October’s Kareer Korner: Arboriculture

Have you ever thought about being an Arborist?  Do you even know what an Arborist does?  Well if you like trees and the outdoors, stay with me.  This month I want to dive into the career of Arboriculture, and expand your idea of a career.

Arborism, is all about working with the outdoors.  If you’ve ever seen the show Tree House Master’s, Pete (host/owner) is an Arborist.  What I love about Pete is his enthusiasm for his work.  It doesn’t really seem to matter if he is building a tree house for a famous client or an average Joe, he LOVES what he does.  Great example right here:

Every build he does he is pumped to talk about, and share his knowledge with the rest of us.  He really helps show us the importance of loving what you do and that you can do anything.  Arborism, like I said, is about working outdoors, but that can be more than building tree houses.  Arborists work all over the world with all different kinds of plants,  trees being an obvious medium.  You can be working with the trees themselves, kind of like Pete, but you can also be studying them.  This Wiki definition really lays it out there for you.

An ISA Certification is a key requirement to become a creditable arborist. There are six different types of certifications and it takes around three years of previous arborist experience in order to take an ISA exam and become a certified arborist.  I know what you are thinking “KendrImage result for 24 years of experience memea you’re telling me I need experience to get a job, but I need a job to get experience… catch 22″.  I get what your saying, but from my research your three years of experience comes from entry level positions.  You’d be finding those entry level positions working alongside arborist, in the industry to then become an arborist yourself.  It’s like most careers, as you have to start from the bottom and move up in the world.  Don’t get discouraged by these requirements, it’s called career building.  Being an apprentice is part of your new career in arborism.  This is why it is important to keep your focus on pullers.

If your less interested in trees, there is also horticulture.  Horticulture is the art of landscaping and gardening.  I like to think of Mrs. Sprout from the Harry Potter Series.  She taught an entire school all about plants (yes her plants were magical, but stay with me).  Mrs. Sprout taught students what to and not to do when working with plants.  That requires quite a bit of knowledge about plants. Image result for mrs sprout harry potter gif Remember when she was instructing 2nd years’ how to replant mandrakes (screaming plants)?  You personally wouldn’t be dealing with screaming plants, but without the proper care and knowledge, your garden might be screaming for some love and attention. If you have a knack for working with plants, vegetation or any combination of the two you may want to consider a career in it.  I’ll let you take a look at the Michigan State University page about Horticulture.

Education for Horticulture careers can range.  Some positions require a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture, others do not require any education.  Online certifications seem to be popular as well.  Overall, arborism has a nice variety of education requirements.  You can start from the bottom and move up the ladder.  My suggestion, try a landscaping job with a local company.  Chances are you’ll learn a thing or two about arborism and you’ll be in a  position where you should be able to find a job rather quickly, especially if you are in the Southern part of the U.S.

So let’s now take a look at some resources to find those positions in arborism that I keep telling you are out there:

You can search by location at all of these sites.  Search anywhere from Washington State to Washintong D.C. That’s the beauty of these data bases and trust me there are tons more out there.  Take a look and let me know what you find!

Enjoy and let me know what you want to see next month’s edition of the Kareer Korner!

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Recent College Grads, Pay Attention

While I want anyone to be able to get the most out my blog posts, this post is especially important for college graduates within the last few years.  I, along with all of you have spent the last 13+ years in school.  While the structure changed over the years, someone still stood in front of us and taught us something.  The job market is a whole different playing field compared to school.  We must quickly become adaptable to what is required of us now.  A career will test you in other ways than a grade on a piece of paper.  Tests begin to happen your first day upon walking into the company, starting with you first impression (some can argue that your first test in at the interview).  You’re being analyzed by your co-workers and boss the minute you walk into the door, making your every move a test of being successful.  While I believe that experience and education are contributing factors in getting a job, it is those skills not listed on your resume that make you a better individual in the work place.  To pass tests such as the first impression, you need to be yourself.

You probably heard in college all about gaining experience and keeping your GPA up. While those are great things to achieve, they are items that you can add to your resume.  A great resume can get you starting in career building, but the resume alone will not get you past the interview.  Interviewers have seen what your capable of on paper.  Now, they will want to get to know you a little. Answering questions by repeating your resume or cover letter back to interviewers will not get you a position.  You have to know yourself and what kind of worker you are/want to be in order to show your potential company how you can contribute to their business.

Check out this great TEDTalk that discusses the difference between recorded success and unrecorded success.  It is a really great explanation to what you can to  help you become successful.  Go Steve Jobs (again!)

