Looking at Your Real Life Experiences in a New Way
Career and Life Portfolios: A Tool for Any Age
Learn Valuable Skills and Say "Thanks" to the Economy
Jobs Created By The Recovery Act
For Those of Us Who Don't Have Bailout Options
Being Proactive to Keep Your Holidays Safe
'Tis the Season for the Holiday Job Hunt
The Making of a President
Power Words for Resumes
Career Day Planning - Let's Get Started!
While You’re On Summer Vacation – Consider a Few College Visits
Middle Schoolers Needing Some Extra Cash? Let’s Brainstorm for the Summer
Teaching Ethics - Hmmm?
Summer Jobs and the $1.1 Million Connection
For Your Teen Students: Summer Jobs are More Than a Paycheck!
Celebrate the World's Longest-lived Animal (Careers that Relate to Earth Day)
Using Interest Inventories in Elementary and Middle School Years
Incorporating Character Ed in Middle-High School - You Can Contribute!
Learning About Careers through National Women's History Month
After the Holidays or Birthdays - The Hand written Thank You Note
Calling All Workers. . .

Helping Your Below Working Age Students Find "Work"
Career Awareness in the Primary Grades
How to Find Your Job Skills When You've Never "Had a Job"

Advice for teens and other young people.
Finding a Job for Special Needs Workers
Linking Students to Careers
Using the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., as a Study in Careers
Sports and Careers - There's More than Playing the Game

For information on a variety of careers, go to our Career Research Page

Looking at Your Real Life Experiences in a New Way

This is an edited excerpt from Resume Writing for Teens (and Other First Time Job Hunting Tips), written by Lisa Frederiksen.


We all have experienced and performed tasks that can be translated into skills useful in the workplace. A person learns or acquires job skills in many ways, such as in education, chores at home, spare-time activities and work experience. These are called transferable skills.

Make a list of the activities you have done. Include your educational activities, as well as your spare-time and work activities. Don't forget to include volunteer work and your responsibilities at home. From there, you can view one's activities in a new way:

Growing up in a busy family can be tranlated as:

• Managed two younger siblings while responsible for family's laundry, yard maintenance, evening meals and housekeeping while parents at full-time work.

Watching movies all the time can be tranlated as:

• Gained considerable knowledge of movies, ranging from drama to action and from the classics to present. With this interest, have tracked the lives and work of actors and directors and can give a brief summary of hundreds of movies.

Sewing Halloween costumes for siblings and friends:

• Costume design and sewing experience making five year's of Halloween cosumes for siblings and friends with themes ranging from fantasy to horror.

Playing team sports :

• Acquired team-builidng and conflict resolution skills while playing three years on the high school volleyball team.

Skate boarding since 4th grade can be tranlated as:

• Balanced school work with roughly two hours of skateboard practice per day. Learned time-management skills, discipline and organizational skills while working with a team of youth and adults to deisgn and build jumps in local areas.


Lisa Frederiksen has her seventh book out, If You Loved Me, You'd Stop! What You Really Need To Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much. Fore more information about the issues surrounding alcohol abuse/addiction (DUIs, underage drinking, dual diagnoses, co-addictions, codependency and more), please visit her website and blo,


Career and Life Portfolios: A Tool for Any Age

Maintaining a portfolio of work samples has been essential for artists since the beginning of commercial art, and in the last couple of decades, that practice has spread to other fields. Today, schools nationwide are training students to develop portfolios that can be used to prepare them for academic, professional and personal success.

Why Is a Portfolio Helpful for Everyone?

•   Portoflios provide an organizational tool for individuals to track and evaluate where they have been and where they want to go in terms of goals, interests, skills and achievements.

•   It is an organized method to showcase accomplishments, experience and skills to potential employers (or clients).

•   Once a portfolio system has been set up and becomes a habit, retrieval of important information is easy, making it unnecessary to waste time looking for important documents.

•   A portfolio can help answer job, college or scholarship interview questions, such as "why should we hire you," "what experience have you had," "where would you like to be in five years," and "tell me about yourself."

A portfolio is not just a great tool to collect and store important documents, samples and personal information. It's also a great marketing tool to promote oneself! Portfolios allow job seekers to back up their claims of skills and potential with physical evidence.

Students will find it well worth their time to maintain a portfolio. Transferable skills are more easily identified. A visual collection of material, organized in a way that allows them to easily retrieve, review and update, helps them with their goal setting and transitions in life. 

A person's portfolio will transform as his or her career progresses. In the earlier years as a student, it will include much more personal information, examples of progress, and assessments. As an individual grows, becomes more established in the workforce, the examples and demonstrations of work accomplishments replace school examples and progress. Personal references change to professional references. 

However, people may be wise to maintain two portfolios: one to show a potential employer or college admission interviewer and one for personal use. The latter will include personal information, such as medical records and budgets. It might include personal plans goals that should not be shared with an employer. 

Here are some of the items that students can maintain in their personal and professional portfolios:

Personal information (including optional picture, driver's license, vaccine schedule)

Educational plans

Sports activities

Work experience record

Community service


Samples of school work (writing, art, computer work)

Goal Setting, personal and professional

Letters of references


Achievements and awards

Sample job application

School transcript, SAT/ACT scores


Interview planning

Networking planning


Tracking system for applying for college and financial aid

Time management worksheet 

What Format is Best?

Choices for portfolio formats include:

•   Web-based, which can be a personal website

•   Electronic, such as putting documentation on a CD or flash drive

•   Paper-based, using a folder, expandable folder or binder

•   A combination of the above

For most people, including students, a binder as the primary format works best. Including some type of portable storage unit, such as a CD that you can leave with the interviewer, is helpful if you have artwork, computer work, music files or a website to present. The portfolio as a whole should include anything that will help give a full picture of the person, where the person has been and what he or she has the potential to do. 

Some of the items needed for the portfolio include:

3-ring binder, preferably with a plastic slip sheet cover

Sheet protectors


3-hole punch

CD Sleeves and/or USB storage device (optional) 

The Next Step: Collecting  Documents and Organizing Them

For more information on developing a portfolio, see Do It My Way: Developing School, Career and Life Portfolios.



Learn Valuable Skills and Say "Thanks" to the Economy

There are some really good things coming out of the economic crisis in a "making lemonade out of lemons" sense. People are changing their behavior in way that will be good for everyone in the long run… if the new behaviors are sustained.

For example, households are saving more and paying off debt, rather than trying to keep up with their neighbors in consumption. While this change of behavior doesn't help revive the economy, once it does recover, families and individuals will be more financially secure, and possibly happier when finding themselves out of the consumption war.

This is also an opportunity for individuals to focus on their employment skills. With limited jobs, people with little or no experience in the job market will be wise to do everything they can to find a job.

Here are some skills for young people to practice and learn when job hunting. The better they acquire these skills, the better their chances for success:

•           Presentation Skills

               How do you look? It doesn't matter what the business is; even if you are only there to get an application, you must be in interview-worthy clothes. There is an excellent chance that the person who may be conducting the interview will either see you or hear about you. You must make a good impression any time a prospective employer sees or talks to you. That includes being well groomed.

•         Communication Skills

             How do you speak? Are you a mumbler? Practice answering common interview questions, such as "tell me about yourself" and "why do you want to work here." You must practice how you are going to answer the interview questions, always being honest with your answers. For some good, quick tips on answering common interview questions, here are some excellent, short videos available to watch.

           Maintaining eye contact, firm handshakes and good posture are also ways people communicate subtle messages to people who are first meeting them.

           This is the time to reach out to others. Networking is the number one way people find job leads. Make sure your family, friends, neighbors and teachers know you are looking for work. Leave no stone unturned. Be polite and appreciative for any leads they may provide. Write a thank you note when someone does help.

•         Research and Preparation Skills

             When you hear of a job opening, research the company before you apply. And most certainly, know what a business is about before you interview with them. You can research businesses by looking on the Internet or asking people in your community.


             Get a map and mark geographic areas to cover while looking for a job. Focus on one small section each day or week. This will help you stay organized in your job search as well as focus your attention on the areas where you have access to transportation to and from work.

Looking for a good job in this market might be a little like searching for buried treasure. You need a good map. These basic skills will help point you in the right direction... and serve you well for the rest of your career. And what could be sweeter than that?

There are more articles to help guide people during the job search. Also, the Career Kids' website offers a full line of job search material on their website. This includes the DVD series: Get a Job! A Video Guide for Teens.

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions regarding this article or ideas for future articles.



Jobs Created By The Recovery Act

The bad news is, well, it's a little tough out there if you are trying to find a full-time job. But the good news is, there are certain areas where new jobs are projected to be created through the $819 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. What jobs are these jobs?

While the Recovery Act covers a wide spectrum of industries, there are some that will have more job growth than others. Here's an estimate of the breakdown, found in the analysis by Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, who are advisors to President Obama's economic team. These figures gives us a good estimate as to where the bulk of the jobs may be found:

Mining                                26,000

Construction                     678,000

Manufacturing                  408,000

Wholesale Trade              158,000

Retail Trade                      604,000

Information                         50,000

Financial Activities            214,000

Professional & Bus Svcs   345,000

Education & Health Svcs   240,000

Leisure & Hospitality         499,000

Other Services                    99,000

Utilities                                11,000

Government                      244,000

Total                              3,576,000

Many jobs found in the leisure and hospitality and retail trade industry will be created as workers stimulate the economy. Many of them will be lower-paid jobs.

Construction , with its wide variety of enjoys the largest job growth. Some construction workers may consider retraining to attain different skills, such as those needed for building roads or bridges. Over 300,000 jobs are expected to be directly created/saved in the energy industry. Look for jobs such as carpenters, construction managers, electricians, welders, and engineers.

Manufacturing is expected to have large growth. According to a report from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst's Political Economy Research Institute, jobs will be created in the fabricated metals, concrete and cement, glass/rubber/plastics, steel and wood products industries. Manufacturing jobs will be found in infrastructure and energy projects.

Other jobs that should be in demand will be accountants and auditors, nurses, information technologists and various computer related occupations, such as computer security specialists and software developers.

For more information about some of the jobs expected to be created over the next couple of years due to the money injected into the system from the recovery plan, a new book has been published which you can order from our website:

Where The Jobs Are: Recovery Plan Opportunities DVD - What are the jobs being created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?

