High-paying trade jobs are sitting empty as high-school grads opt for college

Almost everyone has a college degree these days (30.4% for those over 25 years old with only 27% of graduates engaged in careers in their field).  What’s disturbing about this fact is that too many graduates lack relevant job skills.   But is that true?  I mean we hear this all over the internet, so it must be true, right?  And if it is true, does this mean that will all of the book learning that people get that it is just enough to render them slightly incompetent?  Oh, God. 

We do know that the value of a college degree has been devalued.  Any hot shot who works hard on his own outside of school can build a nice portfolio of digital products that solve problems, apps, and whatnot and showcase to them to any company who can use them.  

Instead, why can’t someone, anyone, including a  college graduate, pay attention to market forces and find out what [high-paying] jobs and the parts around the country that they’re flourishing can be had?  What the BostonomiX article tells us is that there are high-paying trade jobs all across the country.  Check out what is happening in Shale Country, meaning Midland, Texas. 

Steps involved to become a truck driver.

GET THE TRUCK DRIVING MANUAL FROM YOUR DMV. This manual will tell you all you need to know about obtaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL) within your state. Review the information about fees, classes, and restrictions. Study its contents to learn about the various traffic and safety laws associated with commercial driving.

The DMV manual is for information purposes only. You’ll need to take a truck driving license exam from a local truck driving school.   WHAT ABOUT LENGTH?  HOW LONG ARE THE COURSES?  Anywhere from 30 days to 10 weeks to a full year.

Each program has its own tuition and fees, but many schools also offer tuition assistance. The timeline of each program can also vary. Some intensive programs may finish within 30 days to 10 weeks, but more in-depth programs can extend out to a full year.

TWO PARTS OF THE EXAM: Written & Road Skills.

If you want to do interstate driving, you’ll need an FMCSR or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Exam. 

This is a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination conducted by a licensed “medical examiner” listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.  A DOT  physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. 

Once you pass the written exam, you never have to pass it again.  However, you must take and pass the physical portion of the exam every 2 years.

Then sign on with Truck Driving Placement Services. Where do I do that?  Finding a job with this service may take 30 to 60 days.  Oh boy.  I don’t trust national databases since they have no skin in the game with regard to hiring you.  Instead, try proven jobs boards, like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and others.  Though Glassdoor is my least favorite jobs site, their review page is pretty good.  

Once you’re hired, that company will put you through their own training protocol. Oh, God.  Just shoot me.  Orientation will last 3 to 5 days.  Orientation teaches you about the company and its various policies.  During this orientation, you will need to complete paperwork for the company, pass a drug test, and pass some basic physical exam.

The company will give you another “DRIVING TEST.”

ADVANCE IN YOUR CAREER. Most beginners start in the field of long-haul trucking, regardless of how many endorsements they received while taking the state CDL exam.  You advance to better positions after gaining several years of experience.  So what I would do is test for endorsement after endorsement each quarter or year so that you’re so qualified for so much that no one can deny your status or your hire.  Local and specialty trucking jobs usually require experience.  You will also need experience before you can earn a better salary as a long-haul trucker and before you can qualify as a driver trainer for others. 

All Trucking is an all-purpose site that helps you navigate all the questions pertaining to truck driving. 



Knowing Excel Is Crucial to Making Money

A theme made its way around the web a couple of years ago, which I mentioned, on the value of learning practical computer skills, like Excel and Word.  This is worthy of a read.  The link to that labor market analysis is particularly good.  For any e-commerce position, Excel is critical.  Learn it.  Get certification with it.  Post it on your resume.  By the way, if you’re not familiar with Excel and you want to start, a decent beginning tutorial is posted at the end of this post.

Excel New-to-Office-365-in-August-1

from The Huffington Post

Forget learning how to code. The tech skills required to get out of the low-wage workforce are actually a lot simpler. Knowing how to use basic software like Microsoft Excel and Word, it seems, are critical to earning a living wage these days, according to a new analysis of the labor market.

Understanding spreadsheet and word-processing software is a baseline requirement in nearly 80 percent of all middle-skill job openings, according to the report, first discovered by Lauren Weber at the Wall Street Journal.

The research, from labor analysts at Burning Glass Technologies with funding from Capital One Foundation, defines middle-skill occupations as those that don’t necessarily require a college degree but pay more than the median national living wage of $15 an hour. These include store manager, retail supervisor, and office/administrative assistant. The researchers looked at job listings posted in 2014.

