Cheap College

A friend recommended University of the People, an online international college that offers practical degrees in Business (up to MBA), Computer Science (up to BS) and a Masters in Education. From what I’ve read online they aren’t accredited in the US, which could be a problem depending on your needs. I see a problem with the education degree because if you need certification in a US state, they might not recognize this.

However as the fees are reasonable, i.e. $60 to apply and $100 to get credit for a class (free if you don’t care about the credit) this option is even better than community college since where I live an undergraduate community college course is $136/hr.

I may take a class with University of the People and since I’ve already got two masters degrees I may get an MBA just to know more about business and possibly get a job. The thought here is that since I’ve proven that I can get in and complete a degree from a good university, I don’t need to prove my academic gravitas. I just want to understand computers or business better.

I think this is marvelous for online learners, particularly those in developing countries.

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Japanese Word of the Week

Zannen – (adj.) regrettable

You often here people sigh and say “zannen” in Japan. It means “that’s regrettable.” Somehow the connotation or culture makes it seem like a better word for healing after a disappointment.

Alas, this week I learned that I didn’t make it to a round of interviews for a job in Japan that pays well and offers great benefits. Japan is a place I would like to return to so it’s disappointing.

They didn’t specify the reason, but as the position is Assistant English Teacher my best guess is that either they don’t want someone who may well have more teaching experience than the teacher or one who’s just “too old.”

Getting Your “Dream” Job, Some Tips

I wanted to share some tips for getting, what the presenters called your “dream” job. I do have a problem with the idea of “dream jobs” as they sound so romantic and out of reach. It’s not that I think it’s wrong to be ambitious, but a dream is ethereal and not real so I don’t think it’s a good term for our career aspirations. Yet, it’s catchy and probably why the session was approved.

The session was given by a successful Executive Director at a library and the executive recruiter who discovered her.

I’ll share the tip, explain it and then give my 2¢.

  1. When you see your dream job, set your cap for it.
    In a nutshell, if you see an ad for a job you love, don’t for a minute allow any doubts.
    Hmm. I have a more balanced outlook and believe this thinking is akin to looking for your soulmate. It might work out or it could lead to emotional devastation. In addition, it might mean you lose out on equally good opportunities that you hadn’t considered. I would say that if you have doubts, you can overcome them and perhaps you should listen to them. Develop your powers of discernment. If you’re job hunting with the rose-colored glasses of “dream jobs,” then my hunch is you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
  2. When asked what you’re most proud of in your life, always tell them something about your career.
    Okay, I guess that’s what gets you the job, though it’s short-sighted.
    If I were hiring, I wouldn’t discount someone who shared something from their personal life to answer this. Actually, I doubt I’d ask this question. I have interviewed lots of people for the JET Programme and it’s just not a question that helps us determine who’d make a good assistant language teacher.
  3. Find typical interview questions online and practice your answers repeatedly.
    Seems sensible.
  4. Make sure you dress for the job that’s one level above what you’re applying for and make sure your shoes look good.
    People will scrutinize you so don’t overlook anything. At another job hunting program, I heard that you shouldn’t overdress. I suppose going more formal is better than dressing too casually.
  5. Always write a thank you note. 
    Most advisors suggest this. On Wednesday they also said not to contact them otherwise. Don’t be a pest. Well, if they keep you waiting for months, it’s hard to be so passive.
  6. Your cover letter should have flair.
    Here I’ve lately been straightforward and an attempt to prove how transferable my skills are. One speaker gave an example sentence when trying to move out of Youth Services to Adult Services in public libraries. She attributes her phrase that “Youth Services Librarians are mental gymnasts” to her getting an interview. So I do agree that being more clever can help. I do think too many gimmicks could backfire by making you sound odd. In ESL/EFL I don’t think such language is necessary, but if you know the field and its conventions use that knowledge when composing your letter.

I’ll share more soon.

I was surprised when someone asked about job posts that don’t specify the salary range. The executive recruiter said that it’s fine to call and ask. They may not say and you shouldn’t talk about money till later in the interview process. One reason jobs may not publish the salary range is that they may end up paying someone $70,000 for a job that’s range is actually $55,000. Then someone might sue if they found out saying, “I’d have applied if you said the range was up to $70,000.” I’m surprised that someone could sue based on that. I’m astonished that an employer would pay $15,000 or more above what the range is supposed to be.

For Job Hunters

One thing that’s rather new when it comes to job hunting is that computers scan and sort applicants’ resumes. How do you know how to make it past the software?

I got some tips on this topic at a job hunting session given by the state at a local library.

To ace this step in the job hunting process:

  • Remove any text in the header because the program won’t read it.
  • Upload your resume without any bolding or formatting and save it as a text file. Upload the ugly file on the company sites directly and also upload your pretty resume or give some to the people whom you meet at an interview.
  • Don’t format your resume as a table or with tabs since this messes up how your resume will be read. The software that’s reading your resume reads from top to bottom, not across. I had used tabs and the dates were on the right side of the entry.
  • Use an online tool that compares your resume to the job description. The organization you’re applying to input keywords that they want the program to look for. You can’t know with certainty what they are but the best hint you’ve got is the job description.

One such tool is Jobscan. You upload your resume and the job description, press scan and voila, you see how well you match the job.

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Sample Jobscan results

The man leading this program suggested using a word cloud generator like Wordle.com to make a similar comparison. If the keywords in both the resume and job search are approximately the same size, you can figure you’re chances are good that you’ll get called.

Virtual Vocations

I just got a notice from a job board and clicked through to find out about an interesting Instructional Design position. I came to a website for Virtual Vocations and stopped when I saw that you had to pay to find out about this job.

It wasn’t what I called cheap either given that most jobs postings are free. I was curious about the A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. I looked at bbb.org and saw that yes, they have an A+ ratings but as of today they have 6 positive ratings, 1 neutral rating and 6 negative ratings. How is that not a C or worse?

I read the negative reviews and people had a hard time getting the “guaranteed refunds” and finding suitable opportunities that were worth the monthly fees.

I’m not signing up since it’s common practice that the job hunter doesn’t pay employment agencies and there are plenty of job boards.

Thought I’d let the buyer or job hunter beware.

Tell Me Something Good

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Tell Me Something Good is a simple challenge that prompts bloggers to share a nugget of positive news or wisdom and it’s started by the creator of A Momma’s View.

  • I started my first library job and the day went well. I’m so happy to be working with such a knowledgable, kind supervisor at a great library.
  • My niece and nephew have graduated from high school and grade school respectively.
  • I met the deadline for the Disney/ABC Writing Program.
  • I won $100 restaurant gift certificate for signing up for my local library’s summer reading program. You should join yours.

So for all of you who would like to play along and stick to the rules, here they are:

It’s easy:

Mention something that you consider being good in the comments

• Or write a post about it on your blog (please don’t forget the pingback if you do so I don’t miss out and also share the link to it in the comments below). Something good that happened to you recently, or something good you will experience in a little while, or something good you know will happen soon. Something that makes you feel good.

• Share this post and invite your followers as well.

Attitude Helper for Job Hunting

Yesterday I was lucky to meet with the Dean of a prominent university near me. I was blown away when I checked out her resume to prepare for this meeting. It was beyond impressive.

I was a bit nervous about meeting her, however, she was so helpful and approachable. At one point she advised me to remember that when looking at someone’s resume or c.v. to keep in mind that while it shows say three director positions at top workplaces, it doesn’t show the 15 other director positions that the person did not get.

That’s a helpful reminder that everyone gets turned down for jobs or falters in an interview.