Blog, Graduate, Professional

Understand Your Options: Online Education as a Stepping Stone for Career Change and/or Advancement

A Q&A between Jullien Gordon and the experts at Pounding the Pavement

Jullien: Who is the typical online student?

PtP: According to most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, over 12.2 million students were engaged in some form of distance learning in 2006-7. Many associate online schooling with continuing education for graduate or professional programs, however, the seventh annual Sloan Consortium Survey of Online Learning indicated that 82% of online students were studying at the undergraduate level in 2008 and as many as 25% of traditional college students were taking at least one online course.

These numbers indicate that the typical online student is someone who is drawn to the flexibility that online courses afford, regardless of their current education level or life situation.

Jullien: What is the typical online student looking for when he or she enrolls?

PtP: In this competitive economy, the demand for college-educated workers is higher than ever. Many people are flocking to get those degrees, in hopes that the credentials will later earn them higher paying and/or more flexible jobs. However, many people do not have the flexibility to sit in a classroom all day. Online learning appeals to those with children and those who can’t afford to ditch their day job because it offers the opportunity to pursue an education at your own pace, on your own time from the comfort of one’s home or favorite coffee shop.

Jullien: What are the hottest online degrees today?

PtP: According to U.S. News & World Report, the most popular online degrees today are business degrees, nursing programs, and criminal justice programs. These many jobs in these sectors have shown strong growth. For those interested in researching employment trends to ensure they’re preparing for a degree in an in-demand field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is always a great resource.

Jullien: What new trends and innovations do you see in today’s online education from the student, teaching, and technology perspectives?

PtP: The proliferation of online learning continues to bring with it many new modes of transmitting information. In order to appeal to the whole spectrum of learning styles, many schools offer a blended or hybrid courses, composed of some face-to-face interaction and some of the course material is delivered online. Course formats (including video lectures, chatrooms, forums, and more) are continually evolving as access to new technology and software development continues to improve. Downloadable e-textbooks are now big at many schools.

Jullien: What is the best way to position an online degree when job searching and interviewing against candidates with offline degrees?

PtP: More and more employers are beginning to recognize the value of an online degree and respect the dedication and discipline it takes to complete coursework online. However, not all online programs are respectable and “diploma mill” scams are out there. For this reason, it is imperative to ensure the validity of your program before you enroll. Make sure you understand the importance of accreditation.

If you’re interviewing with a hiring manager who seems skeptical about the integrity of your online education, make sure you’re prepared to demonstrate your high standards and prove you did your homework and picked a reputable, accredited program. If you’re interested, this article offers further insight into other common reservations about online degrees, and how to discuss them with prospective employers.

Check the Pounding the Pavement blog for more career-oriented insights. And for guidance on online schools or how to earn your high school diploma at home, be sure to visit Guide to Career Education.

Blog, Graduate, Job Searching, Professional, Stats, Undergrad, Unemployed

50+ Job Search Statistics You Need To Know

Career change is a numbers game. If you want to play the game, start here! Read the statistics and then shape your job search strategy accordingly.

Successful Seekers

  1. Online Marketing (online resume posting) yields an 8 percent chance of success in uncovering the next opportunity. This rate matches those of 2003 when this strategy was still in its infancy.
  2. Referrals from within the organization (18 percent) and outside the organization (9 percent) are the most successful ways to land the opportunity.
  3. A blended strategy of using social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, helps identify referral opportunities.
  4. A downward trend in the overall effectiveness of recruiters since 2005 continues.
  5. For those earning more than $100,000, networking is clearly the most successful strategy, with 50 percent of candidates surfacing the opportunity in this way.
  6. Published openings, with a 44 percent effectiveness rating, are the most significant way of learning about an opportunity for those earning less than $60,000.
  7. For the 50-plus age group, networking continues to be more important with 46 percent of these respondents saying it led to their opportunities.
  8. As for gender effect, men in the sample were more likely to learn about opportunities through networking, while women were more successful with published openings