While this video is a tad lengthy, please go back and watch the whole thing (skimming through doesn’t help you).  She does such a  great job talking about adversity and using your adversity to become successful.  Things that we have been taught in interviewing to get the position aImage result for interview memesre not what interviewers are looking for.  You probably have heard before about taking your strengths and claiming them as weaknesses.  Example: an interviewer asks “what are your weaknesses?”, you reply with “I’m a perfectionist, and that gets in my way of completing work on a deadline sometimes.” That line (while true for some) has been widely overused and employers see it coming. Do not use the typical answers just because they are typical.   True adversity and truly making the lemonade out of your own lemons are the skills an employer wants in their company.

Education and those various odd jobs have provided us with great experiences can contribute to the resume.  But just think about some of the stuff that you’ve learned that you wouldn’t know how to put on a resume.  I believe that I’ve got a great resume.  It outlines some key positions that I have had and related experience to my field.  That really isn’t all who I am.  My co-workers have complimented me in my work, but it has never been because I can “perform various duties as assigned by supervisor”.  No, they like me for my positive attitude and for being invested in my work just as they are.  I did not learn to get a positive attitude from studying the Fundamentals of Gerontology at 9pm the night before the exam.  Having a positive attitude is just who I am.

The best question I have been asked in an interview is “tell me something you want people to know about you that isn’t on your resume”.  I still love this question because it drives home the point of this post.  Employers are huge into getting to know a potential candidate they will have to invest resources in.  Ask yourself this question; see what you can come up with.  Please understand that a good resume and great interview skills are part of getting a job and building your career.  You also need to make sure your not getting caught up in articles that say “do this and not that to land the job”.  Building your career is not an assembly line.  While your mentors, parents, professors, etc. have given you great advice in advancing in your career, remember who you are.  Be yourself and show people how great you are.

 

P.S. if you are curious to what my answer is  to the interview question, comment with your responses to this question and I will tell you want I said.  Let me know what you would say, I want to learn more about all of you.

Job Hunting vs. Career Building

I think this would be a great time to talk about the differences between looking for a job and building a career.  More often than not, we say we are job hunting when we might actually mean building our careers.  We often under-use the term career building.  When people ask “what are you up to?” nine times out of ten, they are curious to know how successful you are.  People don’t typically ask “what are you working towards?”. That would be a much more meaningful way to ask you about how you’re building your career.   The fact that people misconstrue these two phrases allows them to also confuse the terms job hunting and career building. 

I consider job hunting the short term solution.  Job seekers are looking for something to do immediately.  To look for a job, means that for whatever reason you need a change in pace now.  If you are unemployed or your boss is driving you absolutely crazy, those are factors or “pushers” as I’ll call them, that push you to get a job.  I am in no way saying that pushers are bad motivators.  Hey, I need money to pay for those student loans I accumulated, and a good paying job just like the rest of us. However, pushers in our lives are very important to overcome in order to make us happy.  If your boss makes you miserable, then he/she is one of your pushers to get you into a new position.  Pushers can be identified as many things but typically they will be things that you do not have control over.  Your boss, pay, or job duties can all be seen as pushers.

You can probably guess that career building is what I would consider to be the long term solution.  Career building has a lot to do with building up your experiences to achieve your end career goal or goals.  You’ll want to go after things that will help you reach your goals and try hard to create the path to your future.  These things that keep us driven I consider to be “pullers”.  Pullers are typically things that we can control and work towards to achieve.  If getting a Master’s degree is something you need for a job (*raises hand slowly*), then going for that degree is a puller.  Getting an education is an obvious puller, but jobs can  be pullers too.  Working in the education field is a puller for me.  I do not work in higher education, but it is still a place that has pulled me into working towards my dream.  If I began working as a custodian on a college campus, that could also be a puller job. Working up the chain in an industry is a well known technique for career building.  The key thing to remember with pullers, is that they are what you make of them. Volunteering or creating a blog can also be pullers.  Think outside of the box for some good pullers.

While there is a difference to be established between pushers and pullers the same experience can be shifted from one to the other.  Do not let these shifts get you confused to what you want or need to do in life.  I always say work towards building a career for yourself.  If you are wondering what kind of pullers are out there for you take a look at this link.  Wallethub did a great job of putting together some entry level positions that might show you what positions will pull or push you. They’re ranking system might not match yours, but they did us a favor by listing out over 100 entry level jobs.  If your trying to change or start your career entry level jobs are great pullers.  

