Log in

The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Job Search Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 25 Feb 2013 5:32 PM | Anonymous
    By Sharon Wiatt Jones

    Due to the expertise of medical illustrators:

    • Students at the New York University School of Medicine perform dissections on virtual cadavers.
    • The Smithsonian Museum uses animation to accompany an exhibit, “Genes and Jazz.”
    • Surgery and other procedures are demonstrated on “The Doctors” television show.

    Combine your passion for biology, art, computer science and communications to enter the career that Johns Hopkins University Medical School has labeled “Art as Applied to Medicine."

    What Medical Illustrators Do. They transform complex information into visual form in fields such as medical research, patient education, marketing or advertising, and law.  By combining biomedical-communication and applied art, medical illustrators use a wide variety of skills, such as these: Art (drawing, print media, digital media, 3D modeling, web design), Instructional design (storyboarding, visual technology, learning theory, training techniques), Biology and medical science (anatomy, physiology, pathology, and surgery).

    Why It’s an Attractive Career. You may want to consider medical illustration if you want to:

    • Make an impact
    • Clarify issues for juries in medical malpractice, personal injury or product liability cases
    • Create prostheses for patients disfigured by accidents or disease
    • Enable researchers to explain breakthrough discoveries
    • Work in widely diverse settings
    • Choose from employers such as medical schools, law firms, pharmaceutical companies, animation studios, or the media
    • Use specialized skills, in limited supply, with an expanding job market
    • Qualify for a career that offers potential for a six-figure salary or become an entrepreneur
    • Enter a field with increasing demand, especially in computer modeling, animation, and interactive design
    • Apply your skills to new challenges, adapting to advances in medical research and emerging technology

    Educational Requirements.  Medical illustrators typically complete a two-year master’s degree in Biomedical Visualization or Medical and Biological Illustration. Accredited programs are available from three medical schools in the U.S. and one in Canada. Highly selective, they accept fewer than one in four applicants. Successful graduate school applicants demonstrate strong preparation, with an art portfolio and excellent grades in premed courses. Some students want to specialize in creating custom-designed prostheses for the face, eye or body, and study anaplastology for one year following a master's degree. Professionals who pass a board exam may become a Certified Medical Illustrator (CMI). Not all employers require a master's degree for medical illustration positions. Some illustrators enter the career with a bachelor's degree (i.e. medical illustration, art, graphic design) or master's degree in a related field.

    Compensation. A 2009 survey by the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) revealed these median annual salaries or income: Salaried employees: $61,000 (up to $150,000);  supervisors: ($75,000); and directors ($93,000). Self-employed: $79,000 (up to $250,000);  business owners with artistic staff: $83,000 (up to $420,000). Medical illustrators using digital interactive and animation skills usually earn more. Approximately 46% of salaried AMI survey respondents also reported freelance income. Some illustrators received royalties from their art.

    Types of Employers: University medical, dental and veterinary schools; healthcare institutions; law firms; media companies (publishing, television, film, web, video game); marketing, advertising, and public relations firms; museums and art galleries; pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies; nonprofits and government agencies.

    Examples of other job titles in this career field include 3D medical animator, interactive user-interface designer, and prosthesis designer/anaplastologist. Common Specializations: Animation, Interactive design, Health gaming, Digital medical imaging system, Clinical anaplastology, Forensic reconstruction, Ophthalmological illustration.

    More Information: Association of Medical Illustrators; Guild of Natural Science Illustrator;

  • 21 Feb 2013 5:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Joan Runnheim Olson

    The use of role models is the number one recruitment strategy to increase the number of females in male-dominated, aka nontraditional careers. Females need to see someone of their gender performing a nontraditional career before they are apt to consider it for themselves. Below is an interview I conducted with Marquita M. Qualls, PhD, a trail-blazer for females in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. 

    Could you provide a little background on your career path?