Time Allocation

According to a recent poll of 250 new members who earn $50,000 or more, most job seekers spend the majority of their time–over 50 percent of it–on two activities: searching for and applying for new positions. The numbers break down as follows:

  1. Searching for Positions Online 29.94%
  2. Applying to Positions 27.28%
  3. Networking 24.11%
  4. Researching Companies 12.89%
  5. Working with a Recruiter 5.56%

This allocation of time isn’t necessarily the most effect way to spend your time. I would prioritize the list like this

  1. Networking 35%
  2. Researching Companies 25%
  3. Applying to Positions 25%
  4. Searching for Positions Online 10%
  5. Working with a Recruiter 5%

Online Presence

  1. According to a study commissioned by Microsoft, 79 percent of employers now conduct an online search of applicants. Fully 70 percent say they have turned down applicants by what they found online. However, only 7 percent of job applicants were concerned about their online reputations.
  2. According to career coach Julie Jansen, 85% of hiring managers use social networking sites like LinkedIn to look for potential candidates who’ve been referred by other professionals.
  3. 31% of people have never conducted a search on their own name using a search engine to learn what is visible to potential employers. Are you one of them?

Job Competition

  1. More jobs were lost in 2008 than were created in the last 5 years. In 2009, more jobs were lost than existed in the  Great Depression.
  2. Talent Technology predicts its industry leading resume processing software, Resume Mirror, will process 80 million resumes in 2009.. This number is equivalent to 26% of the US population and equal to one resume for every second employed person
  3. One study reported that an average of 300 job seekers apply to any given job posting online.
  4. 4 million online posting per month

Company Concerns

  1. Human capital makes up 77% of total expenses
  2. 40% of job cuts announced are in the fall
  3. Only 18% of Fortune 100 companies send emails when the position is full (
  4. 35% of employers are now using your credit report history as a means of judging personal responsibility
    only an average of 36% of those job hunters interviewed regularly send thank-you notes while 75% of employers appreciate or expect the notes
  5. Over 90% of employers seek their assistant’s opinion when interviewing and making hiring decisions
    60% of large companies do salary planning in the fall


  1. Sending 40 – 50 resumes to targeted companies will be far more productive than sending resumes blindly to every job that pops up on a job board. Statistics show that only 1% of job seekers are successful using the latter method.


  1. Face-to-face meeting and telephone were most prevalent forms of networking. Email and online networking only account for 6%.
  2. Networking was the most effective method at 34% and applying online was second with a 26% success rate. Among networking approaches, referrals from within the organization (18%) and outside the organization (9%) are the most successful ways to land the opportunity. (Impact Group 2010)
  3. 26.7% of external hires made by organizations came from referrals, making it the number one external source of hiring for the participating firms.
  4. Above the $100K mark, networking accounts for 50% of surfaced opportunities. Published openings are the most significant way of learning about an opportunity for those earning less than $60K with 44% effectiveness. For those in between $60K & $100K, networking yielded 46% effectiveness and published openings accounted for 31% effectiveness
  5. For those 50+, networking has a 46% effectiveness and recruiters become LESS effective dropping from 13% to 5%
  6. Historically, men have become more likely to learn about opportunities through networking and women have been more successful with published openings

Opportunity Sources

  1. 46% of men and 39% of women find their jobs through networking. The hire your income, the more effective networking becomes.
  2. 22.3% of new hires were attributed to the employer’s website in particular (CareerXroads 2010).
  3. Whereas 44% of those earning less that $60K reported learning about the opportunity through a published opening, it only accounted for 31% for those in the income ranges of $60-100K and 29% for those earning $100K+
  4. 45% of your leads will come from using the internet as your lead generator—8% resume posting, 31% online published openings, 6% email/online networking
  5. Online resume posting only yields an 8% chance of success of uncovering the next opportunity (4% from employers and 4% from recruiters)
  6. Published openings effectiveness increased to 34%, in spite of a significant drop in online posting of 36%.
  7. Print ads account for 3% of openings found, versus 31% of online postings. Not surprisingly, employers’ posting are the most effective means to learn about online openings at 24% while recruiter online postings accounted for 7%.
  8. 46% of successful job seekers made a direct application to the employer. (26% applied online, 10% to hiring manager, and 10% to HR department)
  9. Executive recruiters account for 18% of the chance of connecting a candidate with an opportunity and 15% of successfully landing the opportunity. In 2005, they were responsible for 23% of connections, but they have become less and less effective. (Nobody can market you like you)

