8 College Degrees that prepare you for International Work
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When I was in the Peace Corps, I was surrounded by people who had traveled extensively. I was one of two people who had never left the United States before I signed up for the Peace Corps. The people I got to work with, their education backgrounds varied from public health, business, communications, and law. If we’re being honest, pretty much any college degree will prepare you for international work. Work is work, no matter where you live. There are greater opportunities for some things than others, however. Let’s explore 8 college degrees that prepare you for international work.
If you’re looking to work abroad, but aren’t sure where to start, or how to find the right position, a good place to start is idealist.org. They list job opportunities for non-profits, in the United States and abroad. They even have remote positions available so you can work and live anywhere you want.
Teaching provides a holistic outlook on life, and allows us to make connections. This is like that. Develop your skills in the United States or abroad. Sign up for a tefl/tesol certificate, and teach English abroad. Often, you don’t even need a university degree, depending on the country. In addition, something like 40% of the Peace Corps volunteers go for teaching or Health related sectors.
There are stories of cooks and chefs traveling from kitchen to kitchen, because the quest for knowledge, to know how you made that never ends. That, and chefs tend to be their own kind of pirates and often need a lot of engagement. The cool thing about this job is even though you can go to a fancy school like the Culinary Institute of America, or Cordon Blue, you can also just learn on the job. Either way is totally acceptable, as long as you can prove your value. Which means making delicious food, and (as a chef) managing others.
International Policy and Development
This one is a little on the nose. Obviously if you’ve majored in international policy and/or development and/or relations, you don’t plan on staying put in the country you’re from. If this is your goal, make sure you study abroad, and meet as many people that also work for international organizations. Your network is widespread, but the connection of a foreign land is deep and elastic. It’ll follow you wherever you go.
Public health officials are like social scientists. They figure out what is keeping people sick, and how to remove the threat. Quite often, keeping one’s health is a matter of knowledge, and awareness. Public health covers so many different aspects of our society, but so much of what needs understanding, assistance, and awareness, happens where the infrastructure isn’t developed, or is subject to war.
Spend your days on the sea, scuba diving, and exploring an entire world completely different from the one humans have created for themselves. Honestly, if I had half a mind for all the science this job requires, I totally would have signed up. My perfect day is snorkeling until I drown.
Nurses are everywhere, and will always be in high demand. You can be a traveling nurse, or sign up with a hospital or program hosted out of your country. Nursing is hard work, but nurses save lives. If that’s what you’re about, then find a program that’ll get started.
There is always getting into the business side of things. You could major in business administration (or management) and either add a minor of language or something that impacts the lives of the people where you’d eventually like to work.
Tourism has an enormous footprint on the world, and Eco Tourism is helping to keep things sustainable. There are a lot of really cool programs out there, like NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), and other groups that teach leadership, sustainability, and economics. Eco Tourism is a new trend that is likely to grow over the next two decades as we continue to use our natural resources beyond a sustainable rate. Here you will be able to incorporate environmentally friendly ways to encourage exploration, culture exchange and sustainability.
Ultimately, no matter what you’ve studied you can find a way to use your particular talents in an international capacity. Whether it’s teaching, healing, research or getting paid to have fun, if you’re prepared to make the jump, you’ll land on your feet.
Now, I want to hear from you: What is your degree in? Are you using it to work abroad?
I am so glad to welcome Bonnie McConaughy as a guest poster this week. She’s writing about why and how you can believe in yourself, end the impostor syndrome once and for all, and start doing the work that really matters to you.
Our career dreams matter and they are important to us.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow them for various reasons. One of the biggest issues I have experienced, and see others struggling with, is believing in ourselves enough to chase our dreams. I haven’t been pursuing my own career dreams for very long, but I have learned a lot already simply by getting started and putting myself out there!
#1: Build up your confidence:
- Surround yourself with positive and confident people. The more of this type of energy you spend time around, the more you will feel positive and confident yourself! I can’t tell you how beneficial being a part of so many Facebook groups that are full of people with similar goals and purposes has helped me. Just seeing what they have to say and how hard they work helps motivate me!