What someone sees as a puller might be a pusher for you.  This is where job hunting and career building can get confusing.  Job hunting is not career building.  Pushers and pullers are the factors that contribute to whether you hunt or build. I suggest working your best towards the pullers and removing the pushers from your life.  Sometimes,  that simply means changing your thoughts on your current situation.  I thought my job in education was a pusher job.  It was just going to fill the time I needed to get my next degree.  Turns out, this field is a great puller to get into higher education.  You might not have to change your environment to learn that you have many pullers helping you along the way.

Knowing your core values

I took a class in college that had to do with job hunting, starting from the basics.  Interests, hobbies and values being the very first steps we all should be taking in order to find a job that we will enjoy.  There is a lot to discover about yourself and your needs in a job that will make you a better job hunter.

I walked into an interview not too long ago with the hopes of landing “the job” and working in a field that I had no experience in. The position was in the educational field which I had been working in for almost a year and I wanted to sell to them that I knew the field.  I thought that I could show my interviewers that I would be hard working, a quick learner and that I wanted to take on the challenge of having no previous experience in business/accounting.  I prepared for the interview as much as I could.  I viewed their LinkedIn profiles, researched the company and visited the job description NUMEROUS times.   One of my references even endorsed me with this company, making me think I had the upper hand to other candidates.  The moment I got called into the interview room, I should have turned around and left.  It didn’t feel right from the get-go, but I wanted to make the best of this interview and I wanted to feel accomplished by landing “the job”. My interviewers asked their questions, I answered and did my best to offer the best responses to their repeated questions.  It felt like we were all just going in circles.  They were asking the same questions and I was giving the same answers.  There were long awkward pauses and it felt…. weird.

As the awkward pauses became increasingly difficult to ignore, I thought Why is this going so poorly?  Why are we still doing this?  I don’t think I want to work here.   I had wanted a job so badly that I almost overlooked the fact that this really wasn’t what I wanted.  I didn’t want to disappoint my referencer by not getting the job.  I didn’t want to disappoint my family for not making a good living with a good paying job.   But my family will never stop loving me and this is not going to disappoint anyone.  As long as I am happy, everyone else is happy.  Duh Kendra.  I almost threw my core value of enjoying my job out the window, in order to have a job and to please others.  The “others” being unrealistic thoughts that I created in my head.

If you need a job, then you need a job, but that experience for me truly would have been settling when I aspire for something better.  To be happy and get to where you want to be, you really want to understand yourself first.  I know that I want to love what I do for a living and that I want to help others.  Working with money and big numbers wouldn’t have matched either one of those criteria for me.  For you, it might have matched your criteria, and that is great!  You should know these things about yourself before you even begin to apply for any position though.  Some things to consider about yourself:

  • What motivates you (i.e. money)
  • Do you want to be in an office setting
  • What kind of leadership do you seek in a boss
  • Do you like working as a team
  • How do you feel about conflict in the workplace
  • How much free time outside of work do you want/need
  • Are you a people person. Why or why not
  • What are your hobbies/interests

For some of these bullet points think about the polar opposite as well.  If you can pin point what does motivate you, also try to pinpoint what does not motivate you.  You might be able to avoid a situation like mine, where I walked right into a place that wasn’t going to motivate me.  I suggest writing these things down for yourself to see a visual of these values.  You might not refer back to them, or you might hang it on your ceiling and look at it every night.  Regardless, it is always a good tool to know yourself and what you’re all about.  When you fill out an application you can then convey your needs better.  Then when you get to that interview (because you can get there) you can effectively communicate why you are the best fit.

I recommend anyone to take this step to evaluate their “energizers” in life now, whether if you are looking for employment or not.  If you realize that you fear asking your boss for anything (avoiding conflict being something you value), then you might be able to overcome the fear and muster up the courage to ask for that raise you deserve.  Self reflection is good for everyone at any stage in life.  Of course, I am suggesting you do it with your career, because people rarely think to self reflect in this manner.

“Do you have any questions for us?”

In light of my upcoming interview I thought I would discuss the question that comes up at the end of every interview ever.  This question is essential to be ready for.  Your interviewer(s) will ALWAYS (and if they don’t, comment and let me know!) ask you this question and there is a right and wrong answer.  First the wrong answer:

Q: Do you have any questions for us?

