Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where Will the Job Market Grow?

As our information age re-tools the job market from its transition from industrialization to technology, here is a list of markets to pay attention to in the next few years:

1. Go green! The market will expand, even explode due to demands for ways to utilize and harness natural sources of energy including solar, water and wind power. Our society’s increasing emphasis of decreasing carbon footprints may increase new opportunities. Also, the increased production of soy, corn, grapes and new fuel sources for biotechnology will increase demand for specialized occupations.
2. The wave on the horizon, social enterprise! Social enterprises are for profit companies that have a non for profit cause embedded in their business model. Likely to catch the attention and support of consumers, social enterprise models provide a cause for improving the world with clean water, food or resources that go way beyond a purchased product. A leading force to be reckoned with is Ethos water. Visit them on the web:
3. Federally funded opportunities- The stimulus array of opportunities in conjunction with the projected demand of population growth while increase the federally funded jobs on a national scale. Visit:
4. Products for a new generation of spenders- Anything that is fast, furious and fun will increase demand from a younger and larger population that exceeds the baby boomers. This will include savvy electronic toys, speedy motorcycles and retailers that market to especially 20 to 35 year olds.
5. Technical trades- Occupations such as electrician, plumber and mechanic will maintain demand as 85% of the national job market requires technical trade certification.
Bi-lingual – The increased Hispanic population will drive the demand higher for professionals who speak Spanish in every industry.

So look for increased demand in mechanics, truck drivers, electricians, systems analysts, social enterprise project managers, technicians, correction officers, engineers and even the sales representatives of fast and furious Suzuki motorcycles. And if you happen to speak fluent Spanish, you’ll be in high demand with your skill-set.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Angst of the Job Market Ride

So many clients are in a very high state of of uncertainty and stress. The job market feels like it is on a turbulent journey to an unknown destination. I'm not a flight attendant, but here would be my career counseling instructions:
1. Unfasten your seat belt. Don't sit like a knot on a log thinking this wild ride will not affect you. It may so get up and meet people who are active and involved in your profession.
2. Breathe in some oxygen. Even in the midst of such stressful times, don't forget to take a walk, play and enjoy your life in the now. We are never promised tomorrow. It is the simple things that can center us on what is most important.
3. Recognize you're not alone. So many people feel isolated in their journey to rediscover their passion, find employment and enjoy meaning. In order to do this, it is most likely accomplished through community involvement and reaching out to others. Volunteer!
4. Do your part and act now. Get your resume fine tuned. Practice your interviewing skills. Research markets that are growing and expanding even as the current economy is contracting.
In the next post, I will give you a list of where the jobs are expanding. For now, expect the best to happen and enjoy the view. It's all about the journey, right?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Business Portfolio: How Important Is It?

A signicant tool to bring to the interview table is a business portfolio. It is an objective tangible display of your skill-set and the results you've accomplished over the span of your profession. I strongly encourage clients to invest the money, time and energy into a business portfolio that harnesses the strength and talent discussed during the interview now shown in a full documented report. Truly, almost any profession can benefit from this display of credentials and accomplishments.

Here are the secrets I tell clients:

Go to Office Max or Staples and purchase a black leather three ring binder ($25 to $30). Nest, purchase clear sheets to place in the binder as well as 20 pound cotton linen paper to make copies of your resume or presentations. Off white or gray is best.

Your portfolio needs to contain the following documents:

1. Table of contents (organize and lay-out the presentation of your work)

2. Resume

3. Letters of recommendation

4. Diplomas

5. Credentials

6. Certificates of completion (trainings, professional development, etc.)

7. Professional feedback ( emails or thank you notes from colleagues, customers, etc.)

8. Samples of your work (brochures, power point presentation, etc.)

9. Achievements and Awards

Take the portfolio with you to the interview. Tell the interviewer to keep the portfolio and you will pick it up in three business days. This way, you also have an opportunity to follow up in person and this feedback session can be a positive catalyst for the next phase.

Once you've developed a business portfolio, keep it current and active. Contents should be removed if dated beyond five years (diplomas and credentials are an exception). If you have a certificate that shows you completed a customer service training in 1999, it needs to be tossed. Customer service today is not like it was then. Show you're in the know with the latest training opportunities.

Make professional copies of your original diplomas, credentials and certifications and insert them in the portfolio for professional posterity.

The benefits? HUGE!

  • A tangible, hands-on product that proves your contribution and professionalism

  • A written tool to reinforce the skills you presented verbally in the interview

  • A confidence booster that can refresh and invigorate your job search

  • An objective reflection of your talent via educational and career accomplishments

Make the effort to accomplish this important task of compilation that speaks volumes of the organization, energy and success you bring to the table.
After all, a business portfolio can be your best reference.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Boomer Spending Effect on Economic Downturn

Have you thought about the likely ill effects of the boomers aging? Right now, the average boomer is 53 years old with a median income of $72K. Not bad! Researh has indicated that boomer spending habits change at fifty years old. How you ask? Well, they stop spending. Think about it. By the time one is fifty, the kids are out of the nest and the house has about all it needs and more. The "stuff" of life has been purchased.
If I could guess, I would say that is exactly why Circuit City closed its doors. The boomers were the best customer. They were loyal and spent a lot until the had the 50th birhday dinner. Meanwhile, Best Buy built a new fan base. They may not have the best customer service (Circuit City made you feel like you had a professional stalker following you), but they have bright colors, easy to navigate shopping and quick dispense aisles of the latest products. Circuit City meanwhile sealed their fate by not readying themselves for a new generation of spenders that like it easy, fast, fun and cool.
Finally, have you wondered why the big three car makers are in a world of trouble? Their boomer spenders have put away their wad of cash and are no longer buying. They don't need anything right now. Especially in this contracting marketing that is reeling from their 50th birthday parties.
What the new generation spender (the majority being women) wants is to purchase the fast, fun and easy. If only Ford would get rid of that blue Ford logo (more on this in a later post) and reinvent their definition of cool. Wake up, you boomer driven companies! Your loyal spenders have stopped spending. The next casualties?

I predict companies like JC Penney's, Sear's and even Harley Davidson will shut their doors if they don't pay attention to the new spenders with the debit card. Just watch.