Considering the stunning number of teachers and other public education personnel being laid off -- nearly 4,000 in Philadelphia and 850 in Chicago recently -- it's hardly surprising that you're taking a fresh look at your future.
Search for the paper: "A Kaleidoscope of Alternative Career Choices for Teachers: What Can I Do if I Can't Find a Teaching Job?" It contains 10 pages of job titles filled with hundreds of listings that can illuminate your possibilities and encourage further investigation.
DESIREABLE CANDIDATES. Teachers can be super matches for corporate jobs because they are highly educated, holding at least a bachelor's degree, and many hold a master's or doctorate. They are competent and goal-oriented with excellent communications and presentation skills, in addition to being adaptable and quick-learning with a teamwork mentality.
Some teachers are specialists in math, science and computers, so they could easily fit into technical jobs. Others will find rewards in sales or marketing.
Moreover, teachers are born networkers, a valuable trait in job finding.
DEAR JOYCE: Quick question: For several years, I didn't hear a peep from recruiters, but this year I've had several recruiting contacts. I hope to receive more calls. How did they find me? -- S.E.
Recruiters identify potential candidates by following up with trusted referral sources and, increasingly, via social networking.
The candidate-finding business has grown specialized with the emergence of "sourcing" as a preliminary activity to those recruiting calls you like.
Sourcing professionals identify promising matches for a client's open job. They prowl major search engines, mine candidates in job board resume databases and cold call into companies thought to employ individuals who match the requirements of the open position.
Once sourcing pros finish their research, they turn their prize names over to recruiters who then contact you. Want to know more nitty-gritty? Read reams about the details of "Sourcing Personnel" at Wikipedia.
To play a long game and promote yourself, hang out online with birds of a feather in your industry or career field who, when asked for referrals, will remember your name. Join the social site LinkedIn.com. Write comments on other people's blogs. This is for starters.
Grab more self-marketing ideas in a new book to be published in September, "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success" by Dan Schawbel (St. Martin's Press).
DEAR JOYCE: I am 57 years young and I have a great sense of humor. Some people have even said that I am very funny. I have been working at call centers for more than 24 years. Lately I have been told that I must conform to my employer's rigid new ways or I will suffer the consequences. Sometimes I feel that I should have gone into comedy -- standup, in particular. Thoughts on steps to pursue that kind of career? -- A.B.
Do you expect me to give you a serious answer? Too bad Jon Stewart's on hiatus, or we could ask his opinion. Kidding aside, I found two relevant articles for you. Search for:
-- "Comedy Careers: Learning to Be Funny is No Joke" by David Seidman.
-- "How to Pursue a Career in Comedy" on eHow.com.
(Email career questions for possible use in this column to Joyce Lain Kennedy at email@example.com; use "Reader Question" for subject line. Or mail her at Box 368, Cardiff, CA 92007.)