Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Inspiration For Writing My Book
By: John G. Bendt

I wrote A Roadmap To Career Success - 25 Tips For College Bound Students, because I’m concerned that most high school students spend little time and effort exploring and evaluating what they want to do when they enter their work lives. They also have little understanding of the workplace, and no action plan to prepare for a happy and successful future.

It’s paradoxical that college-bound students and their parents put so much energy into selecting and gaining admission to a good college, yet give only minimal thought to such tasks as selecting a future occupation and learning the workplace soft skills required to compete in a global job market. Many students thus enter college with little direction and are naive about how the real world functions.

I find this disturbing for a number of reasons. First, it has serious consequences. Surveys show a gap exists between the soft skills college graduates possess and what they need to be successful in their careers. For example, according to a 2016 study by PayScale (a compensation and benefits information software company) and Future  Workplace (an executive development firm), 60 percent of the 63,924 managers surveyed in their study reported new grads working in their company lack the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for the job. Other important soft skills found lacking included: communication skills (46 percent), writing proficiency (44%), leadership qualities (44 percent), public speaking (39 percent) and interpersonal and teamwork skills (36 percent). There is no doubt these skill gaps handicap the start of a new grad’s career.

Second, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve seen the benefits my four children gained by being proactive in high school to identify interesting occupations they found satisfying and fulfilling. I’ve witnessed them winning the jobs they wanted when they started their careers, because they learned and practiced important workplace soft skills like those listed above while in high school and college. I see them doing well and happy in their jobs today. I also have seen middle school and high school students respond positively in career prep seminars I’ve volunteered to teach. The notion that middle school and high school students are too young for career prep activities does not square with the experiences I’ve had with teens. 

Most schools do not connect the dots between school curriculum, selecting a career path, competition in the workplace and the skills required to compete successfully. When the dots are connected to form a big-picture, I’ve found teens get it, and are more likely to do a better job of preparing for their future.  When I searched for a book that would help teens understand the big-picture of how to achieve happiness and success in their work life, and couldn’t find one, I decided to write one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 review of "A Roadmap To Career Success" by John G Bendt.]

Official Review: A Roadmap To Career Success
Posted: 17 Apr 2018, 21:58
by CataclysmicKnight
[Following is an official review of "A Roadmap To Career Success" by John G Bendt.]

4 out of 4 stars

College is a tough time. It's often the first huge decision a person makes in life, and it ends up being more than just a single choice - what college should I go to? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? These are questions that John G. Bendt seeks to answer in his book, A Roadmap To Career Success, 25 Tips For College Bound Students, just not in the same way many books do it.

I've seen numerous college advice books that are thick enough to kill the fiercest Australian spiders, so I was surprised that this book was only around 80 pages. Despite the short length of this book, it's packed with information that will encourage and inspire children to plan for their future from the time they begin high school. John's strategies will have students far more equipped with "skill advantages" than the average student and prepared for the competitive world of getting into college and job hunting.

John begins by recommending that people begin figuring out what they want to do with their lives when they begin high school. This isn't just "make a list of everything you might want to do and then throw a dart", it's rather thorough, including: choosing some potential fields of interest, networking, interviewing people who already have that job to see what exactly they do and whether it's something you'd be interested in. He continues on through a total of eight chapters, from defining hard skills (skills specific to an occupation or industry like programming C++) and soft skills (skills that are important for any occupation like being a team player), learning how to improve and develop those skills, learning to market yourself for colleges and businesses and then the actual job searching itself.

The author does an excellent job of going step-by-step through these processes, and includes all sorts of methods to determine what career a person may be interested in, and then collecting life experience to best set oneself up to get it. The way he breaks it down is really awesome - it's essentially a solid method of making a to-do list for your future. Sure, some of these are covered elsewhere; who hasn't been told about the importance of extracurriculars for getting into college? But John breaks it down more - he explains WHY they're important, both for college and a future career, and which ones are best for which skills. One of my favorite tips is to keep records of "how you used soft skills in your activities and jobs" so that you can refer to them freely in the future.

Aside from the six errors I found - half of which were so minor they barely even made it as errors at all - there was only one negative I found. While John manages to go through everything thoroughly and keep things moving smoothly most of the time, there was once in the last chapter that he mentioned questions one should ask an interviewer at a job interview to ensure the business has growth potential and the right culture for you. However, two chapters before that includes writing a resume and preparing for an interview. This recommendation two chapters later feels like it was out of place.

Aside from these very minor issues, I really enjoyed my time with A Roadmap To Career Success, 25 Tips For College Bound Students. Heck, even as someone in my mid-30s I was inspired to begin my own research, find my own dream job and work on the skills I need to get it! I'm definitely rating it 4 out of 4 stars and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has kids in high school or college, or to anyone who is in high school or college themselves. John says he used this method with his own four children when they were entering high school, and as thorough and all-inclusive as it is I believe him.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Would You Pay Your Child $70,000 To Pick An Occupation ?

This Could Happen If Your Teen Goes To College Without A Career Plan!Career indecision for students entering college often leads to extra time to complete a four-year degree. Just one extra year can add over $70,000 to the cost of a four-year degree when your child's missed income is added to the extra college costs.
According to the College Board the average cost for tuition + room & board in 2016-2017 for a public college is $20,090, and a private college, $45,370.  The average 2015 annual salary for a bachelor degree graduate was $50,651 according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Straight A Grades Are Not Enough For Success On The Job

The 3R's alone are not enough for success in today's rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy according to a 2007 report put out by the Conference Board, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resource Management.  The report, Are They Really Ready To Work?, found a disturbing trend developing in the United States:  Many of today's entry level workers, even those with a four-year college degree, lack the critical workplace skills needed to succeed on the job.  (The full report is at )

Will your child be part of this trend?  Sadly, the answer is probably yes, if he or she fails to develop the skills needed to meet the requirements and expectations of the competitive workplace.  Some of the most important skills needed by entrants into today's workplace are:
  • Communications (Written & Oral)
  • Teamwork / Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking / Problem Solving
  • Professionalism / Work Ethic
Lack of career planning by high school and college students is a large part of the reason so many entrants into the workplace are unprepared.  Career planning is a powerful process that should start in high school and continue through college and one's work life.  It provides the tools to develop a career path and to acquire all the skills needed to achieve success.

I believe a good career planning program for teens should include the following elements:
  • Tools to identify occupational interests and to understand their skill requirements.
  • Explanation of the role competition plays in the workplace and how to build skill advantages.
  • A process to follow which will enable one to select a career path.
  • Instruction on how to build soft skills through extra curricular activities and part-time jobs. 
  • Instruction on the basic principles of how to market oneself to prospective employers.