Great Jobs in the President's Stimulus Plan – Occupational expert Laurence Shatkin explains the stimulus plan and analyzes some of the opportunities that will be created from it.



For Those of Us Who Don't Have Bailout Options

By Lisa Frederiksen

What better time to talk about financial planning with students than now, when our country is in the throws of trying to salvage our economy – one that’s in trouble for many reasons, not the least of which is an utter lack of budgeting. What do I mean by this? I mean Budgeting 101 – money in (a.k.a. income) must be equal to or greater than money out (a.k.a. expenses).

If students can learn this most basic principle, now, before they graduate from high school, they will be so far ahead of the game. And, best of all – they’re our future leaders and the country’s financial planners!

Let’s start with the basics.

Common Terms

  • Income – this is money you earn or receive as an allowance or gift.
  • Expense – this is anything you spend money on (gas, movies, food, music, lattes, insurance, school).
  • Net – this is what’s left after you deduct your total expenses from your total income. If you have more income, it’s called net income. If you have more expenses, it’s called net loss.
  • Wish List – this is the list of items you’d like to be able to afford but can’t on your income. These items might include a car payment or outright purchase of a used car, college tuition and books, a summer trip, dress for the prom or new clothes for back to school.
  • Savings – this is money you’ll set aside in a savings account for the items on your wish-list. Sources of savings might also be gifts or income, or they might include income you earn from selling your old clothes and jewelry on EBay or at a garage sale or taking on extra work, such as odd jobs around the neighborhood.
  • ATM card – this is like a credit card except it’s your money (meaning that when you use it, the money is coming from your account, not a loan from a bank in the form of credit). You can have an ATM card attached to a checking or a savings account.
  • Credit card – personally, I’d skip this one until you get the hang of managing your money. Most of us get into trouble with credit cards – especially in the beginning – because it’s so easy to tell ourselves to go ahead and charge it, we’ll pay it off later.  Well, they don’t have an online calculator to tell you what you actually end up paying if you can only make minimum payments (surprise, surprise), but suffice it to say, it’s A LOT!.

Set Up a Spreadsheet

Using a software program, like excel, create your budget. If you don't have access to a computer, you can do it on paper.  (Click here to see an example of a budget in a spreadsheet.)

List your expense categories so you can track your expenses and then record the amount you think you spend or plan to spend. This will take some time as you want to really think about what you spend money on. One of the common mistakes it to write down the big items, like car insurance or cell phone, and forget about the small items, such as lattes, haircuts, movies and fast food snacks. It’s the small stuff that can really make your income disappear without your even knowing it’s going! One of your “expense” categories should also be Savings. Sounds kind of weird, but the idea is that you “pay to save” in order to have money to purchase items on your “wish list.”

  • List your income source categories and record the amounts you think you’ll earn or receive.  
  • Total them up, subtract expenses from income and see if you have net loss or net income.


And now for the reality check. If it’s net loss, you’ll have to adjust your expenses or find additional income sources in order to balance. This step is critical. Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “Oh well, I’ll make it up next month with extra babysitting jobs.” Or, “I can get a full-time job this summer when I get out of school.” What happens if you don’t get that summer job or those extra babysitting jobs? Then you’re really in the hole.

Keeping Track

Here’s the part where most people say, “Nah…I’ve got it in my head. I don’t need to do this.” It’s the part where you actually keep track of your income and expenses on a monthly basis. Again, this is an important step, and in the scheme of things, one that should only take about a half hour of your time, per week, TOTAL.

  • To get started, you’ll need a check register (which should have come with your bank checks). If you have a debit card tied to your checking account, you will be using that to help keep track.
  • Record EVERY transaction in your check register (using your debit card helps you make sure you capture them all). This includes cash as well as ATM purchases and checks.You can use the bank statement you receive (either online or via mail) to make sure you’ve recorded every expense and income source.
  • Enter the actual expense and income amounts from your check register to your budget.
  • How did you do? Is it a net loss or a net income? This figure, by the way, should equal the balance you show in your check register.  If it’s a net loss, you should probably re-think how you’re spending your money or immediately find ways of earning additional money. 


For some worksheets on budgeting, credit, and balancing a checkbook, go to the downloads page and download the worksheets from the Part 5: Get a Job! Teens at Work and Money Management DVD.

This all may seem like a big hassle and a huge waste of time, especially because it generally takes a few months to work out all the kinks. But keep at it – at least for 4 months – and see if you don’t make progress. The rewards for your efforts will be significant in the long run (like when you’re old)…and, in the short run (you just may be able to afford that car you’ve wanted far sooner than you’d thought possible).


This article was written by Lisa Frederiksen. Her seventh book, If You Loved Me, You’d Stop! What You Really Need To Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much, has just been released. For more information about all of the issues surrounding alcohol abuse/addiction (DUIs, underage drinking, dual diagnoses, co-addictions, codependency and more), please visit her website and blog,


Being Proactive to Keep Your Holidays Safe!

This article was written by Lisa Frederiksen. Her seventh book, If You Loved Me, You’d Stop! What You Really Need To Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much, has just been released. For more information about all of the issues surrounding alcohol abuse/addiction (DUIs, underage drinking, dual diagnoses, co-addictions, codependency and more), please visit her website and blog,

This is the season for holiday parties and family gatherings…times of fun, good friends, old traditions and very possibly, drinking, as we celebrate the season and ring in the New Year. So, it’s probably little wonder that every year the President of the United States proclaims December National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Awareness Month.

The statistics surrounding drunk and drugged driving are deeply concerning, to be sure, and here are just a few quoted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Impaired Driving” fact sheet:

  • In 2006, 19% of drivers, ages 16 to 20, who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking alcohol (NHTSA 2006).

  • In 2007, nearly one in three high school seniors acknowledged driving after drinking heavily or using drugs or riding in a car whose driver was similarly impaired at least once in the past two weeks (U.S. Dept of Justice, 2007).

  • In 2006, 13,470 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

  • In 2007, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That's less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.

  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol.

These statistics show there’s a lot still to be done – with both adults and teens – and while the obvious answer is “Don’t Drink and Drive,” the less obvious answer is to the question, “What makes someone think they can still drive after drinking, and how can that be avoided?”

For teens, all 50 states have adopted "zero taolerance" laws, however all 50 states do not interpret zero tolerance as zero alcohol. Some states allow a blood alcohol contect (BAC) limit of .02 percent. How easy is it to reach .02? A 180-pound man can typically reacy a blood alcohol concentration of .02 after one beer.

But there’s more to it than the just driving. If a driver under 21 is charged with a BAC of .02 or higher, they may also face charges (and prosecution) for possession and consumption of alcohol by a minor (as the minor). If they have not been drinking, but an underage passenger has (or is in possession of an open container or drugs), they can be cited. If they drop off a friend, who’s drunk, and do not tell someone of that teen’s condition (like haul them into their bedroom, turn them on their side, and then leave), they can be held accountable should something go seriously wrong. So…

  • Urge teens to carry in their glove box AND wallet the phone number for a Safe Rides program (or cab if you live in a large enough city). Talk with them about identifying other parents they may call if they need help, should they be worried about calling you (make sure they have those names and phone numbers, as well). And, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, let them know that you will not punish them (you will talk, but not punish) if they do call you while in a situation compromised by drinking (theirs or someone else's). The next morning, use the opportunity to really delve into why they were drinking or in a drinking setting, show them the video/websites listed below and strategize with them ways to avoid a next time.
  • Talk to teens about issues associated with drinking as often as possible – use popular television programs, newspaper articles, billboard ads or sporting events as starting points. Let’s face it, often television shows have main characters meeting in the bar to talk over the day or drinking at a party, and then…. well, we don’t know what then … so drop a comment: “Boy, I wonder who was their designated driver?” If consequences develop in the show related to the drinking, seize that opportunity for discussion, as well.

  • Share the new brain research. There is so much known, now, that wasn’t known before as a result of brain imaging technologies – e.g., teens do get drunk on less alcohol than adults; teens can become addicted to drugs or alcohol before their twenties – all because their brains are still developing until their early 20s. So, share with teens this video / website program about the teen brain and drug/alcohol use.

  • Explore ways to reduce the risks of adolescent substance use.

  • And if there’s a concern about a teen (or adult’s) drug/alcohol use or addiction, check out this link for more understanding.

For adults, in my opinion, it's staying within drinking limits that allow adults to still think clearly and make wise choices. So how do you stay within safe drinking limits?

    * Understand what constitutes “A” drink. You’ve heard it before and have read it in many articles but have you tried to measure it and see what it looks like? “A” drink of wine is 5 ounces; “A” drink of beer is 12 ounces; and “A” drink of spirits (vodka, gin, scotch) is 1.5 ounces. This means that drinks poured and consumed at bars and holiday parties often contain more than one drink as follows:

          - a margarita = 3-4 drinks

          - a martini = 2-3 drinks

          - a scotch on the rocks = 2 drinks

          - a standard bottle of table wine = 5 drinks.

    * Know your glasses. Various homes, restaurants and holiday party locations will have different types of glasses, which means a glass of wine, for example, can have far more than just “A” drink of alcohol, depending on the type of glass that’s being used. This is another reason to actually measure out 5 ounces or 12 ounces or 1.5 ounces in various, common glass shapes, so that you have a clear visual of what “A” drink looks like.

    * Don’t let them refill. When you’re at holiday parties, it’s easy to loose track if a waiter is constantly refilling your glass. Don’t let them until you’ve completely finished your original drink. That way you will know when you’ve had your limit.

    * It takes at least one hour. Again, depending on age, health, weight, metabolism, height, etc., it “typically” takes one hour for the body to process one drink. So for every drink, it takes the body at least one, alcohol-free hour to rid itself of the alcohol in that one drink (two drinks, two alcohol-free hours, and so on). 

    All of this said, please know it’s not meant as a formula for how adults can drink and drive –Impairment Begins With the First Drink. Rather, it’s shared in hopes that understanding what constitutes a drink and how easy it is to over-drink can help all of us make wise decisions [such as sticking with the plan to designate a non-drinking driver and only driving home with that person] in order to be safe on the road. 

Enjoy your holidays. Be safe!