    I have a typical education path for someone in the STEM field. I received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Tennessee State University. I participated in active research programs throughout my undergraduate school year and went to other universities during the summers to conduct research. This gave me a strong foundation for a future career in STEM research. After receiving my BS, I began a PhD program in Chemistry at Purdue University. In the physical sciences, it is common to enter directly into a PhD program which typically last from 5-7 years, going straight through. After earning my PhD, I began working at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, in Pennsylvania as a research scientist. I've had hands on experience the laboratory doing research and development on various drug delivery systems. Even though I enjoyed the lab, I wanted to learn more about the business side of the science that we were doing. I spent the remainder of my corporate career on the management side of the R&D doing things like business process improvement, strategy development and capital planning. These types of roles are not traditional roles that come to mind when you think of a PhD scientist, but it just goes to show you the variety of options that a technical degree affords you. What you learn in the PhD process is how to think and solve problems. Once you mastered that, you could apply that knowledge to any field or job. I left the corporate world in 2008 and formed my own consulting company in 2009. I use the training and skills learned from my STEM background--and I'm not even in a lab! I have to use skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, communicating, writing, presenting, and negotiating on a daily basis.

    How did you decide on your career choice?

    I've always been an inquisitive person and ask 'why' about everything, so a career in science was natural. It satisfies my curiosity and there is always something new to learn each day about 'why' things operate the way they do.

    Did someone in high school encourage you to pursue a nontraditional career?

    My high school chemistry teacher had a strong influence on me pursing a degree in the chemistry. But ironically, most of my science teachers were women! So I guess even back then, there was a subliminal message being sent that women in science was the norm.

    What challenges did you encounter working in a male-dominated field?

    There are so many stereotypes that have been placed upon STEM careers that often discourage women from pursuing these careers. When you think about the images of a scientist, most people think of a male in a white lab coat with a test tube in his hand. That's why I like to speak to young audiences and let them see the many faces of a scientist--to dispel the myths that science is only for men. I believe this barrier of mental and psychological challenge is far greater than any physical challenge that women may face when working in other male-dominated fields.

    What helped you overcome those challenges?

    Having a strong network of those in the STEM field--both male and female--and mentors (STEM and non-STEM) have been critical in facing the challenges. It's very important to have people you can talk who have experienced what you are going through. They provide a sense of encouragement and motivation that IT CAN BE DONE. STEM can be a challenging field not just because of the subject matter, but also because the non-STEM community often doesn't have an understanding or an appreciation of what we do.

    How did you move up in your career?

    Focusing on doing the best possible job at whatever I worked on. Always being eager to learn new things and take on challenging projects.

    What unique skills and/or personal attributes do you think females bring to a career in STEM?

    I think by nature, females are natural problem solvers and generally good time managers...or at least it's what I've seen from the women in my life!

    What advice would you give to females who may be considering a nontraditional career?

    If there is anything that has ever crossed your mind as something that you want to do, then it can be done! Find other women who are doing the career and ask lots of questions. Ask the simple easy questions and the hard questions. Never be afraid to ask. The more you know and the more people you know, the easier it will be for you to get closer to achieving your goal.

  • 21 Dec 2012 7:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    Turn on your television at 2 a.m. and I guarantee you will see at least a half dozen infomercials for beauty enhancement products, aka: how to look younger than you are. Yes, we’re in an era that is somewhat obsessed with youth. Good news for those of us not quite “over the hill” (I like to think of us as the Nearing the Hilltop Gang): the biggest trend I see firsthand is employers selecting older candidates because they have both the track record of sales required, the relationships and (don’t shoot me for saying this, it is straight from the employers) the sort of work ethic these employers want. In short, if you are selling medical equipment devices to a doctor, chances are they are not Doogie Howser; they are closer to your age. So chin up you Nearing the Hilltop Gang members.

    As we approach the end of another year I thought I’d leave on a humorous note – as we live in a world where things can be rather bleak. Laughter is good medicine. So, with no further ado, I’ve gathered some of my own candidates’ collective wisdom from this year – a “Top 10” list of ways to avoid age bias in your job search. Here goes.

