Whether you’re just about to graduate from college, declare a major or are looking for a career change because you’re not feeling very fulfilled in your current job, choosing the best career can be quite scary. There are so many options out there, so it can be completely overwhelming. Choosing a career is an important decision, and you want to be sure you make the right one. If you’re teetering on the edge of such a momentous decision, you’re going to need all the help you can get! Here are five practical tips to point you in the right direction and help you secure your dream job.
1. Know Yourself – Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Values, and Skills
If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t think too deeply about who you are, this is a valuable thing to do. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, values, and skills helps you decide which career path to take, as there are going to be some occupations that are the perfect fit for you. There are also going to be others that are totally wrong. There is a range of different self-assessment tools you can use online to gather information about your personality traits. You could also choose to work with a career counselor or career development professional who will be able to help you navigate the process.
2. Determine Your Goals
What do you want from your career? Would you like to be able to travel? Is helping people your main goal? Goals can change over time, but to find a truly satisfying career, you need to find one that matches your long-term goals. You might, for example, be looking for a career that allows you to continue your education. There are a wide range of options if personal development is your goal. A career in public safety, for example, can be a very rewarding path to take and there are endless ways you can work your way up the ladder, learning as you do it. For example, you could choose to complete a safety Master degree online; to find out more, click here.
3. Make a List of all Your Options
If you’ve used a self-assessment tool, you’ve already got a long list of options. If you haven’t, then you need to compile a list yourself. Think about jobs that are going to be a good fit for you based on what you’ve discovered about yourself. You then need to get some necessary information about each of the occupations in your list. Look for job descriptions, educational training, licensing requirements, opportunities for advancement and any other information you can find about a particular role. As you’re doing this, you’ll probably find you can narrow down your list because there are going to be careers that don’t interest you once you’ve found out a little bit about them. Aim for around four or five in your short list. With only a handful of career options in your list, you’re better able to conduct more in-depth research. Try to meet with people who are already working in the potential occupations and learn from them their first-hand experiences. If you’ve got a network or use LinkedIn, these are valuable resources for this kind of research.
4. Write a Career Action Plan
A career action plan is a document that sets out the steps you need to take to reach your goals. Write down your goals, both long and short-term ones and the steps you need to take in order to achieve them. There may well be barriers that get in your way, so include these in your plan and work out how you’re going to get around them. Include the following sections in your action plan:
- Employment history, education, and training: This is where you list all the previous jobs you’ve had with details about the location of the company you worked for, your job title, and the relevant dates. This information is going to be very useful when it comes to writing your resume.
- Self-assessment results: In this section, you can include what you’ve learned about yourself and your list of suitable occupations.
- Short and long-term goals: List your occupational and educational goals and any barriers you might have to face.
Spend time thinking through your career plan, and it’ll be a very useful tool to have. You’ve already taken the first steps in the career planning process and setting goals; planning what you need to do to achieve them is the next logical step.
5. Update Your Resume and Start Applying for Jobs
There are companies you can approach to write your resume for you, but it’s easy to do it yourself. There are a number of elements you need to include, but the first 15-20 words are the most important. These are what will attract an employer’s attention and determine whether they keep reading or file your resume in the trash. Start with a brief summary that includes a title, preferably one that’s tailored to the job description. Following on from this title, you need to write two or three concise sentences or bullet items that describe the skills and experiences that make you the perfect candidate for the job. The mistake many people make is to have a one-size fits all type of resume. It’s far more effective to have a template with all the crucial details and tailor the brief summary to match the job you’re applying for. With your resume updated, you can start applying for jobs.
Finding your dream career isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you approach the problem in the right way. In your lifetime, you’re going to be spending an incredible amount of time at work, so you want to be using your time to your advantage and pursuing a career that makes you happy, make the most of your talents and matches your values. These five tips are going to help you get there as long as you give them the time they deserve.
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