'Tis the Season for the Holiday Job Hunt

By Lisa Frederiksen

Just as Halloween decorations appear before school starts and Christmas decorations crowd in on Halloween in early October, the annual holiday job hunt is following suit. We are reading predictions that it will be a tough market. CareerBuilder has a list of 20 companies that are currently hiring for the holiday season. These include Mattel, Macy's, Radio Shack and Target. Now is the time to start lining up those jobs.  In addition to finding jobs with a company, students can also consider self-employment for their earnings. Here are some suggestions that will help students get a jump-start on this season’s holiday job search.


If having more control over your schedule and lower commute costs are important, consider starting your own business. Think about what adults do or hire to be done and then see if you can’t meet that need as a self-employed entrepreneur. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

- Dog walking/animal sitting – Families get busy with holiday plans and can use the help with their animals, whether that be daily walks or extended care while families are on vacation.

- Babysitting – It can be difficult for families when young children are home from school, but the parents still need to work. You can service these families and earn good money by putting together a weeklong winter “camp”.

Think back to what you liked to do at that age and ask parents, teachers and friends for ideas. Pack a “bag of tricks,” and include favorite children’s books, age appropriate DVDs and games, washable magic markers and scratch paper…even though they likely have all of this at their home, the fact that you brought it will impress young children (and their parents). You might even make-up a “project,” like taking your digital camera and then taking pictures of the children, and then making a “frame” or folded card out of construction paper. If they are very young, the children can dictate their messages for you to write in their cards and then sign their names. 

If you haven't taken a CPR/babysitting class yet, put that on the top of your list of to-do's.

- Gift wrapping/greeting cards – Set up a business to wrap holiday gifts; box those that need to be shipped and take them to the post office and/or address greeting card envelopes. There’s a lot you can do with this business.  Put together a “tool box” of  supplies: scissors, sticky notes (so you can mark wrapped packages), pens, scotch tape dispenser). You may also suggest they write the “to/from” gift tags ahead of time for you to use – if not, write the information on a sticky note and affix it to the box. You can give options of using the client's wrapping paper or your own wrapping paper – just be sure to charge a higher price if you use your own.

- Household Chores: Raking leaves, clearing driveways and sidewalks of snow, help putting up and taking down holiday decorations – Please use safety precautions. Talk to your parents about rules, such as going on roofs and using high ladders.

- Lessons – If you have a talent for sports or music or computers, consider offering lessons – parents are often looking for things for their younger children to do over holiday breaks.

To promote your new business, create an eye-catching flier that has the following information:

- Your name and phone/email contact information (do not put your last name – first name is fine). Speaking of phone and email, be sure your phone voice mail message is professional – you don’t want wild music or “Wassup – leave it at the beep.” That will turn off adult clients; instead you should say something like, “You’ve reached John’s cell phone, please leave a message and I’ll call you back as soon as possible.” Additionally, if you’ve got an email address that’s more about your interest, you might open another (they’re free) that’s more professional sounding, such as

- You may or may not want to include fees, depending on your business. Talk with your parents,  neighbors and friends to make sure your pricing is realistic.

- References upon request – this is important for potential clients who don’t know you. Create a list of 3 adults, with phone numbers, whom you’ve spoken to and who are willing to talk to a potential client to vouch for your reliability.

- Then, distribute your fliers door-to-door (but don’t put them in mailboxes – it’s against the law) or hang them up in bookstores or coffee shops that have bulletin boards. You may even want to create the “hula skirt” flier (the one where the contact info is on little tear off strips running vertically to the main message that runs horizontally). Give your fliers to your parents to hand out to friends and co-workers (if they’re okay with doing that).

The Traditional Job Market

The first jobs that come to mind are those at retail stores – being a sales associate for the holiday season.  But here are some others you may not have thought about:

  • Customer service – the behind-the-scenes customer service jobs, such as telephone assistance, that all businesses have nowadays. If your computer tech savvy, you could be an online customer service representative, for example. With some businesses, you may even work from home.
  • Shipping – UPS, Fed-X and mailing stores all hire additional employees for the holidays.
  • Coffee shops – the increase in traffic during the holiday season and the opportunities for families and friends to spend more time together in coffee shops, increases the traffic and the need for cashiers or baristas.
  • Restaurants – host/hostess, bus person, kitchen help, waitress, delivery person.
  • Try to think of businesses in your area that might have increased traffic over the holidays and then contact them.

Regardless of which route you go – self-employed or the traditional job market, you must do the following if you to stand out from the crowd and land the job(s).

  • Dress appropriately – As tempting as it may be to wear your jeans and a sweatshirt to fill out an application or drop off your fliers, DON’T. Even though the dress code may be casual in a particular business, when applying for a job, dress appropriately. For men, that’s slacks and a nice long-sleeved shirt. For women, that’s nice slacks or skirt and a blouse (think your mother’s blouse). Make sure your shoes are also conservative and clean. Leave the jewelry and piercings at home.
  • Professional-looking Resume – Have someone proof your resume. You can use the free My First Resume on the Career Kids' website to help you get started.
  • Practice Potential Interview Questions – And watch your body language. You don’t want to slouch, give one word answers or look blank when asked a question. Firm handshake – practice, practice, practice. It’s absolutely amazing how many limp handshakes there are out there and that is often an employer’s first impression (along with how you dress). So, get a grip – not a crush and not a limp toss – it could be a deal breaker!

To beat the rush, apply now with the large amount of companies that allow online applications. Start dropping off resumes and filling out job applications now. Then, follow up with a phone call or email a few days later.

Keep this up until you get the job. Don't get discouraged.

Copyright 2008 Career Kids, LLC



The Making of a President

By Lisa Frederiksen

I was astounded to hear Senator Obama telling Anderson Cooper on CNN “360” on September 1 that his campaign for President has some 2,500 employees and a budget of about $36 million dollars “for the month”! When I thought about it further, it’s not so surprising, but I was curious – 2,500 jobs – what are they?

Given this is an historic election – one our children and their children will be talking about in the decades to come – we decided to focus this article on the kinds of jobs and careers that go collectively into making a political campaign a success – whether it be a campaign for a candidate or an issue - locally, statewide or nationally. And, as you can imagine, we found scores of jobs, including:


website and graphics designer


administrative assistant

travel agent

campaign headquarters coordinator


communications specialist



secret service





advertising specialist


community volunteer coordinator

convention planner

Why, there are businesses within businesses, depending on the size of the campaign. Of course, most of these jobs and careers are not specific to a particular candidate or issue campaign; rather they are jobs that carry from one campaign to the next. Campaigns support industries such as the communications and travel industry. Money is poured into a campaign and trickles down to printers, radio and television stations, newspapers, hotels and restaurants. Reporters and advertising salespeople can be very busy during campaign season. Communities that host conventions or other events for politicians receive a boost in their economy from the people who travel there.

What is unique about these jobs?

Working on political campaigns can be stressful and fast-paced. Here are examples of how some of these jobs are specialized for a campaign:

Speechwriters are the people who help the candidate write an effective speech. Generally, the speechwriter sits down with the candidate and they’ll brainstorm the candidate’s goals and objectives for the speech. The candidate may even write a rough draft of the speech, with the speechwriter fine-tuning it. The key to success for a speechwriter is to be able to capture the personality, tone, word choice and pace of the person they are writing for and then convey a message that resonates with the target audience.

And, speaking of writers… If your students are interested and enjoy writing, there are all kinds of jobs, including technical writers, copy writers, writers with an expertise in economics, law or medicine, reporters, editors, freelance writers, publication assistants, bloggers (yes, it can be a full-time, but rarely lucrative career) news analysts and correspondents.

Presidential candidate, John McCain, has his own personal bus driver, who drives his Straight Talk Express (the name Senator McCain has given his bus). Imagine how well you’d get to know a candidate and so many of the other people involved in a political campaign as the candidate’s bus driver! And, once the campaign is over, you could drive a bus for a rock band or another candidate, or you could be a school bus driver or public bus driver, or a cross-country bus driver – what a way to see the country! Here’s an interesting job qualification in order to be an interstate bus drivers, “must be able to hear a forced whisper in one ear at not less than 5 feet, with or without a hearing aide.”

How to Get a Job on a Campaign

Many people start off as volunteers for an issue or a candidate they believe strongly in. The work can include knocking on doors to hand out literature, making phone calls, or simple office work filing and answering phones.

Those with special skills, such as graphic design, may be able to step into a paid position, but beginning salaries probably won’t pay you much.

If you are a student in college, get signed up as an intern. You may still be making the phone calls alongside the volunteers, but you also might be invited to participate in other activities. Once you get a college degree, there are more internships available to you, as well as entry-level jobs.

Suggestions for Classroom Activities

Have your students brainstorm a presidential political campaign – what kinds of jobs go into making one happen? You may even watch a clip of a convention or have them watch the news or read a newspaper article and try to take apart what the candidate is doing and who (people doing their jobs) may be helping them. Don’t forget the volunteers (precinct walkers, campaign phone solicitors, get-out-the-vote booth volunteers, folding fliers and brochures).

For a full civics lesson, have multiple classrooms or grades work a campaign. Select who will represent a candidate, such as John McCain and someone else Barack Obama. Then have the class divided into the newspaper reporters, bloggers and campaign workers. Have your “candidates” select their running mates. Hold a debate. This is time consuming, but a wonderful learning experience that they will always remember.

NOTE FROM CAREER KIDS: One of us had this experience of dividing multiple classrooms into the different campaign jobs during junior high and it definitely was a great influence and positive experience.

Lisa Frederiksen is the author of four biographies on famous women leaders in the women’s and civil rights movements and is a national speaker on women’s and civil rights issues. Visit her website for details: or email her at



Power Words for Resumes

This is an edited excerpt from Resume Writing for Teens (and Other First Time Job Hunting Tips), written by Lisa Frederiksen.

To present your “real life” experiences as job skills in your resume, it is important to use commanding, powerful verbs that grab a prospective employer’s attention. We call the verbs “Power Words”. Read the various power words below which are grouped by skills categories. Go back to this list whenever you are writing and updating your resume to remind you of ways you can sell your skills.