A: No

OR

A: No I think I understand everything

Why it is the wrong answer:  No matter how you say it, even if you are very nice, polite and say that you fully understand everything about the position it is still not a good way to end an interview.  You might think you are doing everything right by letting your interviewer know that you have a grasp on the position and that you would be the ideal candidate, but the interviewer wants to hear you ask something to show more interest in the position/company.  By saying “no” you are not showing that you want to go the extra mile for this position.  Think about it.  If you fit the criteria for a job and the company feels that you would be a good fit for the position then you might get the job.  What if John Smith who was also just as qualified in every other way decided at the end of his interview to ask his interviewer, “what is your expected growth for ASDF Company over the next several years”?  If you were an interviewer who would you be more interested in, the guy that said “I’m your ideal candidate” or the guy that said “I’m the ideal candidate, but while we are talking about your company let me ask you more about it”.  If you still are not quite convinced that John Smith would be picked over you keep reading.

Right Answer:

Q: Do you have any questions for us?

A: As a matter of fact I do….

OR

A: Yes.  You mentioned QWER and I was wondering…..

Why this is the right answer: Saying “yes” followed by asking your question is clearly the right answer from what I discussed before.  If you do ask a question it means you are invested.  However, I like to take a psychological approach behind this as well to understand why having questions are so important.  In most interviews, the interviewers have a piece of paper in front of them with a list of questions.  They go round robin, ask you their questions, you answer them, they interview the next candidate.  One key piece to an interview, is to get them to remember you in a positive way.  So what if instead of following the known procedure you mixed it up a little and get them thinking of something else?  Believe me, I’ve been the interviewer before too, they want to hear/think about something other than doing this interview.  If you ask them something about the company, it takes their mind away from the interview and gives them a chance to talk to you more about what they know and their interests.  When you give the interviewer a chance to talk about themselves, you can leave them thinking that you are the ideal candidate.  People love the opportunity to talk about themselves and have someone listen to what they have to say.  It makes us happy.  If you give them that window of opportunity to speak about themselves/company, you make yourself a better candidate.

My go to question of choice:  “What is your favorite part about your job?” I like asking this question because it gets them to think about their daily job duties and is making them think of the positives.  If they are thinking positively about their job, their last impression of me is that I could have a positive impact on the company.  It’s totally psychological and maybe it is just my theory, but I think it works pretty well.  Furthermore, I like to ask because I am genuinely interested.  Yes, it is kind of a manipulation tool, but I do want to know what people like about their jobs.  I know that I want to have passion in my career options, so if I see that passion in someone else I can get a better sense if I will get what I want out of the company.  It depends on what drives you but for me this is really good feedback to have at an interview.  At my latest place of employment, the answer that I got to that question in my interview was “I wake up everyday and look forward to everything about my job, the good the bad and the ugly.”  That answer was a selling point for me that I wanted this job just as much as he wanted me there.  It bounces off the idea that you are interviewing them as well.

There are so many other questions you can ask as well.  This is just one of my questions I like to ask.  There are more depending on the job.  Don’t use just this example and make it fit into your interview always.  We are all different and my experiences are not going to mirror yours.  Let me know what you think are good or bad interview questions.

It takes time

It takes time to find your place in the world.  I am slowly realizing that as I grow and learn more opportunities that there are out there for me.  This past week I traveled to “The Great New York State Fair”.  Most New Yorkers know that the fair is a big deal for us due to the food, competitions, shows etc. That the fair has to offer.  The NY state fair is known for having themed days for fair goers as well.  I am that person that decided that I wanted to go on SUNY day to learn more about working in higher education. The SUNY system is a higher education organization.   What better place to learn more about my field of interest than a open forum!

So I went to to SUNY (State University of New York) day and sadly did not learn as much about careers in higher education as I’d hoped.  However, I did pick up a few tips about Master’s programs in higher education offered completely online. While I wasn’t looking for that information, I have learned since applying for positions in higher education in the last year that I pretty much NEED a master’s degree in order to advance in the world of higher education.

It is going to take me some time for me to reach my goal of getting into higher education, but as they say (whoever the heck they are) “if you really want it, it’s worth the wait”. My takeaway from visiting the SUNY tent was that I am doing all of the right things to get myself to where I want to be. Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to tell you to “just keep swimming”

Never rule out any chance to network, interview or just talk to someone as it could lead you anywhere.

I always remind myself of where I learned of my dream in higher education and where I someday dream of returning to help others just as they helped me

What they don’t teach you in school

We learned so much from our studies from kindergarten to high school graduation and beyond.  We’ve been provided with a great skill set in the fundamentals to being productive members of society.  But those life skills everyone keeps telling us we need to obtain are more often than not in short supply.

I see no reason to keep the knowledge I learn about pursuing a passion in the career of your choice from the world. With endless possibilities to what we can achieve I refuse to let the challenge of job hunting get in my way.  Why should it get in yours? Join me and see what opportunities await you.