Other Stats

  1. 65-70% of jobs are gained through personal referrals or networking connections
  2. According to April 2008 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the length of the typical job search is 16.9 weeks
  3. 90% of recruiting firms do a Google search on candidates
  4. According to surveys cited by David Wessel in The Wall Street Journal, “The unemployed in the United States spend 40 minutes a day looking for work and 3 hours and 20 minutes a day watching TV.”
    the average job search in America now lasts 33 weeks, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data from April 2010. Thirty-three weeks — more than 8 months — is the longest it has taken Americans to find work in the history of this monthly survey, which dates to 1948.
  5. Major Job boards boast a measly 1 to 4% average response rate. That’s a lot of resumes to send out just to hear nothing back!
  6. According to the Wall Street Journal, 90% of jobs are filled through employee referrals
  7. At the end of last year, LinkedIn had 33 million members, and there were signs many were stepping up their activity. The amount of time individuals spent online increased 22 percent since the start of the year and the number of recommendations soared 65 percent, according to Kay Luo, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn. (
  8. From 2008 to 2009, the number of hiring managers using social networking websites to screen job seekers more than doubled from 22% to 45%, according to yearly surveys from CareerBuilder. Put another way, nearly one in two hiring managers uses social media to recruit or screen candidates for jobs today.
  9. More than a third of hiring managers (35%) immediately screened out candidates based on what they found on candidates’ social networking profiles. Only 18% of hiring managers polled by CareerBuilder last year said they were encouraged to hire a candidate due to his or her online presence.

Blog, Graduate, Professional, Stats, Undergrad

Generational Career Statistics


  • While the overall unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in June, it was 15.3 percent for those aged 20 to 24, compared with 7.8 percent for ages 35-44, 7.5 percent for ages 45-54 and 6.9 percent for those 55 and older.


  • The national unemployment rate for teens was 25.4 percent last month after hitting 27.6 percent in October – the highest rate since 1948, when the federal government began tracking the number of teens actively seeking work.


  • Young workers who start off in a recession generally begin in lower-ranking positions and have difficulty shifting into better jobs the first 15 years of their careers, according to a study that looked at the experience of workers who launched their careers in the early 1980s.
  • The average college student graduates with roughly $21,000 in federal loans. (The 2008 average for college students was $23,000, according to the College Board.)
  • College students graduating this month also face a very tight labor market. This year employers plan to make just 5 percent more job offers to graduates than in 2009 according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
  • Just one out of four members of the Class of 2010 has a job waiting for them and their average starting salary dropped from 2009 by 1.7 percent to $47,673. That may sound like good money, but remember many college students enter the work force carrying more than $20,000 in debt. Often the debt can be well over $50,000.
  • 80% of college hires come from people who did internships
  • 30% of the 56,900 students surveyed said the market success of a company was a preferred attribute of an employer, up from 24% in 2009
  • Attractive and exciting products and services also became a higher priority for respondents, with 28% of them wanting that in an employer in 2010, compared with 21% in 2009
  • In 2009, 37% of respondents said high ethical standards were an important attribute in an employer, whereas 27% said the same in 2010. Only 32% of 2010 respondents said inspiring management was important, compared with 41% in 2009.

Baby Boomers

  • Baby boomers also are delaying their retirement, adding to the competition. A quarter of workers postponed their retirement in the past year, with 33 percent of workers now expecting to retire after 65, according to a retirement survey by The Employment Benefit Research Institute.

