Last week we discussed the importance of developing both self-awareness and career awareness. Today we will look at four more steps of choosing a career. In reality, some of these processes may occur at the same time.
Step 3 is goal setting, a necessity for effective career planning. Choosing and implementing these targets involves the following:
- Setting priorities
- Converting these long-term goals to shorter term, monitorable objectives
- Developing an action plan of how to achieve the objectives
- Devising strategies to implement the plan
After the goal setting process, Step 4 is to do market research pertaining to the desired career. Technology is rapidly changing and some jobs that were once desirable are quickly becoming obsolete. We live in a global village where changes in one country impact neighbouring countries as well. There is a need to study the trends of the labour market and choose accordingly. In carrying out the market research, consider the following questions:
- Is there a growing need or demand for this field or the types of tasks performed?
- What are local and global trends? Are layoffs frequent?
- What possibilities are there for direct experience in the field, such as job shadowing or apprenticeship?
- Are there opportunities for volunteer work to function as a stepping stone toward long-term employment?
- What do current workers say about the realities of the job? Do they feel it is a promising career or a dying field?
Step 5 involves making a broad career decision and then narrowing it down. Interpreting interest inventories and establishing occupational preferences filters out the less desirable options, allowing students to consider their strong areas. With guidance from experienced counsellors or informed parents, the student may settle on several top options. This initial career decision involves the following processes:
- Combining information gained in the first four steps to come to a broader decision
- Using career inventory and personality match tests to settle on a broad field or career cluster
- Using the acquired information to narrow the list to one or two top options
The final step is to begin searching for a job. Recommended aspects of a job search include:
- Preparing a current resume and cover letter
- Preparing for and attending job interviews
- Networking with potential employers
- Availing oneself for voluntary services
- Remaining flexible and open minded rather than limiting yourself only to jobs you specifically trained for
In summary, a career ready individual is one who can answer the various steps’ questions with some degree of confidence. In addition, working to develop soft skills in the areas of communication, teamwork, cooperativeness, negotiation, leadership, social interaction and problem solving may also prove helpful on the career journey. With God’s guidance one will eventually find themselves in the career they can best serve God and humanity, while also experiencing career satisfaction.