Unemployment offers an opportunity to learn a new skill or improve existing ones through online and classroom learning. There are a number of free and low-cost resources available nationwide serving individuals at all skill levels.
In this section:
- Government programs
- Non-Profit, Non-Sectarian Organizations
- Temporary Agencies
- Industry-Specific Groups
…plus, our special look at how Associations, Volunteering and Continuing Education (through community college and online universities) can boost your career opportunities!
Run by the Department of Labor, CareerOneStop nationwide focuses on job searching (such as assistance with applying for unemployment, resume writing, and access to phones, faxes, and computers) as well as giving access to on-site and online skills development workshops and training programs, most of which are free. To find the location nearest you, visit www.careeronestop.org or call 1-877-872-5627.
Career Voyages is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education, designed to provide information on high growth, in-demand occupations along with the skills and education needed to attain those jobs. There’s access to apprenticeship and certificate programs in the areas that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics determines are high-growth positions for both blue and white collar workers. To learn more, visit. www.careervoyages.gov.
Non-Profit, Non-Sectarian Organizations:
Jewish Vocational Service founded during the Great Depression to assist immigrants with job training and placement, now operates more than 20 agencies throughout the country serving nearly a half a million people with a wide range of career-related services. More than 25,000 jobseekers were placed in jobs last year as a result of the training they received from JVS. And JVS works with 40,000 employers of all sizes nationwide. JVS satellite agencies get to know the business needs in their unique areas and customize training programs to meet the demands in a variety of industries:
For example, the New Jersey agency (www.jvsnj.org) created a “Caregiving Companions” program, which provides customized training to potential candidates, then places successful graduates as caregivers in the homes of the frail elderly and people with disabilities. JVS says it’s not able to find enough workers to meet the demand for this service, which is projected to grow as the boomer population ages.
JVS in New Jersey also created a program to provide skills training to unemployed individuals seeking to become bus drivers in partnership with Coach USA. JVS says that Coach guarantees employment for candidates who successfully pass the pre-CDL (commercial driver’s license) training program, which prepares candidates to pass the written CDL test, and the subsequent road CDL training that Coach provides. To find the location nearest you, visit www.iajvs.org/iajvs_affiliate_agencies.htm.
Goodwill offers similar skills training and placement services. This non-profit group cliams to place a jobseeker in a good job every 53 seconds of every business day. There are 161 Goodwill community-based locations in the US that offer job training programs in a variety of industries including health care, hospitality, banking, information technology, computer programming and more.
Goodwill also creates jobs by contracting with businesses and government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including janitorial work, packaging and assembly, and food service preparation. For example, Goodwill of Greater Washington has a custodial contract business that cleans almost 8 million square feet of government and commercial office space every day, as well as provides pest control, landscaping and mailroom services. Some of the training can be done in as little as a few weeks – some training can take up to a few months. To find the location nearest you, visit www.goodwill.org or call 1-800-664-6577 and dial your zip code.
Goodwill Industries of East North Carolina: www.GCFLearnFree.org
The National Urban League has more than 100 chapters across the U.S, most of which offer resources, training and job/skill development at no charge. To find the location nearest you, visit www.nul.org.
When you register with temporary or permanent placement agencies, many of them offer access to a comprehensive library of free tutorials designed to help improve the skill level of their candidates. If you’re working now with a temp agency, headhunter or outplacement firm, ask if they offer access to online training programs.
For example, a retired accountant who is looking to get back to work, can sign up with Robert Half – which specializes in placing accounting and finance professionals – and have access to 8,000 online tutorials which cover everything from technical accounting skills to leadership and public speaking. (www.roberthalffinance.com/)
Another example, the Kelly Learning Center, operated by Kelly Services, offers both professional and personal development courses. More than 500 courses are offered free to Kelly candidates. (www.kellyservices.com)
Many trade organizations offer training programs to improve skill level within their fields and to attract new workers.
One example is packaging, which is the nation’s third largest industry. The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute PMMI (www.pmmi.org) recognizes the importance of workforce development and training in today’s high tech packaging industry. As packaging machinery becomes increasingly complex and automation expands, upgrading the skills of packaging workers as well as developing new talent prepared to design, maintain and run these complex packaging systems is critical. PMMI U (www.pmmi.org/pmmiU) offers practical, useful educational experiences based on real needs, helping individuals and companies take on real challenges. PMMI U helps members of the packaging workforce build personal connections and a sense of community that will serve their needs well beyond the dates of the course or program.
