Career Questions to Ask Yourself

Studies reveal that most people do not enjoy their work.  In an effort to enhance your career satisfaction, career coaches recommend answering these questions on a regular basis:

  • Am I doing something that is aligned with my core values?
  • Am I doing something that leaves a lasting impact?
  • Am I doing something that is related to my natural talents, aptitude, and disposition?
  • Am I stretching myself a little every day?
  • Can I see myself doing this same work five or ten years from now?

Responses to these questions will allow you to make a better connection between your passion and meaningful work activities.  To assess your strengths and interests, use tools such as the Myers-Briggs personality test, Pathway Planner, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and the Enneagram personality assessment.  While aligning your work with your talents, aptitude, and dispositions, also continue to challenge yourself.

For additional information on career assessment questions, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask others for their answers to these career questions.
  • Have students research various careers that who allow them to make a better connection between their passion and meaningful work activities.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are actions a person might take to plan for a satisfying career?
  2. How might a person research careers that provide meaningful work?
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The Gig Economy

Online selling, personal taxi services such as Uber, and renting a spare room to tourists, are examples of an increasing number of people generating or supplementing their incomes by trading goods and services online.  This trend is often replacing traditional employment.

Measurement of the “gig economy” (working outside a formal work environment with temporary, short-term employment by independent workers) is difficult.  Many situations are not reported in current labor statistics. In recent years, the fastest growth for self-employed workers has been in hairdressing, cleaning, and management consulting. While these services may be in the gig economy, this trend may also indicate growing formal self-employment in these fields.

Gig economy activities may start as temporary work due to a lay-off or a need to supplement household income. However, as time goes by, these self-employment positions can become a person’s ongoing employment status.

For additional information on the gig economy, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students describe examples of the “gig economy.”
  • Have students explain the “gig economy” to others (including different generations) and get their reactions.

Discussion Questions

  1. What factors influenced the development of the gig economy?
  2. How might the gig economy affect a person’s financial planning activities?
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4 Tricks for Getting Rid of Your Nerves and Appearing More Confident in a Job Interview

“There are endless telltale signs of nervousness at work or in a job interview. . . “

This Business Insider article describes typical signs of nervousness that applicants experience during a job interview which include sweating, rapid blinking of the eyes, stammering, and many other symptoms.  Hope Restle, the author of this article, provides 4 recommendations to help you remain calm during the job interview.  Each recommendation is accompanied by more information about how the recommendation can help and real-world examples of how it can reduce stress and nervousness.  Specifically,

  1. Recall a memory that inspires positive emotions.
  2. Create a secret gesture that corresponds with a positive experience you’ve had in your life.
  3. Silently repeat a mantra or saying to help you relax.
  4. Be interested in what the other person says.

At the end of this article, there is also a link to a video that describes questions that you should never ask during a job interview.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Help students prepare for a job interview.
  • Point out that the 4 recommendations can also be used to reduce stress in other situations where someone gets nervous.

Discussion Questions

  1. Assume that you are applying for a new job that you really want. What can you do to remain calm and reduce that “nervous feeling” during a job interview?
  2. In today’s complex world, it is not uncommon for people to become nervous during a typical day. What can you do to reduce stress in your daily activities?
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Modernize Your Resume

Resumes continue to evolve. To have a modern-looking resume, consider these suggestions:

  • Use keywords from the job description that will allow the applicant tracking systems (ATS) to select your resume.
  • Adapt your resume to each position for which you apply. Use organization-specific keywords to help you get an interview.
  • Eliminate your photos and references from your resume.
  • Include social media links for the recruiter to obtain additional information on your background and activities.
  • Make use of callout boxes, in addition to bullet points and line breaks, to highlight key experiences, qualifications, and accomplishments.

For additional information on updating your resume, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students talk to others to obtain suggestions for updating a resume.
  • Have students create a resume based on these suggestions.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are common mistakes people make on resumes?
  2. How might a person improve the effectiveness of their resume?
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Your Path To Success

What separates successful people from others?   While favorable timing, personal connections, wealth or other advantages can lead to success, a person must also possess various success-oriented attitudes, behaviors, and skills. Some of the actions that can lead to academic, career, and personal success include:

  • Display poise and confidence in your ability.
  • Assess existing skills and knowledge.
  • Set personal and career goals that align with your abilities.
  • Develop a habit on ongoing learning.
  • Take risks that allow you the opportunity to achieve at a higher level.
  • Persevere in your work efforts
  • Be prepared to face and go beyond obstacles.
  • Rejection and criticism can lead to future success.
  • Develop effective interpersonal skills. Your ability to interact, gain support of others, and develop trust is critical.

 For additional information about a success path, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask people to describe their definition of “success.”
  • Have students obtain suggested actions for personal and career success using online research.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are common mistakes people make in their personal financial planning and career planning activities?
  2. What actions do you plan to take to improve your personal and career success?
Categories: Career, Career Training, Career_Appendix, Chapter 1, Financial Planning, Skills Development, _Appendix B | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

10 Life Hacks That Will Make You Richer

“Money interviewed dozens of experts in different fields to find out which skills, tricks, and workarounds are most financially worthwhile.”