- Be proud of what you have achieved. Every achievement, big or small, is something to be celebrated. You have come a long way to get it done and that’s always amazing and worth being proud about. So please, don’t ever think that your achievements are too small to be worth anything. Every step in the right direction is a big step as it all adds up!
- Remember that done is better than perfect in a lot of cases. If you’re so worried about perfection, then you may never get whatever you’re working on done and where it needs to go. No one can be helped by what you have to offer if you don’t get it out there. So do your best, get it done, and get it in front of the necessary people!
- Use your fear to fuel you! You can use your fear to push you forward instead of letting it define you or hold you back. Let’s face it, a lot of the things in life that scare us the most to do are the most rewarding things once we have pushed through and done it! If it’s that important to you, then it’s certainly worth pursuing!
#2: Strengthen your self-esteem:
- Tell yourself that you can handle anything that you set your mind to. Believe that you are strong and capable, because you are and you can do this!
- Accept criticism as it is. Sometimes it’s worth further thought, or for use to fuel you to improve things on your own terms. In other situations, it’s best to just let the criticism go and ignore it. Either way, don’t let it get to you enough to discourage you. It’s only their opinion and you still have a purpose to fulfill!
- Be proud and outspoken about what you do and what you have accomplished. What you have done is something to be proud of! Don’t shy away from telling people when they ask what your job is or what you do every day. You have come this far and that counts for so much!
- Stick up for yourself by being assertive. Don’t let opportunities get away from you because you’re afraid of going after them or speaking your mind to other people. Be assertive with the people in your personal and work life to get where you need to go.
#3: Stay ambitious and determined:
- Don’t let yourself, or anyone else, discourage you. As humans, we often have the habit of being our own worst critics, and that can chip away at our determination to pursue our dreams. Other people also sometimes do the same with their jealousy or concerned feelings for us. Remember why you’re working so hard and keep moving forward. You have a purpose and like I said, you can do this!
- Continuously work on your goals and don’t give up. There will be times that it is really difficult, but do not get discouraged. You will get through those hard times and you’re making progress all along the way. You will certainly learn how to thrive as you move forward!
- Remember what I mentioned before, that you are strong and capable! You have all that you need within you right now, so channel that energy towards your dreams and go after them!
We all have things that make it hard for us to go after our dreams, whether they are career or life dreams, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pursue them. If something is important enough to us and we can live a more fulfilling life, then we should go after those dreams with everything we have!
When Your Boss Sucks and What To Do About It
One day I came to work, and my boss wasn’t there. I was surprised; she was usually there before anyone else. It was later that day I found out why she wasn’t there. She’d been fired. At first I was shocked; I thought should was a good leader and supervisor. But sometimes you don’t know the full story and this was definitely one of those cases. Apparently, she’d been actively breaking the NDA, and possibly with people who could use the information she’d been dispensing.
Not quite the scenario that comes to mind when you think about how much your boss sucks, huh? Here’s another one: A different boss, at a different place, was just the worst. She had no sense of leadership, propriety, and talked to the co-workers like she was hanging out at the bar. Which is fine, except we were in a pre-school.
There are all sorts of way that people don’t live up to our expectations of leadership. Often it’s because they weren’t trained, or they didn’t have a role model to learn from. I’m lucky that I’ve had both, and between the training and modelling, I’ve learned how to identify poor leadership and what you can do about it.
When the work environment reaches a place where you can’t really do your job anymore because of the relationship you have with your boss, you know it’s time for someone to go. It’s either you or them.
You should want to work in a place where you get along with your co-workers. Here are some signs that your boss sucks:
- Talks shit behind your back, or talks about co-workers behind their backs
- Gives contrary orders or difficult tasks with impossible deadlines
- Expects more from you that what your job title does
- Makes you feel uncomfortable, or unsafe
- Says things about their personal life that makes you wonder if you should tell a legal authority
- Bullies you into doing work outside of office hours, or outside your job description, or something illegal
When we’re young, and just starting out in the world, we’re often so grateful to have a job that when people treat us poorly, we accept it gracefully (or at least without comment) and continue on. We don’t think we deserve the treatment, but we’re conditioned to take the abuse in an effort to build our credibility and work history.