Check with the leading trade organizations in your current or desired field to learn about training opportunities.
Associations, Volunteering and Continuing Education
Industry organizations and networking groups are the untapped goldmine of the job search universe. These organizations exist to help people meet and do business with other professionals and students in their industry—the perfect venue for finding a job opportunity. Associations run the gamut from intimate dinner clubs to massive international membership organizations. Every industry has at least one association, and most industries have several, many of which include chapters designed specifically for women. Some associations, particularly in popular fields like accounting and marketing, even have collegiate chapters.
Large, multi-industry women’s professional and networking organizations include the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), Business & Professional Women (BPW), and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Female-focused industry groups include fields ranging from Professional Women in Construction to Women in Film and Television. For the largest directory of women’s organizations around the world, contact the Business Women’s Network, a Washington, DC-based organization, at www.bwni.com.
The secret about most associations—particularly those focused on women—is that they need members as much as you need a job. Most associations rely on membership dues and mailing lists to survive, so they are thrilled to talk to potential new members like you. So don’t be shy about cold calling your industry association or a professional women’s networking group—membership directors will be more than happy to discuss the benefits of joining and answer your specific questions. Why not ask for the names of a few members to speak with about the association? This is a great way to meet active, involved professionals in your field. By mentioning that you received their name from their association, they’re sure to take your call.
This is a great tip for recent college grads or career switchers looking to break into a new field. Call the local chapter of the industry’s association and offer yourself as a volunteer. Many associations are non-profit organizations run by people with full-time jobs, so they are thrilled to get any assistance, particularly from a motivated job seeker. Consider volunteering for a task that will help build your experience (for instance, writing an article for their newsletter, balancing the books, organizing the catering for an event, or designing a new feature of their website), then put this on your résumé as experience in your field. Or, as mentioned earlier, if you can’t score a professional task, volunteer for a position in which you’ll meet the most association members—(for instance, manage the database, work the registration table at an event, or make fund-raising phone calls. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable — encouraged, in fact to list volunteer work on your résumé, and non-profit managers can serve as great professional and personal references.
We know what you’re thinking: “I already went to college! What more do I need?” But adult education offers so much more than information. Even a one-day seminar or a series of night courses can provide the extra skills or certification you desire. Most continuing education classes are designed to accommodate the schedules of busy professionals so they are flexible in their offerings.
Adult and continuing education classes offer many benefits to the savvy job seeker:
- Résumé Boost — Particularly for career changers or rising executives, education demonstrates to an employer that you are motivated, eager to stay on the cutting edge of your industry and willing to put in the work to achieve your highest potential. Whether you are in the midst of a course or have already completed one, additional education is always impressive and particular certifications may boost your chances (and your eventual salary range).
- Industry contacts — Adult education courses are taught by industry experts and attended by industry insiders. Make a point to learn about new industry trends, networking opportunities, and job leads by chatting with the other people in your classroom.
- Leadership opportunities — Instead of taking a course, why not teach one? One of our favorite public relations pros got a job at NBC after volunteering to teach a class at her local university — when she was only 21 years old. For adult education classes, you don’t need a PhD or dozens of years of industry experience — just some solid work experience, a great syllabus, and lots of enthusiasm. Colleges and universities are always looking to expand their roster of professional teachers and lecturers—start by calling your local schools and asking about the process of becoming an instructor. Courses are usually held at night or on the weekends, so teaching shouldn’t interfere with your job search. Contact your local college, technical school, or even high school to find out about opportunities to teach a course in your field. It looks great on your résumé, and, again, you never know who you might meet on the job!
Community Colleges and Online Universities:
There are more than 1,000 community colleges in the U.S. that offer degrees and certifications in a range of fields. To find a community college nearest you, visit www.aacc.nche.edu/Pages/CCFinder.aspx.
