Start-Up of You by  Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha   has  already skyrocked to number four of the top 100 books on What holds the top three slots? Even a roadmap for personal entrepreneurship and career advancement is no match for the Hunger Games trilogy. Read the rest of this entry »

College Majors, Starting Salaries and Job Growth

February 8th, 2012 by admin in Careers, compensation, majors, survey, Uncategorized

The National Association for Colleges and Employers recently released a report that shows job growth and starting salaries by major. Salaries increased the most for business and computer science majors and barely budged in math and sciences. What does this say about the presumed shortages STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.)

Separately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics   released data last week about job growth between 2010-2020 and anticipates much of the growth will be in health professions and education. And the report gives credence to education beyond a B.A. or B.S. with jobs requiring a Master’s degree are expected to grow over 21% faster than for any other education category.

Career Reinvention in the New Year

January 12th, 2010 by admin in Books, Careers

January is a time to feel optimistic.  Any New Year’s resolutions are probably still being kept. For some, they involve finding a new career.  With the economy still shedding jobs, a career hunt  may be a more formidable undertaking than in the past.

Alexandra Levit  who previously wrote How’d You Score that Gig?  and They Don’t Teach Corporate in College, is back with a lively and insightful new book entitled New Job, New You.  (Ballantine Books) She has put together a toolkit that includes everything a job seeker needs for career reinvention culled from the experiences of people who have made a transition some more than once.

Ms. Levit assembled a winning and diverse group of career changers, all younger than 40.  And one almost wishes we could see them in five or ten years after they’ve gained more seasoning in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

She sets the tone early in the book with a reinvention assessment, which when taken honestly, can  separate those who are merely musing from those who are ready to reivent.

We caught up with Ms. Levit recently to talk about managing some of the challenges of career reinvention.

Here are several of her tips, with suggestions for first job seekers and baby boomers.

Define your motivation in career switching. A twenty-five item questionnaire in New Job, New You gives a reader insight into whether a career reinvention is a necessity or a passing whim.  Sample question—True or False, You feel you are a different person now than when you first started your career.

Remember everything you do is a measured risk. Just because the economy is in trouble is no reason not to pursue your dream job. You only need one small thing at a time to move forward. Sign up for the week-end workshop or take that on-line webinar.

Choose a first job by the knowledge you’ll gain. When weighing offers chose the job offer with as many transferable skills as possible. These might include project management, sales, marketing, finance and client relations.

The first job is not the be all and end all. Trust your instincts, when making a job choice, especially a first job choice, but also dial back the pressure. Again ask, will the job allow me to have transferable skills? You’ll be able to walk out of that job with a resume to make you proud.

If you are considering a graduate degree ask if the lifestyle applicable and good for you. Sure parents and peers may be thinking that grad school is a good way to sit out the recession, but unless you have a couple of years experience under your belt and an affinity for the field, it might be a waste of time and money.

If you are a baby boomer seeking reinvention, realize you have an advantage. Yes, you may encounter age discrimination, so consider deleting dates from your resume, but you know the business world and hopefully have learned something about packaging yourself.  You have more to draw on than someone with just a few years of experience behind them. If you want to do something you feel passionate about, now’s your chance.

On the Anniversary of a Lay Off

July 29th, 2009 by admin in Uncategorized

Commemorating an anniversary seems an appropriate way to inaugurate a new blog. July 29 is the day I was laid off from one of the nation’s leading department stores.

As anyone who has been laid off knows, it is a painful experience. In my case I had helped train the personnel manager who fired me when several years earlier, recently divorced, she arrived at the store to begin her retailing career on the selling floor.

Although mentoring someone 17 years older was a stretch, as an entry level operations manager I persevered, even as she jumped the promotion line ahead of the rest of us 20 somethings into middle management. Clearly we were never on the same track.

Just as I had discharged my obligation to train her, she discharged hers in dismissing me. Her parting was a direct, “You’re just not……(fill in the name of the store here.) And perhaps it was true, from her perspective. As the freelance journalist that I later became, I learned there are many sides to a story.

It took some time to find my footing first. Unemployment and its partner, battered self-esteem, seemed like near constant companions along with a newly found passion in personal finance to preserve a small nest egg and stretch unemployment insurance benefits.

The period of unemployment set in motion an abiding interest in careers and management and one of the mainstays of my journalistic portfolio—personality profiles of senior management. I continue to grapple with the idea that a dismissal was “strictly business.” In all business transactions there is always a personal relationship, chemistry or the lack of it, that greases our interactions.

In the coming months, as companies stop shedding jobs and the nation regains its collective footing, this blog will answer questions about careers in the post Great Recession economy. Feel free to add your thoughts to the conversation. We’ll offer tips and suggestions, reporting and insights so you can better understand your career and the individuals—your colleagues, your managers, your subordinates, your customers—who influence and in some instances hold sway over it.

Today’s question—How did you negotiate a company leave taking? What would you do differently now if you had the chance?