Ask these 5 questions to help you pick a career direction

This is a guest post by Michael Davis, a career counsellor at I particularly like the first tip. It’s often overlooked and a huge factor in your career path. 

how to pick a career

Deciding on a career path is a major life decision. It will affect what you choose to study in college, it will determine your educational goals, and it will likely affect your lifetime income potential. It can also have an impact on your overall life satisfaction.

The most common advice is to do something you love, but there are a few questions you can ask that will help you decide whether that thing you love is better as a career or a hobby. Asking the following questions about a potential job will get you on the path to making a smart decision about which career to pick.

1. Are there opportunities for growth?

This relates to both the company—such as career paths and the ability to move up—and the industry. The person who starts their career in a dying or slowing industry such as newspapers will have much less opportunity than someone who starts their career in a high growth or stable industry.

Some jobs offer lots of opportunities for growth. Certain ones will even pay for the training involved in climbing the corporate ladder. Others don’t offer any room for growth. Knowing whether you can expect promotions during the course of your career can sometimes be a deciding factor when looking at various career options. Jobs that offer no opportunities for increased pay or job promotions can make awesome careers. They can also be frustrating since they don’t come with built-in raises or progressing levels of responsibility.


So how do you create a resume with no experience?

This is a guest post by Aditya Babbar, the founder of Resumonk. His company makes it easy to build really good-looking online resumes. 

create a resume no experience

For those who have just graduated college, there are few things more stressful than trying to find gainful employment when you have little to put on your resume.

As you browse potential job listings, you find yourself competing with more seasoned professionals who have several years of applicable experience.

How are you supposed to compete when the vast majority of your past few years has been spent analyzing Chaucer?


Can Social Media Really Get You a Job?


Yes, of course it can. Last summer, I got a job offer on LinkedIn which led to my new current job. In the past six months, two other employers have contacted me (one for a permanent job; the other for freelance work).

Twitter is excellent for demonstrating skills and knowledge. LinkedIn is amazing for finding job postings. Many employers use social media religiously to evaluate candidates before and after the interview process. 

Sold? Here are a few solid steps you need to take. These tips come from Samantha Stauf. You can follow her on Twitter here


How to Charge Clients $200 Per Hour (With a Friggin English Degree)

Stop going for the easy buck and start


“The client is really happy with you,” said my friend. “But they say you don’t charge enough. You need to charge more, James.”

This was a first.

I was doing a bit of freelance work (I’m a marketer) and things had been going well. The client was getting results and everyone was happy.

I was also happy with my rate, which worked out to be about $60 per hour. I felt this was a fair trade for my Saturday time.

I also had a full-time job. And so, I didn’t want to work longer hours.

The next time I met with the client, they doubled my retainer. And the next freelance gig I take, I’m charging $200 per hour, which is not far from what I make now.

I also learned a valuable lesson, one that few humanities majors really know, which I’ll share in a second.


The Best Online Resume Tool I’ve Found

I had 15 minutes to create my resume

Last summer, I was busy enjoying my life and sitting in my office. I checked my LinkedIn and saw an email that led me to where I am right now.

The email was from a recruiter and he wanted me to apply for a position at his company. The company is a cool, global brand. They have one of those Google-like offices and tons of perks.

It was a great new opportunity for me. A dream job, really.

The problem was this. I hadn’t been searching for a job. I loved my company and the work was great. So, this meant that I had to put a resume together right away.

God, I hate Microsoft Word. It’s such a piece of crap. I hate formatting resumes with Word. And from being on the other side of the hiring table, I knew that your resume really needs to be visual and sharp.

That day, I did some searching and found Resumonk.

I love this resume tool.

You can build a resume really fast and I used it that day.

  • It makes your resume look visual and the templates stand out
  • It takes 15 minutes instead of 2 hours in Word
  • Your resume looks WAY better than other candidates

So how did the story end?

I created my resume in about 15 minutes. I got the job. I moved to a different city. And I never spent a minute in Microsoft Word.

Go here to try Resumonk

Extra resources for creating a resume

I also wrote this post on how to write cover letters that actually book interviews.

My eBook offers complete guidance on creating resumes and selling degree to employers.

This resource page has 20+ career and resume resources.

Here are 5 more jobs for English majors you likely didn’t know existed.

Why Your Stupid Goals Never Get You What You REALLY Want

And here comes a young man filled with stupid promise . . .

career blog awesome

Many years ago, I was young. I walked into a financial planning office without an appointment. I wanted to invest 20% of my income. That was my goal. At 16, living at home with a part-time job, it was feasible.

“You keep this up,” said the woman at the desk. “And you are going to become a very rich man.”