If you’re considering attending community college or an online university, ask about financial aid and also about job placement assistance. Every day Women For Hire hears from graduates of adult learning programs who say they’re unable to turn that degree into a job offer. When we ask if they’ve talked to career services at their school, their answer is almost always “no”. Not good! Find out in advance about the employers that hire from the program you’re about to shell out bucks for and ask specifically about the employment rate of 2008 graduates. Use that information when deciding on the program for you.
Imagine taking courses from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or other top flight universities – for free!
MIT has a program called OpenCourseWare which contains materials from all of MIT’s academic departments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, voluntarily provided by MIT faculty. Site users can download and modify the materials for noncommercial use. The site contains notes from more than 1,500 lectures, 9,000 assignments, and 900 exams. Many courses include enhanced multimedia content, including 31 that contain complete video recordings of course lectures.
It’s all free; no credit, no degree, no access to faculty, but you can’t beat it for self-paced study from some of the most brilliant minds in economics, engineering, aerospace, and so much more. Again, it’s something to talk about on interviews – learning new skills from MIT while looking for a new job.
There is also a consortium of OpenCourseWare opportunities from other top flight colleges and universities worldwide. (View the database of worldwide OpenCourseWare opportunities.)
All current and completed coursework and training should be included on your resume.
To make ends meet in a challenging economy, Americans have been seen working two jobs or taking on part-time work when full-time positions are harder to land.
Here are some specific ideas and resources to make it happen for yourself that come from our brand new book on making money from home: Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash Without the Commute, which is available on BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com or at your local book stores. (If you purchase the book online, email your e-receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll upgrade you for free to a premium membership ($38 value) to the Women For Hire Network.
Work from home opportunities: We have an entire section devoted to this type of work.
Pursue direct sales: Direct sales allow millions of people to realistically bring in a couple hundred dollars a month. The Direct Selling Association is a good resource to start.
Connect with a global marketplace: oDesk and Elance offer a combined 20,000 opportunities per month for talented professionals to connect with businesses of all sizes in need of services ranging from writing and editing to software development and graphic design.
Scour Craigslist: For odd jobs, temp work and assorted other opportunities, Craigslist always has a wide range of stuff listed, so check your local listings on the site.
Hourly and part-time work: SnagaJob is great resource for finding hourly and part-time opportunities. Also, be sure to look at your local newspaper’s online job board. For example, in New York, the online job board of the New York Times website has better local opportunities than the largest national job boards, HotJobs, Monster and CareerBuilder.
Turn crafts into cash: If you make something by hand, you should be selling on Etsy. Whether it’s jewelry, clothing, illustrations, ceramics or edibles and more, this is the site for you.
Online tutoring: If you’re interested in tutoring, but unable to drum up your own clients, consider working through Tutor.com , TutorVista, Tutorzilla or TutorNation, among others. (Each site operates differently, so do your research before deciding on the right fit for you.)
Provide care-giving services: There’s big demand among kids, seniors and pets for care-giving services. Fetch, Sitter City, Care, Senior Helpers, and Home Instead are among the sites to explore for immediate work.
To make your availability known within your community, don’t be shy about talking to everyone about the services you offer. Make flyers or business cards that clearly explain what you offer and how to reach you. As long as it doesn’t jeopardize your employment, talk to people in your day job about what you do on the side. An office manager who moonlights as a photographer can often land new customers for parties and portraits through her co-workers. A teacher usually can’t tutor her own students, but her peers can refer families for extra help. Be sure that it’s not against company policy for you to work on the side.
For more ways to make money from home as a full-time or supplemental income, check out our new book,Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash Without the Commute.
Just joining the workforce? Trying to decide what is the best post-graduation path for you? The links on this page can give you the tools and guidance to face the, gulp, real world.
Top Nine Articles for Recent Grads on Womenforhire.com
- Resume Templates and Cover Letter Templates
- Creating Your Digital Identity
- job Interview 101
- Prepare Answers to Give
- Negotiating Salary and Benefits
- Find Great References
- Interpersonal Obstacles at the Office
- How to Ask if Your Resume Has Been Received
- Thank You Letter Template
Become a Women For Hire Facebook Campus Contact!
We’re looking for smart, savvy, and motivated college students to help spread the word about Women For Hire to their campuses. If this sounds like you, then join our Facebook team! As a Campus Contact, you’ll create a Women For Hire Facebook page for your school, invite your friends and classmates to join, and post weekly updates from our office that will include everything from career tips to discounts and giveaways for the members of your group. Gain real experience with professional social networking (always a plus on the resume) while helping your fellow students take control of their career paths. Click here to find out how to get started.