    #10: Never admit to having played the game Twister.
    #9: Never admit to having longed for the Sears, Woolworths and Penny’s Christmas catalogs.
    #8: Never admit to knowing who Elizabeth Montgomery or Agnes Moorehead were.
    #7: Never admit to knowing the names of all four of the Monkees.
    #6: Never admit to wishing you could afford a VCR.
    #5: Never admit you actually know the exact words in the Gilligan’s Island song – BOTH versions.
    #4: Never admit you know exactly where you were when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon.
    #3: Never admit to knowing who Mr. Green Jeans or Captain Kangaroo was.
    #2: Never admit to knowing the name of the pig on Green Acres.
    And the #1 way: Remember that as long as you never lose your childhood awe of things, you will never grow old.

  • 25 Jul 2012 8:42 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    Reverse engineer any success story in job searching, and you are bound to find some silver bullets. These are those wonderful “little” things the successful job seeker did that others didn’t which helped them succeed. Our problem today is we often think there are only a few silver bullets (there are many) or that if something seems obvious to us it can’t possibly be of value (not true – people overlook the obvious all the time). Enter the wacky world of job seeking. I make my living getting people into medical sales roles. What follows are some silver bullets I found recently – which apply to nearly all professions and industries. First, turn off the television and stop reading the news – you’ll end up being a commercial for Prozac. Time to discuss what works – not what doesn’t work. In these last few weeks the Bureau of Labor Statistics (part of U.S. Department of Labor) put out an interesting report: Job Openings and Labor Turnover – May 2012. As a sweeping overview some 3.3% of the labor force (we’re talking all markets, all demographics and geographies) “changed” (i.e. turned over) in the month of May. It was a wash: the hire rate was 3.3%; the separation rate was 3.3%.

    Bullet #1. Wouldn’t it be interesting to break down all that data and find where there is that wonderful trend of more job openings than total separations, i.e. where the jobs are? The report looked at all sectors, e.g. manufacturing, trade, construction, education, etc. In only two sectors were there more job openings than total separations: Education and health services; health care and social assistance. Consider careers in these sectors.

    Bullet #2. Consider that 3.3% turnover rate. That was for one month. Yes, that does translate into an annual whopping 36%+ turnover rate nationally. Which means your timing in landing one of these roles, before they are published to the general public, is pretty good. Note that the government defines separations as quits, layoffs, discharges (a polite version of the word termination here) and “other separations”. Bottom line – a position is open. Should you pursue that role? Best bet is to talk to someone working at that company – get the straight scoop on the corporate culture. Best way to find these unpublished opportunities? LinkedIn. Here’s how. Go into your Linked in 1st level connections and send individual InMails to those connections working for employers you are considering working for. Tell your connection you have updated your LinkedIn profile – and are reaching out to advise them of that fact and ask if there are opportunities on the horizon where they work, i.e. any recent turners within your profession.

    Remember. Most positions these days are filled via referrals - what better referral than someone who works for the employer? When’s the last time you did this? Chances are it’s been eons if ever. Is this an “obvious” thing to do? Why yes. Which doesn’t disqualify it as another silver bullet. Practice this every 6 months - not via a mass-sent "update" on LinkedIn, but via a one-to-one personal InMail or e-mail. It works. Happy hunting.

  • 28 Jun 2012 12:01 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    LinkedIn is here to stay. I like author Louise Kursmark’s comment that “If you are not on LinkedIn, you don’t exist.” And it would seem JobVite, which conducts annual polls of employers, agrees: they report 95% of employers now use LinkedIn for talent acquisition. Wow. It’s time to get on board. The quandary is most job seekers have little time to master LinkedIn, let alone learn foundational elements which can make them stand out from the crowd. I use dozens of tactics to help my clients stand out from their peers on LinkedIn; here are three:  

    1. Put your LinkedIn “link” on your resume. But let’s get creative here. You have a choice. You can either create your own customized LinkedIn url (it would look something like this: LinkedIn /in/ or, and this is a very new concept, simply put the term “LinkedIn” on your resume header – next to your e-mail, phone contact information – and create a hyperlink from that term. The reader, when putting their cursor over the term “LinkedIn” your resume sees a message:  “Ctrl + click to follow link” One technical element – and this is stylistic, the hyper-linked term “LinkedIn” will initially be underlined when you affix the hyperlink; you can get rid of the underline if you wish; just highlight and “de-click” (is that a word?) the word LinkedIn.