You know that’s not right, right?
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
Talk with your supervisor about their behavior – yeah, I know it’s going to be terrifying, but there’s a chance they don’t know what kind of asshole they are. A client of mine recently told me during their last interview the supervisor referred to herself as a bitch several times. The client knew to expect a certain level of behavior, and talking to the supervisor wouldn’t have been helpful in this situation. If the behavior started out of nowhere they could be having a life change and subsequently acting out at work. But if they’re just a terrible person and they don’t know, you can let them know.
Talk to their supervisor about their behavior
If you feel unsafe around your supervisor, and you don’t want to or can’t afford to find a new job, consider talking to the supervisor’s supervisor. You can bring it up as an off record conversation and feel the situation out, or you can file a formal complaint. If you work for a larger organization they might have a policy in place for reporting employees. You’ll want to make sure you follow that policy to the letter, in case there is any blowback.
Apply for a different position within the company
If the company is on the larger side, chances are you’re not there to do menial work anyway. If you’re wondering if you have enough experience to even ask for a promotion, the answer is probably yes. As part of the application, you’ll want to create an internal resume of the work you’ve done, and take the time to highlight your accomplishments for the company. Anytime you’ve saved them money, helped them increase profits, or found a solution for a problem, it needs to be detailed. If your company has an internal hiring/promotion process you’ll need to follow that as closely to policy as possible.
Now I know you’re already thinking, “this person isn’t going to give me a reference!” but you might be surprised. Again, even though people have terrible workplace behavior, when tasked to think about what’s best for the company, they tend to put aside their personal feelings. Which leads me to my next point…
Don’t take it personal –
You are not going to get along with everyone you meet. Not everyone is going to like you. And there is nothing you can do about it. What you can do though, is try your best to meet the person where they’re at. If you are having constant communication problems, try to identify where things are getting missed, and then fill in the blanks.
Quit your job –
Sometimes things cannot be figured out. You cannot escape, and your mental health cannot take the pressure of having a terrible boss. That’s okay. I highly recommend finding another position before you put your two weeks in. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1) You are infinitely more employable when you’re employed. 2) If you can seamlessly switch into a new job, your finances won’t get all messed up through unemployment. 3) Its the professional thing to do, even if you are ready to stick it to the company.
When your boss sucks, your work situation can feel impossible but you have more control over your life and career than you think. If things aren’t the way you need them to be, then change it. You have the power to do that. Be empowered and take your life back.
Thank you for being here today.
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Online Applications: Tips, Tricks, and other advice
Personally, I have only received one job offer from filling out online applications. It was for a local bookstore, and they asked a billion questions, half of them contradicting previously asked questions. During my interview, the manager circled the ones that I had responded with mismatching answers and asked me to explain myself.
Luckily, I got the job.
However, out of the dozens of applications I’ve filled out online, that was the only one I got through the process of. Now being on the other side of the employment line, I can see what I was doing wrong.
When filling out an application online, your first instinct is to tell the employer what you think they want to hear, not necessarily what is an honest answer for yourself. Even knowing that the applications must go through some sort of pre-screen process, it’s hard to envision how your answers are going to affect your overall chance of moving into the pile of potential interviewees.
Here are some things you should keep in mind:
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The questions are designed to test your honesty, loyalty to your company or brand, and integrity. However, they are using a code to decide whether you’re being honest answering your questions, or if you are lying.
Those 55 questions repeating over and over again are designed to slip you up. So just be honest. Don’t be shy or hesitant. On a scale of Strongly Agreeable to Strongly Disagreeable, and everything in between; “In between” isn’t interesting. “In between” doesn’t rock boats, make sales, or catch attention, good or bad.
You’ll get passed over for someone who has more definite opinions.
Hopefully all of the English classes paid off, but for most computer savvy youth, proper capitalization, grammar and sentence structure are replaced for the easier-more-widely-accepted-amongst-their-peers txt speak.
Don’t do that.