Even though job searching gets harder with age—somehow you’d think it would get easier with practice, but it doesn’t—there are jobs available for every generation.
Start close to home and start small. Who’s hiring in your area? Local businesses are a leading source of job opportunities, and 97% of companies have fewer than 100 employees. So think about how your services can benefit someone small right in your neighborhood. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with a career field in the modern world without overwhelming your senses in a big company at a far commute.
- Call the Chamber of Commerce to ask for leads of local businesses that may have openings.
- Connect with the local branch of SCORE in your area to ask about opportunities to work for entrepreneurs.
- Ask friends and neighbors to keep their eyes and ears open for you among their circles of influence.
- Talk to your doctors, dentists and service providers. These are well-connected people who can often make introductions and referrals.
- Make it known to your favorite stores and businesses that you’re looking for an opportunity and you’d appreciate their consideration or their referrals.
Consider working for care-giving services. Organizations are working overtime to recruit 50+ workers because they excel as personal and home care aides. It’s become the second-fastest growing occupation, focused on non-medical care: providing companionship, running errands, accompanying clients on doctor’s appointments, and preparing meals, especially when a family member isn’t available to do this stuff.
Pay ranges from $8 to $15 an hour. Some opportunities are available as an employee with benefits and others are for independent contractors. Check with various companies in your area to determine their needs and your availability.
Among the resources to pursue for this type of work:
Become a pet sitter. Maybe you don’t want to care for people, but you’d love to tend to their pets. Fetch! Pet Care, a nationwide provider of pet sitting and dog-walking services, says the company plans to add 2,400 sitters to its roster by the end of the year. Company CEO Paul Mann says, “Sitters typically earn 50% of the retail price that we charge our clients. For example, if they board a dog in their home overnight they will get half of the $55 per night fee. Two dogs boarded overnight for one week would produce $385 in added income. Sitters choose which assignments they wish to take based on their availability and comfort level with an assignment. Sitters who wish to take on a lot of assignments can easily generate $1,000 to $2,000 or more per month in income. The demand for sitters who can board pets in their home is extremely high so we find that seniors can really increase their income and have lots of assignments through this avenue. They can also do private walks, daycare or visit cats and other small pets.”
Explore temporary staffing options. Finance, accounting, administrative support and legal are some of the areas were temporary help is needed right now, which is good news for seniors. These roles are filled through national staffing firms like OfficeTeam, RobertHalf, Manpower and Kelly.
There are also staffing firms that understand the specific needs and strengths of older workers. Working with a staffing firm, especially with a qualified recruiter, is great because you get the added benefit of someone who can be your advocate, which is helpful at any age.
Take a job in retail sales: bookstores, drugstores and specialty chains. Retailers like seniors because they’re typically more patient with customers and provide a higher quality of service than teenagers who also look for retail positions. Seniors are also more likely to stay, which lessens the cost of high turnover. Stores like Borders, CVS, Crate & Barrel and Target like to hire people who know their merchandise, so apply to places you like to shop. Apply at in-store kiosks or online.
Consider a job in medical transcription. MedQuist, one of the largest medical transcription companies in the country, say there’s a shortage of talent in this industry. If you’re looking for something you can count on for the next five, 10, or even 20 years, this is a smart field to consider. You have to invest in training, which can take six to nine months, but there’s ample opportunity if you are skilled in this arena.
Teaching aides are another job alternative. Contact the local public school districts and private schools in your area now to ask about their staffing needs for the upcoming school year. Many hiring decisions are made six to eight months in advance.
Seek services catering to mature workers.
There are now Web sites and a range of local and national programs supported by direct employers and non-profit organizations that can connect mature workers with qualified leads and opportunities.
- AARP has identified opportunities and advice for 50+ workers.
- Experience Works is a national nonprofit, community-based organization that helps low-income older people get training and find jobs.
- RetirementJobs.com is a job board with positions posted by “age-friendly” employers
- Principal Financial offers a “Happy Returns” program.
- CVS sponsors a seniors program.
- For resources on working from home, click here.