The woman was so happy for me. She watched me walk out the door into the bright street. I could feel her hope.

I did become rich. I had 3K in investments by 18, which I spent in one drunken college summer, with the vague plans of returning to my goal of 20% after I started making 100K with my university degree.

That was a dumb goal.

Since then, I’ve become better at setting goals and actually reaching them.

The key to getting what you want is really accepting tradeoffs.

You see, last year I was trying to write a novel and write music and practice singing and write new songs and also write non-fiction.

I had zero outcomes.

A bunch of half finished ideas. A shitty singing voice. A Google Drive full of new non-fiction book ideas.


I wasn’t being creatively satisfied as my writing was crap. I also had all these good songs unrecorded that are very important to me, things I want to say, and they were just sitting there unrealized. That makes you unhappy.

So, I finally took a step in my goal planning and have tweaked my process for this year.

Now, I have 4 categories. And I can only pick one yearly outcome for each.

In this post, I’m going to share my personal system and some advice that I’ve picked up from reading a lot on the subject.

Because in 365 days from now, I’m going to achieve everything I list in this post.

I’ve done it before.

And I’m going to do it again, goddamn it.

The question is—you gonna come with me?

The three things you need to remember

  • You’ll achieve more, if you stop trying to do everything.
  • You have to make tradeoffs.
  • Focus on tangible outcomes, not desire.

All will become clear. Let’s set some goals!


How to get the benefits you deserve in your job offer

Samantha Stauf contacted me on Twitter and wanted to share her experience finding a job with her English degree and making sure that you get the employee benefits you deserve. Here is her advice. 

When I graduated a couple years ago, I got a job at a pawn shop. I’m sure I could’ve done better if I actually tried to market myself, but I couldn’t be convinced that my English degree could garner anything better.

During my interview, my interviewer’s eyes lit up as she read my CV. “You’ve got an English degree! That means you can use words well, right?” A part of me died as I nodded and forced a smile. “You bet!” I said. So I spent the next 6 months telling people their priceless family heirlooms were actually phony costume jewelry and not worth anything and I watched the light in their eyes fade. But the employee benefits were outta sight! … Literally. I did not see any.


7 Unexpected Ways to Save Money as a Grad Student

Heidi is a reader of this blog and personal finance enthusiast. I’m currently writing a book on personal finance (very slowly) and asked her to share some more excellent tips. You can get more finance tips from Heidi at the excellent blog

Today I’ll talk about 10 best tips for saving money. There are a ton of money-saving tips out there already, but I won’t bore you with the obvious tips like “stay at home and watch Netflix instead of going to the movies.” These are tried-and-tested things you can do to radically lower your expenses for a short period of time of a few months.


The Most Important Piece of Advice for Picking a Career


how to pick a career


A friend of my became a graphic book artist. He draws beautiful pictures and creates new things everyday. He isn’t rich. But it appears he is happy. The other day, I commented on one of his new creations, telling him “it was always a secret dream of mine, to be a graphic novel artist.”

Now, my father, who saw this on Facebook, is a talented landscape painter. He phoned me and said to me, “You have worked out your career now. You have a good job and you’ve sorted out all of that. But these creative dreams they won’t go away and they’ll keep bubbling up. I promise. Just draw 15 minutes a day. You’ll get good and you could create a graphic novel.”

You see my father followed his bliss. And I love him for always pushing me to follow mine. He is an artist and when I was growing up  he taught children art and painted at nights. He creates everyday. He has never won massive fame or earned huge amounts of money. But he makes the same as most and has been able to create his art. That’s worth a lot, I think.

The point of this story is that you can never really orphan your true ambitions. Because if you do, you’ll be miserable and unhappy, no matter how much money you make. You’ll live between being and the promise of becoming and the older you get, the more you’ll want to get out everyday.

The most important career advice is simple. Don’t focus on your passions. They can be misleading. Instead, focus on your core strengths.


11 Excuses That Stop You From Becoming a Writer


Today, I take a break from career advice to talk about excuses like ‘I want to become a writer but don’t have anything to say’ and other excuses preventing you from becoming a writer. 

I wrote this article for myself to remind myself of all the excuses and lies I tell myself, preventing me from actually trying to write something meaningful.

#1 You need to have something to say

I work in advertising. One thing I’ve learned is that the ideas and stories come once you start creating and pushing through the cliche garbage at the top of your mind. You will never create a story until you take that first stab.

I read an interesting interview with George R. R. Martin, the original author of the Game of Thrones series. He said that his novels began with a single scene in his mind. It’s not like he invented the entire world and plot-lines before he ever started.

Ideas come to those who start. Start creating. The big ideas will follow.