    2. Branding. Pull up nearly any LinkedIn profile and you’ll see next to the person’s name their current role. That’s actually a common mistake and the place for your most current role is later in the profile. What you’re looking at is “Professional Headline” which you can access via edit elements. I encourage you to consider using Professional Headline as your branding, and it should complement your resume, e.g. “Medical Sales Professional” should be here, not “VP of Sales, J&J.”

    3. Age-bias. Suddenly my older readers are learning forward in their chairs. Question: Do your oldest dates on the profile go back to pre-1980 dates? Hint, if you can name all four of The Beatles, be careful of age bias on your profile. There is a nifty trick to eliminating age bias when it comes to listing your education (typically the place where those oldest dates appear). On the drop down screen for inserting dates for college, you have date options by year. Skip all that. Go to the top of the menu and you’ll see this odd symbol: “-“. Yup – that’s what you need – pick that and, voila, the dates disappear completely. One caveat here: your colleges will now align alphabetically. So if you went to two or more colleges, you don’t have an option on which order they appear in: Atlanta Community College is going to list ahead of Georgia State University. In that case, consider dropping Atlanta Community College completely from the profile. It’s your call.

    Do you remember the first day you sat down in front of a computer? Remember how it was sort of exciting but a little intimidating? That’s where LinkedIn is today. It’s your friend. Really. You just need to get to know it.

  • 07 May 2012 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    Occasionally you see television programs featuring Navy Seals training. I always wince a bit as I see these Seals in "hell week". Inevitably there is the scene of them in full gear on their backs along a shore in what is typically Southern California. That water is not remotely warm; I should know, as I'm from there. Seals (the animal version), children, and the occasional jaded person from Wisconsin visiting the area might tolerate that water, but no one else. You see the Navy Seals running, lifting logs, hauling their rafts, and competing in team events. And you begin to notice something not initially obvious: this is more of a mental "game" than anything else. The guys who wash out of the program are often in great physical shape; some of the guys who "make it" are actually hurt and in need of medical services, but they make it to the end of the course. There was a moment in one of these programs that really struck me. When asked the secret to completing hell week - to finishing the course, one soon-to-be seal said, without missing a beat: "Never look at what's coming next. If you do, it will overwhelm you. Concentrate on the moment. Do what you need to do right now."

    How true that is when it comes to our job searches. I have been helping people (now for 15 years) in their job searches. And, like the Navy Seals program, I can tell you those who are my most successful candidates are the ones that don't get overwhelmed by life: they concentrate on the moment: they do what they need to do today, then they rest for the day. Which leads to a question: what is your specific quantifiable job search plan for this week? If I can give you my two cents worth here:

    1) Aim for talking to 2 people over the phone who work for the employers you are targeting next. Conduct an informational interview with them. Get a warm referral to these folks; cold calling doesn't work much these days.

    2) Concentrate on sending 10 completely personalized LinkedIn e-mails (called "inmails") to your network this week. Remember, it's not "who you know" but "who they know" and the world is a very small place. Your breakthrough interview is coming quickly, and this is the gold standard for getting it. Just checking in to say "Hello" beats not contacting them at all. I once had the nation's #1 sales person for Xerox calling on me in my corporate America days; he would call on a Friday just to say "Hello." I thought that was a bit odd at the time; now I realize that's one of the little things he did that his less successful peers did not do.

    3) Connect with 2-3 new people on LinkedIn this week. When you do that, your handsome mug shows up front and center stage when your 1st level connections review their own LinkedIn e-mails. No better way to stay connected - and stay on your colleagues' "radar".

    Those are your marching papers for the week. Now, concentrate on completing them. And whatever you do, don't think about what comes next; stay utterly focused on this task today and you will do fine.

    P.S. They mentioned the water temp those Seals were training in: 62. I am eyeing the temp of my pool and realizing I won't go in until it's 86. Somewhere out there, Navy Seals, children, real seals, and people from Wisconsin are laughing at me. I tip my hat to you all.

  • 08 Apr 2012 5:59 PM | Anonymous

    By Lisa Raufman

    I am a Community College Counselor who feels that California has information and resources that many throughout the U.S. can use.  I look forward to others outside California providing me with resources from your state that we in California can use.