Books, Graduate, Tools, Undergrad

Charlie Cohen’s Recession Proof Grad Book

Charlie Cohen’s Recession Proof Grad book has some simple strategies to help recent grads navigate these tough economic times. According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers, this year, only 25% of graduating seniors had jobs on hand at graduation! College isn’t preparing the younger generation for the real world like it used to. Even a 4.0 isn’t enough to guarantee you success. Whether you’re an undergrad, grad student, or even if you’re employed, you should check out his ebook below.

Blog, Career Visioning, Graduate, Leaving A Legacy, Professional

4 Ways To Leave Your Legacy

Most people say they want to leave some sort of legacy in life. Even if they don’t say it, there is usually some sort of desire. We all want to be remembered because being remembered means that our lives had meaning and significance to someone other than ourselves. Some people call this eternal life, living on posthumously through something you created or left behind. The sad thing is most people don’t leave a legacy. And then there is another large group that get remembered through occasional visits to their tombstone and materials left in their will (i.e. money, house, etc) which ultimately deplete.

Many spiritual teachers’ such as Jesus, Confucius, La0 Tzu, and Buddha have left legacies that lasted milennia. Many inventors have left legacies that have lasted centuries like Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone or the Wright Brothers and the airplane. Artists of all types like Leonardo Davinci also leave legacies that last centuries. Some entrepreneurs and civic leaders tend to leave legacies that last decades or centuries as well. Below are four ways that you can consider leaving a legacy through some sort of vehicle or body. The higher your personal velocity during life is, the further your legacy will carry on after your engine conks out.

1. Baby bodies: How great a parent are you committed to being?

This is perhaps the easiest way to leave a legacy because almost anyone can have a child. We know that if we have kids and then they have kids, etc, etc, then our name will live on. In essence, we’re all a part of someone’s legacy biologically, but simply having kids limits your legacy to your family when your sphere of influence could actually be wider. The risk one takes to make a child is low, therefore the impact isn’t guaranteed to be great. The dilemma here is that some people think they have to give up on their non-biological legacy to ensure that their kid can leave a legacy, but we all have a legacy to leave whether we have kids or not.

2. Body of work: What are you creating that could impact the world for decades or centuries?

Musicians, artists, filmmakers, actors, authors, athletes, inventors, and others leave legacies through bodies of work. They leave behind music, paintings, films, books, inventions, and more. The risk one takes to make a living doing what they love—overcoming the predominant rumors of “the starving artist”—is great and not everyone makes it. But those who push the envelope and challenge the assumptions, limitations, and status quo of their field, industry, or genre usually aren’t forgotten because of their boldness and innovation. Examples include Michael Jackson, Charlie Chaplin, Edgar Allen Poe, George Washington Carver, Ben Franklin, and more.

3. Institutional body: What spaces are you creating to empower other people?

Entrepreneurs, spiritual and civic leaders, and educational pioneers fit here. They create companies, non-profits, governments, religions, colleges, universities, associations, and systems. The difference between a body of work and an institutional body is that an institutional body creates space for other people to grow and develop whereas a body of work typically comes from an individual. The risk of creating an institutional body includes all of the risk associated with creating a body of work in addition to financing buildings, supporting other people, and push back from existing institutions that yours may threaten. Once they grow from their cultish state to impacting overall culture, they are integrated in fabric of society. However, unless institutions evolve beyond their founder’s original vision and stay relevant to the times, they can become hollow buildings with no purpose except to keep going for the sake of continuing to go.

4. Body in service: What cause are you willing to die for?

Martyrs, soldiers, and servants to society give their bodies in service and they are remembered for their selfless sacrifice moreso than something they created and left behind. The legacies of those assassinated in the 1960s will live on, not just because they were assassinated, but the beliefs and principles that publicly stood for so strongly that caused their assassinations. And then there are servants to society like soldiers and those doing Mother Theresa-like work giving up their lives and worldly possessions to ensure that the forgotten members of society are loved and supported.

Blog, Graduate, Job Searching, Professional, Undergrad, Unemployed

400+ Online Job Search Engines

I gathered this amazing list of online job search engines so that you can target your next job search. The average number of applications per job posting on is 44, but if you target your search, it will be less competitive and you will get more interviews.