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Career Planning: Some Suggestions To Consider

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The following are some suggestions and tips related to thinking about a career and building a career plan.

  • Apply the decision-making steps that were discussed earlier to help you decide on your career interests. Few decisions are more important for you than selecting the career that’s best for you.
  • Do volunteer work to gain experience, learn more about some occupational areas that are of interest, and broaden your outlook into other areas to learn more. This will help you to determine whether or not you would enjoy working in a particular field. Furthermore, you will probably get personal benefit from the experience, benefit others at the same time, and volunteer experience generally makes a positive impression on a résumé.
  • Consider careers that might be related to a hobby or something you enjoy (for example: sports, movies, music, science, camp, computers, travel).
  • Be honest with yourself in assessing your talents and abilities. You should never lower your sights below your true potential. At the same time, you should avoid setting your sights so high that you are likely to be frustrated and disappointed.
  • Nothing is more important today in getting a job and planning and starting a career than networking. Connecting with people, seeking advice, and getting help is very important. Don’t hesitate to use your connections. Others don’t. Build a network – then use it.
  • Set goals. Set your sights on what you want to achieve. Work toward something. Don’t meander down the road and occasionally stop to see where you are. That may be a nice way to see Europe, but it’s a poor way to find a career. Furthermore, don’t set only long-term goals. Set some short-term goals, too. Give yourself a chance to succeed.
  • Learn from your mistakes and disappointments. Mistakes are powerful learning experiences. They are stepping stones to future success. Apply that attitude to everything you do.
  • Talk with people who are working in careers that interest you. You can learn a great deal about many career options from talking to someone who is already involved in a particular career.
  • Talk with a range of people. Don’t judge a career on the basis of discussions with one or two people. People have differ- ent talents, different experiences, and different interests. What doesn’t work for them may work for you.
  • Plan for the future, not the present. Look ahead, not to the side. Observe trends. Watch for changes. Look where everyone else is going, and realize that if they are all heading there, it’s likely to be pretty crowded. Do you still want to head in that direction? Or, might you want to change course?
  • Know why you want to work. What do you want out of your career? Are you working strictly for an income? Are you concerned about the working environment, how mobile you can be in the job, opportunities for advancement, job satisfaction, the people you will work with, the benefits that may accompany the income? There are many possible factors that might be related to why you want to work – and the type of work you want to do. Include these in your career plans and decisions.
  • Regard your career as a path of lifelong learning and development. Keep on top of developments in your field. Pursue new training if you are able and interested. Life-long learning is a valuable concept. Many, if not most, people will have four or more different careers in their lifetime – or more.
  • Keep your options open. Make sure you don’t slam the door on yourself by making poor course selections in school.
  • Look beyond the most obvious career options. Some of the less known careers can be the more interesting ones. Furthermore, far fewer people may be preparing for them, which may help when hiring time comes along. You can review almost 200 different career options via videos on the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education’s (CFEE) “VECTOR” web site. These 5-6 minute videos profile people working in a wide range of occupations. There is information on the education required, average income, and so on. You can view the videos at http://www.vector.cfee.org.
  • Look beyond your own front door to see what’s going on. Look at what’s going on in other communities, other provinces and territories, across the country, and in other countries around the world.
  • Don’t be your own worst enemy. Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t have a negative state of mind. You have a lot of control over what goes on inside your head. You can affect your attitude and how you act – and how you come across to others. Attitude means so much. It makes a huge impression. Be your own biggest booster.
  • Know your strengths and work on them. Recognize the talents that you have, and then build on and develop them.
  • Learn how to cope with stress. Identify what puts pressure on you. Do what you can to minimize those things. Deflect the pressures. Learn how to relax. Avoid burnout. Learn how to keep your cool. That can affect your success in the workplace – and as an entrepreneur.