Power Words used to Describe Management Skills

Chaired                                          Enlisted

Formed                                          Moderated

Owned and Managed                    Directed

Operated                                       Developed

Elected                                          Motivated

Supervised                                     Organized

Started                                           Improved

Power Words used to Describe Organizational Skills

Coordinated                                    Maintained

Organized                                       Planned

Reorganized                                   Assembled

Collected                                        Centralized

Updated                                         Catalogued

Arranged                                        Enforced

Prepared                                        Scheduled

Power Words used to Describe Sales Skills

Marketed                                         Negotiated

Sold                                                Solicited

Convinced                                       Promoted

Raised                                            Exceeded

Encouraged                                    Publicized

Increased                                        Expanded

Power Words used to Describe Helping Skills

Tutored                                          Provided

Helped                                           Assisted

Contributed                                    Facilitated

Completed                                      Partnered

Guided                                           Coordinated

Treated                                          Executed

Power Words used to Demonstrate Communication Skills

Presented                                       Wrote                          

Introduced                                       Drafted

Communicated                                Spoke About

Organized                                       Reported

Advised                                           Prepared

Lobbied                                          Lectured


Power Words used to Demonstrate Technical Skills

Upgraded                                        Designed

Installed                                          Networked

Processed                                       Automated

Programmed                                   Tracked

Power Words used to Demonstrate Analytical Skills

Organized                                        Edited

Researched                                     Compiled

Surveyed                                          Examined

Analyzed                                          Searched

Evaluated                                         Documented

Critiqued                                           Discovered

Power Words used to Demonstrate Team Work Skills

Motivated                                          Supported

Team Builder                                    Collaborator

Power Words used to Demonstrate Finance Skills

Budgeted                                         Reported

Analyzed                                          Audited

Planned                                           Modeling

Strategic Planning                            Forecast

Other Descriptive Power Words

Mentored                                          Improved                     Invented

Delegated                                         Calculated                   Tested

Issued                                              Applied                        Classified

Taught                                             Gathered                      Catered

Awarded                                           Mastered                      Raised

Attained                                           Gained                          Revamped

Performed                                         Built



Career Day Planning - Let's Get Started!

By Lisa Frederiksen

It seems the majority of schools have their Career Day in the spring, commonly coinciding around the time of Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day®, but we’ve found a great deal of interest in getting an early start on planning – especially when it comes to arranging for speakers and planning classroom activities to spark student interest.

Garnering Student Interest

Career Scavenger Hunt

Here’s a twist on an old-time favorite – the scavenger hunt. Instead of the hunt being for odds and ends around the neighborhood, this one is for careers on the Internet. It’s the brainchild of Penn State College of Technology Outreach K-12 as part of their Career Day efforts and sounds like great fun.

And, then, the hunt begins. [You may want to pick out some key terms to have the students define and discuss before the hunt – e.g., occupational outlook, skills or education required.] You can use the questions listed below (which are those used by Penn State College of Technology Outreach K-12) or make up your own. Of course, you’ll have to adapt the questions based on the reference source and their grade:

1. What is the occupational outlook for the career? Is it a growing field or are there going to be fewer jobs in the future?

                 2. What and where are the opportunities for this career?

                 3. What kind of educational preparation does this career require for entry?

                 4. What technical skills does this career require? Be specific.

                 5. What kind of experience is required for entry into this career?

                 6. What is the salary range for this career?

                 7. List two related occupations to your career.

                 8. List one address to find additional information about your career.

                 9. What level math skills does this career require, i.e. algebra, calculus? (HINT: you may have to find this answer in another place. Try asking someone in the occupation)

Additional Materials

We get many calls from corporations, non-profits, as well as schools, asking for materials for Career Day. Career Kids has numerous products to help with your student career studies, as well as planning for a Career Day. Here are just a few popular choices, but please contact us if you want more suggestions:

Careers for Me Interest Inventories

Careers Video Tour, 2nd Edition (Elementary Grades)

Career Camp (this publication can also be ordered at a deep discount as an eBook)

As for speakers, here are a few suggestions:


Kids love to hear about the career paths chosen by the adults they know (or know as “John’s dad” or “Sarah’s mom”). To give parents a road map for what you’d like them to talk about, have your students brainstorm the kinds of questions they’d like answered. Here are some thoughts to jump-start the discussion with your students:

  • What do you do? What did you do before this?
  • What kinds of things do you do at your job?
  • Did you have to go to school after high school?
  • What kinds of subjects did you like to study in school?
  • What kinds of subjects were important for you to know in order to be able to do your job?
  • Do you like your job?
  • What kinds of things do you do to help around the house with the kids and household work before and after work and on the week-ends, in addition to your job outside the home?
  • Did you always know you wanted to do what you do? If not, how’d you start out?

Be sure to include stay-at-home parents. You might ask them:

  • What kinds of jobs do you do everyday?
  • Do you volunteer? If so, for what group? What do you do for them?
  • Did/do you work outside the home before / now?
  • What kinds of subjects do you think are important to know in order to do what you do?
  • What was your favorite job in high school (or college/vocational school)? Why?

Community Leaders

There are many resources for finding local community and professional leaders to come and speak to your students. These could be local elected officials, your Charter School board President, the high school district administrator, a local contractor or electrician or a local policeperson or firefighter. Great resources for speakers include:

Chamber of Commerce Roster – Look at your city’s Chamber of Commerce website. Generally there is a Membership Business Directory. Distribute copies of the membership roster to your students and discuss with them the various businesses represented, and then ask your students which ones they’d like to learn more about.

Trade and Professional Associations - There is a group for just about every profession and trade. Think of the job (e.g., REALTOR®, lawyer, plumber) and then do an Internet search to find the applicable professional or trade association. You can then either pursue it through the Internet or look through your local phone book yellow pages under “Associations.” Under “Associations,” for example, you’ll also find a referral to these other yellow page headings: athletic organizations, business & trade organizations, clubs, fraternal organizations, fraternities and sororities, labor organizations, political organizations, professional organizations, religious organizations, veterans and military organizations and youth organizations and centers.

The Invitation/Scheduling

Once you’ve decide on whom to invite, you can make this process a class project, with various groups of students handling various stages of the process:

  • Verify the correct spelling of the name of the person you want to invite, along with their title and address. You may consider sending the invitation to both their mailing and their email addresses. Generally, you’ll want to give at least a three month lead time so they can schedule it within their work loads. [Many of my speaking engagements are contracted 7 months out, for example.]
  • Write the invitation letter. Be sure it includes what they’re being asked to do (perhaps an enclosure of possible questions the students would like answered), date and time (and how long they will be asked to speak and answer questions). Also, you will want to mention whether they need to check in at the attendance desk (perhaps have two students meet them there to great them and show them the way to the classroom) and/or pick up a parking permit.
  • Ask if they’ll need any equipment (white boards, microphone, podium, computer – some of these will depend on the size of the student group, of course) or technology set-up (LCD projector, wireless internet connection).
  • Send the letter and mark in the calendar when to follow up with a phone call.
  • Confirm their attendance 1-2 weeks in advance.
  • Make all set-up arrangements. Be sure to test the equipment the day before, if not two days before.
  • Plan for a student to take photos (perhaps even write up a short story about the visit and include it with the photo for the school newspaper). For older student groups, you may want them to pursue getting local newspaper coverage of the event, as well. If the speaker is going to be presenting to the entire student body, you will also want to have a group write up and give the student announcement of upcoming activities – perhaps prepare a poster or flier to announce and promote the event.
  • Send a thank you letter – be sure to enclose a copy of the photo.



While You’re On Summer Vacation –

Consider a Few College Visits

by Lisa Frederiksen

It’s never really too early to take students to campuses of vocational schools or colleges. Even though many campuses may be very quiet during the summer months, especially the four-year universities, being on a campus is an experiential learning tool that can motivate, start brainstorming discussions and just make young people think about their future.

Parents can help their children look at their post-high school options by taking them to colleges and vocational schools during the summer breaks. These can be schools in their hometown area or ones they’re passing by while on vacation. They don’t need to be schools they realistically expect their children to attend. Some families take their children to visit Harvard even though they say they would faint if their child got into that school (we’re not talking negative parents here… just a little realistic.)

We’ve put together a handout for your families, which you can copy or email, that reviews some questions to ask and to think about when looking at a college campus or technical/vocational school.

We’ve received some good feedback about our handouts. We’d like to continue writing more handouts for you to distribute, if that helps you do your job. Please let us know what other information you would like and we will try to put it together for you.

Thanks for being part of the Career Kids community. Contact us if you would like any samples of materials or help finding new products.

On behalf of the staff at Career Kids,



Visiting College Campuses, Vocational Schools and

Career Colleges Over Summer

© 2008 Career Kids, LLC

One way to help your middle school or high school student to start thinking about what they may want to do after high school is to visit one or two colleges, vocational schools or career colleges in your area or while on vacation this summer. These don’t need to be schools your student is necessarily interested in attending, rather they’re convenient and will give your student a sense of what it’s all about.

              For the student that is motivated and knows he wants to continue with his postsecondary education and training, this is a great way to introduce him to different campuses. And for other students, visiting campuses can help generate ideas, discussion and visions for the future.

              The following information has been gathered from a variety of resources to provide you with questions to ask colleges or vocational schools, as well as for the student to ask herself.

              If you have special circumstances, such as a disability, you should be asking questions at any school about the services they offer, such as note-takers, readers or modified instruction. There should be a specialist at the school to handle your personal questions.

For All Types of Colleges and Schools: Read the bulletin boards to get a feel for activities and clubs on campus. Try to eat in the cafeteria if you are there at lunchtime. And, always check out the student/bookstore store. All these things provide subtle hints as to campus life at that particular school and what it has to offer.


For Vocational and Career Colleges:

Getting training after high school may help you get a better-paying job doing work you like. But going to school is a big investment. You’re investing your time. Chances are you’ll also have to invest your own money or take out a student loan to go to school. So you need to be sure that you’re choosing the right school.

When you visit the school. Call the school and schedule a visit. While it’s preferable to visit during the regular school year while a full slate of classes are being taught, most schools have a summer program. Get a feel for the school; make sure you’re comfortable with the facilities, the equipment, the teachers, and the students.

Don’t be afraid to ask! A good school will be happy to answer your questions about its programs. Ask the school about its students: How many graduate? How many get jobs because of the training they received? What kind of job placement services does the school offer students and graduates?

Check the cost. Make sure the school gives you a clear statement of its tuition and fees. Remember that any federal financial aid you get will be applied first to paying the school's tuition and fees. if there's any money left over, the school will give it to you to help you pay for things such as food and rent.