Make sure your nouns are properly capitalized; apostrophes, commas, and semicolons are used properly.
Do not use emoticons. Ever. For any reason.
If you have any questions about whether your sentence is properly constructed, read it out loud, and read slowly. Ask yourself if your teacher or parent would cringe upon reading it.
Don’t use a lot of “ I “ statements. The employers already know who you’re talking about, it doesn’t need to be reinforced with “I am good at communicating”, “I sold things for places”, etc.
I’m a big fan of using empty phrases on resumes and applications, but I will say they are the thing I regret the most when making a resume. Why do I do it? It’s great filler, and resumes are ultimately your calling card. However, things like, “dedicated and hard worker,” or “prompt and dependable” don’t really provide an accurate picture of who you are to an employer. Those things should already be inferred, because no one wants to hire a “floppy undependable loser” type. Of course you’re going to say these great things; you’re trying to sell yourself!
If you’re going to use such phrases, then lend an example, or a qualification to it. “Dedicated football team member; achieved 98,000 touchdowns last season.” or “Earned certificate of attendance for Blank High School, 3 semesters in a row” to prove your promptness. Just remember to avoid the dreaded “I” statements.
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Tell Me About Yourself
Some applications may have a blurb section where they ask for you to talk about yourself for a little bit. Under no circumstances are you to mention whether you have any children or are currently pregnant, have a second job, your age, or your religious practices. Under the Equal Opportunities Law, it is illegal to discriminate against you for these things; however if you provide with with this information, it will undoubtedly become a part of their decision whether to hire you or not. How big a role it might play is not for me to say; legally it can’t play any part at all. However if you provide them with this information, it will affect your chances of being hired.
What employers are really wanting out of this section is what you’re going to do for them. They are hiring you to make them money, not to help you out; they’re not interested in keeping you in cute clothes, paying for video games, and putting gas in your car. They want you to sell their items and raise their bottom line. It’s a lot to ask, especially if you’re not really sure where to start.
A good place to start is acknowledging what you’re good at. Do you listen well? Can you talk to strangers about any random thing without hesitation? Do you follow directions well?
Something else to include in your biography: previous success. Like the football team, speech debate championship or other school award, mentioning previous success builds you up for future success. Don’t be like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, constantly reliving your High School success when you’re 30, or your elementary school highlights when you’re in High School.
Keep it simple and let your enthusiasm show. Sell yourself, and don’t sell yourself short.
Don’t do it. Don’t stretch the truth. If you have a letterman’s jacket for playing chess, don’t say it’s for intramural sports. If an employer finds out that you’ve lied on an application they reserve the right to fire you, and potentially sue you for false advertising, fraud and loss of wages. That’s really just one box you don’t want to open. That’s all I have to say about that.
So to recap:
- Be honest when filling out the million page questionnaires for online applications, even if it doesn’t seem like the right answer.
- A computer brain is going to average your score before the hiring manager is able to get a look at it.
- Being safe doesn’t get interviews.
- Spell check, double check, and have someone proofread for you. Proper capitalization counts.
- Applications are to prove you can provide the employer a service. You’ve already provided services to people in your school, family and community. Draw your experience from them.
- Use statements you can back up with real life experience.
- Be sure the employer knows how valuable an employee you’ll make.
- Do not lie under any circumstances on your application or resume.
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Dear College Self,
You are going to drop out. A couple of times.
Turns out that while you love school, and learning, you’re kind of a terrible student. It’s okay. It happens. Someone will tell you one day, that it just depends on how bad you want it. Those words will cut you to the bone, but you’ll survive the wound. The thing is, you never wanted a college degree to begin with. So it’s okay that you never graduated. You got out of exactly what you needed; an opportunity to explore and grow and learn.
You are going to have a pile of debt.
Half of the reason you signed up for school, and loans, is so you wouldn’t have to work while you were enrolled. And it worked, didn’t it? The good news is, there are a lot of loan refinancing and repayment options out there that aren’t quite as scary as the internet tells you they are. Now, you just have to put them to work.
Your life is going to be exactly how you planned.