“Technological illiteracy, much less technophobia, is no longer a sustainable option for the modern worker,” the researchers say in their report. “Effectively, entire segments of the U.S. economy are off-limits to people who don’t have basic digital skills.”

Of course, we all sort of knew that already. But what’s surprising here is just how basic the required tech skills can be. Excel was launched by Microsoft 30 years ago — it’s hardly a cutting-edge application. Yet its relevance in our lives somehow refuses to die. In fact, spreadsheet errors have actually powered major trading losses and even undercut an important economic paper.

Proficiency with productivity software like Excel and Word even boosts your pay in a job that heavily emphasizes people skills — like in retail.

Middle-skill jobs that just require Word and Excel skills and no other digital skill pay a median of $22.66 an hour compared to $20.14 for middle-skill jobs that don’t require digital know-how, according to the report.

The report notes that jobs that require digital skills are growing at a much faster clip than jobs that don’t — work in construction or repair, for example. Digitally intensive middle-skill jobs grew 2.5 times more rapidly between 2000 and 2013 than middle-skill jobs that do not require spreadsheets, word processing or other digital skills, according to the report.

To take your pay even higher, the report notes that proficiency with customer relationship management software and higher-end computer networking skills are often required. And, to be sure, certain jobs have their own technological requirements. In the health sector, proficiency with programs for medical billing can help boost your pay. In manufacturing, it’s knowing how to run computerized drill presses, for example.

Along with this study, the Capital One Foundation has also just announced it would spend $150 million to help train workers for the digital economy.

“Think of your website or your blog [or book] as a career insurance policy”

Tom Woods emails:

You have no interest in leaving your career. Maybe you want some extra income here and there, which is why you’re on my list, but you want to stick with your career. If so, this advice is for you.

And I mean you, specifically. The person reading this right now.  

Gary North is a multimillionaire and an expert when it comes to business and positioning. And he says: get career insurance.

What is it?

North writes: “It involves building a reputation as an expert. This takes time, but it need not take a lot of money. It does not take a high IQ. It just takes perseverance.”  

“The important fact that everyone should deal with in his career is this: you can get fired at any time. This being the case, it is crucial that you create a public persona that says this: this person is an expert. Experts can get fired. Companies can get in trouble.

“The fact that somebody has been fired does not necessarily testify against his position in the industry as being an expert. But if he is not perceived as being above average, which means he is not perceived at all, then getting fired does produce a crisis. The person has no reputation to bring to the bargaining table.” 

You may think: I’ll just offer a new firm a low bid, so they’ll be willing to hire me. But you’re more likely to be hired on the basis of your reputation than for your low bid, since many other people will be offering low bids. 

Again North: “This is why you have to begin working on this now, before you get the pink slip. If your site indicates that you have been working on it for three years, and you get fired, your site testifies to the fact that you have been industrious, setting yourself above the pack, for at least three years. You don’t want to have to start a website three weeks, or three days, after you get fired. It’s better to have one than none, but it is better to have one that has been online for three or four years, before you get the pink slip.

“Think of your website or your blog as a career insurance policy. Start paying the daily premiums. You don’t have to write much. Just link to articles. Offer summaries. Show that you are on top of events in your field. This will build your reputation.”  

I even have some resources to help you, at the link below.

Don’t wait until it happens, and then lament the “tough economy.”

Grab this bull by the horns, and control your own destiny:


Tom Woods

Get Your Group On

The article is titled “How to Find a Job on LinkedIn.”  Yeah, right.  It’s from Freelancer Community, the Australian gig posting site.

Who finds jobs through LinkedIn?  I’ve had scores of people look at my LinkedIn page, but never landed a job from it.  Still, the article had some excellent tips that I want to share with you now.

Tip #1: Box Yourself Up

Good advice.  Managers see a lot of resumes.  And your resume should read easily, like a package description, something you might find on Metropolitan Museum of Art insert on an ivory miniature relief of the nativity scene you just bought.  It should be sold and to the point.  Don’t write a resume like a journalist.  Be concise, yes; be comprehensive, of course.  Just don’t be wordy.  Think product description. You can fill out the details in an interview.