Will employers accept the training at this school as preparation for employment? Call the employment office or human resources department of some businesses or companies where you might like to work. Ask if they expect employees to have a certificate or license in order to be hired. Also ask if they can recommend a career college or technical school that provides the training required for employment.

- Adapted from the Department of Education informational website


Questions to ask at a four-year college:

How competitive is it to get admitted?

What is the average class rank of the current freshman class?

What is the high school G.P.A. of the current freshman class?

What is the average SAT/ACT of the current freshman class?

What types of organizations for student involvement are established on the campus?

What sport and athletic opportunities are available to students?

What is the public transportation like around the school?**

What is the housing situation at the school?

How big is the campus? How long will it take to walk to classes?

How much is tuition, room and board?* Can you live on campus more than one year if you choose? How far from home is the campus?**

What percentage of students graduate in four years?

*One of the more affordable ways to get a four-year degree is to attend a community college for the first two years and then transfer to a four-year college for the last two years.

**Beware of hidden transportation costs when you are far away. Also be aware of the cost of bringing a car to campus versus using public transportation.



Middle Schoolers Needing Some Extra Cash?

Let’s Brainstorm for the Summer

by Lisa Frederiksen


Summers are a great time for middle school students to earn some extra money and garner job skills that will put their resume ahead of the rest when applying for “real” jobs in high school. They will learn time management, dependability, people skills, communication and marketing skills, self-confidence and money management (in addition to earning money!).

Middle schoolers are often interested in working, not only to make money, but to feel more independent and older. Most people who worked at a young age can reflect back and agree that work was usually a positive experience.

We’ve provided this information, which can be printed or emailed, to give to parents as a tool they can use to help their young student as he or she embarks on a search for summer jobs.

At the end, we’ve included information for parents if they are interested in helping their children explore careers over the summer. These are home packets that are available through our website. The packets include a book, interest inventory, and activities.

If you have additional information that we can add to this information sheet, please contact us so we can include it. Our best ideas come from our customers.

You can continue reading the handout or go here to get clean copy that is easy to print out for distribution.


Identifying Potential Summer Jobs for Middle School Students

©2008 – Career Kids, LLC -  Permission is given for school districts to distribute

Whether at the dinner table or in the car, it’s always a good time to talk with your child about work and school. If you have middle school children, chances are good that they are interested in earning some extra money. We know there are advantages to working: People learn time management, dependability, people skills, communication and marketing skills, self-confidence and money management (in addition to earning money!). But, it is difficult to find a job at such a young age. Here are some steps to go through to help you and your child identify areas in which they may be able to earn some extra money:

1.  Take your student through your jobs around the house each day (or week)…

              - Who waters the lawn and patio plants?,

              - Who mows the lawn and sweeps the patios?

              - Who washes the car(s)? Picks up the dry cleaning? Does the grocery shopping?

              - Who takes care of the kids who are out of school for the summer?

              - Who walks and feeds the dog? Makes dinner for the family?

              - Who sorts the mail or takes out the recycling?

All of these are potential summer jobs for young students to work for neighbors and friends who are going on vacation or working outside the home while their children are home for the summer.  Make any additions to this list here:


2.  Observe what you see others doing. How old are they? Would they invite a middle school student to help them?  Add your observations here:

Identifying Job Skills Your Student Already Has or May Want to Develop

1.  Brainstorm with your child as to whether they have the skills to do these jobs. One example, may be babysitting – have they taken care of their younger siblings, helped prepare meals, cleaned up after play dates? Don’t forget your boys! Many parents of boys are looking for boys for babysitting. If your students lack the necessary job skills, how might they get them? Check with your local Red Cross or city to see if they are offering babysitting course.

2.  Discuss ways your student might offer their services as a summer job.

            - This would include figuring out how much to charge (ask friends who’ve used students for similar jobs, for example).  

            - It would include helping them come up with a “sales pitch” – a one or two sentence description of what they can do          and how they can help. Let them practice it on you. It would also help to come up with a business name:  John’s Yard Help or Susan’s Babysitting Services.

            - Decide whether they would benefit from making a flier and passing it around the neighborhood. If so, what do they want to put on it: business name, their name and phone number or email address, description of their services, maybe a quotation from someone who will vouch for their follow-through and quality of work.

Discuss with your student the advantages of volunteer work or community service. Check into your local SPCA chapter, church or local organizations that may need young people to assist. There are nature centers, museums and camps that look for volunteers.

If your child has a passion for certain activities, encourage him or her to develop the skills used in those activities, even if they don’t get paid. For instance, the young writer can develop a community newsletter, either in print or electronic. The videographer can develop documentaries about the community or fictional stories using buddies as actors.

It’s hard, especially when parents are working, but we want to help with ideas that will keep your child engaged, active and safe this summer.

Here are some ideas for summer employment to

brainstorm with you child:


Pet sitting

Yard workers

Bicycle repair

Camp counselor

Referee and umpires

Computer tutoring or training (this can be a good resource if you live near a retirement community)

Garage sales

House sitting (pick up mail, packages, feed animals, water plants while neighbors are away)

Car washing/detailing

DVD rental (if the family has a large collection)

Recycle pickup (they make their money when they take the recycling to the service center)

Library pick up and return

For more tools to help your child explore careers, take a look at the following Home Pack you can order from You can find free career information at the website.

Career Awareness at Home Pack 3: Grades 6 - 9 

Includes Careers for Me Plus, a 24-page interest inventory that reviews educational goals, activities, interests and includes information on resume writing and lots of career information. Users are encouraged to research two careers of interest, of which the Quick Job Reference guide in the back of the booklet will help. This package also includes the Occupational Outlook: An Exploration Book for Teens and a teacher's guide.  $18.95 each set.

©2008 – Career Kids, LLC -  Permission is given for school districts to distribute



Teaching Ethics - Hmmm?

By Lisa Frederiksen

In this day of legalized greed (think mortgage financing disaster); minced words (think President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky) and silent consent (think Darfur), it’s no wonder that teaching students ethics is difficult. Add to this the day-to-day “fudges” many adults engage in while in the company of young people, such as:

              - calling in sick to school so their student can finish a school project;

              - speeding or crowding fellow drivers and swearing at them when they don’t move out of the way;

              - making up a story to get out of an obligation;

              - insulting someone or forming an opinion on someone based on their looks;

              - “helping” their student’s history paper (“just the typing and editing”) because their student is swamped that weeked with a soccer tournament;

              - telling a racist joke and taking affront when someone doesn’t laugh because “they were only kidding!”; or

              - driving the family home after they’ve shared a bottle of wine with dinner yet admonishing the student to “never drink and drive!”

              And, as if this weren’t enough competition for teaching ethics, consider the absurdity of television shows our students watch that pay the winner for stabbing fellow castaways in the back or the bachelor or bachelorette who picks their life’s mate (after “sampling” 11 others, all at the same time) in just a few weeks or the guest/host show that allows incredibly personal, destructive family relationships to be played out on national TV (including undress and physical violence) – requiring burly men in black T-shirts to step in.

              Whew! Where do you start? 

              Answer: Elementary school and as frequently and as often as possible, thereafter.

              Many educators are familiar with the Six Pillars of Character, which are at the foundation of the Josephson Institute, a nonprofit “center for youth ethics.” These character traits are defined as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. As you explore ethics with your students, invite them to compare the six pillars with the very real counter-examples they encounter in their day-to-day lives. Ecouraged your students to analyze and verbally communicate their thoughts. Here are some ideas for discussion questions that can also be used in a debate-like format:

              - What do you think about friends canceling plans with friends when something better comes along?

              - What do you think of copying information from a website without accurately footnoting the source – like a cut and paste?

              - What do you think of copying or letting others copy homework from you?

              - What do you think about students cheating on tests – even if getting a good grade is critical to their getting the water polo scholarship they need in order to afford college?

              - What do you think about kids who drink even though the legal drinking age is 21?

              - What do you think of kids smoking pot even thought it’s illegal?

              As you take students through questions like these, encourage them to probe deeper by asking, “Why do you think students do ____________?” “Do you think there are ‘levels’ of cheating that are okay?” “Do you think __________ is okay to do because ‘all kids do it?’” “What would you do in that situation?” (By the way, surveys continue to demonstrate that teens overestimate how many of their peers are doing certain behaviors, such as having sex and smoking pot. It is important for youth to know that not “everybody is doing it.”)

              Teaching ethics is difficult when students encounter so many real-life counter messages. Nonetheless, discussions like these will help students dig for an understanding of ethics and in the course of discovery be able to answer the questions, “What is ethics?” and as importantly, “What is it for them?”

Here are some new DVDs that are guaranteed to enhance your character education program:

Auto-B-Good – Award winning character education series for elementary school

The Character Chronicles – Award winning new series for grades 4-8

Real Character/Real People – Award winning new series for Grades 7-12

Career Kids offers a number of elementary, middle and high school materials that can enhance your teaching opportunities. You can find them on our website. Call us if you would like help looking for specific topics or formats. Your orders are always 100% guaranteed to meet your satisfaction.


Summer Jobs and the $1.1 Million Connection

By Lisa Frederiksen Bohannon

Summers Jobs and the $1.1 Million Connection   


              1.1 million dollars and a summer job connection? Yes, it’s true! According to the Schwab Center for Financial Research, a couple retiring at age 65, who want an annual income of $44,000 (for 30 years), will need a whopping $1.1 million dollars in their investment account.(1) Now that’s a reason for teens to get a summer job!

              Unfortunately, teens being teens, the age of 65 is far too OLD to be relevant, and thus “retirement?” – well there’s plenty of time to worry about that – LATER. Nonetheless, helping teens understand the basics of money management, now – budgeting and the notion of saving, regardless of how small the paycheck – will help teens avoid the pitfalls of credit card debt, college loan debt or a crazy car or home loan that offers zero money down, low interest for 2 years with an adjustable that skyrockets to stratospheric monthly payments and ultimately repossession by the lender.