    Who Do U Want 2 B? This site includes information on California high school and community college courses, career options and financial assistance. It will help you make decisions about the right courses to take in high school and community college so you have the opportunity to turn that passion of yours into a great job and a great future.

    The Finishing Touches - How to Set Yourself Apart.  Continue on a successful path after graduation from a community college using these resources to help create an impressive resume, ace the interview and find the perfect job for your future.

    Internship Finder. Need a little bit more experience before jumping into the working world? An internship is the best way to gain the knowledge and skills you will need to start your career. Check out the following sites to find the perfect spot for you:

    Now You Have Your Degree - What Next? Job Placement Assistance. Use the following sites for posting your resume in the months leading up to graduation. Be sure to visit your campus career center and get help from a counselor.

    For Those in Transition - How to Change Fields and Find the Right Career Path for You: Career and Job Search Resources. The following links can provide you with pertinent information, tips and resources to help you make a successful career change.

  • 12 Feb 2012 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    As my full time profession, since 1997, I've helped people land positions. For those of you who know me personally, you realize I was only eight years old when I started. OK, maybe I was older than that.

    I've seen a lot of changes in the job search "game" since 1997, e.g. we have LinkedIn profiles, Twitter and social-media. We have some amazing online job boards and online job search tools. We still have classic tools, e.g. resumes and cover letters. I've always tried to find advantages to help my customers land their desired positions. Here's the thing. I've never really had solid statistics to show just how valuable certain job search tools are. I've only made calculated guesses as to the statistical value of a professional resume, or a professional LinkedIn profile, etc.

    Finally, I am able to say I've got some solid statistics for my customers. Here are the numbers.

    Question: percentage of career opportunities that go unadvertised? Answer: 85%. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. That sets the stage for the following. 

    Question: How many job applicants are hired out of 100 job applicants? Answer: 1. Surprised? Probably not; we've always known the figure was about 1%.

    Here's where you'll want to sit down: it's the next question: How many job applicants are hired out of "referred" applicants? Answer: 1 in 10 (!).  Source of data: report, Increase Employee Referrals in 5 Easy Steps. Some obvious reasons for why referrals are now so critical to your job search strategy? According to the same report, p. 2: "Referral hires are widely known to stay longer on the job, perform better, and have greater job satisfaction as well as have shorter time-to-fill periods." Then there is the cost issue: Cost per hire of an agency employee? Answer: $7389 Cost per hire of a direct hire? Answer: $4870 Cost per hire of a referral hire? Answer $963.

    I've a challenge for you. If you are seeking a new role, try this. Apply to 10 positions. For each position have a referral. Get your resume together. Have a solid LinkedIn profile. Do your homework on the company: make sure they are strong. And let me know your results. There is an old saying from Henry Ford: "If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Ford created something completely new - a game changer. I believe referrals are our "game-changer." Referrals get you into the "1 in 10" game, which beats the heck out of the old "1 in 100" game.  And gives you something superior to faster horses.

  • 25 Nov 2011 6:27 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    My grandparents were farmers. They were immigrants, both born in what is now Germany. You can imagine being about three years old and coming to America where you speak no English, and you're about to be raised on a farm doing something that was alien to your father (he was a cabinet maker).  You realize you are responsible for your own destiny. To achieve your goals, you'll need to do more than work hard. You'll need some sort of systematic plan and discipline you can follow.

    We tend to forget the wisdom of those who came before us - we tend to be looking for the "newest," "latest" concepts to help us achieve our goals, in this case, our career goals.  There was something I learned from my grandfather - we'll categorize this as forgotten yet timeless job search advice from the world of farming. Here's how to successfully raise a crop; notice the parallels to your job search:

    1st: Pick a field to raise your crop in. I think most of my clients (I help people land roles in health care) do OK on this first step.