You might have a list of skills that run off the page, but if an employer reads your profile and can’t tell what you actually want to do, they’re not going to get in touch.

So hit them up front. Leave no doubt as to what kind of job you’re looking for.

We’ve all read the buzzwords. ‘Multi-skilled problem solver.’ ‘Good leadership qualities; excellent time management.’ ‘Works well alone, or as part of a team.’


These generic terms say nothing about what you want, or what you’re actually qualified for. Be specific. Put yourself in a box for a while – you can always break out of it later.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  The product below is titled The Medici Walking Horse Sculpture by Giambologna.

medici Walking Horse Sculpture 06060503_01_l

Now read the description:

The Museum’s sculpture is based on a model by Giovanni Bologna, called Giambologna (Netherlandish, ca. 1529–1608) that was probably cast in the workshop of sculptor Giovanni Francesco Susini (Italian, ca. 1575–1653). Giambologna’s models were created for the equestrian statue of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, which was finished in 1594.

Produced in cooperation with the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein.

Obviously you’re not a museum piece, but you want your resume package to read like it is something to be coveted.

Tip #2: Be on the Market

Add words to your LinkedIn headline to let recruiters know you’re available right now. ‘Seeking new challenge’, or the acronym ISO (In Search Of) are indicators that either you’re currently not working, or you’re actively looking to change your current situation.

This is good advice.

Tip #3:  Do Not Be Camera Shy

Easier said that done.  But do you must.

LinkedIn provides space for a profile photo. Use it! It gives you the chance to show yourself as you want to be seen – and showing potential employers your face forms a connection in the way a blank space does not. It doesn’t have to be a professional picture, but it should show you in a good light.

Leaving the space blank is the worst decision. It implies a lack of care, laziness, or a person too timid to present themselves to the world. None of these create a good impression.

Keep reading . . . 

“. . . measuring does not apply to writing, other than direct-response copywriting.”

Dr. Gary North has an article at his site, titled “Prove You Are Better Than All the Job Applicants in Two Steps” that is about positioning yourself stronger as the coming recession increases the number of qualified applicants exponentially.  He points to speaking and writing.  Speaking is the real skill.  Writing, well, every junior editor who edits mocking commentary in his head a la Beevis & Butthead fashions himself a writer. But it was actually a comment that North made in one of his forum posts that nailed it.  IT came upon a question from a member about how to measure one’s writing.  Dr. North wrote “. . . measuring does not apply to writing, other than direct-response copywriting.” That’s exactly it.

That’s exactly it.

In high school, kids are taught to write essays–expository, persuasive, narrative, poetry, book reviews, short stories at best.  But these exercises have only for their audience their teacher, who to many I am sure is either tiring, a clown, or a task manager.  Not the ideal audience.  And that’s what is required for anyone to get inspired and create decent work.

Direct marketing suddenly gets the boys involved, boys are fired by the prospect of making a profit and turning a dollar with their talents.

The forum member recommended the SMART approach, fashioned by Michael Hyatt, to measuring one’s writing.  SMART is the acronym for 1) Specific, 2) Measured, 3) Actionable, 4) Realistic, and 5) Time-constrained.  This is too close to what Michael Masterson taught as well; in fact, this is the standard formula for goal setting, not so much for measuring one’s writing abilities. The best way to do that is to write and then work to publish, either through Kindle or sell your writing through direct marketing clients.

To produce a book or write copy or sell ads, review the insights of these gentlemen here: Bill Myers, Bob Bly, or AWAI.


After 10 Years on the Job, What Next?

In answer to the question of what one should do after 10 years in your field, leave or find ways to advance, Dr. North writes this:

Once you’ve hit the 7-10 year mark in your field, should you keep on getting those hours of experience for master status or should you switch to another field touching yours and start that experience clock over?”

If you quit 100%, you will get rusty. The new field should be complementary to your main field. Alternative: become a consultant. You will then be forced to learn marketing. Or become a writer/consultant. Inside the firm, become a teacher.

“On the other side of the table, if you hire for a job that needs a journeyman but not a master, would you rather offer a master a journeyman salary assuming an excess of masters or look only for journeyman candidates?”

Go for the journeyman. You may get a hot shot. The master has seen his day. But if the master could be a teacher or mentor, hire the master at a wage in between. A good teacher is worth paying for. He will get journeymen up to speed.