              According to Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Schwab’s chief strategist of consumer education and president of Charles Schwab Foundation, parents are almost twice as likely to teach their children how to do the laundry than how to balance a checkbook.(2) There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is parents’ perception that teens just aren’t interested in learning about money management and it’s components – saving, investing and budgeting. Not to worry. They are. Schwab’s 2007 “Teens & Money” survey found that 60% of American teens identified learning about money management a top priority.(3)  [Click here for survey highlights.] Additionally, Schwab-Pomerantz stated in her interview with Greg Morcroft of MarketWatch that focusing on four key areas will go a long way to securing a teen’s financial future; lessons she was taught by her father, Charles Schwab:

              1) “saving for a lifetime” – “paying yourself first” 10 % of whatever your income source (allowance, earnings, gifts) so that it becomes automatic,

              2) a strong work ethic, starting at a young age to work for pay (paper routes, pet sitting, babysitting],

              3)  learning how to budget, and

              4)  learning how to use a credit card.(4)


              Whether a parent or a teacher, helping students embrace money management ideals by giving them the tools to do it themselves is an invaluable life lesson. We often worry that not “helping” our teens financially keep up with their peers (like paying their gas or car insurance or cell phone bills or clothing extras) will somehow damage them. But, when we think about it, adults who’ve tried to “keep up with the Jones’s” have found themselves financially crippled. So perhaps the lesson is some kind of compromise (think allowance?). Charles Schwab’s Teens & Money 2007 Survey Findings provides a wealth of information and teaching tips for these kinds of discussions.

              In keeping with this idea, here is a new twist on “how to budget” – a twist that can motivate a teen to want to get a summer job. Start with something her or she desperately wants as the “purchase goal.”

              1.  Determine how much the purchase goal will cost. If it’s an I-pod, that’s pretty straight-forward. If it’s a used car, have them do some online research to determine the price they’re willing to pay. Kelly Blue Book is a good start. There will also be ongoing car ownership costs, such as gas and insurance, but for now, the objective is to help them see how much they’ll have to earn in order to pay for it. Using a “Savings For a Goal Calculator,” such as this one by, will help a student see how much and for how long they’ll need to save in order to reach their purchase goal.

              2. To help them build a budget, now, so that they might actually achieve their purchase goal, use a budget calculator like BECUs, Budget Calculator for High School Students. This calculator includes the typical teen expenses, instead of the more adult-like expenses of the typical budget calculator, such as rent, rental insurance, childcare and the like.

              A second lesson may be a comparison of credit card interest rates vs savings interest rates – just how much you have to save of your hard earned summer job paycheck in order to payoff one months’ worth of credit card debt. Taking teens through a comparison of the two interest rates (savings interest of 5% vs a credit card interest charge of 19%) will help them see that charging beyond their ability to pay off their credit card debt monthly causes them to eat up any savings interest income they may have earned. [For your general information about the pros and cons of teen credit cards, read Liz Pullman Weston’s article, “Teach Your Teen How to Handle Credit Cards .”]

              To help teens with the How To’s of finding a job, Career Kids offers a number of great products. For example, see our Get a Job: A Video Guide for Teens available on DVD or VHS. Please contact us if you would like help in finding a specific topic or format.

And, while they are thinking about it, encourage teens to check out these websites for job ideas: 

SnagAJob: “the nation’s largest part-time and full-time hourly job site,”

GROOVEJOB.COM,  Type in your zip code (or the zip code of the area where you want to work) and find part time, student, teen and hourly jobs galore.

Cool Works®,, posts seasonal jobs and careers “in some of the greatest places on Earth.” You can find summer or winter jobs at National Parks or in various summer camps or at ski resorts, ranches, theme parks, or tour companies.

              Even though it may seem a stretch – summer jobs and the $1.1 million connection – take it from America’s teens:

              - 93% believe that living within your means and having good money habits are important to being successful in life,

              - 90% agree and like the feeling of earning and managing their own money, and

              -  76% define success as not relying on others for money.(5)

(1) “Schwab ‘Parents & Money’ Survey Offers Prescription for Raising Financially Healthy Kids,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008,

(2) Gregory Morcroft interview with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, “Ten Mistakes Parents Make Teaching Kids About Money,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008,,KEYWORD=4

(3)“Schwab ‘Parents & Money’ Survey Offers Prescription for Raising Financially Healthy Kids,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008,

(4) Gregory Morcroft interview with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, “Ten Mistakes Parents Make Teaching Kids About Money,” MarketWatch: March 26, 2008,,KEYWORD=4

(5) Excerpts from “Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey Findings,”



Summer Jobs are More than a Paycheck!

By Lisa Frederiksen


This month, invite your students to explore the intangibles of working. The issue’s article, “It’s More Than a Paycheck!” may be reprinted and distributed to your students to help them jump-start such an exploration.

Summer Jobs: It’s More Than a Paycheck!      



              Looking for a job can be one of the more intimidating activities you may face this spring. Yes, “spring.” Thinking about summer jobs, now, will give you opportunities to explore and consider summer jobs that will offer you far more than just a paycheck. These are the intangibles one gets from working which can make a lower wage worth the trade-off. Consider these:


Every job you do offers a unique opportunity to gain new job skills (customer service, technology skills, punctuality, workload management and team work, to name a few). Job skills not only build resumes, but they also build self-confidence. Additionally, perfecting a particular job skill may alert you to new opportunities that you may want to pursue in order to prepare yourself for a better or different job down the line. Job experience also helps you to identify roadblocks that you may want to overcome, now, in order to meet your long-term objectives. Shyness or fears of public speaking are two such examples. Job experience can also help you learn the core values and the work ethic you want for yourself as well as an employer or fellow-employee.

Another benefit to working at a young age is that you learn about the types of jobs and tasks that you don’t want to do. Anything you learn about yourself, self-growth, is a positive!


Building Networks

Statistics show that roughly forty percent of all people find their jobs through networking which refers to the process of talking with, writing to or meeting people who might be able to provide you with information or a recommendation that could lead to a job. Summer jobs are an excellent way of building networks. Getting to know regular customers, fellow employees and management are all ways of identifying people who may someday be the one “who knows someone who has a friend who is looking for…”  Thus, you may wish to narrow your summer job search to those with wide ranging network possibilities or to those with networks of people working in career areas that you’re interested in pursing. But, don’t forget to include your parents and neighbors.

Job Hunt Skills

Every interview, resume draft and job search effort provides invaluable experience for the next time or for the job of your dreams somewhere down the line. What better way to gain interviewing confidence, techniques for interview follow-up and skills for writing an attention-grabbing resume than by actually doing it? Summer jobs offer you opportunities to hone these skills – skills that will also serve you well when applying for apprenticeships, internships, college or more permanent jobs. Learning interviewing skills, alone, for example, will help you successfully talk to a guidance or career counselor, an academic department advisor or a financial aide officer – all of which will help no matter which education/training path you choose.

Identify Long-Term Career Goals

There is nothing like working at a job you hate in order to learn what you don’t want to do long-term. Summer jobs offer all sorts of opportunities to explore potential career paths, vocational interests and from there, the long-term goals you’ll need to pursue. These kinds of goals may include vocational training, additional job skills or college course studies. Additionally, not-so-fun summer jobs can help you find the stamina to complete a boring research internship that in the end may prove the key to graduate school, for example.

How to Keep a Job

Learning to put up with difficult bosses or negotiate acceptable work relations with fellow employees is another immeasurable intangible of working.  Learning to be a good employee – one that arrives on time, stays on task throughout their work day, looks for ways to help others when their tasks are complete and doesn’t use work time for personal business – is another intangible you will gain working a summer job.

So this month, think of the intangibles you would like to find in a summer job. As you will soon see, summer jobs offer far more than just a paycheck.


© 2014 Career Kids (800-238-8433


Celebrate the World's Longest-lived Animal! Careers Related to Earth Day

By Lisa Frederiksen Bohannon

Right around the time William Shakespeare was performing his play, “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream,” at Queen Elizabeth I’s Court in Great Britain in 1603, a quahog clam was born. Yes, a 405 year-old quahog clam, was pulled from the freezing Arctic waters off the coast of Iceland last year.

              Two things make this discovery especially interesting: 1) it is considered the world’s longest-lived animal (scientists know this by counting the growth rings on its shell, similar to the way an ecologist would count the rings on a tree stump to determine its age), and 2) its age will help scientists understand the environmental changes that have occurred over the past four centuries. The latter is of particular interest to climate research scientists and the clam, itself, is of particular interest to marine biologists. And, while you’re having a discussion about these careers in science, check out PBS’s “Cool Careers in Science,” where you can read from the scientists themselves about what it’s like to be an expert on artificial intelligence (a scientist who designs the minds and behaviors of robots) or an arachnologist (a scientist who specializes in the study of tarantulas!) or any of twelve other out of the ordinary science careers. 

              But, back to the quahog clam. What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2008 than by celebrating this clam’s 405th birthday! You can read all the details in National Geographic News’ article, “405-Year-old Calm Called Longest-Lived Animal.”

              Earth Day 2008 will be celebrated on April 22.  Earth Day Network reports than more than 1 billion people will join the celebrations this year. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 and “brought more than 20 million people out into the streets to protest against environmental destruction,” says to the Network. Check out their lesson plans for K-12  for ideas you may wish to use as part of your classroom celebration. [Note: you’ll have to join their Educators’ Network, but the materials seem well-worth the effort.]

© 2014 Career Kids (800)238-8433


Using Interest Inventories in Elementary and Middle School Years

(Modified from Careers for Me Plus and the teacher’s guide)


Interest inventories, or assessments, are no longer just for the high school set. More districts are encouraging career awareness and education be taught in the younger grades. Interest inventories are an important tool when teaching career awareness.

We can tell you from our observations when we go into a classroom to administer one of our inventories, that the students can’t seem to get enough of it. They are anxious to get their hands on one of the reference books. Notes are compared with friends. After all, these inventories are all about them! (Note: Try to have as many reference sources as possible!) An interest inventory is an excellent tool to introduce careers and get the process started about some of the options available as students start moving into the working world. 

What are some of the objectives when younger students take an interest inventory?

•  Students will learn more about themselves, including an awareness of personal  interests, skills, and educational goals

•  Gain an awareness of various new job titles

•  Enforce the concept of school-to-work

•  Have an understanding of job clusters

•  Be encouraged to research careers which fit their interests (and perhaps skills)

•  Continue to learn how they may fit in with the world of work

•  Receive the career awareness and exploration process in a non-stressful manner

When starting a career unit, here are some of the points to be sure to discuss with the class:

Taking a Career Interest Inventory

Please understand that this assessment is not a test. While there are no right or wrong answers, it is important to be honest with yourself. This assessment focuses on one’s interests and skills to help learn more about different careers that may be of interest. People’s interests usually change as they grow older. Remember, some people change careers when they are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Others try a new career after they retire from the job they’ve held their entire life.