    2nd: Prepare the soil. This is where nearly everyone fails. Imagine you are a farmer and want to raise a crop on a certain field, but you decide you will not prepare the field for planting seed - you will work on this whole "preparing of the soil" concept for a week or two and then decide if you want to continue. To be honest (and perhaps a little brutally frank), this is often what people do in their job searches. You have to prepare the soil - work at it nearly every day. Preparing the soil = building relationships with existing or "new" people who can help you in your job search. Most of these relationships you need in your job search will begin via a mutual acquaintance.

    3rd: Plant the seed. Most people make the mistake of wanting to plant the seed before the soil is prepared; they are in a hurry to raise a crop. It doesn't work that way. To build a "real" relationship you must speak with people via phone and preferably in person. This is all about trust. You have "prepared the soil" by getting an introduction. No one says "Hello, my name is. . ." followed by "let's get married." Yet you'll find many people do the equivalent in their job searches.

    4th: Nurture the crop as it comes up. I tell my clients if you do everything right - pick your field, prepare the soil, plant the seeds, you can expect a whole lot of nothing - for about 3 or 4 weeks. Then one day, as you are facing what you may feel to be the "daily grind" of farming, you stop in your tracks on the way to the field. My god - crops coming up . . . You nurture the crop that comes up, you keep nurturing the soil to develop the remaining crop.

    Don't be surprised if only a few days later you wake up to something rather amazing and encouraging: the results you want in your job search. Results created by old farming wisdom. I miss my grandparents and their common sense wisdom.

  • 06 Oct 2011 6:15 PM | Anonymous

    By Mark Bartz

    Don't you love it when someone just "says it like it is?" It's like a breath of fresh air. I want to share something with you that "says it like it is" when it comes to your job search. There are three consistent steps to success in a job search, regardless of which industry you are in, what title/role you are pursuing, or where you live geographically. Note that each of these three steps have innovative new elements to them which you need to master to be competitive.

    The Three Steps: Credentials + Timing + Trust.

    Credentials: Get your resume together. Get your LinkedIn profile together. Make sure your resume has updated training and education mentioned. Make sure you belong to professional associations (including LinkedIn groups).  A good litmus test for determining if your resume works? Give it to multiple readers - see if they whisper "Wow".  Have your readers circle those places on the resume where they whispered “Wow.” Another good litmus test for a solid resume? Does it raise the question "How did you do that?" or "Tell me more about that." The resume (ideally) is used as an outline for questions in your interviews, and those are exactly the questions you want the employer to ask you as your answers confirm your "unique value" to the employer. Another litmus test for quality: when two or more readers (independent of each other) echo similar comments about elements of the resume, address those elements. What's new here? LinkedIn - it's not a passing fad; it's a tool used by employers to find new talent.

    Timing: Aim for companies who are hiring. I know that sounds painfully obvious, but it isn't. Most of the hiring takes place in the unseen "unadvertised" job market. There are several ways into this market. Entire books, blogs, and full length articles are written on this subject. Learn everything you can about the unadvertised job market; I tell my clients it's a bit like sitting down to play a familiar game, e.g. Monopoly. And just before the game starts, your opponent says "Ok, by the way, there are 30 new rules to the game, and I'm not going to tell you what they are, let's get started." Unfair? Absolutely. What's new here? The web offers clues to who is hiring - you don't want to wait until an employer posts an opportunity on their corporate website. Among many web-based tools, my clients find "perfect timing" for unadvertised roles via carefully selected RSS news feeds.

    Trust: The "rules" of networking have changed. There is an old saying, "If you are the smartest guy in the room, you're in the wrong room." Time to learn how to quickly build "trust agents" at the employers you are targeting; these are people who currently work for those targeted employers and help you get your resume to the right person.  A survey by offers insight to the new rules: approximately 70% of employers now provide referral "commissions" to their own employees if they helped in talent acquisition. What's new here? The venues through which we build trust-based relationships have expanded; you need to know the new rules of effective communications within those venues: online forums, e-mail, phone, and in-person.

    Be encouraged, and remember everything in job searching has changed. You must be innovative and do things differently than your competitors to be successful in your job search.

Contact Us

Career Thought Leaders Consortium

3115 E Lion Lane, Salt Lake City, UT 84121

Questions about CTL?


or call 855-333-5793.

Connect With Us


Copyright ©  Career Thought Leaders  · All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software