- For tips on avoiding scams, click here.
If you’d like to suggest valuable resources that we should consider adding to this page, please send us an email with details.
Women For Hire partners with a range of professional associations and organizations on both a national and local level. They are great resources for professionals and jobseekers looking to advance their careers through educational workshops, networking events, mentoring programs, volunteer and employment opportunities, career services and support, and much more. Among our partners are the following organizations:
The American Business Women’s Association is dedicated to the careers and personal growth of women. http://www.abwa.org/
AllAccountingCareers offers unbiased information about career paths, salary, and more. http://allaccountingcareers.com
The Association for Women in Science focuses on achieving equity and participation of women in science, and technology. www.awis.org
The American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants serves women CPAs through leadership, networking and education. www.awscpa.org
Backpage.com is a group of free community classified sites operated by various local media outlets. www.backpage.com
Back to Business, LLC provides a full range of services for women returning to work or seeking a more fulfilling career. www.backtobusiness.org
Business and Professional Women/USA is a membership organization for working women that provides career advancement resources. www.bpwfoundation.org/
Butterfly is the first social networking site exclusively for moms who are journeying back to work and those already in the workforce. www.MyWorkButterfly.com
Career Rocketeer is one of the fastest growing career search, development and personal branding blogs on the web today. www.careerrocketeer.com
DC Web Women is a professional association that supports and promotes women in technology and new media. www.dcwebwomen.org
DiversityWorking.com provides a link between Corporate America and professional job seekers from diverse communities. www.diversityworking.com
eWomenNetwork.com connects women business owners and corporate professionals. www.ewomennetwork.com
Financial Women’s Association of New York is committed to advancing professionalism in finance and the financial services industry. www.fwa.org
iHispano.com is a leading resource for employers and Hispanic professionals. www.iHispano.com
JobCentral National Labor Exchange was created to automate job distribution and help companies build their brand and candidate pool. www.JOBcentral.com
A career center for working women and comeback moms who want quality work-at-home solutions and family-friendly career paths. www.jobsandmoms.com
MainStreet.com is a personal finance site offering money-savings tips, budgeting and career advice to the citizens of MainStreet, USA. www.mainstreet.com
MBA Depot is an online community focused on–and marketed to–MBAs. www.mbadepot.com
MBA Highway is a comprehensive niche job board and career resource website exclusively catering to the MBA-level job market. www.mbahighway.com
Employment Options provides free nationwide work-at-home and community job placement services to citizens currently receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and/or SSI (Supplemental Security) disability benefits. http://myemploymentoptions.com/
The National Association for Female Executives provides resources and services through education, net-working, and public advocacy. www.nafe.com
The National Association of Women MBAs focuses on the challenges faced by women in business.
The mission of the National Society for Hispanic Professionals is to empower Hispanic professionals with information and connections. www.nshp.org
The National Society of Hispanic MBAs fosters Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development. www.nshmba.org
Professional Woman’s Magazine is a Business, Career and Lifestyles Diversity Magazine for Today’s Woman. www.professionalwomanmag.com
PublicServiceColleges is a resource for opportunities in the public service sector such as social work or public health.www.PublicServiceColleges.com
The Society of Women Engineers is an educational and service organization representing both student and professional women in engineering and technical fields. www.swe.org
Tau Beta Pi, the world’s largest engineering society, recognizes students of distinguished scholarship and exemplary character. www.tbp.org
10 til 2, The Part-Time Placement Service, specializes in placing college educated women into long term part-time positions.
The Glass Hammer.com is an online community for professional women that offers news, advice, jobs and networking. www.theglasshammer.com
The MBA Exchange ® advises applicants on gaining admission to the top business schools
More than just a fair, The MBA Tour events offer unique formats to explore MBA programs and to help you discover your ideal school. www.thembatour.com
A networking community for professional women, featuring career advice from top leaders. www.womenworking.com
Work It, Mom! is an online community for working moms. Come to Workitmom.com to connect with other moms similar to you and share advice.
The QS World MBA Tour offers prospective students the opportunity to meet admissions officers from top business schools worldwide at a multitude of venues across the globe. This fall 2010, the World MBA Tour will be visiting over 72 cities and will be in North America this Fall. www.topmba.com