In this article Daniel Bortz and Susie Poppick describe 10 different activities that can help anyone advance their career and increase their salary.    While the list below identifies different activities, more specific information about each activity is provided in the article.

  1. Master the meeting
  2. Lend a hand at work
  3. Learn a language
  4. Get techy
  5. Write better
  6. Learn social savvy
  7. Take back your workday
  8. Sell yourself
  9. Learn to DIY (Do It Yourself)
  10. Get Organized

For more information, click here

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Point out that the suggestions in this article can improve their productivity on the job and make them a more valuable employee.
  • Encourage students to read the article for specific information about each of the above activities.

Discussion Questions

  1. In today’s work environment, why is it important to “make yourself a more valuable employee?”
  2. Ask students to review the 10 different activities and pick the two they feel are the most important. How could those two activities make you a better employee?
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Affordable School Tips

To help students and their families reduce the costs associated with college, provides information and links on various topics.  Features of this website, which was previously known as, include coverage college selection, financial aid, saving for college, and career trends for selecting a major.

For additional information on money-saving tips for school, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students conduct online research to determine actions that might be taken to reduce education costs.
  • Have students interview various people to determine actions to take to reduce education costs.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What actions have you taken to reduce education costs?
  2. Describe attitudes and beliefs that may minimize a person’s desire to reduce their education costs.
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Ongoing Career Assistance

Offering career information on a daily basis, SmartBrief on Your Career provides brief summaries and links to articles and other information.  These resources cover topics ranging from resumes and interviews to leadership and effective communication.  This service would be of value to those looking for their first job as well as seasoned professionals with a desire for ongoing career advancement. 

For samples of SmartBrief on YourCareer and to sign up, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students conduct online research to determine the most valuable websites for keeping up to date on career planning activities.
  • Have students select an online career source and create an elevator speech with a summary of the information presented. 

Discussion Questions 

  1. What topics might be most valuable for keeping up to date with career planning?
  2. Explain how social media might be used for career planning activities.
  3. Describe how career information needs differ between entry-level employees and those who are at an advanced stage of their careers.
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The Case Interview

In many types of job interviews, a person will encounter decision-making situations.  A case interview is one example, in which a prospective employee has the opportunity to demonstrate a capacity to think in a structured, creative manner when presented with a real-world problem.

When involved in a case interview, consider these actions:

  1. Carefully read the case to understand the background and the main problem of the situation.
  2. Plan a framework to organize your analysis and to show the relationship among key issues.
  3. Prepare alternative courses of action to show varied approaches and versatility in thinking.
  4. Use evidence to support your analysis and suggested actions.
  5. Clearly communicate your analysis process, conclusions, and recommendations.

For improved success in a case interview:

  • prepare by using practice cases online and researching the organization’s culture.
  • talk with people who have experienced the case interview process.
  • ask questions of the interviewer to clarify key points.
  • stay focused on the key question for the situation and main issues.
  • avoid stock answers; popular frameworks and buzzwords may not be appropriate.
  • emphasize the process, analysis, and actions rather than finding the “right” answer.
  • prepare by researching current business events and organizational trends.
  • practice the process with others who are willing to help.

For additional information on case interviews, click on the following links:

Case Interview Prep Guide

Interview Prep_McKinsey

Video-Preparing for a Case Interview

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students describe business situations that might be the basis of case interviews.
  • Have students create possible responses for potential case interview situations that they might be asked when applying for a job.

Discussion Questions 

  1. For what types of employment positions might a case interview be used as part of the selection process?
  2. Explain how case interviews help employers select the best candidate for a job.
  3. What actions should be taken to prepare for a case interview?
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Telling Your Career Story

Communicating your career experiences with the use of stories is an effective way to promote your professional life. Jobseekers need to tell their stories in varied ways, using many tools.

Start the career story development by identifying a clear idea, mainly why someone should want to hire you. Focus on your skills. What do you have to offer that is better or different than others?  One approach is to review the position for which you are applying.  Create your story to relate your skills and experiences to the job description.

Your online presence should include a profile of your passion and expertise.  Most important is evidence that you are able to address the needs of the available employment position.

Emphasize a “CAR” or “PAR” approach to storytelling. CAR is “challenge, action, results.” PAR is “problem, action results.”  Tell stories to explain challenges or problems and how you handled them.

For additional information on telling your career story, go to:

 Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students research various approaches for communicating a person’s career skills and experiences.
  • Have students create a short video that communicates their career skills and experiences.

 Discussion Questions 

  1. What themes or story settings might be used to communicate your career skills?
  2. Explain how social media might be used to communicate your career story.
  3. What are some skills and experiences you would emphasize in your career story?
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