Even though you didn’t graduate, you still managed to serve in the Peace Corps, and affect meaningful change to hundreds of kids who need additional support to reach their goals of financial self sufficiency. You knew once joining the Peace Corps your life would be irrevocably changed, and you were right. But after ten thousand daydreams of how you might be different, you never considered the actual reality. Funny how that happens sometimes.
You’re happy and you reached your lifelong goal.
Ten years in making, but the goal was achieved. Something people rarely tell you about goal setting is how empty the accomplishment feels. You know how it’s better to reach for fulfillment, than goals. And now you know how to make fulfillment the goal.
You know anything is possible. You will accomplished the impossible. In getting there, you will be homeless, jobless, stranded, broke, and heartbroken. But you’re still here, better than ever. The lessons learned are invaluable. Hard earned, but invaluable.
Stay in school as long as you can though; that knowledge is yours to keep forever.
Jessica F. Walker is a Millennial Life Skills Coach, author, and Jill of all Trades.
3 New Year’s Resolutions To Make This Year
Can you believe it’s already 2017? Crazy! But here’s the thing. 2016 has been long. Like really long. And brutal for a lot of us, not matter what side of the political coin you fall on. So I would like to start looking to the future, and start picturing how epic and beautiful 2017 is going to be. New Year’s Resolutions are a fun and great way to set your intention for the year. People tend to Naysay New Years Resolutions, like, why start on Jan. 1? Why can’t I make this goal any other time of my life? And the fact is, YOU CAN! You can set your goals whenever the heck you want. But why not start 2017 fresh? Because honestly, can’t we just use a break?
If you’re into making resolutions every year, then you’re going to love this list. Its mindful, and simple. And if you’re not into making resolutions this year, this short list is just a suggestion. Keep it in the back of your mind. Revisit from time to time. It’s okay.
In 2017 the New Year’s resolutions you should make are:
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
There is a chance that things are going to continue being hard. Tragedy and grief are inescapable. We all experience these things. When traffic gets slow, or you’re running late, don’t stress about it too much.
There are a lot of things we don’t have control over in our lives. How we react to situations is the only control we do have.
If traffic sucks, that’s okay. You’re still going to get home. If you’re running late, apologize and move on. In the grand scheme of things, it’s just not that important.
Start a daily practice of gratitude.
Gratitude, or as I like to call it, Mindful Appreciation is an amazing practice to have. If you haven’t tried it, well you should! It’s like magic. All you have to do is pick out three things you’re grateful for each day.
It could be like, “I’m grateful I woke up, I’m grateful for my dog, I’m grateful for my shoes.” or it could be, “The sun on my face, the love of my spouse, elephants.”
Literally anything that you’re grateful for in that moment. Make a point to acknowledge it. You can do this by writing it down, saying it out loud, or saying it to the person/animal/thing.
When you have a practice of gratitude, the universe just kind of… unfolds before you. Try it out. Seriously, its magical.
Know when you need to ask for help; and actually do it.
A thing we’re all guilty of, but especially women. We’re taught that we have to be all things to all people, and do it without showing any stress or signs of fatigue. But it’s hard work keeping at that pace. No one can forever.
It is so much easier to get things done when you ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, or lame. It doesn’t mean you’re broken. Asking for help shows that you recognize where you are at, and where you need to be. It shows that you cannot do it alone.
No woman is an island. Whether the help you ask for is someone carrying groceries, or working with a coach, know that it is okay to seek it. Therapy sometimes get a bad rap, but if you need a neutral 3rd party to talk to, it’s a great resource.
Coaching is a great option if you need a lot of support to get unstuck, change your career, or figure out what your superpowers are. Luckily for you, my preparing to launch a course called Catapult Your Career which will give you all the tools you need to change the course of your career, and life. If you’re feeling stuck because you don’t know what to do, or how to get there, this course will help clarify your path. It’ll give you to resources to leverage your experience and the confidence to ask for the job you want.
I’m so excited to share this with you! If you want to be first on the list for the early bird price, make sure you sign up below! This course will only be available for a limited time, so make sure you sign up now!