School to Work

Why are you in school? If you said it’s to learn about the world around you, you’re right. If you said it’s to prepare you for a job when you graduate, you are also right. As you grow older, you will learn more about yourself and what kind of work will fit your interests. You will make decisions about how much education fits your personal needs and the requirements for the kind of job you want.

School is Your Job

Do you ever wonder why you need to learn certain things, such as history or algebra? Most people do at some point. But you’d be surprised how things you are learning today (yes, even algebra) in school will help you tomorrow with your career. As for now, your career is being a student. Your job is to do the best you can in school and keep an open mind to the world of work around you. In the future, you will thank yourself!

Getting to Know Yourself

Understanding oneself is important for everyone. What activities do you enjoy? Think about what subjects in school you like and in what subjects do you do well? Who are the people with whom you enjoy spending time? Where are the places you’d like to visit on a vacation? The more you think about your likes, pleasures, dislikes and the more things you’ve accomplished in life, the more easily you can see what kind of career you might enjoy.


Jobs are often grouped into “clusters”. Cluster groups are based on something that the jobs have in common. You can group jobs in many different ways. For instance, all jobs having to do with health can be grouped together. This would range anywhere from x-ray technicians to doctors. Another example is jobs that are clustered around animals. There are limitless ways to cluster jobs.

Career Kids publishes interest inventories for grades K-3 (Careers for Me Junior), grades 3-7 (Careers for Me II),grades 6-9 (Careers for Me Plus) and a special needs inventory (Careers for Me SN). If you would like a sample of any of these publications, please email us with your address and which version you would like.


Incorporating Character Education in Middle-High School


You may be short on time or maybe you are able to coordinate with the English teachers to have the students write essays on character. We found some character quotations that can be great conversations starters, thought provoking or just kind of fun. Send us some that you find, or that originate from you or your students, and we’ll add them to the list on our website. Also if you can give suggestions to help other use quotes to teach character education, send them our way and we'll get them posted. We'll also send you a free gift!


Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

 - Charles Reade, (1814-1884)

Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.

- Albert Einstein, (1879-1955)

Character is what you are in the dark.

- Dwight L. Moody, (1837-1899)

The measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.

- Baron Thomas Babington Macauley, (1800-1859)

Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.

- Shaquille O’Neal, (1972-    )

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

- Unknown

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

- James D. Miles

Everyone tries to define this thing called Character. It’s not hard. Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.

- Unknown

You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.

- Ronald Reagan, (1911-2004)

Character isn’t something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. It’s something you were born with and must take responsibility for forming.

- Jim Rohn (1930-    )



Learning About Careers through National Women's History Month

By Lisa Frederiksen

       Often students ask, “Why study Women’s History? Why isn’t there a Men’s History Month?” Good questions, to be sure. To stimulate the discussion of why we celebrate Women’s History Month, consider giving your students the quiz that you can download here and duplicate as needed for your students.

        The National Women’s History Project led the successful campaign to have Congress and the President annually proclaim March as Women’s History Month.

Exploring Women’s History Through Careers

       A common way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to explore the career paths of current, famous women, such as those listed below. Instead of using women whom students have read about only in history books, have them learn about women who are active and working still today. Ask students to consider their age? Of the “firsts” identified in the Quiz, which ones applied to these women? What did these women study in college? What was developing or happening in society and the world when these women became revolutionaries? For example, where did Rebecca Lobo learn to play basketball; did Title IX have any influence on how she got to play for the WNBA? Here are some links to just five women:

Senator Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator from California

U.S. Army General Claudia Kennedy, first woman 3-star general.

New York Liberty’s Rebecca Lobo, one of the WNBA’s hottest stars

Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, first female Secretary of State

Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, current Secretary of State

YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT AWARENESS OF WOMEN’S ACHIEVEMENTS – Email us about the women your students have researched. Send us any links to sites for these women that your students find so that we can add them to the list above (we will be happy to provide the school name that provided the information!).

You’ll find biography books and more information about careers at the Career Kids’ website.

Additional Resources for National Women’s History Month Celebrations:

The National Women’s History Project offers suggestions for promoting Women’s History Month:

Discovery Education website offers a wide variety of Women’s History Month celebration activities for all ages.


The National Women’s History Museum offers, “A Women’s History Calendar: Events Listed by State,” at

Lisa Frederiksen Bohannon is the author of four biographies on famous women leaders in the women’s and civil rights movements and is a national speaker on women’s and civil rights issues. Visit her website for details:


After the Holidays or Birthdays - The Handwritten Thank You Note

What better way to help young people develop one of the key skills for the job market than by teaching them to write meaningful thank you notes for holiday or birthday gifts. A hand-written “thank you” note sent immediately after one’s job interview can tip the scale and result in a job offer. Yet, the ‘art’ of hand writing a thank you note faces heavy competition with voice mail, text messages and emails. Here is a lesson plan suggestion for helping young students write thank you notes for gifts received. Adjust the idea for the age level -- the steps are the same at any age:


1. Brainstorm with them on why it’s important to write thank you notes.

                  Ask students to think about what goes into gift giving:

                       - time to think about what would make a perfect gift

                       - time to wrap it and mail or deliver it

                       - time to shop and money to buy or time to make it

Help them understand that by writing a thank you note, they are taking time to acknowledge, in their own special way, all of that effort.


2. Suggest they follow a simple formula that goes beyond the perfunctory, “Thank you for the _______________ . From, Johnny

Just as their gift giver put effort into giving the gift, the receiver should do something similar. Here’s a suggested format for young “thank you” note writers.


First: Invite them to throw out some gift ideas

Second: put the following on the board and then have them brainstorm ideas for filling in the blanks:

    - thank you for ______________

     (be specific – if it’s cash, tell them what they’ve spent it on or if they’ve saved it or…)

    - why they liked it or what they have done with it

    - add one thing they have done recently (for older students, this can be 1 or 2 things they’ve done)

    - a sentiment directed to the giver

    - mention, “thanks, again, for the ___________”

    - salutation


                            Thank you for the book, Run With Horses. I really like it because I love

                            horses. My friend Suzie and I went to the movies.  I hope you had fun

                            on your trip to Uncle Brian’s. Thank you, again, for the book.

                                                                      Love or Sincerely or From,

If you really want to make a project of this, you could also have them decorate the front of their thank you note. Be sure the paper size is one that will fit into a standard envelope without “wrecking” their art work.

©2008 Career Kids, LLC Lisa Fredriksen Bohannon is a writer and speaker on a variety of work related issues, as well as women and civil rights history. She has written articles for various publications, including Career World and has published numerous books. She is a popular speaker for organizations and schools. You can contact her directly at


Calling All Workers…

Helping Your Below Working Age Students Find “Work”

With a business name like Career Kids, it’s not surprising that we get emails from kids as young as 11 looking for jobs. We also get the occasional phone call from parents asking if we offer jobs to children. While the name Career Kids is easy to remember, people often don’t realize that we offer products for all ages, from kindergarten through adults.

So, what do we do when we get the email from a motivated young person asking if we have work for them?

Our response is generally a few ideas, such as those listed below, as well as suggestions to talk with their teacher, counselor and parents.

So, how do you handle your own children or students who are interested in earning money, but are too young to get “a real job?”

The most common solution? Paying them extra money for “special” chores or projects around the house. Without debating the issue of paying children for family chores, this solution often does not satisfy the child’s need to feel more independent and grown-up. It also doesn’t provide some of the life experiences that one only gets from being accountable to a person outside the family.

Here are some more common ways of handling this situation:

  • Babysitting – Perhaps one of the oldest forms of young people earning money. Check with your local Red Cross to find out if they offer their excellent babysitting course in your area.
  • Mowing lawns, shoveling snow and other groundskeeping chores – Another common money-making activity for young people. Make sure your child is properly trained on any equipment used.
  • Volunteer work – For the young person who’s need is more how it feels to be independent rather than making money. Contact your local SPCA branch to see how young they will allow volunteers. Do you have a local historical society that needs help scanning old photos? Take your young person’s interest and use your fingers to make some phone calls.
  • Tutoring – Does your young person have a knack for math? Or how about excellent organizational skills. Parents of children a couple of grade levels lower than your student may welcome the opportunity for extra tutoring or help on a weekly basis keeping their child organized. It’s good for the younger child as well as the older.
  • Pet and House Sitters – Ambitious young people can put out a flyer in the neighborhood offering services for people going on vacation. Parents should be very aware of whom their child will be working for and what will be expected. Make sure the requirements are appropriate for the age of the student.
  • Bicycle Repair – Is your student mechanically inclined? Simple cleaning and repairs of bicycles could be right up some kids’ alleys.

Do you have a computer whiz? A good artist on your hands? With a little (or sometimes a large) amount of creativity, we can usually find some type of job that a young person can either do for payment or on a volunteer-basis. Either way, they will learn important life skills.

Do you have ideas for how underage children can earn money or learn life skills that will help them in their future? Pass them on to us at We will post them on our website so that teachers, counselors and parents can get new ideas to help our motivated children learn and stay excited about the working world.


Career Awareness in the Primary Grades

Some of this information is from the teacher's guide for Careers for Me (Junior).

I can remember many years ago when I showed my oldest daughter's kindergarten teacher the catalog I had just developed promoting elementary career awareness products. I was very pleased. To my surprise, the teacher laughed.

In California, career awareness at the elementary level is practically non-existent unless a teacher takes a particular interest in it. And to think that we had products for children as young as kindergarten – well, it was just a little much for this teacher. I couldn't blame her. She was a wonderful teacher who somehow managed to provide an excellent education and a wonderful experience for 34 five year olds. How I still wished there was some time to teach something about careers.

There has been much development in elementary career education over the years since I had that conversation. Teaching career awareness in primary grades is not so uncommon nowadays, at least outside of California.

