The job market today is difficult for people with or without experience to maneuver through because there doesn’t seem to be enough jobs to go around. Yet everyday new students fresh out of college with degrees in hand find jobs that put them on the perfect path to an exciting career while others look dazed and confused! The confused students hold their degrees and don’t know what they really want to do as a profession or what kind of job they really want to work at.
The problem with confusion is that it will rear its ugly head during the job search process. The interviewers will pick up on your hesitation and wavering and will lose interest. There are just too many other recent graduates that are enthusiastic and focused to bother with the confused applicants. Even if you do manage to land a job despite your lack of direction, the chances are your progress along your career path will be slow and tedious due to lack of enthusiasm.
You need to understand that there is a difference between a profession and a career. A profession is a particular type of work you do like accounting, teaching or selling. A career is a deliberate decision making process that takes advantage of your skills and competencies while performing your professional functions with the goal of advancement. There is a big difference between doing a job and building a career.
Doing More Than “To Do”…
Are you a new college graduate ready to start work? The first step in developing a career is to define your career interests and the skills you have that will suit those interests. It means you will have to spend some time looking at your career values and not just what “to do”. It is important to identify the value you want from your work and career.
For example, does being able to express your creativity have value to you? If so, a job that requires only number crunching might not be the right way to start your career journey. Do you value working with people? If your personality is such that you value interaction with other people then you would want to begin your career considering jobs that involve meeting with people.
The point is that you want to make a conscious choice as to your career path and not accept a job just because it’s a job with the right title. Some career experts advise trying a variety of jobs until you land one you really enjoy. The problem with this approach is that you can earn a label as a “job jumper” and appear to be unreliable. The job changing strategy does not translate well on a resume or CV because job changing can make a candidate look career aimless and that is not particularly appealing to employers.
Of course, when you are a recent school graduate and your first job or two does not turn out to be appropriate for your skills and competencies then you can change jobs. But at some point you will have to prove you know the direction your career should take and then begin progressive moves down the right path. Developmental psychology research has demonstrated that in order to be successful in your career it’s important to have chosen a profession that supports your career by the age of 25 years old.
Are You Confused or Dissatisfied?
Career confusion that endures too long after graduation will limit your ability to move ahead. You certainly don’t want to remain in a state of confusion! In fact, even after you land a job, you might still find there is little satisfaction If you feel as if your career is on the wrong path, then you should also re-evaluate your work values, skills and competencies and determine the profession that will support a desirable career.
One of the best ways to eliminate confusion about what profession and career to choose is to assess your interests and potential using self-assessment tools. These tools will explore:
To eliminate confusion about your career, it is important to explore each of these areas and form a whole picture. Concentrating on only one factor will leave you with the equivalent of a puzzle with pieces missing. The assessment tools help you tap into all the factors that are involved in developing career goals and then choosing the right profession that helps you meet those goals.
You may be telling yourself that in this economy and in such a tight job market you must take whatever job you can get or you need to hang onto your job even if it doesn’t support your career. If you must accept a job that does not particularly suit you in order to pay the bills, it is important to make the best of the time. How is that possible?
First you complete the assessment tools and identify your authentic career. Second you will pursue additional career training and take courses that enable you to enhance your qualifications in the career of choice Third you will network with other professionals in your authentic career industry. And while taking these actions, you will look for opportunities in your current position that give you the experience you need in particular job functions that will apply to your authentic career.
There is no such thing as a perfect job or perfect career nor does anyone achieve total career satisfaction. In any profession or career there will be days when things don’t go right or daily irritations are overwhelming. The reality of day to day working life is such that heaven is not achievable on earth. You need to look at the bigger picture and evaluate your overall satisfaction and success in your career.
It is important to find your authentic career, and the best way to start is by assessing your personality, interests, skills and career values. You can achieve what you want in your career if you approach the process in the correct way. Not only will you increase your career satisfaction, but you will also be using your competencies in a way that contributes the most to economic development and productivity in the marketplace.