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Dawn Rosenberg McKay

Dawn's Career Planning Blog

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What to Do With Your Poli Sci Degree?

Friday May 30, 2014

You enjoy learning how governments work. Hearing about political processes, behavior and systems gets you all fired up. Those are the reasons you are thinking about majoring in political science. What's stopping you? You've heard all you can do with a poli sci degree is go to law school and that's not something you see as being part of your future. Good news. You can be a political science major and you don't have to become an attorney. There are other choices for you!

When you graduate with this degree you will have a plethora of skills including the ability to communicate well, make decisions, think analytically, problem solve and do research. You will also have strong leadership skills and be a team player who works well under pressure, is able to develop and market ideas and interact with diverse populations. With these skills you can consider a variety of occupations including urban and regional planner, government and politics secondary school teacher and news reporter. You may need additional training, but you already have a strong foundation. Read What to Do With a Degree in Political Science to learn about these and other careers.

Weekly Career Profile: Computer Hardware Engineers

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Six Things to Know About Computer Hardware Engineers:

  • They design, develop, install and test computer systems, servers, chips and circuit boards as well as peripherals, including keyboards, routers and printers.
  • Most computer hardware engineers work in the computer systems design and semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing industries.
  • To work in this occupation, one needs a bachelor's degree in computer hardware engineering, electrical engineering or computer science.
  • A computer hardware engineer needs to have good communication skills.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this occupation will grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2022.
  • The median annual salary of a computer hardware engineer was $100,920 in 2012 (US, BLS).

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Evaluating a Job Offer

Tuesday May 27, 2014

When you've spent a long time looking for a job, you might be tempted to accept the first offer you get. While that's an understandable reaction, it's not a good idea. You must first decide if the job you've been offered is right for you. It is better to have to keep looking—particularly since you have some momentum going— than it is to start your search all over again if, after a few months, you decide that the job wasn't a good fit after all.

While it's true that the perfect job probably doesn't exist, you should try to find one that is as close to perfect for you as possible. There are certain criteria you should always consider when you are deciding whether to say "yes" to a prospective employer. Find out what they are. Read How to Evaluate a Job Offer.

Career Information: Considering All Your Options

Friday May 23, 2014

Writing about careers has given me an appreciation for the many occupations out there and the fact that there's something for everyone. I've learned about careers I had either never heard of before or knew very little about. I love what I do but sometimes I imagine what it would be like to do something else. So many times, as I'm writing a career profile, I think to myself, "I bet that's something I would like." Then I continue with what I was doing and realize I really enjoy my work and wouldn't trade it for anything.

There are so many career options from which to choose. Although it can be overwhelming if you are in the midst of making a decision, you are lucky there are so many possibilities. But, it does mean you'll have to do quite a bit of research in order to narrow down your choices.

Weekly Career Profile: Conservationists

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Six Things to Know About Conservationists:

  • They find ways for landowners and governments to utilize land without harming natural resources like soil and water.
  • Conservationists are sometimes called soil or water conservationists, or conservation scientists.
  • They work for the federal, state and local governments, environmental advocacy groups and private landowners.
  • Those who work in this occupation usually have a bachelor's degree in biology, agronomy, forestry, agricultural science or environmental science.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts compliance officers will experience little to no job growth through 2022.
  • The median annual salary of chemists was $61,100 in 2012 (US, BLS).

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The Five (Difficult) People You Meet at Work

Monday May 19, 2014

Have you ever worked with someone who takes a seat at your desk and settles in for a while? This co-worker starts talking nonstop as soon as his bottom hits the chair and doesn't stop ... not even to take a breath it seems. I refer to this person as the chatterbox. He's an amiable fellow whose company isn't unpleasant, but you have work to do. You may be wishing you had this problem coworker. There are those who are much worse.

Take, for example, the delegator. You may be familiar with this one. She has a lot of work to do and thinks "why keep this all to myself." So she tries to hand some of it off to her colleagues. It wouldn't be a problem if your co-worker had the authority to do this, but she doesn't. I worked with a delegator once and let me tell you, it was not pleasant. She also had other charming qualities like taking food that didn't belong to her and talking in baby talk, but I digress. Learning how to deal with difficult people at work can make your life so much easier. Here are some tips: Annoying People: AKA Your Coworkers

Careers for Ed Majors

Friday May 16, 2014

My father really wanted me to be a teacher. I think he liked the stability, hours and pay associated with that career. It certainly had nothing to do with my abilities. I am not patient and I'm not particularly good at working with children. While he didn't have a daughter who wanted to become a teacher, he ended up with a granddaughter who did. My niece earned her bachelor's and master's degree in education. Unfortunately she can't find a job in her field thanks to schools closing and others slimming down their staffs in her city. Instead she got a job as a supervisor in a hospital. If you can't use your skills to manage children in a classroom, I told her, at least you're using them to manage adults.

Often, either by choice or circumstance, we don't take the most obvious path for which our college majors prepare us. Sometimes we don't stay on that path. The trick is to look at the skills we acquired while earning that degree or working and use them in some other capacity. That's how an education major can become a manager, an instructional designer, a writer or a textbook and educational materials sales representative. Find out what other careers are good for education majors. Read What to Do With a Degree in Education.

Weekly Career Profile: Computer and Information Systems Managers

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Six Things to Know About Computer and Information Systems (CIS) Managers:

  • They coordinate and direct entities' computer-related activities.
  • There are several job titles that fall under this general occupation. They are chief information officer, chief technology officer, information technology director and information technology security manager.
  • Many employers will hire only those who have a bachelor's degree in computer or information science and others require an MBA with a concentration in technology.
  • Most companies require new hires have non-managerial experience in IT.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this occupation will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2022.
  • The median annual salary of a computer and information systems manager was $120,950 in 2012 (US, BLS).

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Congratulations New Grads! Now Get Ready for Work

Monday May 12, 2014

It seems like one minute you're reveling in the thrill of walking across the stage on graduation day and the next you're trying to control your nerves as you begin your very first "real" job. Sure you are thrilled to finally get started on your life but, hey, when did you suddenly became a grownup?

The transition from college to work is a really huge one. You will start your day in the wee hours of the morning, rather than end it then. You won't be able to make your schedule fit your social life like you may have done in college. If you liked to stay up late, you didn't sign up for an 8 o'clock class. Trying telling your boss you'll be in at noon because you went to a party the night before. Nope. From now on someone else will be in charge of your schedule. You will also have deadlines to meet and your work will be judged regularly. Along with these new responsibilities will come a regular income, benefits and paid vacation time and sick days.

These resources can help you survive your first days at your first "real" job:

Majored in Psychology? What Next?

Friday May 9, 2014

What's a psychology major to do after graduating from college? You could become a psychologist but to do that you will generally need a doctoral degree. That means at least another five years in school. Admission to doctoral programs is very competitive, with clinical psychology programs being the hardest to get into. According to the Council Of University Directors Of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) many schools accept fewer than 15 students to each year's class (Interested In Clinical Psychology Grad School? Here's What You Need To Know!).

Ugh! Maybe you should just cross psychologist off your list of possible career choices. If five more years in school doesn't sound terribly appealing, even if you were to get in, it may be a good idea to explore your other options. With the skills you acquired as a psych major—an understanding of the workings of the human mind and good problem solving, communication, and critical thinking skills—you have many.

Some of these careers involve helping people deal with their mental health issues, for example marriage and family therapist, but others don't involve working with people in that capacity at all, like market research analyst. You may need to earn a master's degree or take some additional courses. If you are still planning your college education or just at the beginning of it, you may even consider a minor or a dual major.

More: What to Do With a Degree in Psychology

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