If you are teaching career awareness to primary grades for the first time, here are some tips for introducing the subject of careers:

  • First, feel comfortable using the word career. It is appropriate at this age to introduce children to terminology that they will use during their career awareness journey.
  • Ask students why they believe school is important. Go around the class and ask each student to share their answer to the all-time question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Tie in school subjects with the careers they share.
  • Ask the class to name the workers at their school (principal, janitor, cafeteria workers, etc.). Expand it to other parts of their community: the grocery store, the gas station, and so on.
  • Explain the concept of clusters. Demonstrate the variety of ways jobs can be grouped into families, or clusters, depending on the criteria. A good way to demonstrate this is to talk about jobs that work with animals. Have the class brainstorm with: jobs that work with animals; jobs where one works outdoors; jobs that work with food, etc.
  • If you choose to do some kind of interest assessment with the, explain to them that it is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers. Make sure the assessment does not "pigeon-hole" them at this young of an age. Remember, at this age the goal is awareness of careers, as well as self-awareness.
  • Discuss with the class the importance of goal setting. Setting up small goals is essential to reach the bigger goals. For the young student, turning schoolwork in complete and on time is an important goal.

Parent Signature

Having something the student can put into a portfolio, or take home, is a good way to not only communicate with the family, but gives the student a reference point. Getting a parent signature is optional, but there are good reasons to do so. It encourages student-parent discussion. Encourage parents to discuss goal setting, school, dreams, hobbies and their own line of work with their children. Parents can be introducing their young children to careers on a regular basis -- everytime they run errands, go to the doctor and travel, for instance.


How to Find Your Job Skills When You've Never "Had a Job"

Many young people think they don't have job skills because they've never had a job with a paycheck. What people often don't realize is that they do have job skills just through their education, spare time and normal life experiences.

Taken from the workbook, Resume Writing for Teens, here are some examples of how job skills are acquired:


  • taking a journalism class
  • learning how to design web pages in computer technology class
  • drama class for four years of high school
  • taking a foreign language for four years of high school
  • achieving USSA Lifeguard and Red Cross CPR certifications

Spare Time Activities

  • playing team sports
  • watching lots of movies
  • skate boarding every spare moment the day since 4th grade
  • reading several non-assigned books/month throughout school
  • playing in a band with a groups of friends of
  • participating in school activities, such as the debate team, yearbook, peer mentoring program, French club or science club
  • sewing Halloween costumes for siblings and friends
  • engaging in hobbies such as writing, painting, wood-working, cooking
  • taking the school trip to Washington, D.C. (or any kind of travel)
  • leadership in a church youth group

Life Experiences

  • growing up in a busy family
  • working in odd jobs for family and neighbors, such as raking leaves, cleaning rain gutters, pet sitting, cleaning swimming pools, or yard care
  • volunteer work, such as at a retirement center, teaching swim lessons or your local elementary school
  • summer yard care business or summer house sitting
  • babysitting
  • tutoring peers or younger students
  • helping a parent with a home business sending out billing statements, filing, etc.
  • active in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts
  • spending hours on the computer and mastering a number of software programs

Everything you do gains you skills that can be translated to work skills. For example, if you have grown up in a busy family, you may have learned how to manage people, organize activities and developed time-management skills. These are all qualities businesses are looking for in their employees.

As you make a list of your educational, spare time and life experiences, think of ways they have taught you skills and provided you with valuable knowledge that employers will appreciate.


Finding a Job for Special Needs Workers

Those with special needs, such as individuals who have little education or physical disabilities, can be discouraged. Besides working with counselors who specialize working with the special needs population, individuals can also do research on the internet.

From the 2006-2007 edition of Able to Work Job Outlook, the following are government and private agencies where someone can find out about jobs:
The National Business and Disability Council
National Organization on Disability
JAN (Job Accommodation Network)
Pride Industries
Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB)
National Council on the Aging
One-Stop Career Centers
The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
Career Voyages
Goodwill Industries

Your local library or school career center – Don't overlook these great places. Ask a librarian or teacher for help. That's their job.


Linking Students to Careers

It isn’t just students who dream about what they want to be “when they grow up.” Whether one looks back at a childhood fantasy career (like being the star basketball player), or at a future career that may take place after retirement (the novelist), we continue to grow and dream about what we can do to be fulfilled and happy in our lives.

We often get emails from students who are looking for information on careers. Fashion designer is popular. Anything related to sports is popular. The career that crosses genders is veterinarian.

We all know there are many jobs associated with the care and well-being of animals. There are jobs at animal shelters, pet stores and zoos. Aquariums, universities and museums also contribute in different ways to the welfare of animals. I know of one person, very close to me (my daughter), who has her heart set on being an animal photographer.

The Occupations Outlook: An Exploration for Teens is a reference book for young people which also includes careers which may be of interest to those who want to work with or for animals. These jobs include cat breeders, ranchers, fishers, marine biologists, park rangers, veterinarians, wildlife biologists and zoologists. Each occupation also includes the cluster from the Careers for Me interest inventories, its Holland Code, and the Department of Education’s career cluster.

Some websites offer great career information on a variety of jobs related to animals. For instance, the San Diego Zoo includes the people behind the scenes on the business end who are critical to keeping the zoo open for visitors. Young people may not think about it much, but those workers are important for the residents who call the zoo their home. (If they could talk, of course!)

Here are just a few you can add to your list for young people researching. These are also on our links page. If you find more good sites, please email us so we can add them. We will be adding more links which will be helpful for your students to collect good career information.

Sites with Career Information Related to Working with Animals - veterinarian, veterinary technician -working with animals, plants, science and conservation, people, running the zoo - marine science (aquarist, ed specialist, exhibits coordinator, exhibit designer, research biologist, science writer) - maintained by the Large Animal Medicine Department of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia


Using the Life of Martin Luther King., Jr., as a Study in Careers

  By Lisa Frederiksen Bohannon

              After America’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life this past Monday, it is helpful for students to use his life experiences to see how following one’s belief, dreams and passions turns an eclectic mix of talents and formal degrees into a career path that is anything but a straight line. Often students believe you go to college and then you go to work in a career directly related to your degree. If you don't follow that path, some feel it is not making the best use of one's college experience. Instead, it is important that students understand that “careers” can be varied, taking many twists and turns along the way.

              That same year, King was ordained at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and became its Assistant Pastor, following in his grandfather and father’s footsteps. 

              Before Martin Luther King, Jr., pursued his PASTORALvocation, he graduated in 1948 from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, with a B.A. degree in Sociology. According to the American Sociological Association , a degree in Sociology can be used to launch careers in “the world of business, industry, and organizations,” which certainly proved to be the case for Martin Luther King, Jr.

              Later, he enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.)degree. Martin Luther King, Jr., then went on to Boston University, where he was awarded the Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology on June 5, 1955.

              When Dr. King accepted the call to Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where he moved with his wife, Coretta Scott King , it put him in ‘the right place at the right time’ as circumstances unfolded. Circumstances that would change the country.

             While in Montgomery, Dr. King became active in the local chapter of the NAACP and another now well-known person, Rosa Parks, was secretary of it. The Montgomery Chapter of the NAACP had been looking for a test case to challenge Montgomery’s segregated bus seating laws and the Women’s Political Council, headed by Jo Ann Robinson (who was active in Dexter Avenue Baptist Church), initiated the idea of a one-day bus boycott to protest Ms. Park’s arrest for refusing to give up her seat in the first row of the Negro section on a Montgomery city bus.

              On the evening of the one-day bus boycott to protest Rosa Parks’ arrest, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was formed and Martin Luther King, Jr., was elected President. Dr. King’s amazing talent as a SPEAKERand WRITERwas critical for progress in the Civil Rights Movement which launched one of the key aspects of his life’s work as a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER and ACTIVIST.             

              During the ensuing years, until his death in 1968, Dr. King traveled over six million miles, spoke more than 2,500 times and was arrested thirty times for his activism and leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. Along the way, he wrote five books and multiple articles.

              Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was just thirty-five years old.

              What was the young Martin thinking when he was in college earning his degree in Sociology? Could he ever have imagined that the government and schools across the country would close down to honor him on his birthday? Can anyone really predict where their lives will take them based on where they live, whom they meet or what they choose for their college major?

              Additional resources:

              The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University – the official home of the Martin Luther King, Jr., papers and offers “Liberation Curriculum


              Lesson Plan to Use Dr. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail


              Listen to the audio of Dr. King’s memorable “I Have a Dream” speech given during the March on Washington, D.C., for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963.  


              If are new to exploring careers with your students, visit, where you will find a wide variety of guidance and life skills materials for K-adult.


Sports and Careers – There’s More than Playing the Game

        By Lisa Frederiksen Bohannon

        It doesn’t matter if they are in high school or pre-school: Many students have a high interest in a career in sports.

        It's not unusual for us to get emails from students asking for information about being a professional athlete. Teachers always request that we include that job title in our publications.

        Experienced workers understand that there are many more career opportunities in the sports industry than just playing a sport. We know someone who played college baseball and was looking to go professional. While he didn’t get drafted to play, he did get an offer to be a scout for a major league team. That was years ago and he’s still working as a scout and happy with his career choice.

        The list is endless of opportunities to have a career related to sports and it covers every field. But do your students realize this?

        To help students explore sports career opportunities beyond that of professional athlete, consider what Career Prospects [in Virginia] has to say about:

              Jobs With Sports Teams

              Stadium and Sports Facility Operations and Event Management

              Sports Business and Marketing

              Sports Journalism and The Media

              Sports Medicine


         Some products available through to help students explore sports:

              “Spotlight on Careers in Fitness and Sports,” grades 8 and up

              “Discovering Careers for Your Future” series, grades 5 – 8

Happy Birthday to One of Sports’ Greatest - One of baseball’s greatest players of all times, Jackie Robinson, was born on January 31. Given the scandal surrounding some of today’s sports professionals’ rampant use of steroids and questionable personal behavior, it is a pleasure to offer a happy birthday to this amazing person and athlete -- one who not only beat down the country’s racism and segregation barriers to break into Major League Baseball as its first African American player, but one who also was UCLA’s first ever four letter winner (track, basketball, football and baseball). Go UCLA! (Sorry… someone here has a kid there.)


During the month of February - Consider using Jackie Robinson’s life and career as one of your studies for Black History Month. His life and career also offers a wonderful segue to help students explore sports career opportunities beyond that of a professional athlete.

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